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Nigeria’s President canvasses for membership of G-20

Nigeria’s President Goodluck Jonathan has said Nigeria is ready to take its rightful place in the comity of nations, especially the G20.

Speaking at the business meeting of the G20 Summit holding in Toronto, Canada, Jonathan said Nigeria has made significant impact on peace and security on the African continent and the world at large.

“Nigeria has always played an important role on the international stage and we are still committed to this.

“We have contributed in no small measure to a more peaceful and secured world.

“It is important to the world that Nigeria rises to play its historic and valued role in humanity’s search for a more peaceful world,’’ he said.

Jonathan told the gathering that Nigeria was on the path of economic liberation, which is the foundation for prosperity and economic consolidation.

The President reiterated government’s commitment to partner with the private sector and hoped for a mutually beneficial relationship with the participants.

Highlighting the business potentials in the country, the President said Nigeria delivered some of the highest returns on investment in the world.

“This is not the time to sit back and await further development because you may lose the opportunity of being a pioneer investor,’’ he said.

The President said government was also committed to conducting credible election to ensure good governance and a predictable and stable business environment.

He said the nation’s power sector was also undergoing far-reaching reform to remove barriers to investment.

Jonathan added that Nigeria’s banking and finance regulatory environment has met the best international practices.

He said that Nigeria also has strong anti-money laundering laws.

Our  correspondent reports that Jonathan is in Canada on the invitation of the Canadian Prime Minister, Stephen Harper for the G-8 Summit and the G20 Business Leaders Conference.

Meanwhile,President Goodluck Jonathan has reiterated his commitment to the conduct of credible general elections in 2011, devoid of political sentiments.

Jonathan assured the Nigerian community in Canada at a meeting on Wednesday night in Toronto that the best candidates elected by the people would emerge as leaders.

The president arrived in Canada Wednesday evening for the G-8 Summit and the G-20 Business Leaders Conference.

“We want the best; anybody who wants to contest the elections must work hard.

“When we nominated Prof. Attahiru Jega as the Independent National Electoral Commission Chairman, some members of our party came to me asking, ‘Jonathan do you really want PDP to win these elections?’

“They said the nominee is a radical who will not succumb to any pressure.

“I told them, ‘we must work hard and as well present the best candidates because there will be no room for manipulations’.

“Whoever emerges as winners of the elections at the federal and state levels, irrespective of party affiliation, shall be declared,” Jonathan said.

The president further said the Electoral Offences Tribunal would be put in place to punish electoral offenders irrespective of status or party affiliation.

To guard against rigging, he said election results would be declared at the polling units, leaving no room for manipulations at the collation centres.

Jonathan said the current Constitution Amendment so far had not accommodated Nigerians living abroad for them to vote at their countries of abode, but promised that by 2015, the issue would be taken care of.

He said he was impressed with the calibre of Nigerians in Canada and encouraged them to mobilise themselves for the development of their fatherland.

The Chairman of the Canada chapter of the Nigeria in Diaspora Organisation, Dr Ola Kazeem, said they were equally impressed with the way the president had so far directed the affairs of the country.

In his remarks, the Rev. Walter Macklean of Canada, who is the Chairman of Friends of Nigeria in Canada, congratulated Jonathan on his assumption of office and charged his administration to take the issue of electricity seriously.