By Kingsley Omonobi
ABUJA—President Goodluck Jonathan yesterday fingered greed and the desire to accumulate monies that were not needful, rather than of lack of professionals in key positions, as the problem militating against Nigeria’s development.
Speaking at the first new year service at the Trinity Catholic Church, Maitama, Abuja, Jonathan also described terrorism as a global trend which Nigeria was also experiencing, as part of the global village, noting that those behind the bombings were agents of demons.
He said he hated to use the word corruption to describe Nigeria’s problem but noted that the desire by people in positions to accumulate so much money that they or their grand children could not exhaust was the reason the country was lacking in the midst of plenty.
Responding to the call by Very Reverend Innocent Jooji, who stood in for Most Reverend John Onayekan, that professionals should be appointed into their areas of competence for greater performance, President Jonathan said that was not the problem of the country.
He informed the crowd that his administration had put professionals in key ministries but noted that with permanent secretaries and directors who had been long in ministries, if they were committed and ready to serve the nation well, the appointment of a non-professional to such ministry would not be noticed.
“I agree that round pegs should be put in round holes. My administration has been putting professionals in core ministries. This is the first time that a health professional is heading the Ministry of Health, the same with some other core ministries.
“However, what makes government to excel is not the professionalism of ministers but their integrity. What sets us backward as a nation is greed, where one person takes so much money that he and his grand children cannot finish spending. We should not accumulate what we do not need. We will do our best to select professionals but one thing we need is the credibility of the leaders,” he said.
Pray for Nigeria
Jonathan appealed to Nigerians to continue to pray harder for the country, as well as have faith in the country so that the action of detractors like those planting bombs would not deter the country from its march to greatness.
He explained that the road to greatness was not without obstacles, adding that “these distractions about explosions and bombs should be seen as obstacles placed on our way to greatness.”
He said Nigerians who watch international channels would agree with him that all over the world, there were issues of terrorism though most of them were not perpetrated by nationals of the affected nations, especially the developed nations.
To him, the issue does not reflect religion or ethnicity, pointing to the bomber in Egypt which is a predominantly Muslim country where a bomber entered a worship arena and detonated a bomb even on people of the same faith before concluding that “these are people that are used by the demon to set us back”.
His New Year wish to Nigerians, Jonathan said, “My new year wish for all Nigerians is that we should walk in unity and not discriminate among ourselves, with hard work and love, our country will be great”.
He charged Nigerians to exploit the diversity of the country and multi-ethnic composition to move to greater heights through cooperation.
Earlier, Jooji chided those canvassing for military rule as he insisted that the worst civilian regime was better than the best military government and dismissed those looking in the direction of undemocratic governance.
Of the people canvassing for military rule he said, “if those calling for the military are having hang over, they should go and sit down.”
He admonished politicians to seek for ways of economic and political emancipation that would attract development.
He counseled politicians against use of violence during election, pointing out that violence begets violence.
He had also called Jonathan to “while appointing ministers, assign people to their areas of specialization so that they can work competently. Someone who read History cannot be sent to be Minister of Finance. We can compensate our parties, friends and others in other ways because I know the pressure is there.
Asking for nominations and people bringing these kinds of people gives impression that we lack the required men.”