(THISDAY From Juliana Taiwo in Abuja, 06.14.2008
President Umaru Musa Yar’Adua has set December 2009 as target date for the introduction of the electoral reforms promised by his administration to ensure long-term political stability in the country.
In a statement signed by the Special Adviser to the President on Communications, Olusegun Adeniyi, Yar’Adua also disclosed that within the context of the electoral reforms, his administration will consider measures to ensure that the estimated five million Nigerians in the diaspora are able to vote in future elections.
Yar’Adua made the disclosure while addressing Nigerians resident in France at the residence of the Nigerian Ambassador to France in Paris, during his state visit to the country. He said that the National Electoral Reform Committee was working very hard to conclude its work by the end of this year.
“We are hoping that by the end of 2009 we will have an electoral process that will provide Nigeria with what it requires to establish long-term political stability and entrench a culture of democracy and the rule of law.
“We are absolutely committed to the quest to imbue the nation with real democracy and the rule of law, and we will do whatever is necessary to succeed,” he said.
President Yar’Adua said that the country had the resources and capability to achieve the objective of becoming one of the twenty most developed economies in the world by the year 2020.
all Nigerians must identify with the vision and commit themselves to attaining the political stability, peace and security needed to make it realisable.
The President also spoke of his Administration’s determination to reform Nigeria ’s petroleum and gas sector to ensure that the downstream sector is well established and becomes self-sufficient in the processing of the country’s oil and gas resources.
He said that the Federal Government’s objective in this regard was to make the sector a key “enabler” for rapid industrialisation of the country and to make Nigeria the leading producer of petrochemicals in Africa .
President Yar’Adua also told them that his delegation had had “very fruitful discussions” with the French authorities in the course of his state visit, saying that the talks had laid the foundation for a new effort to confront the developmental challenges facing Nigeria and other African nations.
At talks with the President of the National Assembly of France, Mr. Bermand Accoyer, President Yar’Adua had called for greater foreign investment in Africa .
“What we want from France as a country is more investment. We are grateful for all the assistance by way of aid. Aid is good but trade is far better. What we need in Africa is investment. For Africa to attain the Millennium Development Goals, we have to improve in the area of infrastructure. We will require the partnership of our friends, especially France, for the attainment of this objective, he told Mr. Accoyer.