President Goodluck Jonathan on Tuesday promised that his administration would move faster in the New Year to accede to the yearnings of the citizens.
“In all our key sectors of the economy, we have laid solid foundations and now we are moving ahead. We will move very fast to make sure that what Nigerians expect from us as a government, we will do,” the President said during a New Year service at the All Saints’ Anglican Church, Zone 5, Wuse, Abuja.
“We are working very hard and I am convinced that 2013 will be a better year for this country,” he added.
The Jonathan administration has been criticised many times for its alleged slow response to the expectations of the citizens.
The President, during a Christmas Service in Abuja last week, had said his administration appeared to be slow in taking decisions on national issues because he wanted to avoid making mistakes.
He said experience had shown him that when rushing to take decisions, government might make serious mistakes which would be difficult to correct.
The statement drew criticisms from opposition political parties and human rights activists who felt the President could not justify the slow pace of his government in delivering dividends of democracy to the people.
Jonathan, however, stressed that his government had been working hard to satisfy Nigerians, especially in the area of checking insecurity in the country.
He said, “On the part of government, we are also not sleeping. We are working very hard. I am constantly being briefed on security matters that I don’t need to publish in the media. I can assure that our security operatives have been working very hard.
“Most of the people who have been involved in these crimes like bombing of the Catholic Church in Niger State, bombing of the UN Building and bombing of the police headquarters have been arrested. Almost all of them have been arrested,” Jonathan said The President announced the arrests while recounting the “silent” success of his administration as congregants gathered to usher in the New Year.
The violent Islamic sect, Boko Haram, had claimed responsibility for the bombing of St. Theresaaa’s Catholic Church in Mandalla, Niger State, as well as the attack on the UN building, in Abuja, on August 26, 2011. A bomb-laden car had ripped through security barriers and rammed into the building, killing at least 25 persons, mostly aid workers.
A lone bomber from the sect similarly attacked the Louis Edet Police building in the Federal Capital Territory on June 16, 2011. The lone bomber and a policeman died during the attack while more than 70 vehicles were destroyed by the fire ignited by the explosion at the car park.
Jonathan said his administration had been working very hard, mostly without the knowledge of the citizens, to solve the insecurity in the country.
While thanking the Church for its prayers in the past, the President urged them to continue to assist his administration.
He recalled that the support of the church for the nation dated back to when the country was struggling to transit from military to civilian rule.
“The church has been praying for this country, not just now. I remember during the period of transition from military to civilian, when this country was drifting and we did not know where we were going, the church prayed. God intervened and stabilised the country,” he said.
Jonathan said because of the nation’s large youth population, his administration was committed to job creation, adding that many of the problems facing the nation were caused by Nigerians’ attitude and ways of life.
He said the get-rich-quick syndrome had led many people into criminal activities, including robbery, embezzlement in offices and other anti-social behaviour.
Earlier in his sermon, the Primate, Church of Nigeria, Anglican Communion, Most Revd. Nicholas Okoh, had asked Jonathan and others in positions of authority to circumcise their hearts so that they could deliver the dividends of democracy to Nigerians in the New Year.
He also asked those in the civil service and the private sector to take a similar step in order to shun vices that had contributed to the country’s woes over the years.
In his sermon titled, ‘Circumcise Your Heart,’ Okoh defined circumcision as the cutting off of the old life of sins such as corruption, cheating and hypocrisy, among others.
He said it was the seal of the covenant between God and Abraham which could be likened to modern day baptism.
He said, “As we start the New Year and mark the naming and circumcision of the baby Jesus today, Nigerians should circumcise their hearts.
“Pastors in the vineyard of God must circumcise their hearts. Captains of industry must circumcise their hearts; civil servants who hide files to make money must circumcise their hearts.
“Politicians at all levels, federal, state and local governments as well as in all arms of government, the Executive, Legislature and Judiciary should circumcise their hearts.
“Lecturers who harass female students for marks, and ladies who tempt lectures with their skimpy dresses must also circumcise their hearts.”