President Goodluck Jonathan has called the international community to, like it did in France and Belgium last week, practically rally round Nigeria in this difficult moment of fighting insurgency in the North-east part of the country.
Jonathan whose goodwill message to the 24th Annual Breakfast Celebration of the International Salute to the Life and Legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr was delivered on Sunday by Minister of Culture and Tourism, Chief Edem Duke, saying in spite of the pains and travails suffered by the brutal murder of innocent Nigerians and the growing pains of the kidnap of the Chibok girls, “we shall overcome.”
The president’s pains were expressed in Duke’s mastery and use of flowing prose asking “where are the true friends of Nigeria, of a country that has in turbulent moments deployed men and materials both in Africa and other parts of the world to help restore peace and order.”
According to the president, “Today, we see across the world the challenges in France, Belgium and Germany, the challenges in Africa especially Nigeria the most populous black nation in the world. That is why in the cause of our history, wherever there is turmoil, a theatre of conflict, where truth and progress are in jeopardy, Nigerians are always there as peace keepers, Nigerians are always there as our brothers’ keepers including parts of the world whose names we cannot pronounce.
“Yet we find that today, even as members of the United Nations Security Council, our eyes are bloodied but our heads are unbowed by the challenges of insecurity that has become a global phenomenon.”
Nigerians, he added, were asking: “Where are our friends in Africa where we expended men and materials to help in their growth, independence and economic development? Where are our friends in Europe and America, where are our friends?”
Jonathan noted when insurgency challenged a little district in France and without underestimating the gravity, “we saw the congregation of world leaders, we saw the commitment of the media; however when this same challenge is ravaging the continent of Africa, Africa’s biggest country, what we hear are stories of incompetence, stories that encourage the dissidents, stories that bring down the government, that is what we hear.
“I stand here today to say that Nigeria needs her friends, her true friends because whatever happens to Nigeria will have a huge impact in Africa.
“If it takes just a few minutes of decision for us to deploy the right arsenal of our defence artillery around other parts of the world, Nigeria needs you at this moment. We must not travel this road alone,” Duke said.
Honorary Chair of the MFLK Jr International Salute Committee and Nigeria’s Ambassador to the United State, Professor Ade Adefuye, told the audience there is an intricate connection between the ideals of Martin Luther King Jr and the Nigerian experience, “which was why during his inauguration as Nigeria’s first President in 1960, Dr. Nnamdi Azikiwe invited the great leader of the African-Americans to witness the event; there is an intricate bond between Nigeria and the US.
“We have challenges like King had and we shall overcome. Next February, Nigeria will be holding one of its most crucial elections between an incumbent President Jonathan under whose watch the 2011 election was adjudged to be the freest, fairest and most credible in the history of the country and a strong contender and former head of state Gen.Muhammadu Buhari (rtd), and others. I stand here to tell you that the 2015 elections, like in 2011, will be free and fair.
“The elections will come and go and Nigeria will have a President come May 29 2015.”
Award recipient and CEO Taleveras Group, Igho Charles Sanomi, added: “The conferment of this award on me is quite overwhelming, and I promise I will not let you down,” while Ella Peters, representing her husband, Benedict Peters, Executive Vice-President/CEO Aiteo Group, extolled him for his mentoring skills among his fellow businessmen and aspiring young business men and women because of his belief that the more people are empowered the better it will be for society and the growth of economic prosperity.
She promised that these values would grow in strength in the years ahead to justify his Economic Empowerment Award.
Sonny Iroche, Executive Director of the Transmission Company of Nigeria, used the platform to call for investment in the power sector. “We need $2 billion annually to develop this sector from 4000 megawatts to 40 000 megawatts and beyond for the next 10 years.”