President Goodluck Jonathan on Wednesday disclosed that the nationwide ceremonies to mark the hundred years of the nation’s existence would commence in late February.
The President disclosed this while addressing the congregation at the Our Lady Queen Catholic Cathedral, Garki, Abuja, where he attended the New Year service.
“Today is a special day, very special. 1st January, 2014, because we have been informing you that the amalgamation of our country to what we now call Nigeria happened on the 1st of January, 1914.
“Today, modern Nigeria is one hundred years old.
“The formal ceremony will take place by late February, and the programme will soon be advertised for all Nigerians to see and know the areas they will participate.
“It is a programme for all of us and all the religious houses will be involved in one form of prayer or the other.
“So, today, we are not just celebrating the New Year but we are also celebrating a special new year.
“A new year that the modern Nigeria is 100 years and we use this period to begin to think what will be Nigeria in the next 100 years”, he said.
The President stressed that the future of the nation and those of the children unborn in the next 100 year must be the concern of the government and every Nigerian.
He corroborated the position by the Senate President, Sen. David Mark, that the security challenges were not peculiar to Nigeria.
The News Agency of Nigeria reports that Mark, in a brief remarks before inviting the President to the pulpit, had said “the world as a whole is facing a lot of challenges within this period”.
Jonathan said that Nigeria was having its own share of the global challenges, but expressed optimism that the nation would overcome.
“Some of these challenges came at a point that our security architecture was not properly designed for that.
“We are improving every day, we have our challenges, but there is significant progress.
“Let us seize this opportunity to assure our country men and women that we will continue to work hard to make sure that we bring these crises to an end.
“With your commitment, with your prayers for us as a nation, we will surely get to where we want to go”, he said.
The President assured that in the New Year, government would get the economy to continue to move in the right direction.
He assured that the economy would grow beyond technical parameters and indices, but would produce results such as employments and improved living condition.
The President said that the potential and talents abound in Nigeria that could conveniently place it to lead the African continent.
Jonathan recalled his encounter with the U.S. President, Barack Obama, when the American leader attested to the abound potential in Nigeria.
“Obama said that Nigeria has the potential to lead Africa and Nigeria has the potential to be a great country.
“He said in America, we have over 25,000 Nigeria medical consultants working in the American health system.
“These are not just people with MBBS, but consultants, over 25000 and that today if all these Nigerians leave, we will have a lot of challenges in the health system of America.
“That is the president of the number one country now.
“He believes that Nigeria has a lot of potential and all what we need to do is to make sure that we continue to do things rightly”, he said.
Jonathan pleaded, particularly with politicians, to play the game of politics by taking the interest of the country more than personal interests.
“As we continue to play the politics in that direction, leaders will come and go but the country will stay.
“Luckily, we have a constitution that nobody will be a governor or president forever.
The President assured that the country would change for the better in the next few years.
Earlier in a sermon, John Cardinal Onaiyekan had urged Nigerians to contribute their quota to the development of the nation.
He also emphasised that the challenges in the country were not peculiar, but global.
“My brothers and sisters, these problems are not only in our nation.
“You only need to read the Pope’s letter to realise that all over the world, we have problems of corruption, human trafficking, drug abuse not to talk of wars and killings.
“We ask you Lord to come to our aid and defend our nation”, he said.
The cardinal also prayed to God to touch the leaders and direct them to govern the nation rightly. (NAN)