Nigeria’s President Muhammadu Buhari has expressed gratitude and appreciation to those Nigerians who believed in him and stood by him in his administration.
Speaking in what would mark his last Independence Day speech as president, Buhari acknowledged that his administration had promised to tackle challenges of insecurity, corruption and poor economy, adding that those problems were surmountable with the cooperation of Nigerians.
His words: “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.
“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.
“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
“When you elected me, 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 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.
“I then 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.
“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.
“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.
“We 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.
“The increasing number of prosecutions and convictions, with associated refunds of large sums of money, is still ongoing. Furthermore, we will continue to block opportunities that encourage corrupt practices.
“In order to address 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.
“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 (TSA) and cutting down on the cost of governance also facilitated early exits from recessions.
“Fellow Nigerians, this administration removed several decades’ uncertainty for potential Investors in the Oil & Gas sector with the passage of the Petroleum Industry Act, 2021.
“This landmark legislation created opportunities for foreign investments in addition to improving transparency in the management of the sector.
“Our administration has given the desired priority to the Agricultural Sector through a series of incentives to Micro, Small and Medium Scale Enterprises that resulted in creating millions of jobs.
“Leading this initiative, the Central Bank of Nigeria’s intervention in a number of areas as well as the Anchor Borrowers Programme had created the required leverages for Nigerians towards self-sufficiency in food and the necessary attraction for farming as a business.
“The growing contribution of non-oil exports, especially in agriculture, information and communication technology, as well as the performing arts to our national economy, will enhance our foreign exchange earning capacity.
“We are confronting current economic challenges such as debt burden, growing inflation, living standards and increasing unemployment accentuated by our growing youthful population.
“These problems are globally induced and we will continue to ensure that their negative effects are addressed in our policies.
“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.
“This is evidenced by the recent Monetary Policy Committee decided to maintain all parameters, especially interest rates and marginally increase 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 overexposure to uncertainties at the international market by restraining growth in core inflation.
“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.
“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.
“At the inception of this administration in 2015,I provided the funding requirements of the security agencies which was also improved in my 2nd tenure in 2019 to enable them to surmount security challenges. We will continue on this path until our efforts yield the desired results.
“As we put in place all measures to ensure that Nigeria takes her place in the Comity of Nations, we recognize the importance of a well-educated populace as a panacea to most of the challenges we face.
“We have, therefore, pursued policies and implemented programmes designed to create a literate and proficient society that ensures that citizens are provided with opportunities for life-long achievements.
“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 reiterate my call for the striking Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) to return to the classroom while assuring them of our commitment to dealing with their contending issues within the limits of the scarce resources available. This administration has made appreciable progress in addressing these issues that have been lingering for over eleven years.