By Daniel Idonor
ACTING President Goodluck Jonathan , Saturday, stressed the need for local government administration to be strengthened, noting that strong structures at the grassroots impact significantly at the national level.
He stated this when he received in audience former president of Ghana, Mr. Jerry Rawlings, who led a delegation of executives of the Commonwealth Local Governments Forum on courtesy visit, in Aguda House, Presidential Villa, Abuja.
Jonathan said â€œthe growth of a nation stems from growth at the grassroots. If we have good leaders at the local councils, then it is brought to bear on the national and continental levelsâ€.
He congratulated Ghana on its 52nd independence anniversary, saying, â€œThe fact that several African countries including Nigeria are celebrating the golden jubilee anniversary of their independence this year is a call for African renaissance. As Africans, we have to leave our past behind us and move the continent forwardâ€.
He praised Rawlings for his leadership roles in Ghana and on the African continent, while urging him not to relent.
Rawlings, who is in Nigeria for the Pan-African Assembly of the United Cities and Local Governments, a global organization, congratulated Jonathan on his assumption of office. â€œI wish you the best and Godâ€™s strength, and same for the people of Nigeria. We are happy with the peace and stability in Nigeria, and we want it to continueâ€, the former Ghanaian leader said.
He said the grassroots administration conference is on African development and stable electoral processes at the grassroots, while expressing optimism that the resolutions from the parley will be imbibed by African leaders.
Speaking with State House correspondents after the meeting, Rawlings kicked against seizure of power on the African continent. He said, â€œI think weâ€™ve gone past that stage. We can have constitutional, peaceful revolutions in the continent. Nigeria has the structures and institutions to provide solutions to its problems.â€
He was accompanied by Carl Wright, Secretary General of the Commonwealth Local Governments Forum and Hon. Adolf Mwesige, Minister of Local Government Affairs in Uganda.
Present on the Nigerian side were Minister of Interior, Shettima Mustapha, Minister of State for Works and Housing, Mrs. Grace Ekpiwhre, and presidential aides.