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FG shelves weekly FEC meeting

By The Citizen
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The weekly Federal Executive Council (FEC) meeting could not hold on Wednesday because many of the cabinet members who accompanied President Goodluck Jonathan to Israel were believed to still be on their way back to the country.

However, there was no official statement from the Presidency to explain reasons for the meeting that did not hold.

Meanwhile, Jonathan who just returned from his pilgrimage and official visit to Israel, was conferred with the 2013 Africa Peace Award by the United Religions Initiatives (URI) at the Presidential Villa.

He spoke of how the myriad of crises and conflicts experienced in the country in recent times have hampered economic development.

The event held at the Council Chamber where the FEC meeting would have taken place.

Receiving the award, which he dedicated to all Nigerians, the President stressed that economic stability and development are elusive when there is no internal democracy and stability.

'Even when countries are fighting, at the end of the day they will still come to the dialogue table to resolve the matter. They are hardly resolved 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.

'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.

'So, let me call on all Nigerians, especially the young people; 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,' Jonathan said.

On the continental level, he pointed out that '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 crises, we should intervene and that has been helping us significantly.'

The President promised to continue to play the roles that will enhance peace and guarantee political stability in Nigeria, declaring that '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. 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 world looks up to, to assist in one way or the other.

'Let's 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.'

Regional Director of URI, Mussie Hailu, who presented the award to Jonathan, said the gesture was in recognition of the President's immense contributions to religious harmony in Nigeria and peace-keeping operations of the United Nations.

'We have been following with great interest the great role the President plays 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 laud the transformation agenda of his administration,' Hailu said.

The award, which is non-monetary, honours people who have distinguished themselves and exhibited exceptional leadership qualities, he explained.

Some of the past recipients of the award are former President of Mozambique, Joaquin Chissano; Presidents Girma Woldegiorgis of Ethiopia; Paul Kagame of Rwanda; and Blaise Compaore of  Burkina Faso. - Daily Independent.