….Says Africaâ€™s Greatness Depends on Nigeria
By Daniel Idonor
FORMER Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, Mr Tony Blair, Saturday expressed confidence and satisfaction with the wise manner Acting President Goodluck Jonathan has handled the affairs of Nigeria, since he was declared acting president by the National Assembly.
The British former leader said for Africa to be great and through the attainment of its full potentials, Nigeria must first overcome her socio-economic and political challenges like the recent political stalemate the country successfully emerged from; and urged Nigeria not to relent in her role as a big player in Africa and the globe.
Fielding questions from journalists after a meeting with Jonathan at the Acting Presidentâ€™s official residence, Blair thanked Jonathan for the absolute maturity with which he has handled the presidency entrusted under his care by Nigeria law makers.
â€œI say to the Acting President that I want to thank him for the wise way he and the institution of Nigeria government have handled themselves in the last few days and I want to say it has been pretty difficult situation and I think they have handled it with skillâ€, he said.
â€œI am delighted to have seen the Acting president and to discuss with him and hear from him the situation here in Nigeria and the wider region and we were able to talk about some of the issues that are of mutual interest to the relationship between Britain and Nigeria. That relationship is a strong one. We know that without Nigeria fulfilling its potentials and exacting its leadership, it will be greatly difficult for the whole of Africaâ€
Blair quoted Jonathan as â€œexplaining to me the importance of maintaining the right constitutional process and we both agree that one of the greatest things to have happened is returning democratic government and we would want to see that maintained. There is no place for nothing else and I am actually optimistic that this will happenâ€.
â€œThere is the great desire on the part of the legislature andÂ the acting president himself to make sure that even in what seems to be unique and difficult situation, the country has been able to function and move forward in a proper way and in a way that helps its peopleâ€
Dr. Jonathan used the occasion to appreciate the British Government for its solidarity and encouragement to Nigeria on the recent political development in the country, and expressed optimism that both countries will continue to strengthen ties between each other.
The Acting President said the Federal Government is committed to institutionalizing good governance and credible elections in the country.
On the international scene, Jonathan said ECOWAS is on top of the situation in Niger Republic. He said he received a situation report earlier from the ECOWAS mediator, Gen. Abdusalami Abubakar, on the military takeover in that country. He reiterated the zero tolerance of ECOWAS to unconstitutional accession to power in the sub-region.