BY: Vitalis Ugoh, Calabar
The President and Commander-In-Chief of the Armed Forces, Federal Republic of Nigeria, President Muhammadu Buhari says “Nigerians, in the past few years have witnessed and overcome a good number of challenges that would ordinarily have destroyed our Nation”.
These feats were achieved, however, by the indefatigable spirit of the Nigerian people who ensured that we overcome our challenges.
He stated this while addressing
the Nation on the occasion of Nigeria’s 62nd Independence Anniversary celebration on 1st October, 2023.
Buhari noted “I address you today, with a deep sense of gratitude to God and a high level of appreciation to all Nigerians whose tremendous goodwill gave me the opportunity to provide leadership for our great country at one of the trying times in her history.”
He said “conscious that today’s address would be my last on an Independence Day as your President; I speak to the millions of Nigerians, who believed in me, propelled and stood by me in my quest to bequeath a country where all citizens have equal opportunities to achieve their lives desires in a peaceful atmosphere”
Buhari while scoring his administration said “I am honoured to say that my story in the annals of Nigeria’s history is no household secret. My various attempts, failures and eventual success in being elected as a Democratic President in 2015 was made possible by the majority of Nigerians”.
According to him, “I readily acknowledged that the tasks before me were daunting but surmountable because of the growing national consensus that our chosen route to national development was democracy”.
“This democracy, he noted, was to be anchored on a clear understanding, application and the principles of separation of powers supported by a reformed public service that is more effective.
This administration pledged to Improve the Economy, Tackle Corruption and Fight Insecurity and this was further strengthened by my commitment to lift 100 million Nigerians out of poverty in ten years as the central plank of my second term in 2019.
He lauded his administration saying “To the Glory of God and His Grace as well as the commitment and passion displayed by many Nigerian supporters, we have made appreciable progress in these areas but not yet at our destination.
However, “mindful of the task before us, we took some time in settling down and we re-positioned the Economy by providing strategic interventions in core areas at both the Federal and Sub-National levels. One of the areas where we have made significant progress is in the eradication of deeply entrenched corruption that permeates all facets of our national development”.
This administration he said, had strengthened the Institutions for tackling corruption and also cultivated international support, which aided the repatriation as well as strengthened the Institutions for tackling corruption and also cultivated international support, which aided the repatriation of huge sums of money illegally kept outside the country.
President Buhari noted that “the he increasing number of prosecutions and convictions, with associated refunds of large sums of money is still ongoing. Furthermore, we would continue to block opportunities that encourage corrupt practices”.
On Insecurity, we worked methodically in reducing Insurgency in the North East, Militancy in the Niger Delta, Ethnic and Religious Tensions in some sections of Nigeria along with other problems threatening our country.
Said he, “Our efforts in re-setting the economy manifested in Nigeria exiting two economic recessions by the very practical and realistic monetary and fiscal measures to ensure effective public financial management. In addition, the effective implementation of the Treasury Single Account and cutting down on the cost of governance also facilitated early exits from recession among others”.
He recalled that “our democracy was to be anchored on a clear understanding, application and the principles of separation of powers supported by a reformed public service that is more effective”.
“This administration will continue to ensure that our fiscal policies are supported by a robust and contemporary monetary policy that recognises our peculiarities in the midst of the growing global economic difficulties, he declared “.
“This is evidenced by the recent Monetary Policy Committee decision to maintain all parameters, especially interest rates and marginally increased the Monetary Policy Rate (MPR) from 14% to 15.5% and the Cash Reserve Ratio (CRR) from 27.5% to 32.5%. It is projected that this would further insulate our economy from over exposure to uncertainties at the international market by restraining growth in core inflation.”
He said “as we continue to de-escalate the security challenges that confronted us at inception of this administration, newer forms alien to our country began to manifest especially in the areas of kidnappings, molestations/killings of innocent citizens, banditry, all of which are being addressed by our security forces”.
The President said, “I share the pains Nigerians are going through and I assure you that your resilience and patience would not be in vain as this administration continues to reposition as well as strengthen the security agencies to enable them to deal with all forms of security challenges.”
Furthermore, he said “I must confess that I am very pained by the recurring disruption to our tertiary education system and I am using this Independence Day celebration to re-iterate my call for the striking Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) to return to the classroom. All pending issues would be addressed within the limits of the scarce resources available. This administration has made appreciable progress in redressing these issues that have been lingering for over eleven years”
The Federal Government, he noted, would continue to mobilize resources both internationally and nationally towards funding education to ensure that our citizens are well educated and skilled in various vocations in view of the fact that education is a leading determinant of economic growth and employment generation”.
On the health sector, “we have also improved our health facilities, especially during and after the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic, which attracted commendation of the global community. As you are aware, Nigeria was one of the countries that defied global predictions of the socio-economic impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic because of our resilience, commitment and passion with which we individually and collectively managed the pandemic”.
This administration, he added, embarked on addressing critical ecological challenges across the country in order to mitigate the impact of Climate Change manifesting in the form of flood, soil erosion, desertification, air pollution amongst others.
“The Federal Government will continue to mobilize resources both internationally and nationally towards funding education to ensure that our citizens are well educated and skilled in various vocations in view of the fact that education is a leading determinant of economic growth and employment generation, Buhari noted”.