President Goodluck Jonathan has spoken passionately about the intention of his regime to turn the nation round for the better, claiming that his government cannot make the goal of stamping out corruption a reality overnight.
He spoke about his determination and dedication to make Nigeria a corrupt-free society but added that Nigerians need patience to see the outcome of his government’s war against corruption.
Speaking during the inauguration of the second edition of the Youth Enterprise with Innovation in Nigeria (YouWin!) in the State House, Abuja, on Monday, he lamented the hypocrisy of many public officials noting that those who shout out about corruption are the real actors in the game.
Highlighting the hypocrisy of many political actors further, he said those who shout about corruption in the country were even some of the most corrupt in the country
In his words, “In this country, these days, people talk about corruption. Sometimes those who are corrupt even shout more about corruption. But we are tackling it gradually. If you look at the agriculture sector where scandals of procurement of fertilisers and tractors and other scandals were going on, we have stopped that. In the oil sector, we are going to stop it. Gradually, this will thin down. We cannot change the society overnight but we have to take it step by step.”
The president called on Nigerians to wage wars against vote rigging urging voters to braze up to give bad leaders an elbow, come 2015, so that they can effect a positive change.
According to him, in Nigeria politics, there should be no rooms for election cheats.
The president want Nigerians to use their voting power to chunk out mediocre politicians adding that “for a political dispensation to be relevant to the people and to endure, the electoral process must be sanitised”.
For such political sanitation to take place, he urged Nigerians that they should be able to use their votes, as eligible members of the electorate in order to kick out bad leaders in government as they deem fit.
The president explained that it was with this in mind that his administration decided to disinfect the electoral process to ensure that the wish of the people prevailed at elections.
“We feel that for a political dispensation to be relevant to the people and to endure, the electoral process must be sanitised. The voter card of Nigerians must make them vote out the bad politicians. That is the only way we politicians will be committed and do what is right”, he said
President Jonathan said it was such intention to expunge the nation of cancerous elements that his regime decided to sanitise the nation’s political system and weed off cheats and changing the electoral process.
“ We have not reached where we want to go but Nigerians and, indeed, all people that have been monitoring our elections have observed that this is a different face of Nigeria and we will continue to improve on it,” he promised.
On the YouWin! programme, he noted that the second edition which was launched on Monday, would focus specifically on women, because women were considered as better managers of funds and, therefore, could make better impact in entrepreneurial endeavours.
He also stressed that the programme was designed to empower youths from the six geopolitical zones, irrespective of political or religious affiliations and, therefore, directed the Ministry of Women Affairs to work with the ministries of finance and communication technology and youth development to mobilise women entrepreneurs to participate competitively in the programme.
In her remarks earlier, Coordinating Minister for the Economy and Minister of Finance, Dr Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, pointed out that about 933 of the 1,200 beneficiaries of the first batch of YouWin! award winners had received the first tranche of about N1.03 billion of their award funds since the disbursement commenced in July this year.
The minister added that since the YouWin! programme was kicked off in October last year, it had attracted ideas and innovation from Nigerian youth entrepreneurs noting that about 6,000 of them had been trained.
Dr Okonjo-Iweala said in order to keep track of jobs created under the programme, the awardees had developed mechanism for capturing information on jobs created and would report the number to the public on regular basis.
Also speaking, Minister of Women Affairs, Hajia Salamatu Maina, said the YouWin! women progra-mme had heralded another landmark in the quest of the present administration to empower the Nigerian women economically, particularly young women.
While noting that Nigerian women were actively engaged in different sectors of the nation’s economy, she, however, regretted that legal and customary barriers, ownership or access to land and natural resources, capital, credit and technology, including other discriminations, had impeded their economic lives.
Additions: Tribune, Vanguard