News / Africa

Nigeria's President Calls for National Unity

President Goodluck Jonathan opened Nigeria's National Conference with optimism this week. He appeared (above) at the World Economic Forum in Davos in January.
President Goodluck Jonathan opened Nigeria's National Conference with optimism this week. He appeared (above) at the World Economic Forum in Davos in January.
James Butty
Nigeria’s long-awaited National Conference opened Monday in the capital, Abuja, aimed at solutions to an Islamist insurgency, corruption and oil revenue-sharing. 

In opening the conference, President Goodluck Jonathan told the 500 delegates to put partisan politics aside and focus on the agenda of the country.  

Presidential spokesman Reuben Abati says Jonathan also urged the delegates to strive toward building a stronger and more united Nigeria.
                   
“The president made a number of points. He made it very clear that he has no personal agenda to pursue through this conference. He made very clear that what is important is the national interest, and he enjoined all the delegates to put Nigeria first, not to use the platform of the conference for the pursuit of divisive politics or ethnic jingoism,” he says.
 
Abati says Jonathan also told the delegates to use the conference to further strengthen the bond that ties all Nigerians together, including national unity and patriotism.
 
With raging violence blamed on the Islamist insurgency of Boko Haram in the north and political divisions within the ruling People’s Democratic Party (PDP), some commentators say Nigeria is become more divided.
 
Abati says Nigeria’s unity is not threatened.
                   
"A few weeks ago, we celebrated 100 years of Nigeria’s existence as a nation. And, in the speech that President Jonathan delivered, he stressed that the amalgamation was not a mistake, that we are a country of ethnic diversity, of linguistic diversity, and that our unity, the beauty of our country, lies, in fact, in that diversity,” Abati said.
                   
He says Jonathan’s speech did not dictate the agenda of the conference.   
 
“The issues that he referred to in the speech, these are the issues that have been out there in the public domain.  It doesn’t amount to the president setting an agenda,” Abati said.
 
The ruling PDP was recently beset by defections due in part to Jonathan’s decision to seek re-election.
 
Abati says Jonathan told delegates they should make the conference one about Nigeria the country and not about political ambitions.
 
“President Jonathan made it clear that the conference is a conference of the Nigerian people.  It’s not a conference about partisan politics.  And, if you look at the composition of that conference, you will see that it is not constructed along political lines.  It is a conference about the future of Nigeria.  It is a conference about the politics of Nigeria itself,” Abati says.

Butty interview with Abati
Butty interview with Abatii
|| 0:00:00
...
 
🔇
X

You May Like

Ukraine Purges Interior Ministry Leadership With Pro-Russian Ties

Interior Minister Avakov says 91 people 'in positions of leadership' have been fired, including 8 generals found to have links to past pro-Moscow governments More

US Airlines Point to Additional Problems of any Ebola Travel Ban

Airline officials note that even under travel ban, they may not be able to determine where passenger set out from, as there are no direct flights from Liberia, Guinea or Sierra Leone More

Nigerian President to Seek Another Term

Goodluck Jonathan has faced intense criticism for failing to stop Boko Haram militants More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Talks to Resume on Winter Gas for Ukrainei
X
Al Pessin
October 25, 2014 4:21 PM
Ukrainian and Russian officials will meet again next week in an effort to settle their dispute over natural gas supplies that threatens to leave Ukraine short of heating fuel for the coming winter. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London the dispute is complex, and has both economic and geopolitical dimensions.
Video

Video Talks to Resume on Winter Gas for Ukraine

Ukrainian and Russian officials will meet again next week in an effort to settle their dispute over natural gas supplies that threatens to leave Ukraine short of heating fuel for the coming winter. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London the dispute is complex, and has both economic and geopolitical dimensions.
Video

Video Smugglers Offer Cheap Passage From Turkey to Syria

Smugglers in Turkey offer a relatively cheap passage across the border into Syria. Ankara has stepped up efforts to stem the flow of foreign fighters who want to join Islamic State militants fighting for control of the Syrian border city of Kobani. But porous borders and border guards who can be bribed make illegal border crossings quite easy. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video China Political Meeting Seeks to Improve Rule of Law

China’s communist leaders will host a top level political meeting this week, called the Fourth Plenum, and for the first time in the party’s history, rule of law will be a key item on the agenda. Analysts and Chinese media reports say the meetings could see the approval of long-awaited measures aimed at giving courts more independence and include steps to enhance an already aggressive and high-reaching anti-corruption drive. VOA’s Bill Ide has more from Beijing.
Video

Video After Decades of Pressure, Luxembourg Drops Bank Secrecy Rules

European Union finance ministers have reached a breakthrough agreement that will make it more difficult for tax cheats to hide their money. The new legislation, which had been blocked for years by countries with a reputation as tax havens, was approved last week after Luxembourg and Austria agreed to lift their vetoes. But as Mil Arcega reports, it doesn’t mean tax cheats have run out of places to keep their money hidden.
Video

Video Kobani Refugees Welcome, Turkey Criticizes, US Airdrop

Residents of Kobani in northern Syria have welcomed the airdrop of weapons, ammunition and medicine to Kurdish militia who are resisting the seizure of their city by Islamic State militants. The Turkish government, however, has criticized the operation. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from southeastern Turkey, across the border from Kobani.
Video

Video US ‘Death Cafes’ Put Focus on the Finale

In contemporary America, death usually is a topic to be avoided. But the growing “death café” movement encourages people to discuss their fears and desires about their final moments. VOA’s Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Ebola Orphanage Opens in Sierra Leone

Sierra Leone's first Ebola orphanage has opened in the Kailahun district. Hundreds of children orphaned since the beginning of the Ebola outbreak face stigma and rejection with nobody to care for them. Adam Bailes reports for VOA about a new interim care center that's aimed at helping the growing number of children affected by Ebola.

All About America

AppleAndroid