Former President Goodluck Jonathan has stressed the need for Nigerians to be united to enable the country to overcome some of her current challenges.
In a chat with State House correspondents after his meeting with President Muhammadu Buhari at the Presidential Villa, Abuja, the former leader said there was the need for all stakeholders towards the development of the nation.
Jonathan’s comments came against the backdrop of the renewed agitation in the Niger Delta region, resulting in the reported attempt to declare the Niger Delta Republic earlier this week. He said the Nigeria’s unity does not revolve around an individual.
The former president said he and other notable stakeholders in the Niger Delta, including traditional rulers were working hard towards ensuring lasting peace in the region According to him, “It’s not just about me, but about all the traditional rulers, elders and opinion leaders that are of the Ijaw ethnic nationality. We have been in touch to see that peace reigns in the country: those of who that have followed my thoughts when I was here…my emphasis has been that we need a united Nigeria and I always emphasise that Nigeria is great not just about the oil so many countries produce more oil than Nigeria, yet nobody notices them.
“We are great because of our size, the human resources we have, the diversity we have. If we fragment the country into small components, we will be forgotten by the world. That has been my focal position and without peace, there cannot be development anywhere in the world. We are all working collectively to see that issues are resolved.”
Though some of his former ministers and aides have been arrested and answering charges, the former Nigerian leader, however, declined to comment on the current war against corruption by the present administration.
“I don’t want to talk about that’ (fight against corruption) because there are too many cases that are in court. it will not be fair to make comments, I will talk at the appropriate time when most of these things are resolved,” said Jonathan.
Jonathan, who was just appointed to head the African Union, (AU) Election Observer Team to Zambia, said he had come to brief the President about his mission.
He said, “As you are aware, I will leading the AU elections monitoring team to Zambia, I came to brief the President about some of this external engagement. It is the tradition.
“One key thing is that having been a head of a government, a former President you become a state property. That’s the privilege you have but every privilege has its corresponding responsibility, and once you become a state property, most of your international engagements, that have to do with public addresses and some international assignments become a national assignment, you brief the sitting President.
“Even when I was here, former presidents used to do that and see me. I have been coming, most times I come in the night that’s why you don’t see me. I came to brief the President about some of my engagements.”