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Gowon, Shagari, Shonekan demand ‘decisive’ action from Jonathan – We’re determined to do what is right, says Jonathan

The elders visited the new helmsman “to say to him to be focused, courageous, decisive, firm, but fair, honest and just,” Jerry Gana, a former…

The elders visited the new helmsman “to say to him to be focused, courageous, decisive, firm, but fair, honest and just,” Jerry Gana, a former information minister, told journalists after the meeting in Abuja.

At the meeting, Jonathan assured the former leaders of his commitment to doing what is right, as he steers the affairs of the country in the absence of President Umaru Yar’Adua.

“Let me sincerely welcome you and appreciate your kind gesture and advice on areas of critical needs and concerns of Nigerians. As a government, we are time-bound. We are looking at just a little over a year or so to round up. All of you that are here have one thing in common. You have all written your names in the positive side of history in this country. Even if I leave this job today or tomorrow, I want to be able to raise my head to say this and that is what we have done,’’ he said.

Dr Jonathan reiterated the commitment of the administration to conducting credible, free and fair election come 2011.

At the meeting, the group led by former military leader, General Yakubu Gowon, listed good governance, free and credible elections in 2011, reliable power supply, good infrastructure, unemployment, peace and security as priority programmes for Jonathan’s government, said Gana.

“People really want to see action and results on the ground,” he stated.

“They want this administration to do everything humanly possible to ensure that elections in Nigeria are free and fair so that we can have legitimately-elected government in the coming election,” said Gana.

Presidential elections are due in April 2011 in a country which has a history of flawed polls.

On the issue of poor power supply in the oil-producing nation, the group “emphasised that political will should be demonstrated in this area that decisive action should be taken,” Gana said.

He said that the group wants the Jonathan-led administration “in the short time to take a few things and do them effectively to ensure results.”

Many critics have derided a seven-point agenda drawn up by ailing President Umaru Yar’adua’s government as mere sloganeering.

Jonathan was this week voted by the parliament to take over power as acting president in the absence of Yar’adua who has been hospitalised in Saudi Arabia for an acute heart condition since November 3.

The elders expressed their deep concern at the spate of assassinations in the country and urged Jonathan to tackle the problem seriously.

“These political killings are getting very, very worrying and the elders really emphasised the need for resources to be deployed to ensure that criminals are detected and punished effectively,” he stated.

Members of the delegation include former Vice President Alex Ekwueme and former Defence Minister, General Theophilus Danjuma.

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