*Says dialogue most potent weapon for development
BY CLIFFORD NDUJIHE & MONSUR OLOWOOPEJO
Leading elderstatesmen and activists, who, for over 20 years have been clamouring for a national dialogue to address perennial socio-economic and political problems plaguing the country will no longer wait for too long to realise their quest. Reason: President Goodluck Jonathan yesterday assured that his administration would not ignore the calls.
He also assured that calls to grant Lagos a special status in view of the state’s mounting challenges and quantum contribution to the country’s economy would be looked into because no federal administration could ignore Lagos, which he accounted for between 50-52 per cent of the nation’s economy. He urged the judiciary to combat graft conscientiously and ensure that justice was dispensed at all levels.
Speaking in Lagos at the launch of a book entitled “Jurisprudence of The Living Oracles” written by a legal icon and politician, Dr. Tunji Braithwaite, the President said there was need for all Nigerians to work together to build a new nation.
He said: “I appeal to the judiciary to pay close attention to Dr. Braithwaite’s reiteration of the social purpose of law and dispensation of justice for the benefit of all Nigerians. Cases of corruption, for instance, should be dealt with in a conscientious manner. My administration will continue to pay attention to those urgent matters that will strengthen our union and the rule of law and accelerate economic growth. The call for dialogue from our citizens will not be ignored.
For me, dialogue is the most potent weapon in our arsenal for greatness and development.
Responding to an earlier call by the Lagos State Governor, Babatunde Fashola (SAN), that Lagos should be granted a special status, the President promised that the Federal Government would continue to work with Lagos State to further uplift it and also work with leaders to change all parts of the country.
“Lagos is very important to us. According to a recent CBN analysis, Lagos controls about 52 per cent of the national economy. So the state which is the commercial nerve centre of the country is too important to be ignored.”
Jonathan described Braithwaite as a role model to many Nigerians and noted that Nigerians were “supremely gifted and blessed,” he urged all Nigerians to join forces and continue to work for a better Nigeria where the rule of law would prevail.
In his comment, Braithwaite, who turned 79 on September 17, stressed the need for Nigerians to support Jonathan in his efforts to develop the country.