According to the President, there are no quick fixes or shortcuts, stressing that these are the most important lessons the country has learnt in her 58 years
Juliana Taiwo- Obalonye, Abuja
President Muhammadu Buhari has said developing a thriving democracy is not an easy task.
According to him, there are no quick fixes or shortcuts, stressing that these are the most important lessons the country has learnt in her 58 years as an independent nation.
Buhari, in his national broadcast on Nigeria’s 58th independence anniversary, restated his commitment to a free and fair election, adding that the Independent and Electoral Commission (INEC) will be truly independent come 2019 elections.
“I have committed myself many times to ensure that elections are fully participatory, free and fair and that the Independent National Electoral Commission will be exactly INDEPENDENT and properly staffed and resourced. The ballot box is how we make our choice for the governments that rule in our name.”
Buhari, who urged Nigerians to reflect on what binds us together and the great strength our diversity bestows on us, noting that Nigerians have every right to look forward to the future with confidence and optimism which are well founded, considering where she finds ourselves today,” he said.
While noting that the anniversary is a reminder of the most cherished of human desires, freedom, he urged Nigerians to give thanks to “and remember our founding fathers who laboured so hard and sacrificed so much to build and bequeath to us this wonderful nation. It is our duty to consolidate this great legacy.”
He added, “On this first October date and on the eve of the start of the general election cycle, we should do well to reflect on what binds us together and the great strength our diversity bestows on us. Ours is an ambitious nation, and, as citizens we have every right to look forward to the future with confidence and optimism which are well founded, considering where we find ourselves today.”
Buhari reeled out the achievements of his administration which cuts across security, fighting corruption and economy.
While assuring that his administration remains committed to ending the security crisis and make the North East safe for all, reiterated that Boko Haram’s atrocities have been degraded, noting that the terrorists aim is to destroy the nation’s democracy but they will never be allowed to succeed.
He said, “There has been a steady improvement in the security situation in the North East. We remain committed to ending the crisis and make the North East safe for all.
“Our thoughts and prayers are always with the victims of the Boko Haram’s atrocities and their families. Beyond that, we know that the goals of the Boko Haram terrorists include capturing territories, destroying our democracy and denying our children the right to education. We will not allow them to succeed.”
Buhari paid tribute security personnel who lost their lives, assuring that his administration will continue to provide all the necessary force multipliers and enablers required for them to prevail on the field.
He also assured that the reported cases of inadequate entitlements and welfare will be addressed.
On the herders/farmers clashes, he assured that issues causing disagreements were being addressed.
“The age-long conflict between herders and farmers that was being exploited by those seeking to plant the seeds of discord and disunity amongst our people, is being addressed decisively. We will sustain and continue to support the commendable efforts by all including civil society organisations, local and states governments and our traditional and religious leaders in finding durable solution to this problem.
“This being a transhumance issue, we are working with countries in our region that are also facing similar difficulties to complement our common efforts. In this context I must warn that the perpetrators of murder and general mayhem in the name of defending or protecting herders or farmers will face the full wrath of the law. Meanwhile, we urge all peace loving Nigerians to reject any simplistic portrayal, at home or abroad, of this conflict as either religious or ethnic based.
“We are one of the countries in the world most affected by environmental degradation, as a consequence of climate change. We are signatories to almost all conventions and agreements aimed at slowing down the effect of climate change and mitigating its now evident consequences.
“The consequences on lives and livelihoods of the shrinking of the Lake Chad and the pollution caused by oil exploitation activities alone make it mandatory on us to be at the forefront of the struggle for a safer and more sustainable environment. We will continue to mobilise international support for our efforts in this regard.”
President Buhari also said the anti-corruption war was yielding results as billion have been recovered.
He said, “We are making progress in the fight against corruption and recovery of stolen public funds and assets despite vicious and stiff resistance. The shameful past practice, of the brazen theft of billions of Naira is no more. Shady oil deals and public contracts that were never delivered have become things of the past.
“We have done more with less in infrastructural developments. Roads, railways, major bridges, schools, energy and power, air and sea ports, welfare of serving and retired personnel both civilian and military including payment of legacy debt such as pension arrears, have been attended to. There is now an enabling environment for local and foreign investment in Nigeria. We are building a rules-based system – a level playing field that is free from fixers and intermediaries. This is the cornerstone to help genuine investors and honest consumers, and the platform that will allow for the real reforms that we intend to deliver over the coming years.”