Akin Akande, Abuja
President Goodluck Jonathan has attributed the slow pace of economic development in the country to the various crises that have trailed his administration since 2011.
The crises according to the President have adversely affected the nation’s economy.
Speaking while receiving the 2013 Africa Peace Award from the United Religions Initiatives URI, at the Presidential Villa on Wednesday, the President noted that there could be no meaningful economic development where people are fighting.
He added that differences could be resolved through the barrels of the gun.
His words: “Even when countries are fighting at the end of the day they will still come on the dialogue table to resolve. They have hardly solve through the barrel of the gun, even if you had the most sophisticated weapon to fight, they will still come to negotiate otherwise you can never live in peace.
“So let me call on all Nigerians especially the young people, if you come to the Southern part of this country you hear about militancy, kidnapping and if you go to the North you have this issue of Boko Haram.
“For us to develop our country we must all embrace peace. There is no way the government can perform magic when the people are shooting guns, because economic growth and development is in the hands of the private sector,” he said.
He noted that the leadership of African Union and ECOWAS are now interested in helping African states to achieve peace haven accepted the believe that the people must help themselves and help our states and govern them the way they should be governed.
“There cannot be economic development without peace. For you to develop economically there must be peace and political stability. So the leadership of African Union and ECOWAS have changed and we believe that we must help ourselves and help our states and govern our states the way it should be governed. If there are crisis we should intervene and that has been helping us significantly,” he said.
Jonathan, while also dedicating the award to all Nigerians, promised to continue to play the roles that would enhance peace and guarantee political stability in Nigeria, even as he noted that economic growth, development and stability are tied to political stability.
“This award is dedicated to my people and my country Nigeria. We couldn’t have been qualified for this award if my people did not encourage me,” the President said.
“Somehow God has given us that unique privilege to be fairly more robust than some of our African countries and we are one of the African countries that the whole work look up to assist in one way or the other. So this award is for Nigeria and not for Goodluck Jonathan,” he also said.
“We would continue to our best. For me as an individual I will continue to play my role inspire of the challenges. Let use this unique opportunity to call on all Nigerians and all the people of the world to embrace peace. You cannot talk about development when you are fighting,” he said.
Presenting the award to President Jonathan, the Regional Director of URI, Ambassador Mussie Hailu, said the award was in recognition of President Jonathan’s immense contributions to religious harmony in
Nigeria and peace keeping operation under the United Nations.
According to him, “we have been following with great interest the great role the President play in his country, West Africa and Africa as a whole since he took office as President of Nigeria. We commend his leadership qualities in West African sub region in particular as ECOWAS Chairman and also lauded the current transformation agenda of his administration.”
The award, honours people who have distinguished themselves and exhibited exceptional leadership qualities.
Amongst the previous recipients of the award are the former President of Mozambique, Joaquin Chissano, Girma Woldegiorgis of Ethiopia, Paul Kagame of Rwanda and Blaise Compaore of Burkina Faso.