By Abraham Olatokunbo
Former President Dr. Goodluck Ebele Jonathan has thrown more light on why he convened the 2014 National Conference, stressing that it was meant to address the issues of divisive politics and growing agitation for structural reforms.
The former President who stated this on Thursday in Abuja at the 18th Daily Trust Dialogue which focused on restructuring also noted that mutual suspicion, absence of trust, and lack of patriotism were fundamental issues that needed to be addressed to make the nation greater.
Dr. Jonathan charged leaders at different levels to “encourage a healthy conversation on restructuring and reforms that stir national pride and love and faith of our citizens in our beloved country.”
He stated further that the call for restructuring would make better meaning if Nigerians prioritised “love of country, national unity, unifying leadership and building of strong institutions and values.”
On why he convened the 2014 national Conference, Dr. Jonathan said: “My administration elected six years ago to convene the 2014 National Conference, which I inaugurated on March 17, 2014 in Abuja for the specific purpose of addressing some of the issues that have been agitating the minds of Nigerians.”
The former President also made a case for the restructuring of the minds of Nigerians, adding that some of the challenging issues at the national level still exist at the state and local levels.
He said: “For instance, in some states, it is not easy for some persons to win an election because of the area they come from, the language they speak or their religious belief.
“Take a look at how local government elections are conducted at the state level. Why is it very difficult for an opposition party to win a chairmanship or councillorship seat in a state, despite the fact that the same party probably secured seats in the State Assembly and National Assembly elections, organized by a federal election management body?”
He said further: “Like every other nation, Nigeria is a project in progress and should confidently discuss her experiences and fashion out solutions to improve on her performance and the well being of all citizens. We should all do our little best in our little corners to overcome the challenges we face, and work hard to reposition our country for a greater and more prosperous tomorrow for our children.
“This cannot be achieved without deliberate effort to promote national unity and love of country by all our leaders and citizens. We owe ourselves and the coming generations a duty to reduce the bile and embrace one another so that restructuring for a better and greater Nigeria can be meaningful and guarantee the nation’s economic development and citizen’s welfare.
“We should never lose hope in our nation for the future is bright. With the robust character of our people and the unbeatable resilience of our spirit, I have no doubt that our country will become greater.”