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‘Nigeria’ll Overcome Leadership Challenge in 15 Years’

President Goodluck Jonathan yesterday in Yenegoa, Bayelsa State, identified failure of leadership as Nigeria’s greatest problem and obstacle to desired growth and said the problem could be surmounted in the next 15 years.
“The desire to entrench the needed development could only take root when the nation begins to elect good leaders, especially in the next 15 years. Only then will the country become great among the comity of nations,” Jonathan, who is on a three-day state visit to the state, said at a Town Hall meeting with the people of the state held inside the Banquet Hall of the Government House.
The President said, however, he was determined to offer the needed difference as he steers the ship of the state.
Justifying the celebration of Nigeria at 50 in the face of the criticisms that followed the huge cost of the activities, Jonathan said the fact that Nigeria did not disintegrate as predicted in many quarters was enough to have the country celebrated.
He argued that Nigerians deserved to celebrate the 50th independence giving the fact that nations with less problems than Nigeria have disintegrated in the past, yet Nigeria, according to him, continues to soldier on.
“I told them that they are wrong. Because we have not achieved a lot does not mean we have achieved nothing. The prediction that we will divide has failed and it is worthy of celebration,” the President said. 
On the issue of unemployment, the President said though most executive bills sent to the National Assembly are being politicised and misconstrued, he said has tasked members of the National Economic Team and the Federal Executive Council to develop solutions to the problems of unemployment and other related economic issues and implement them in 2011.
He said the Federal Executive Council would dedicate the last three months of this year to review its activities in the last one year and brainstorm on how to move the nation forward, especially in the areas of employment generation, power and empowerment programme for the people.
“The unemployment issue is a problem and I have informed the national economic team to look critically at ways of solving it and engaging the teeming youths of the nation. We will try and stimulate economic activities that will allow companies and industries to thrive and be established to absorb these youths. We at the Federal Executive council will dedicate the rest of this year to discuss these issues and solve them,” he said. 
Meanwhile, the President has once again called on the youths and the state governments in the Niger Delta region to maximise the gains of the amnesty programme, just as he has sought the partnership of the governors and members of the National Assembly to reposition the country and make it rank among the best among the comity of nation.  
The President, at a state banquet held in his honour in Yenagoa by the Bayelsa state government said his ambition for developing the country could only be achieved with the support of the governors and members of the National Assembly.
According to him, “the only thing I can promise is that I will do my best to serve our own dear country as the President, to make sure that we reposition our country in a way that will be the envy of other developing nations of the World. I have to do that with the governors and members of the National Assembly.”
He expressed the readiness of the federal government to partner with Bayelsa State Government in the area of infrastructural development.
The President assured the state government that it would get its own rightful share of all resources that were meant for the development of the country.
“We will do our own bit. That is why I came here with a number of ministers because we believe that the federal government and the state government have to work together to develop all the component parts of the country.
“I have touched a number of states within this period. I am now in Bayelsa State. I have seen the humble development of the state and I believe that it  is growing. The development may not be at the rate that all of us expected at this period. Even at the national level, people expect the country to be like Malaysia and Singapore but these things take time.
“You cannot wake up one day and be where you want to be. I have seen the commitment of the people because the governor made reference to what happened in the afternoon which  I wouldn’t want to bother myself about, but I will plead with all of us, men, women and youths that, for us as a people to grow, we must unite, we must work together.
“Before this time, we experienced excesses in terms of militancy, but with the amnesty programme, at least it has abated and this is the time for us to collectively work together to see how we can move the state forward,” he said.

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