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58th Independence Anniversary: Full text of President Buhari’s address

Fellow Nigerians,
Today is a day of celebration and
solemn reflection. It is the anniversary of the day Nigerians realised one of
the most cherished of human desires – the desire for freedom. We, therefore,
give thanks to and remember our founding fathers who laboured so hard and
sacrificed so much to build and bequeath to us this wonderful nation. It is our
duty to consolidate this great legacy.

2.     On this
first October date and on the eve of the start of the general  election
cycle, we should do well to reflect on what binds us together and the great
strength our diversity bestows on us. Ours is an ambitious nation, and, as
citizens we have every right to look forward to the future with confidence and
optimism which are well founded, considering where we find ourselves today.
3.     There
has been a steady improvement in the security situation in the North
East.  We remain committed  to ending the crisis and make the North
East safe for all.
4.     Our
thoughts and prayers are always with the victims of the Boko Haram’s atrocities
and their families. Beyond that, we know that the goals of the Boko Haram
terrorists include capturing territories, destroying our democracy and denying
our children the right to education. We will not allow them to succeed.
5.     I want
at this point to pay tribute to the men and women of our armed forces, the
Police and other security and law enforcement agencies, who have been working
under the most difficult conditions to keep the country safe.  In the
process, many have made the supreme sacrifice.
6.     As
their Commander -In- Chief, I assure these our gallant men and women that I
will continue to empower them by deepening their professionalism and providing
all the necessary force multipliers and enablers required for them to prevail
on the field. I am looking into all reported cases of inadequacies in relation
to their entitlements, their welfare and those of their families.
7.     We are
diversifying away from reliance on oil to increased manufacturing capacity,
solid minerals development, and agriculture.
8.     Efforts
are on course  in the Niger Delta to clean up polluted lands, restore
hopes of the youths in the region and re-establish livelihoods, and strengthen
their capacity to guarantee for themselves and for our country a brighter
9.     The
age-long  conflict between herders and farmers that was being exploited by
those seeking to plant the seeds of discord and disunity amongst our people, is
being addressed decisively. We will sustain and continue to support the
commendable efforts by all including civil society organisations, local and
states governments and our traditional and religious leaders in finding durable
solution to this problem.
10.     This being
a transhumance issue, we are working with countries in our region that are also
facing similar difficulties to complement our common efforts. In this context I
must warn that the perpetrators of murder and general mayhem in the name of
defending or protecting herders or farmers will face the full wrath of the
law.  Meanwhile, we urge all peace loving Nigerians to reject any
simplistic portrayal, at home or abroad, of this conflict as either religious
or ethnic based.
11.   We are one of the
countries in the world most affected by environmental degradation,  as a
consequence of climate change.   We are signatories to almost all
conventions and agreements aimed at slowing down the effect of climate change
and mitigating its now evident consequences.
12.     The
consequences on lives and livelihoods of the shrinking of the Lake Chad and the
pollution caused by oil exploitation activities alone make it mandatory on us
to be at the forefront of the struggle for a safer and more sustainable
environment. We will continue to mobilise international support for our efforts
in this regard.
13.     We are
making progress in the fight against corruption and recovery of stolen public
funds and assets despite vicious and stiff resistance. The shameful past
practice, of the brazen theft of billions of Naira is no more. Shady oil deals
and public contracts that were never delivered have become things of the past.
14.   Consequently, and
this is very evident across the country, we have done more with less in
infrastructural developments. Roads, railways, major bridges, schools, energy
and power, air and sea ports, welfare of serving and retired personnel both
civilian and military including payment of legacy debt such as pension arrears,
have been attended to.
15.     There is
now an enabling environment for local and foreign investment in Nigeria. 
We are building a rules-based system – a level playing field that is free from
fixers and intermediaries. This is the cornerstone to help genuine investors
and honest consumers, and the platform that will allow for the real reforms
that we intend to deliver over the coming years.
16.     We are
gradually strengthening the economy with a stable Naira and falling inflation
rate. We are building an economy that is moving away from over reliance on oil.
Consequently we have witnessed massive return to farms and seen bumper harvest,
despite recurrent floods across the country.
17.     These
positive developments are the result of our collective pursuit of a common
vision through  hard work and dedication, after the missed opportunities
and disappointments that followed the return to democracy in 1999.
18.     At the
forefront, have always been our youths. They have been at the vanguard of the
struggle for independence.  They fought in the war to keep the country
united.  And it was they who kept alive the struggle for democracy and
human rights in our country at times when these were at risk, especially
following the June 12th 1993 election and the historic 2015
election process.
19.     Even today,
our youths play a central role in Nigeria’s continuing progress and
developments in all fields of our national endeavour –technology, agriculture,
mining, engineering and especially the creative arts. Together we are building
a more diverse, inclusive and self-reliant economy.
20.     In the past
three years we have introduced many policies and programmes targeted at youth
development and youth empowerment. We support the ‘not too young to run’
legislation aimed at giving the youths greater say in our national politics and
21.     The school
feeding program in primary schools is aimed at encouraging enrolment and
attendance. We are building on what we have already introduced to support
schools and universities to which funds have recently been released for upgrade
of facilities, training programs for our entrepreneurs, and rehabilitation schemes
for victims of terrorism and human trafficking.
Fellow Nigerians,
22.     Now we have
in our hands technology that is a powerful tool that we can and should use for
knowledge and understanding. As with other countries, we must also learn how to
manage those tendencies that, instead, look to abuse new technologies to
provoke passions and stir tensions.
23.     Never
before have we faced such a challenge. We must all rise to the responsibility
of shutting out those disruptive and corrosive forces that hide in today ’s
world of social media. We need critical minds and independent thinking, to
question and question until we are satisfied we have the facts. 
Otherwise, all the progress we have made as a democracy since 1999 is at stake.
24.     I have
committed myself many times to ensure that elections are fully participatory,
free and fair and that the Independent National Electoral Commission will be
exactly  INDEPENDENT and properly staffed and resourced. The ballot box is
how we make our choice for the governments that rule in our name.
Fellow Nigerians,
25.     Developing
a thriving democracy is not an easy task. There can be  no quick fixes or
short cuts. These are the most important lessons that we have learnt in our 58
years as an independent nation.
26.     At the
international level, we remain a responsible and respected member of the
international community, playing active positive roles within ECOWAS, the
African Union  and the United Nations as well as all other regional and international
organisations and institutions of which we are members.
27.     We will
continue to support initiatives aimed at addressing the challenges of our
times: global and regional crises and conflicts, terrorism, trans-border crime,
climate change, human rights, gender equality, development, poverty and
inequality within and between nations, etc.  In this context, we are
working hard to achieve both the AU 2063 Agenda for socio-economic
transformation of our continent; and the UN 2030 Agenda for sustainable development,
which together aim at addressing these challengesFellow Nigerians,
28.     As we
celebrate the 58th Anniversary of our independence, we know we
are on the right path. Although we have our differences, they count for far
less than the values, virtues and common aspirations that unite us as a
nation.  We have so much for which we should be grateful, and in which we
should rightly take pride.  Our journey is not finished but we have come a
long way.
29.     I want to
assure you that as President, I will continue to work tirelessly to promote,
protect and preserve what really matters: a united,  peaceful, prosperous
and secure Nigeria, where all, irrespective of  background, can aspire to
Thank you. I wish you a memorable
independence celebration.

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