Acting President Goodluck Jonathan yesterday restated the commitment of the Federal Government to conduct free and fair elections in 2011.
A statement from his office last night disclosed that Jonathan made the promise when he received in audience former US President, George W. Bush, at the Aguda House, Presidential Villa, Abuja, who was in Nigeria as a guest of THISDAY at its 15th Annual Awards held yesterday in the nation’s capital.
Jonathan promised that the Government will work towards ensuring that the electoral process is transparent and reflects the wishes of the Nigerian people.
“I can assure you that come 2011, Nigeria’s elections will be credible. We will do everything possible to overhaul the electoral process and leave a lasting legacy in our political history,” he stated.
Jonathan used the occasion to call on the US government to reconsider its stand on the listing of Nigeria among “countries of interest” under watch in the global war against terrorism.
He reiterated that terrorism is alien to Nigeria, noting that Nigeria and US are strategic partners for global peace and development.
He also thanked the US Government for its concern over the health of President Umaru Musa Yar’Adua.
Earlier, Bush congratulated Dr. Jonathan on his assumption of office as the Acting President and expressed his best wishes for President Yar’Adua.
He said: “Sometimes in life, the unexpected happens. We wish you all the best even though we know it is not an easy job. With God’s grace and the support of your team, you will succeed.”
Bush was accompanied by former US Secretary of State, Condoleezaa Rice, and US Ambassador to Nigeria, Robin Sanders.
Jonathan, in an address read on his behalf at the awards dinner by Minister of Information and Communications, Professor Dora Akunyili, said even though Nigeria has many challenges, terrorism is not one of them.
He expressed the hope that ongoing discussions between Nigeria and the US would lead to the country being de-listed the terror watch list.
In the face of the challenges of development, Jonathan said: “I make bold to say that most Nigerians are good people working very hard in their various endeavours both in Nigeria and the Diaspora.”
Senate President David Mark pledged that the National Assembly would continue to ensure that democratic challenges facing Nigeria are solved constitutionally.
Former Ghanaian President John Kuffuor said Nigeria is the anchor of West Africa and the continent as a whole, adding that he hoped that through Nigeria, the United States of West Africa will emerge.
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