Lagos, Nigeria – Nigeria’s President Goodluck Jonathan has responded to the criticism of his planned national conference, saying those who described it as diversionary or aimed at promoting certain political ambitions ”are in error.”
The President used his Eid-el-Kabir message to Nigerians to make the assertion, saying the purpose of the conference was to ensure an ”orderly national conversation on our problems and challenges”.
”Our sincere objective is to create an acceptable and workable platform for a national dialogue or conference that will help us to resolve the issues that still cause tension and friction in the polity, reinforce the ties that bind the country’s many ethnic nationalities and ensure that Nigeria’s immense diversity continues to be a source of strength and greatness.
”Our desire is for the greatest possible majority of Nigerians to key into the process and agree on the best way forward for our dear nation.
”We have been greatly encouraged in this regard by the very positive reaction of various national interest groups to the initiative and I seize the opportunity of this occasion to urge all other Nigerians to give their fullest possible support to this renewed effort to harness the efficacy of dialogue and consensus-building for the future well-being and progress of our beloved nation,” he said.
President Jonathan, who announced the national conference plan on 1 Oct. 2013 and has inaugurated a panel to work out the modalities, urged Muslim Faithful to offer special prayers for peace, harmony, unity, security and progress of Nigeria.
”I also implore them, as always, to find time in the midst of the Eid-el-Kabir celebrations to meditate on the immense benefits our nation can derive from a greater exhibition by its people of piety, honesty, selflessness, tolerance, peaceful co-existence with others, equity, fairness and justice for all, which are an integral part of the message of the Holy Prophet,” he said.
PANA reported that Nigerians are observing Tuesday and Wednesday as public holidays to mark Eid-el-Kabir, or the Feast of the Sacrifice.