Abuja - President Goodluck Jonathan said on Sunday in Abuja that the fight against corruption intensified by his administration was yielding fruits and attracting international attention.
Jonathan said this at the inter-denominational service to mark Nigeria's 52nd independence anniversary.
Specifically, the President said that Transparency international, a global anti-corruption watchdog, in its latest publication, rated Nigeria second to the U.S. in the fight against the corruption menace.
He said that his administration would further intensify efforts in that direction, to ensure that the country's rating on the global corruption chart dropped.
He admitted that corruption was one of the major challenges confronting the nation and hindering its development.
He charged Nigerians to join the government in fighting the scourge of corruption and to appreciate the government's efforts to curb the vice.
Jonathan observed that Nigeria is still young when compared to the developed world and the Asian tigers, which, he noted, had had their own share of developmental challenges.
He expressed optimism that the challenges of corruption, integration, insecurity, unemployment, economic retardation were ephemeral and would fizzle out with time.
Jonathan said he was happy that the country had sanitised the electoral process with the conduct of credible, free and fair polls during the last general elections.
The president also said that it was heart warming to note that the Manufacturers Association of Nigeria (MAN) had admitted 249 new members due to the government's favourable policies.
He gave an assurance that the power situation would continue to improve and solicited the support of every Nigerian in the effort to make the desired change in the country.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the President, at the service declared open one year of national prayers for transformation, organised by the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN).
Leaning on the scripture, Psalm 127 verse 1 which says "Except the Lord builds the house, they labour in vain that build it," Jonathan noted that the nation must hope in God who rules on the affairs of men.
He said it was imperative for the country to take a cue from the founding fathers of America who built the country's foundation on God.
He thanked the CAN for the initiative and for all its efforts at supporting the government.
Earlier in a remark, the former Head of State, Gen. Yakubu Gowon, said that the occasion of the 52nd independence anniversary called for sober reflection, because of numerous challenges confronting the nation.
Gowon called for prayers of intercession for the nation by various religious groups and underscored the need for everyone to seek the face of God in confronting the daunting challenges.
"Together we can salvage our nation. We must humble ourselves before our creator and seek the face of the Lord.
"Nigeria needs massive mobilisation for prayers, Nigerians must put aside their personal agenda," he said.
Also speaking, the National President of CAN, Pastor Ayo Oritsejafor, said the situation in the country was not beyond prayers.
Oritsejafor noted that God still answers prayers but on two conditions of humility and turning away from sinful and wicked ways.
The clergyman decried a situation where political leaders lived a life of pride and disconnected themselves from the electorate.
He said the nation could not continue to be in sin and expect grace to abound.
Oritsejafor, however, expressed the hope that Nigeria would overcome the daunting challenges currently confronting the nation.
"It is true that I cannot see the rain but I can hear the sound of the rain.
"The rain will fall over this nation. The rain of unity, the rain of security, the rain of prosperity, the rain that will bring about the potential of this country, that will show to the world that we are not a sleeping giant.
"As the rain falls, it will sweep away evil; it will sweep away bloodshed; it will sweep away rancour and instability from our nation," he said.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that prayers of intercession were led by various clergymen for the unity, security, progress and prosperity of the nation.
In attendance at the service were Senate President David Mark, Deputy Senate President Ike Ekweremadu and Deputy Speaker of the House of Representatives, Hon. Emeka Ihedioha.
Former President Olusegun Obasanjo and former Vice President Alex Ekwueme were also in attendance.
other dignitaries included ministers, service chiefs presidential aides, members of Diplomatic Corps, spiritual leaders and captains of industry led by the Chairman of Glo, Chief Mike Adenuga.