President Goodluck Jonathan on Tuesday said some of the security challenges facing the country, started at a time the nation’s security architecture was not properly designed to combat them.
Jonathan, at a New Year service at the Catholic Church’s Pro-Cathedral of Our Lady Queen of Nigeria, Garki in Abuja, also described the activities of Boko Haram in the North and kidnappers in the South as Nigeria’s fair share of worldwide security challenges.“Some of these challenges we have been seeing came at a point that our security architecture was not properly designed for that,” he said during the service presided over by the Catholic Archbishop of Abuja, Cardinal John Onaiyekan.The President added, “The world as a whole is facing a lot of challenges at the moment. If you turn on your television set, and if you turn the pages of newspapers, you will always see breaking news. Breaking news is not positive news and whenever I see such , I know there is one crisis somewhere in the world.“We are reading about crises everywhere. And our country too, unfortunately, we also have our own fair share of crises. There is the issue of Boko Haram and the excesses of the militia groups in the, North; and kidnapping in southern Nigeria.Jonathan, however, assured Nigerians that his government was committed to tackling the security challenges.“We are improving every day, we have our challenges but there is significant progress,” he said, adding that this year would be better for Nigerians than 2013.He said as President, he would continue to work harmoniously with the National Assembly and his appointees to provide Nigerians with good governance in 2014.The President expressed confidence that with the commitment and prayers of Nigerians, the country would get to where the citizens desired.He described yesterday (Wednesday) as a special one because apart from being the first day of the New Year, it also marked 100 years of the nation’s amalgamation.Jonathan said, “Today(Wednesday) is a special day. January 1, 2014 is special because the amalgamation of the southern and northern protectorates happened on January 1, 1914.“Today (Wednesday), modern Nigeria is 100 years old. The formal ceremony will take place in February. The programme will soon be advertised for all Nigerians to see and know the areas they will participate. All the religious houses will be involved in one form of prayer or the other.“So, today (Wednesday), we are not just celebrating the New Year, we are also celebrating a special new year. A new year that modern Nigeria is 100 years old. And we should use this period to begin to think of what Nigeria will be in the next 100 years.We should think what the future of our children and our grandchildren will be in the next 100 years.”Jonathan promised that this year, he would work hard to get the nation’s economy to continue to move in the direction Nigerians wanted it to move.He added that he would not only work harder to ensure that jobs were created for young Nigerians, he would make sure that foodstuffs were cheap in the markets.Jonathan said, “I assure you that as the person you have elected to serve you, I will work hard with the National Assembly, my cabinet and other officials of my government to make sure that you get what we call the dividends of democracy.“In spite of the challenges, all what we will continue to request from you is your continuous prayers. We believe that no matter what an individual thinks he is, if God doesn’t want him to succeed , he will not.”Jonathan again pleaded
with politicians to place the interest of the country above their individual interests.He said, “As we continue to play politics, leaders will come and go but the country will stay.“Luckily, we have a constitution that nobody will be a governor or president forever. It is only in the parliament that you can be there till you die.“As long as we consider the interest of our country, children, grandchildren and we begin to plan for the next generation instead of wasting all our energies , this country will be better.“Nigeria can even change in the next few years and things will be better for everybody. By God’s grace, this country will be better in 2014.“Even in the power sector that people always make reference to, since we have been able to do be first phase of privatisation and generation and distribution handed over to the private sector, we believe that before the middle of this year, power will be reasonably stable and that will stimulate the economy.“I believe and I am convinced that 2014 will be a better year than 2013.”Earlier, the President of the Senate, David Mark, who also attended the service had said Nigerians truly believed that with prayer God could solve their problems.He said, “In Nigeria, we have our own fair proportion of security challenges. It is what we are doing to end it that matters. The Legislature will cooperate with the Executive to end them as soon as possible.“We must not politicise security. We all have responsibilities to work towards peace. We will work in 2014 to ensure the security challenges are resolved.Onaiyekan, in his sermon, charged the President to summon enough courage to tackle what he described as the twin demons of corruption and insecurity in the country.Although he said the problems were not restricted to Nigeria as shown in Pope Francis’ message on the Day of Peace, he prayed God to give Jonathan the grace to be able to restore peace in the country.He regretted that Nigeria which should be united was currently polarised along ethnic, religious and political lines.Onaiyekan said, “We have a serious challenge to promote a sincere fraternity starting from our families.“Even in Nigeria, do we see one another as brothers and sisters? We see ourselves as Hausa, Yoruba, Igbo. We form circles of exclusivity.“Even in religion that is supposed to bring us together, there is division. Religious leaders talk and behave as if it is not one God that we are serving. They behave as if their different ‘gods’ are fighting and they must join them.”He said while adherents of a particular religion expected others to respect them, they should also respect the rights of others to hold their faith.Onaiyekan urged Christians not take their freedom of religion for granted because there were regions of the world where people could not openly profess their faith.He said while Nigerians were celebrating the New Year, they should use the opportunity to thank God for his favour and pray for protection in the New Year. He also urged them to also reflect on the significance of the time.The cleric said, “As every day comes, it brings something new. Therefore we are not leaving in a meaningless circle. Time moves towards a purpose. For most people, 2014 is just a figure but for those who believe in Christ, it is more than that.“Jesus Christ is the centre of all history. He is the final aim of our history and human existence. We have to live our lives in union with him so that our lives may acquire a lasting value and meaning,” he said.While stressing the Pope’s message, Onaiyekan regretted that while a lot of efforts were being made to ensure peace, peace had continued to elude the world.He made specific reference to the troubled Central Africa Republic and South Sudan which he said were in peace this time last year.He also called attention to what he described as the less visible and no less cruel war being fought in the economic and financial sectors.