President Muhammadu Buhari on Thursday addressed the nation on the occasion of Nigeria’s 60th independence anniversary.
POLITICS NIGERIA has put together 20 major highlights of the President’s speech:
BETTER and GREATER NIGERIA
I speak to you today as your President and fellow citizen on this epoch occasion of our country’s 60th independence Anniversary. As President, I wish to renew my appreciation to Nigerians for entrusting me with your hopes and aspirations for a better and greater Nigeria.
2. Today, it is my unique privilege to re-commit myself to the service of this great country of great people with profound diversities and opportunities. We are bound by destiny to be the largest and greatest black nation on earth.
3. At this stage in our nationhood it is important that we reflect how we got here to enable us to work TOGETHER to get to where we aspire to be as a strong indivisible nation, united in hope and equal in opportunity.
4. Today, we grapple with multiple challenges with a population exceeding 200million occupying the same landmass but 52% residing in urban areas.
5. Sixty years of nationhood provides an opportunity to ask ourselves questions on the extent to which we have sustained the aspirations of our founding fathers. Where did we do the right things? Are we on course? If not where did we stray and how can we remedy and retrace our steps?
6. Upon attaining independence, Nigeria’s growth trajectory was anchored on policies and programmes that positively impacted on all sectors of the economy. However, this journey was cut short by the 30-months of civil war.
POST CIVIL WAR DEVELOPMENT
7. We came out of the civil war with a focus on reconstruction, rehabilitation and reconciliation that enabled the country to put in place world-class development structures and a strengthened public service that well served the government. This positive trajectory continued with a return to democratic government which was truncated by another round of military rule.
8. For a cumulative 29 of our 60 years existence as a nation, we have been under military rule.
9. My summary of our journey so far as a nation is necessary to appropriately chart where we need to go and how to get there TOGETHER.
10. Today, I am aware that our economy along with every single economy in the world is in crisis. We still face security challenges in parts of the country, while our society suffers from a high loss of moral rectitude which is driven by unbridled craving for political control.
11. An underlying cause of most of the problems we have faced as a nation is our consistent harping on artificially contrived fault-lines that we have harboured and allowed unnecessarily to fester. In addition, institutions such as civil service, police, the judiciary, the military all suffered from a general decline.
12. We need to begin a sincere process of national healing and this anniversary presents a genuine opportunity to eliminate old and outworn perceptions that are always put to test in the lie they always are.
13. The stereotype of thinking of ourselves as coming from one part of the country before seeing ourselves as Nigerians is a key starting point to project us on the road to our deserved nation’s evolution and integration. To start this healing process, we are already blessed with the most important asset any nation requires for such – OUR PEOPLE – and this has manifested globally in the exploits of Nigerians in many fields.
14. I am convinced that if we pursue our aspirations TOGETHER we would be able to achieve whatever we desire. That informed our adopting the theme TOGETHER to mark this epochal event.
15. Together we can change our condition for the better and more importantly, together we can do much more for ourselves and for our country.
16. I chose the path of self-reflection because this is what I do on a daily basis and I must confess that at most times, I always felt the need for a collective reflection as I know that the foundation for a solid future which this administration is laying can only be sustainable if there is a collective commitment by Nigerians.
17. Nigeria is not a country for Mr. President, any ruling or opposition party but a country for all of us and we must play our part, irrespective of challenges we face, to make this country what we desire. To achieve this, we must focus our minds, TOGETHER as a people, on ways of resolving the identified critical challenges that underlie our present state.
FREE AND FAIR ELECTIONS
18. I am a firm believer in transparent, free, fair and credible elections as has been demonstrated during my period as a democratically elected President.
19. The recent build-up and eventual outcome of the Edo State elections should encourage Nigerians that it is my commitment to bequeath to this country processes and procedures that would guarantee that the people’s votes count.
20. The problems with our electoral process are mainly human induced as desperate desire for power leads to desperate attempts to gain power and office.