I will lead without sentiment or bias -President Jonathan
President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan has reiterated his unwavering commitment to run an open government that is bereft of bias or sentiment in the next four years.
This is even as he urged all elected political leaders across the country to justify the mandate given to them by the electorate and work towards enhancing their welfare and living conditions.
Declaring open the first ever Induction Symposium organized by the Nigerian Governors' Forum for governors-elect in State House today, President Jonathan said the outstanding success of the 2011 general elections imposes a huge burden of responsibility on political leaders to exhibit sufficient political will to tackle current economic challenges confronting the nation.
The President expressed faith that with strong, focused and patriotic leadership, the nation can surmount its current development challenges. “At the centre, I will continue to run a Nigerian government that will be totally committed to handling Nigerian problems without sentiment or bias,” he said.
The President noted that the unequivocal commitment of Nigerians to the sustenance of democracy as demonstrated in the last polls has placed a demand on elected representatives to narrow all political boundaries and resolve to improve the living conditions of citizens.
“The times call for renewed resolve and renewed courage as we face up to the sundry developmental and economic challenges confronting our nation,” the President said.
While congratulating the governors-elect, President Jonathan described as “disturbing”, attempts by some of them to interfere in the governance of their states before they are sworn-in, emphasizing that “the serving governors have the constitutional mandate to run the affairs of the States till May 29, 2011.”
According to him, the governors-elect on assumption of office as chief security officers are to ensure the security of lives and properties of citizens in their respective states, stressing that government will no longer condone the culture of impunity in any part of the country.
“As political leaders, we must be in the forefront of preaching peace and harmony, not violence. On my part, I want to assure you of the Federal Government's preparedness to avail you of all the requisite support at all times. I have consistently reiterated that the culture of impunity will no longer be tolerated in any part of the country. For me this is an article of faith. We cannot allow unpatriotic elements to distract us from the task of diligently facing up to Nigeria's developmental challenges,” the President stated.
In his remarks, Coordinator of United Nations systems in Nigeria, Mr. Dauda Toure, applauded the peaceful and fair conduct of the April general elections, stating that the United Nations will continue to partner with Nigeria towards addressing the needs of the masses.
He disclosed that the United Nations Secretary General, Ban Ki-Moon, will visit Nigeria from Sunday to Tuesday next week to confer with President Jonathan and political stakeholders on strengthening democratic structures in the country.
Contributing, elder statesman, Alhaji Maitama Sule, called on leaders at all levels to continually champion the virtues of love and peaceful co-existence among the citizenry.
He commended President Jonathan for achieving the conduct of peaceful and orderly polls in April, which he noted were “comparatively credible”. “With good leadership as portrayed by Mr. President, there will be love in this country,” Sule said.
Earlier, outgoing governor of Kwara State and chairman of the Nigerian Governors Forum, Dr. Bukola Saraki, said the forum was organized to afford new and returning governors the opportunity to share their leadership experiences with their peers, and also deepen the nation's democratic experience.