Abuja — President Goodluck Jonathan, yesterday, lamented that the crises in some parts of the country has slowed down economic development. He stated this while being presented with the 2013 Africa Peace Award from the United Religions Initiatives URI, at the Presidential Villa, Abuja. According to the president, internal stability is essential for the development of the country saying that, "there can be no meaningful economic development where people are fighting."
Jonathan said: "Even when countries are fighting at the end of the day they will still come to the dialogue table to resolve. Problems could hardly be resolved through the barrel of the gun. Even if you have the most sophisticated weapon to fight, you will still come to negotiate otherwise you can never live in peace.
"If you go to the Southern part of this country you hear about kidnapping and if you go to the North you have the issue of Boko Haram. For us to develop our country we must all embrace peace. There is no way the government can perform magic when the people are shooting guns, because economic growth and development is in the hands of the private sector."
The President added: "There cannot be economic development without peace. For you to develop economically there must be peace and political stability. So the leadership of African Union and ECOWAS have changed and we believe that we must help ourselves and help our states and govern our states the way it should be governed. If there are crisis we should intervene and that has been helping us significantly."
The president who dedicated the award to Nigerians promised that he will continue to focus on providing the enabling environment in the country for businesses to thrive.
He said: "This award is dedicated to my people and my country Nigeria. We couldn't have been qualified for this award if my people did not encourage me. In Nigeria God has given us that unique privilege to be fairly more robust than some of our African countries and we are one of the African countries that the whole work look up to, to assist in one way or the other. So this award is for Nigeria and not for Goodluck Jonathan.
"We would continue to do our best. For me as an individual, I will continue to play my role in spite of the challenges. Let me use this unique opportunity to call on all Nigerians and all the people of the world to embrace peace. You cannot talk about development when you are fighting," the President emphasised.
The Regional Director of URI, Ambassador Mussie Hailu while presenting the award to the president said it was in recognition of President Jonathan's immense contributions to religious harmony in Nigeria and peace keeping operation under the United Nations.
According to him, "we have been following with great interest the great role the President play in his country, West Africa and Africa as a whole since he took office as President of Nigeria. We commend his leadership qualities in West African sub region in particular as ECOWAS Chairman and also lauded the current transformation agenda of his administration."