Let me start by thanking the good people of Nigeria for their perseverance as well as support for the Buhari Administration. The sacrifice of Nigerians shall not be in vain. I want to appeal to them to remain steadfast, as the 2019 general elections approach.
2. The year 2019 is the year of decision for Nigeria. It is the year that the critical decision will be made as to whether Nigeria will continue along the path of development, in all ramifications (social, economic, political, etc), that this Administration has embarked upon since 2015, or the country will retrogress and backslide to the throes of massive and primitive looting and lack of development.
3. As we approach this critical fork on the road, I have no iota of doubt that the good people of Nigeria will choose the path of development, having seen the commitment, sincerity and patriotism of this Administration. It is clear, from all indications, that Nigerians are not going back to Egypt. Because of the support of the people, our party will win, even with a wider margin, in 2019, thus sealing the fate of the naysayers. The fear of this impending victory explains why they have been running from pillar to post, desperate to thwart the
victory of the APC in 2019. They labour in vain.
4. Many cynics have asked: Why should the APC-led Administration be returned to power? What has it achieved to justify the votes of Nigerians? My answer has been consistent: This Administration has done what no other Administration has done in the history of Nigeria in putting the country firmly on the path of sustainable growth and development in all areas, including infrastructure, economy, agriculture and the fight against corruption.
5. Never in the history of our country has any Administration embarked on such a massive infrastructural development as this Administration. The whole country is one huge construction site. Roads are being constructed in all the six geo-political zones. As you all know, I have been touring the various infrastructural projects of the Federal Government across the country, with the media. So far, we have inspected about 10 projects, including the Lagos-Ibadan standard gauge rail project, the Lagos-Ibadan expressway, the Oyo-Ogbomoso road, the Enugu-Onitsha and Enugu-Port Harcourt roads, the 2nd Niger Bridge, the Abuja light rail project and the Ilorin-Jebba-Mokwa-Bida road. The Administration had built over 700km of roads and rehabilitated about 650km.
6. In the area of agriculture, it has been a huge revolution. Let’s take one of our national staples, such as rice, as an example. When we came in, there were 5 million rice farmers. Today, we have in excess of 11 million rice farmers. Our rice import has been cut by over 80 per cent. These didn’t happen by accident. It was a result of our Anchor Borrowers Programme. There are more millionaire farmers today than at any other time in the history of our nation. Today, Nigeria is closer to achieving self-sufficiency in rice than at any other time in the history of our country.
7. This Administration has employed 500,000 unemployed graduate under its Social Intervention Programme (SIP). No government in our country’s history has ever done that. This Administration has been daily feeding 8.5 million school children in 23 states. That has never been done before in Nigeria. This Administration has been proving 10,000 Naira every two months to over 300,000 families as social security for the most vulnerable. This has never been done before in Nigeria. This Administration, realizing that SMEs are the biggest employers of labour, has been growing such enterprises at an astronomical rate through its Government Enterprise and Empowerment Programme. This is unprecedented.
8. In the area of power, this Administration has taken power generation to 7,000MW. This is unprecedented in Nigeria. Distribution is at 5,000MW. This has never been achieved before. Model houses are being built across the country as a prelude to a massive housing scheme.
9. The fight against corruption has been unrelenting, without fear or favour. The Administration has driven corruption under the table.
Nigerians no longer celebrate the corrupt. Looters no longer sleep at night, as the long arm of the law closes in on them. The government’s Whistle-Blower Policy has yielded massive dividends, including 13.8 billion Naira from tax evaders, as well as 7.8 billion Naira, 378 million dollars and 27,800 pounds in recoveries from public officials targeted by whistle-blowers. This Administration has embarked on institutional reforms to curb corruption. The diligent implementation of the Treasury Singles Account (TSA) has plugged the loopholes being exploited to steal public funds. The Administration has established an Efficiency Unit to monitor its agencies and ensure all expenditures are necessary and represent the best possible value for money.
10. The Administration is facing the nation’s security challenges with uncommon determination. From Benue to Zamfara, the spate of killings has fallen drastically, though this is not making the king of headlines made by the killings that were mostly orchestrated by those who are mortally opposed to the Administration. Our gallant troops are scoring victory after victory against the vestige of Boko Haram, which has been massively degraded and put on the run. Not a single inch of Nigeria’s territory is today under the occupation of the insurgents.
An area three times the size of Lebanon was occupied by Boko Haram when this Administration assumed office in May 2015.
11. And, while the trend in Nigeria had been to put money in the pocket of a few to the detriment of the masses, this Administration has embarked on a massive redistribution of the nation’s wealth. Never again will a privileged few corner the nation’s commonwealth! The nation’s resources are being spent for the benefit of the people.
12. In closing, I want to appeal to the good people of Nigeria to be vigilant and not to yield the space to naysayers. The gains of the past 3 years plus must be preserved. Nigeria must continue on its present trajectory to sustainable growth and development. Never again must we go back to Egypt.