President Goodluck Jonathan has blamed the elite class for most of the problems confronting the country, saying that those predicting that Nigeria will disintegrate will be disappointed at the end of the day.
Jonathan spoke yesterday when Vice President Namadi Sambo and FCT minister Bala Mohammed led a delegation of the Muslim faithful to pay him Sallah homage to mark the Eid-el-Fitr in his residence at the presidential villa in Abuja .
The president further observed that a Nigeria without Muslims and Christians cannot be imagined and even if one decided to call it another name, it cannot be Nigeria.
He said, “We are not even exploiting our diversity because of the myopic views of the elite about our situations. Christians and Muslims are brothers and sisters and we must live together. Those who are predicting Nigeria’s disintegration by the turn of the century when Nigeria will be celebrating its centenary anniversary will be disappointed because Nigeria will continue to remain one indivisible entity.
“So, it is a blessing that this is one country that you have significant population of Muslims and Christians, and this religious diversity will enhance our development because we can get across the whole world. Wherever we go, we are accepted. That helps us in so many ways.”
The president who congratulated all Muslim brothers and sisters from Nigeria and indeed all over the world on going through what he called tempting period “in this month of Ramadan; in the holy month that the Qur’an was revealed to human” said: “Sometimes when you are not involved in fasting you will think it is an easy thing to go through. My trousers are just pulling out from my waist. So, you should know that it is not easy to forgo food for a reasonable period of 24 hours of the day.
“For you to have gone through this spiritual exercise is worth congratulations. So, I congratulate you. Let me use this opportunity once again to reassure Nigerians, including our Muslim brothers and sisters, that the vice president and myself and our entire team will do our best to reposition the country.”
Noting that development and economic advancement in the country can only be achieved when there is peace and unity, the president said: “Today is a unique day, and I urge our Muslim brothers and sisters to continue to pray for peace, not just in Nigeria but all over the world. If you watch television these days, more than 60 per cent of the time is spent on showing crises all over the world; and for the world to move ahead and for Nigeria to move ahead, for us to develop first and foremost, there must be peace and security.
“Nobody will come and invest in an environment where you are not sure of your workers and investment. As a nation, for our children to get where we want them to be, we must create a very peaceful environment for them so they can develop mentally and be focused and use their brains in a manner that will bring economic changes to us. In Nigeria, we are very religious people and we believe in one Almighty God and we continue to pray God will see us through. Yes, we face some few challenges but surely Allah will see us through.”
Sambo, who thanked the president for his fatherly role in nation building, prayed for success of the transformation agenda of the present administration. “We are here to pay homage and to thank you for what you have been doing for Nigeria. The month of Ramadan is a holy month. The imam during the sermon reminded us that whoever fasted throughout, God would forgive sins and accept all our prayers. We pray for peace, for God to grant you good health and wisdom and the grace to transform Nigeria to a better country.
“I extend on behalf of myself and family our deepest appreciation over the celebration of my birthday last Friday. Despite the fact that I was absent I came back and saw a beautiful cake. We appreciate your fatherly nature. You have been a teacher. You have been a father and good leader. We continue to pray that the transformation agenda which is already showing effect in this country, especially in the area of power supply and transport should be successful. Today, we have railway in this country after over 40 years. I call on all Nigerians to continue to support Mr. President and this administration.”
Some of the important personalities present during the occasion include minister of state for FCT Jumoke Akinjide, Senator Andy Uba, Senator Philip Aduda, former minister of sports Ismaila Sambawa, chief imam of Abuja National Mosque, chief of defence staff Admiral Ola Saheed Ibrahim, inspector-general of police Mohammed Abubakar, Senator Ahmadu Ali, minister of state for finance Yerima Ngama and minister of planning Shamsudeen Usman.