Thursday, May 29, 2014 9:49 am
Abuja – President Goodluck Jonathan said on Thursday that Nigeria had made notable progress in the last 15 years of uninterrupted democratic governance.
The president, who made the assertion in a national broadcast to mark the 2014 Democracy Day, paid tribute to all those who played a part in restoring the nation to the true path of democratic governance.
He said that though, he had ordered a low-key commemoration in deference to the current mood of the nation, the past 15 years had been a blessing.
“As a result of our collective efforts since 1999, democratic governance is now entrenched in our nation and institutions.
“I wholeheartedly believe that our people are the better for it.
“The scope of fundamental rights and liberties enjoyed by our people over the past 15 years has been expanded beyond measure.”
Specifically, the president said that Nigeria under his watch had witnessed high national economic growth rates, steady improvements and expansion of national infrastructure.
He said there had been significant expansion in airports and roads, the restoration of rail transportation, the efficient implementation of a roadmap for improved power supply and a revolutionary approach to agricultural production.
Jonathan said that there were advances in education, sports, youth development, healthcare delivery, housing, water supply and other social services.
In the oil and gas sector, Jonathan said there had been promotion of a sustainable local content policy, better opportunities for Nigerian entrepreneurs and skilled personnel.
He said that significant increase in mobile telephone and national broadband penetration had made Information and Communications Technology (ICT) one of the fastest growing sectors of the economy.
“We have developed strong financial markets and regulatory institutions. Our banks now have regional and global footprints.
“Nigeria has also gained recognition as the largest economy in Africa, the most preferred investment destination in the continent, in terms of returns on investment, the fourth in the world.
“We are pleased that the world has noticed, as global leaders converged in Abuja early this month for the World Economic Forum in Africa.”
Jonathan said that the WEF brought the prospect of an additional flow of investment into the Nigerian economy estimated at over 68 billion dollars over the next few years.
He said the country had equally done well in foreign relations by establishing and strengthening strong partnerships with all ECOWAS countries and the rest of the world.
“This has helped to deepen Nigeria’s leadership role in multilateral institutions, including the United Nations,” he said.
The president said that under his administration, the nation made consistent progress in improving the standard of elections.
He said that the National Conference he initiated would make recommendations on the best ways of resolving the nation’s current political and socio-economic challenges.
“It is our expectation that its outcomes will help to further consolidate the gains we have made from democracy in the past 15 years, and place our dear nation even more firmly on the path to greatness,” he said.