Full Text Of President Buhari’s June 12 ‘Democracy Day’ Address To Nigerians

Full Text Of President Buhari’s June 12 ‘Democracy Day’ Address To Nigerians

Here’s the full text of the speech delivered by President Buhari on the occassion of Nigeria’s maiden June 12 ‘Democracy Day’.

President Buhari delivered the speech at an event that held at Eagles Square, Abuja.

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Protocols

All Praise is due to GOD Almighty Who spared our lives to be present
at this great occasion. We give thanks also that the democratic process
has been further entrenched and strengthened.

2. Twenty years ago, a democratically elected government took over
from the military in a historic transfer of political power for our
country.

3. Today, we are privileged to mark the longest period of unbroken
democratic leadership and 5th peaceful transfer of power from one
democratically elected government to another in Nigeria.

4. Throughout the last four years, I respected the independence of
INEC. I ensured that INEC got all the resources it needed for
independent and impartial management of elections in the country.

5. All interested parties are agreed that the recent elections, which
except for pockets of unrest, were free, fair and peaceful.

6. I thank all the people who worked for our party, who campaigned
and who voted for us. I thank my fellow Nigerians, who, since 2003 have
consistently voted for me.

7. Victory is your greatest reward; peace, unity and greater prosperity will be our collective legacy.

Your Excellencies, Fellow Nigerians,

8. I and Nigerians collectively must give adequate thanks to our
Armed Forces, Police and other law enforcing agencies for working round
the clock to protect us by putting themselves in harm’s way and
defending our values and protecting our future.

9. Terrorism and insecurity are worldwide phenomena and even the best
policed countries are experiencing increasing incidents of unrest and
are finding things hard to cope.

10. 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 and tackle the new challenges the
country is faced with and chart a bold plan for transforming Nigeria.

11. Fellow Nigerians, I have had the privilege of free education from Primary school to Staff College to War College.

12. I received my formative education in Katsina and Kaduna and my higher education in England, India and the United States.

13. I have worked and served in Kaduna, Lagos, Abeokuta, Makurdi,
Port Harcourt, Maiduguri, Ibadan, Jos and finally here in Abuja.
Throughout my adult life, I have been a public servant. I have no other
career but public service. I know no service but public service.

14. I was involved at close quarters in the struggle to keep Nigeria
one. I can therefore do no more than dedicate the rest of my life to
work for the unity of Nigeria and upliftment of Nigerians.

15. In 2002-2003 campaigns and elections, I travelled by road to 34
of the 36 states of the Federation. This year I travelled by air to all
36 states of the Federation.

16. Before and during my time in the Armed Forces and in government, I
have interacted with Nigerians of all ages and persuasions and
different shades of opinion over a period of more than fifty years.

17. And my firm belief is that our people above all want to live in
peace and harmony with their fellow Nigerians. They desire opportunity
to better themselves in a safe environment.

18. Most of the instances of inter-communal and inter-religious
strife and violence were and are still as a result of sponsorship or
incitements by ethnic, political or religious leaders hoping to benefit
by exploiting our divisions and fault lines, thereby weakening our
country.

19. And our country Nigeria is a great country. According to United
Nations estimates, our population will rise to 411 million by 2050,
making us the third most populous nation on earth behind only China and
India.

20. We have water, arable land, forests, oil and gas and vast
quantities of solid minerals. We are blessed with an equable climate.
However, the bulk of our real wealth lies in Agriculture, Livestock,
Forestry and Mining. We possess all the ingredients of a major economic
power on the world stage.

21. What we require is the will to get our acts together. And our
strength is in our people – our youth, our culture, our resilience, our
ability to succeed despite the odds.

22. A huge responsibility therefore rests on this and succeeding
Administrations to develop, harness and fulfil our enormous potential
into a force to be reckoned with globally.

23. Thus far, we Nigerians can be proud of our history since
Independence in 1960. We have contributed to UN peace-keeping
responsibilities all over the world; we have stabilized Liberia, Sierra
Leone, Ivory Coast and two years ago we prevented the Gambia from
degenerating into anarchy.

24. Without Nigerian influence and resources, the liberation of
Angola, Mozambique, Namibia, Zimbabwe and ultimately South Africa would
have come at greater cost. This fact had been attested by none other
than the late Nelson Mandela himself.

25. Elsewhere, Nigeria is the Big Brother to our neighbours. We are
the shock-absorber of the West African sub-region, the bulwark of ECOWAS
and Lake Chad Basin Commission. We can therefore be proud to be
Nigerians. We must continue to be Good Neighbours and Good Global
Citizens.

26. At home, we have been successful in forging a nation from
different ethnicities and language groups: our evolution and integration
into one nation continues apace.

27. When, therefore we came to office in 2015 after a decade of
struggle we identified three cardinal and existential challenges our
country faced and made them our campaign focus, namely security, economy
and fighting corruption.

28. None but the most partisan will dispute that in the last four
years we have made solid progress in addressing these challenges.

29. When I took the oath of office on 29 May 2015, insecurity
reigned. Apart from occupying 18 local governments in the North East,
Boko Haram could at will attack any city including the Federal Capital,
could threaten any institution including bombing the United Nations
building and Police Headquarters in Abuja.

30. Admittedly, some of the challenges still remain in kidnappings
and banditry in some rural areas. The great difference between 2015 and
today is that we are meeting these challenges with much greater support
to the security forces in terms of money, equipment and improved local
intelligence. We are meeting these challenges with superior strategy,
firepower and resolve.

31. In face of these challenges, our Government elected by the people
in 2015 and re-elected in March has been mapping out policies, measures
and laws to maintain our unity and at the same time lift the bulk of
our people out of poverty and onto the road to prosperity.

32. This task is by no means unattainable. China has done it. India
has done it. Indonesia has done it. Nigeria can do it. These are all
countries characterized by huge burdens of population.

33. China and Indonesia succeeded under authoritarian regimes. India succeeded in a democratic setting. We can do it.

34. With leadership and a sense of purpose, we can lift 100 million Nigerians out of poverty in 10 years.

35. Following the 60 percent drop in oil prices between 2015 and
2016, through monetary and fiscal measures, we stimulated economic
growth, curbed inflation and shored up our external reserves.

36. We now have witnessed 8 quarters of positive growth in the economy and our GDP is expected to grow by 2.7 percent this year.

37. Furthermore, our external reserves have risen to $45 billion enough to finance over 9 months of current import commitments.

38. This Administration is laying the foundation and taking bold
steps in transforming our country and liberating our people from the
shackles of poverty.

39. First, we will take steps to integrate rural economies to the
national economic “grid” by extending access to small-scale credits and
inputs to rural farmers, credit to rural micro-businesses and opening up
many critical feeder roads.

40. Secondly, for small-scale enterprises in towns and cities, we
shall expand facilities currently available so that we continue to
encourage and support domestic production of basic goods and reduce our
reliance of imported goods as I will outline later.

41. For the next four years, we will remain committed to improving
the lives of people by consolidating efforts to address these key issues
as well as emerging challenges of 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.

42. We are not daunted by the enormity of the tasks ahead. Instead,
we are revived by this new mandate to work collaboratively with State
and Local Governments, Legislators, the Diplomatic Corps and all
Nigerians to rebuild and reposition our country as the heartbeat and
reference point for our continent.

43. Fellow Nigerians, Your Excellencies, Ladies & Gentlemen:

a. Despite the enormous resources pledged to infrastructure
development these past four years, there remains the urgent need to
modernize our roads and bridges, electricity grid, ports and rail
systems.

b. Whilst agriculture and industrial output have recovered since the
recession, we are more committed than ever to work with the private
sector to improve productivity and accelerate economic growth.

c. The Manufacturing Purchasing Managers Index which is the gauge of
manufacturing activity in the country has also risen for 26 consecutive
months since March 2017 indicating continuous growth and expansion in
our manufacturing sector.

d. It still takes too long for goods to clear at our seaports and the
roads leading to them are congested. It still takes too long for
routine and regulatory approvals to be secured. These issues affect our
productivity and we are committed to addressing them permanently.

e. Our Government will continue work to reduce social and economic
inequality through targeted social investment programs, education,
technology and improved information.

f. Our social intervention programs are a model for other nations.
Together with state governments, we provide millions of school children
with meals in primary schools, micro loans to traders and entrepreneurs,
skills and knowledge acquisition support to graduates and of course,
conditional cash transfers to the poorest and most vulnerable in our
society.

g. A database of poor and vulnerable households is being carefully
built based on age, gender, disability, educational levels for proper
planning in this Administration’s war against poverty.

h. A database of unemployed but qualified youth has also been
developed under the National Social Investment Programme which can be
used by the public and private sectors for recruitment purposes.
Cumulatively, nearly 2 million beneficiaries have received aid under
this Programme apart from Anchors Borrowers Programme and School Feeding
initiative each reaching 2 million recipients. And we will do more.
Much more.

44. Fellow Nigerians, Your Excellencies, Ladies & Gentlemen, we
know that there exists a strong correlation between economic inequality
and insecurity.

45. When economic inequality rises, insecurity rises. But when we
actively reduce inequality through investments in social and hard
infrastructure, insecurity reduces.

46. The disturbing increase in rates of kidnapping, banditry and
other criminal activities can be attributed to the decades of neglect
and corruption in social investment, infrastructure development,
education and healthcare.

47. This issue is further compounded by the impact of our changing climate and ecology.

48. The ECOWAS and Sahel regions, starting from Chad all the way to
Mali, are also experiencing adverse impacts of drought and
desertification, which have triggered waves of human displacement;
conflicts between farmers and herdsmen; terrorism; and a fundamental
socio-economic change to our way of life.

49. These issues are regional and not unique to Nigeria alone. The
problems call for increased regional and international cooperation in
developing a sustainable solution.

50. As Chairman of ECOWAS, I will be hosting a regional security
summit of heads of states in the Sahel to develop a Joint Strategy to
continue our efforts in addressing these issues.

51. Fellow Nigerians, Your Excellencies, Ladies & Gentlemen, at
the heart of inequality and insecurity, is pervasive corruption. When we
took office we realised that if you fight corruption, corruption will
fight back – and we have seen this at all levels.

52. 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.

53. This charge is not only to Civil Servants, Ministers, Legislators
and State Government functionaries, but also to Corporate leaders.

54. We shall make greater investments in our rural economies. We shall aggressively source locally our raw materials.

55. We have incentives for investments specifically made in rural communities.

56. However, nationwide development cannot occur from Abuja alone; it must occur at States. And Government cannot do it alone.

57. I therefore implore all State Governments, especially those with
large rural economies, to aggressively solicit investments in your
states. Invest in developing human capital, reducing bureaucracy and
corruption, hosting and attending investment summits and improving the
ease of doing business.

58. At this point, I would like to express my sincere gratitude to
the entrepreneurs, investors and venture capitalists who have built or
are building agro-processing projects; petrochemical plants; crude oil
and solid mineral refineries; energy exploration; software development
projects; telecom infrastructure; health, education and manufacturing
projects; and the like, across our country.

59. I would like to make special mention to promoters of our small
businesses that are proudly making goods and services for export and for
local consumption. The Nigerian economy rises and falls on the strength
of your investments and productivity.

60. We will continue to listen to your ideas and plans not just about
how we can secure more investment, but how your plans can help create a
more equitable economy.

61. I also thank the labour unions, farmer groups and associations,
organized private sector and the civil society organisations for their
support and cooperation with our government these last four years.

62. We will continue to count on your support, guidance and understanding during the next four years.

63. I especially thank our traditional leaders and congratulate
re-elected and newly elected State Governors and members of the National
Assembly. Our Government will continue to count on your support so that
we can together move our country forward.

64. Fellow Nigerians, Your Highnesses, Your Excellencies, Ladies
& Gentlemen, despite the challenges over the last four years, my
optimism about Nigeria’s future is unshaken and Nigeria’s role in the
world as an emerging economic force is without a doubt.

65. Over the next four years, we are committed to assembling a strong
team of Nigerians, and allies, to implement our transformative plans
and proposals.

a. We will see significant focus, resource and, where necessary
reform, in tertiary and technical education to reposition Nigeria’s
workforce for the modern technological age.

b. We will accelerate investments in primary, secondary and tertiary
healthcare programs, interventions and infrastructure as well as in
upgrading of our medical personnel to stem the flight of our best
trained people.

c. On food security, our farmers have made great strides in local
production of rice, maize, cassava, poultry, fertilizer, fisheries and
sesame. We remain resolute in supporting private sector in emphasizing
backward integration and export expansion plans.

d. Felling of trees to provide energy for domestic use is taking its
toll on our rain forests, our ecology and our climate. Accordingly, we
are taking steps to harness cleaner and more sustainable sources of
electricity. We export over 2 million tons of cooking gas, yet we
consume less than half a million tons.

e. We will work to address this issue and support rural communities
with challenges of safely switching from firewood to cooking gas.

f. Dedicated agro-industrial processing zones will be developed on a
PPP basis to increase farming yields, agricultural productivity and
industrial output.

g. Over 2,000 kilometers of ongoing Federal road and bridge projects
across the country will be completed to reduce journey times and the
cost of doing business. As I mentioned earlier, critical feeder roads
will be built to facilitate easier transportation for people and goods
from rural areas to major roads.

h. We are at advanced stages of securing investments to modernize and
expand our transmission and distribution infrastructure, ensuring that
electricity is available and affordable for all Nigerians.

i. Several rail, seaport and airport projects are at various stages
of completion. We will open the arteries of transportation nationwide.

j. It is a fact that Nigeria has more gas reserves than it has oil.
Over the last four years, we have become a net exporter of urea, which
is made from natural gas. We invite investors to develop more natural
gas-based petrochemical projects.

k. Fellow Nigerians, This Government will not tolerate actions by any
individual or groups of individuals who seek to attack our way of life
or those who seek to corruptly enrich themselves at the expense of the
rest of us. We will crack down on those who incite ordinary innocent
people to violence and unrest.

l. We will ensure that such actions are met with the strong arm of the law.

66. Nation building takes time. But we must take solace in the
knowledge that this country, our country, has everything we require to
make Nigeria prosper.

67. Fellow Nigerians, Your Highnesses, Your Excellencies, Ladies and
Gentlemen, I invite you to join me in this journey of rebuilding our
nation.

68. Our focus will not be to help the privileged few but to ensure
that Nigeria works for Nigerians of all persuasions. That is a more just
arrangement.

69. As we all know, correcting injustice is a pre-requisite for peace
and unity. As part of the process of healing and reconciliation, I
approved the recognition of June 12 as Democracy Day and invested the
late Chief M.K.O. Abiola and Babagana Kingibe with National Honours, as I
did with the late Chief Gani Fawehinmi. The purpose was to partially
atone for the previous damage done in annulling the Presidential
elections of that year.

70. Today, I propose the re-naming of the Abuja National Stadium. Henceforth it will be called MOSHOOD ABIOLA NATIONAL STADIUM.

71. In my first term, we put Nigeria back on its feet. We are working
again despite a difficult environment in oil on which we depend too
much for our exports. We encountered huge resistance from vested
interests who do not want CHANGE, But CHANGE has come, we now must move
to the NEXT LEVEL.

72. By the Grace of God, I intend to keep the oath I have made today and to serve as President for all Nigerians.

73. I thank you for attending this august occasion from far and near,
and for all your best wishes to me, to our party and to Nigeria.

74. God bless us all, and God bless the Federal Republic of Nigeria.

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