Abuja - President Goodluck Jonathan has reiterated that the 1914 amalgamation of the Southern and Northern protectorates which gave birth to Nigeria is not a mistake, but an act of God.
The president's position is contained in a new year message to the nation, made available to State House correspondents by the Presidential spokesperson, Dr Reuben Abati.
“Exactly 100 years ago today, on January 1, 1914, the British colonial authorities amalgamated what was then the separate protectorates of Southern Nigeria and Northern Nigeria, giving birth to the single geopolitical entity known as Nigeria.”
“For us therefore, today is not just the beginning of a new year, but the end of a century of national existence and the beginning of another.”
“It is a moment for sober reflection and for pride in all that is great about Nigeria.”
“Whatever challenges we may have faced, whatever storms we may have confronted and survived, Nigeria remains a truly blessed country,” he said.
The president paid tribute to the nation's founding fathers as well as the heroes and heroines who had made the nation united till fate.
“As I noted, a few days ago, the amalgamation of 1914 was certainly not a mistake but a blessing.”
“As we celebrate 100 years of nationhood, we must resolve to continue to work together as one, united people, to make our country even greater,” he said.
The president specifically appreciated the citizens for their prayers and perseverance all through the outgone year.
He assured that the administration would remain and fully committed to the progressive development of the country and the consolidation of peace, unity and democratic governance.
The president noted that notwithstanding the various challenges, the country witnessed many positive developments in 2013.
He assured that the administration would strive to build upon the achievements in 2014.
“I am pleased to note that as a result of our backward integration policies, Nigeria has moved from a country that produced 2 million metric tonnes of cement in 2002, to a country that now has a capacity of 28.5 million metric tonnes.”
“For the first time in our history, we have moved from being a net importer of cement to a net exporter.”
“Foreign direct investment into Nigeria has also been strong. In fact, for the second year running, the UN Conference on Trade and Development has named Nigeria as the number 1 destination for investments in Africa.”
“We are witnessing a revolution in the agricultural sector and the results are evident.”
“We have tackled corruption in the input distribution system as many farmers now obtain their fertilisers and seeds directly through an e-wallet system.”
“In 2013, 4.2 million farmers received subsidised inputs via this programme. This scheme has restored dignity to our farmers,” he said.
The president said that the administration had invested tremendously on the education sector and urged all other stakeholders in the sector to help advance the cause of education.
He also underscored the achievement of the administration in the health sector.
Jonathan assured that in 2014, the administration would continue to prioritise investments in key sectors such as infrastructure development, power, roads, rail transportation and aviation.
He assured that foreign travel by government personnel would be further curtailed.
“This directive shall apply to all ministries, departments and agencies of the Federal Government.”
“Our strategy to curb leakages will increasingly rely on introducing the right technologies such as biometrics and digitising government payments.”
The president assured that the administration would intensify efforts to curtail terrorism and protect human lives.