President Goodluck Jonathan, at the weekend, urged Nigerian leaders and the mass media to learn to be patriotic and avoid utterances that will instigate or fuel crisis in the country.
Speaking during a Town Hall meeting with people and residents of Plateau State in Jos, the president particularly pleaded with journalists to put national interest first because “whatever you write influences people and can endanger peaceful co-existence and national security.”
Mr. Jonathan’s charge was in response to an appeal made by a representative at the Town Hall meeting, who said though peace had returned to the state, inciting press statements may open old wounds.
“Peace must be present for development to thrive,” the president said, urging “youth and journalists to resist being used to serve negative interests. Peace has returned to Jos, that is why we are sitting here talking.
“The conflict was a conflict that had national implications, and I will like to ask that the peace be managed very well. We would like to suggest that people stop giving press statement to incite the crisis again,” Mr. Jonathan appealed.
He also said Nigerians should stop linking religion to the crisis.
Love for the people
The state chairman of the Association of Local Governments of Nigeria (ALGON) complained that council chairmen in the state were being witch-hunted by men of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission(EFCC) and the Independent Corrupt Practices Commission (ICPC) without a good cause.
In response to the complaint, the president advised them to be “courageous and do what is right,” even as he enjoined anti-graft bodies not to allow themselves to be manipulated.
Mr. Jonathan, who at the beginning of the interactive session, explained that he had requested for the meeting with traders, farmers, artisans, youth, students, teachers, women groups, in order to listen to them on how to collectively move Nigeria forward, also answered questions on electricity supply, female representation in appointive and electives offices, and accessing micro-credit for small and medium enterprises, among others.
The governor of Plateau State, David Jonah Jang, commended the president for the meeting, which he described as a rare opportunity and attributed it to the president’s love for the people of the state.