Following the change in date of Nigeria’s Democracy Day by the Federal Government from May 29 to June 12, a maiden ceremony was on Wednesday held at the Eagles Square, Abuja to commemorate the historic June 12, 1993 election adjudged as the freest and fairest election in the country since independence, as well as celebrate 20 years of uninterrupted civil rule.
In attendance at the ceremony which featured march past, cultural display, etc. were President Muhammadu Buhari, Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, the Senate President, Speaker of the House of Representatives, traditional rulers, top government functionaries and Heads of States from different African countries. The President also used the occasion to deliver his first address to Nigerians since his inauguration for a second term in office.
Here are 8 takeaways we noted from the President’s address:
- Most of the security challenges in the country are sponsored
“…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.”
“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.”
2. Nigerians should be proud of the country’s history
“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.
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.
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.”
3. The Buhari-administration will lay a foundation to lift 100 million Nigerians out of poverty in 10 years
“With leadership and a sense of purpose, we can lift 100 million Nigerians out of poverty in 10 years.” “…This Administration is laying the foundation and taking bold steps in transforming our country and liberating our people from the shackles of poverty.”
4. The Buhari-administration will permanently address the issues with goods clearance at ports and regulatory approvals
“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.”
5. Government shall make greater investments in rural economies
“We shall make greater investments in our rural economies. We shall aggressively source locally our raw materials. We have incentives for investments specifically made in rural communities.”
6. The Federal Government will focus on opening the arteries of transportation nationwide
“Several rail, seaport and airport projects are at various stages of completion. We will open the arteries of transportation nationwide.”
7. The new administration will be fierce on any individual or groups inciting people to unrest
“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.
We will ensure that such actions are met with the strong arm of the law.”
8. To further correct the injustice done to M.K.O Abiola, Abuja National Stadium will be renamed after him.
“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.”
“Today, I propose the re-naming of the Abuja National Stadium. Henceforth it will be called MOSHOOD ABIOLA NATIONAL STADIUM.”