President Goodluck Jonathan has said some persons and sections of the country are working against the nation’s unity in a desperate attempt to wrest power from him, as they are creating divisions and hatred in the polity.
The president however, kept mum on the persons and which sections of the country he was referring to.
Represented by the Minister of Justice and Attorney-General of the Federation, Mohammed Bello Adoke (SAN), the president spoke while declaring open the 53rd annual general conference of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) in Calabar, Cross River State.
According to him, some politicians were exploiting freedom of expression, association and information guaranteed by the constitution to threaten the existence of the country.
“Democracy and the liberalism that it engenders in the political space have also brought about its own challenges, especially to the unity and corporate existence of our nation.
“The freedom of expression, association and freedom of thought and conscience guaranteed by the constitution, have unwittingly become tools in the hands of politicians and their associates to promote divisions, hatred, and discontentment in the polity.
“The quest for power and determination of certain persons and sections of the country to wrest power from incumbent political office holders has led to the issuance of all manner of threats with grave implications for our national unity,” the president said.
He lamented that the country was still faced with multiple challenges, despite the effort of past governments.
Some of the problems he identified include; how to ensure the security of lives and property in the face of increasing global terrorism, how to protect people’s rights and liberties in the midst of competing social norms, and how to achieve economic development and improvement in living conditions.
He noted that developing nations have continued to lag behind in managing the challenges they face, unlike the developed economies, who have, on account of their superior educational, economic and technological capabilities been able to overcome challenges.
He identified the problems of the developing nations as weak governance institutions, poor industrial base and near absence of democratic values and norms.
He said his administration was working to correct the situation through the transformation agenda of the government.
“Another major challenge to our nationhood is how to improve on the living conditions of our people.
“Our constitution clearly provides that security and welfare of the people shall be the primary purpose of government.
“While successive governments since independence have grappled with the economic problems of the country, there are still noticeable incidences of poverty, hunger and disease, unemployment and poor infrastructure which have continued to impact negatively on the well-being of the people.
“Although this administration has unveiled a programme of action to deal with these issues, it is obvious that success can only be achieved with concerted efforts from the public and private sectors to deal with these challenges,” he said.
Jonathan also urged Nigerians to continue having faith in the ability of the law to regulate their conduct, even as the nation clocks 100 years.
“The rule of law connotes not only that the judiciary is independent but that judicial orders and judgments of courts are obeyed and enforced,” he said.
Also speaking at the event, Senate President David Mark, represented by Senate Leader Victor Ndoma-Egba(SAN), urged those angling for a sovereign national conference to forget about it for the time being, stating that it was not feasible.
Mark said there could be no sovereign national conference until the section on constitution amendment was reviewed.