ABUJA – (Web Content Management Team Report) – President Muhammadu Buhari has expressed appreciation to God Almighty for entrenching and strenghtening the Nigerian democratic process, since 20 years ago when a democratically elected government took over from the military in a historic transfer of political power. He noted that following the incidence, the Nigerian nation today is privileged to mark the longest period of unbroken democratic leadership being the 5th peaceful transfer of power from one democratically elected government to another.
He said this at the Eagle Square in a Abuja during the celebration of the 2019 Democracy Day, indicating that in the last four years, he respected the independence of INEC and ensured that it got all the resources it needed for independent and impartial management of elections in the country, describing as undoubtedly true that the recent elections, except for pockets of unrests were free, fair and peaceful.
“I and Nigerians collectively must give adequate thanks to our Armed Forces, Police and other law enforcement agencies for working round the clock to protect us by putting themselves in harm’s way to defend our values and protect our future. Terrorism and insecurity are worldwide phenomena and even the best policed countries are experiencing increasing incidents of unrests and finding things hard to cope with. The principal thrust of this new Administration is to consolidate on the achievements of the last four years, correct the lapses inevitable in all human endeavors, tackle the new challenges that the country is faced with and chart a bold plan for transforming Nigeria,” he said.
On the security of human lives, the President acknowledged that the Nigerian people want to live in peace and harmony with their fellows and better themselves in safe environments. He observed that most of the instances of inter-communal and inter-religious strife and violence in thr country emanate from sponsorships and incitements by ethnic, political or religious leaders, who derived some benefits through exploitation of the divisions and fault lines of the country.
He explained that on the 29th of May 2015 when insecurity reigned, 18 Local Governments Areas in the North East, were occupied by Boko Haram insurgents who attacked any city at will including attacked Abuja. He stressed that though some of the challenges still remain in the aspect of kidnapping and banditry in some rural areas, the Government is working to meet these challenges with much greater support now offered to the security forces regarding funds, equipment, improved local intelligence, superior strategy, firepower and resolve.
“Our Government has been mapping out policies, measures and laws to maintain unity, lift the bulk of Nigerian people out of poverty onto the road to prosperity. This task is by no means unattainable. China has done it, India has done it, Indonesia has done it, Nigeria can do it. With leadership and a sense of purpose, we can lift 100 million Nigerians out of poverty in 10 years,” he stated.
According to him, Nigeria has water, arable land, forests, oil and gas and vast quantities of solid minerals and it is blessed with an equable climate with the bulk of its real wealth lying in agriculture, livestock, forestry and mining. He implied that the country possesses all the ingredients of a major economic power on the world stage, indicating that what Nigerians require is the will to get their acts together, just as its strength is in its people, youth, culture, resilience and the ability to succeed despite the odds.
While recalling that Nigeria has contributed to the UN peace-keeping responsibilities all over the world which has helped to stabilise Liberia, Sierra Leone, Ivory Coast and prevented the Gambia from degenerating into anarchy, he noted that without Nigerian influence and resources, the liberation of Angola, Mozambique, Namibia, Zimbabwe and South Africa would have come at greater cost. He described Nigeria as the big brother in the West African region, saying it is the cornerstone of ECOWAS and the Lake Chad region.
In noting that Nigeria’s external reserves has risen to $45 billion which is enough to finance over 9 months of current import commitments, he opined that his Administration is laying the foundation and taking bold steps to transform the country and liberate Nigerians from the shackles of poverty. He also hinted that steps are being taken to integrate rural economies to the national economic grid through access to small-scale credits and inputs to rural farmers, credit to rural micro-businesses and the opening up of many critical feeder roads.
The President averred that for small-scale enterprises in towns and cities, the Government hopes to expand the facilities currently available to encourage and support domestic production of basic goods as well as reduce the reliance on imported goods. He mentioned that the immediate tasks to tackle will be climate change, resettling displaced communities and dealing decisively with the new flashes of insecurity across the country, and the impacts on food scarcity and regional stability. Adding, collaborative work will be with State and Local Governments, Legislators, the Diplomatic Corps and all Nigerians towards rebuilding and reposition the country.
“The ECOWAS and Sahel regions from Chad to Mali are experiencing the adverse impacts of drought and desertification, which have triggered waves of human displacement; conflicts between farmers and herdsmen, terrorism and socio-economic change. These issues are regional and not unique to Nigeria alone and the problems call for increased regional and international cooperation in developing a sustainable solution,” he inferred.
“As Chairman of ECOWAS, I will be hosting a Regional Security Summit of Heads of States in the Sahel to develop a joint strategy for addressing these issues. At the heart of inequality and insecurity is pervasive corruption. For Nigeria to progress, a collective resolution to address corruption and foster broad-based prosperity is required to create a country that is not only for a few privileged, but for all Nigerians. The charge is not only to Civil Servants, Ministers, Legislators and State Government functionaries, but also to corporate leaders,” he called.
Earlier, the parade narration mounted by Haruna Tagwai (Capt) and Paul Abarah (Major Rtd) informed that the military parade was conducted by a conglomerate of personnel from the Army, Navy, Airforce and Police. They also dislosed that the parade which was purposed to mark the grand finale of the Presidential Inauguration and the celebration of June 12 Democracy Day were preceded by the exhibition of pictorials on Nigeria’s political journey from independence and the presentation of youth concerts, creative industry shows and panel discussions.
“As we celebrate Nigerian Democracy Day, may the soul of M. K. O Abiola and all those who gave their lives to the birthing and sustenance of Nigerian democracy rest in peace,” they stated.
Haruna Tagwai continued that the Democracy Day celebrations will be rounded up with a gala night at the State House, Abuja, informing that the parade was commanded by officers selected from the Army, Navy, Airforce and Police. He later indicated that the mountain Presidential guard was commanded by Emmanuel Ibah to usher in the President.
He further observed that the military colour ensigns were carried by Abdulmalik Suleiman (Capt), Jacob Edet Odok (Capt), Ikemjika (Lt) and Ibrahim Aboki Zakari (F Lt). Adding, the sub-commamders were: Victoria Bello, Umar Mohammed, Mukhtar Aliyu, Benjamin Okon Mark, Denis Chuba and Aminu Suleiman, among others.
In a related a development, the President conducted a guard of honour on the military troops in a motorcade which was followed by entertainment from the Guards Brigade silent drills and dances by the cultural troupe from the Federal Ministry of Information and Culture. The performances by the artistes, who were drawn from across the nation was based on Nigeria’s giant strides in agriculture
Present at the event were the President of ECOWAS, Jean-Claude Kassi Brou and the Vice President of ECOWAS, Finda Koroma; the Chairman of African Union, and the Presidents of Sierra Leone, South Sudan, Uganda, Gabon, Ghana, Nigeria, Guinea Bissau, Rwanda and the Prime Minister of Ireland. Also present were the Vice Presidents of Venezuela, Zimbabwe, The Gambia, D. R Congo, Egypt, Iran and Equatorial Guinea. Other leaders represented at the occasion were the Presidents of Cameroon, Guinea Conakry, Burkina Faso, Congo Republic, France, India, Italy, Mali, Mauritania, Morocco and Namibia.
Also in attendance were former Ministers, Heads of parastatals and Agencies, Service Chiefs, Heads of the Nigerian Judiciary and the Legislature, traditional rulers as well as political party chieftains.