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Obasanjo boasts progress since taking office

- Xinhuanet

(Monday, January 3, 2004)

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"Tell those prophets of doom that we are making progress, we believe in the cup being half full and not half empty." -Obasanjo

Nigerian President Olusegun Obasanjo boasted the progress witnessed in Nigeria since he took office in 1999 on Sunday. Over 60 percent Nigerians, up from less than 40 percent in 1999,now have access to potable water, the official News Agency of Nigeria quoted Nigerian President Olusegun Obasanjo as saying Sunday.

Meeting with a delegation of the Nigerians Making Progress, a US-based non-governmental organization in his hometown Otta in Nigeria's southwestern state of Ogun on Saturday, Obasanjo said now more Nigerians have access to university education which was not the case before 1999. He expressed regret that pessimists had remained "blind, deaf and dumb" about the changes around them despite modest progress his administration has made since 1999 when he took office.

Since 1999, Obasanjo said, 15 private universities have been set up across the country, including five in his hometown Ogun State, while many more are in the process of securing registration. He said violent crime was fast declining with armed robbery falling to about 50 percent. He said the government is cracking down on ethnic and religious based crises.

The Nigerian president stressed it was important for Nigerians to be sensitized on the need to know that "progress has been made,is being made and will be made in the country." "Tell those prophets of doom that we are making progress, we believe in the cup being half full and not half empty," he said, adding he was confident that the country would succeed.

Nigeria is one of the poorest countries in the world, with 60 percent of its 130 million populace living on less than one US dollar a day.

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