Akin Akande, Abuja
President Goodluck Jonathan on Tuesday insisted that the motives behind his proposed national dialogue were not self-serving, noting that his administration means well for the future of the country.
The President said this while receiving Muslim faithful from within Abuja who paid him a Sallah homage at his residence.
The President said that the outcome of the national conference would be forwarded to the National Assembly for consideration especially as the lawmakers are in the process of amending the 1999 constitution.
“So we want a country that will have a direction so the discussions must have a direction, the discussion must lead Nigeria to where we want to be, not a divided Nigeria, not a Nigeria that is sown on hate, not a Nigeria that will be based on acrimony, ethnicity and tribal sentiments in the way we conduct ourselves,” he said.
The President added: “That is a reason we set up that committee and we have given them the free will. Some people are still instigating others that the President is doing this, the government does not have the capacity to do that. We are totally committed to do what is right.
“We don’t need to carry cane to flog Nigerians to show that we are determined.
“Even the Justice Uwais committee that was set up, that report was passed on to the National Assembly, in 2010 we brought Belgore and others and I said in 2005 Nigerians discussed some things why don’t we begin to implement some of them.
“So we need to come up with some bills in those areas we have agreed and we push it to the National Assembly. Of course some of those bills have not come out from the National Assembly but we believe that even in the constitutional amendment that is going on some will be useful.
“And this national dialogue is even critical and is coming at the right time because the National Assembly is thinking about how they will amend the constitution. So the results of the discussion of course will be passed to the National Assembly.
“It is only left for all of us who are Nigerians to impress it on our representatives those in National Assembly and State Houses of Assembly because our state and federal parliament must work together to ensure these are properly enshrined in our constitution so that as a nation we will hand over a country that is better than what we have met to our children,” the President explained.
The President further assured Nigerians that he and the Vice President along with members of his team would continue to do their best for Nigeria so that children and future leaders of the country are happy for it.
“We must work very hard, we must talk to ourselves the way that our children will not develop hate amongst themselves. And that is one of the key reason that we decided to have a conversation as a nation,” he stated.
The President thanked the Muslim delegation for a traditional homage.
Vice President Namadi Sambo who led the delegation commended President Jonathan for the kind of leadership he has been providing for the country particularly as the nation celebrates 53 years of independence.
He also commended the President on his outing at the just concluded 68th United Nation’s general assembly and the victory of the Super Eagles over the Ethiopian national team on Sunday.
He said the President’s visit to the team brought them good luck.
The Vice President expressed sadness over the death of some prominent members of the People’s Democratic Party PDP and other Nigerians that have lost their lives in the unfortunate crises being experienced by the country in the northern part of the country as well as in plane crashes and auto accidents.
He also commended the President for his decision to put together a national conference that will provide Nigerians the opportunity to discuss the future of the country.
The Vice President also called on all Nigerians to support the President to be able to deliver of the dividends of democracy and his Transformation Agenda.
Vice President Sambo was accompanied by the Minister of the FCT, Senator Bala Mohammed, who was represented by Minister of State for FCT, Oloye Olajumoke Akinjide.