Thursday 1 October 2015

Nigeria at 55: Read full text of President Buhari’s speech

“October 1st is a day for joy and celebrations for us
Nigerians, whatever the circumstances we find
ourselves in because it is the day, 55 years ago; we
liberated ourselves from the shackles of colonialism
and began our long march to nationhood and to
“No temporary problems or passing challenges
should stop us from honouring this day. Let us
remind ourselves of the gifts God has given us. Our
Creator has bequeathed to us Numbers – Nigeria is
the ninth most populated country on the planet. We
have in addition arable land; water; forests; oil and
gas; coastline; and solid minerals
“We have all the attributes of a great nation. We are
not there yet because the one commodity we have
been unable to exploit to the fullest is unity of
purpose. This would have enabled us to achieve not
only more orderly political evolution and integration
but also continuity and economic progress.
“Countries far less endowed have made greater
economic progress by greater coherence and unity
of purpose.
“Nonetheless, that we have remained together is an
achievement we should all appreciate and try to
consolidate. We have witnessed this year a change
in our democratic development.
“The fact that an opposition party replaced an
entrenched government in a free and fair election is
indicative of the deeper roots of our democratic
system. Whatever one’s views are, Nigerians must
thank former President Jonathan for not digging-in
in the face of defeat and thereby saving the country
untold consequences.
“As I said in my inaugural speech, I bear no ill will
against anyone on past events. Nobody should fear
anything from me. We are not after anyone. People
should only fear the consequences of their actions. I
hereby invite everyone, whatever his or her political
view to join me in working for the nation.
“My countrymen and women, every new
government inherits problems. Ours was no
different. But what Nigerians want are solutions,
quick solutions not a recitation of problems
“Accordingly, after consultations with the Vice
President, senior party leaders and other senior
stakeholders, I quickly got down to work on the
immediate, medium-term and long-term problems
which we must solve if we are to maintain the
confidence which Nigerians so generously
bestowed on us in the March elections and since
“As you know, I toured the neighbouring countries,
marshalled a coalition of armed forces of the five
nations to confront and defeat Boko Haram. I met
also the G-7 leaders and other friendly presidents
in an effort to build an international coalition against
Boko Haram.
“Our gallant armed forces under new leadership
have taken the battle to the insurgents, and
severely weakened their logistical and
infrastructural capabilities. Boko Haram are being
scattered and are on the run.
“That they are resorting to shameless attacks on
soft targets such as I.D.P. camps is indicative of
their cowardice and desperation. I have instructed
security and local authorities to tighten vigilance in
vulnerable places.
On power, government officials have held a series
of long sessions over several weeks about the best
way to improve the nation’s power supply in the
safest and most cost-effective way.
“In the meantime, improvement in the power supply
is moderately encouraging. By the same token,
supply of petrol and kerosene to the public has
improved throughout the country. All the early signs
are that within months the whole country would
begin to feel a change for the better.
“Preliminary steps have been taken to sanitize
NNPC and improve its operations so that the
inefficiency and corruption could be reduced to a
“Those of our refineries which can be serviced and
brought back into partial production would be
enabled to resume operations so that the whole
sordid business of exporting crude and importing
finished products in dubious transactions could be
“In addition to NNPC, I have ordered a complete
audit of our other revenue generating agencies
mainly CBN, FIRS, Customs, NCC, for better service
delivery to the nation. Prudent house-keeping is
needed now more than ever in view of the sharp
decline in world market oil prices. It is a challenge
we have to face squarely. But what counts is not so
much what accrues but how we manage our
“We have seen in the last few years how huge
resources were mismanaged, squandered and
wasted. The new APC government is embarking on
a clean up, introducing prudence and probity in
public financing.
“At an early stage, the federal government
addressed the issue of salary arrears in many
states, a situation capable of degenerating into
social unrest. The APC government stepped in to
provide short-term support to the debtor states and
enabled them to pay off the backlog and restore the
livelihood of millions of Nigerians.
“Fellow Nigerians, there have been a lot of anxiety
and impatience over the apparent delay in
announcement of ministers. There is no cause to be
anxious. Our government set out to do things
methodically and properly. We received the handing
over notes from the outgoing government only four
days before taking over. Consequently, the Joda
Transition Committee submitted its Report on the
reorganization of Federal Government structure
after studying the hand over notes. It would have
been haphazard to announce ministers when the
government had not finalized the number of
ministries to optimally carry the burden of
“Anyway, the wait is over. The first set of names for
ministerial nominees for confirmation has been sent
to the senate. Subsequent lists will be forwarded in
due course. Impatience is not a virtue. Order is
more vital than speed. Careful and deliberate
decisions after consultations get far better results.
And better results for our country is what the APC
government for CHANGE is all about.
“I would like to end my address this morning on our
agenda for CHANGE. Change does not just happen.
You and I and all of us must appreciate that we all
have our part to play if we want to bring change
about. We must change our lawless habits, our
attitude to public office and public trust. We must
change our unruly behaviour in schools, hospitals,
market places, motor parks, on the roads, in homes and offices. To bring about change, we must change ourselves by being law-abiding citizens.
“Happy Independence Celebrations. Long live the Federal Republic of Nigeria.”

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