President promises to revive economy and fight corruption
Abuja and 26 state capitals were alive yesterday for the inauguration of President Goodluck Jonathan and 26 governors. Nine of the governors are first timers.
They are: Tanko al Makura (Nasarawa), Ibikunle Amosun (Ogun), Rabiu Kwankwaso (Kano), Abdul Fatah Ahmed (Kwara), Rochas Okorocha (Imo), Abiola Ajimobi (Oyo), Kashim Shetima (Borno), AbdulAziz Yari (Zamfara) and Hassan Dankwabo (Gombe).
Jonathan was inaugurated as Nigeria’s sixth President. He promised to transform the nation, saying all that is needed to have the Nigeria of our dream is hard work and not the short cut.
His inauguration was witnessed by 35 Heads of Government or their representatives at the Eagle Square – a facility built by the last military government headed by Gen. Abdulsalami Abubakar. It was the venue of the inauguration of ex-President Olusegun Obasanjo, who led Nigeria at the start of the Fourth Republic in 1999. He was in charge for eight years, his successor and Jonathan’s predecessor, the late President Umaru Musa Yar’Adua, was also sworn in at the venue in 2007. Jonathan took the oath of office then as Vice-President.
The taking of oath and appending of signature - the main event of the inauguration - lasted five minutes (from 12.45pm to 12.50pm). Vice President Namadi Sambo took the oath before Dr Jonathan did.
The President, accompanied by his wife, Patience, in a black Limousine, arrived at the venue at 11.04 am.
He was decked out in his Ijaw attire complete with a black bowler hat.
Dignitaries were driven into the Eagle Square in a Nigerian Army luxury bus at 10.30a.m., with former President Olusegun Obasanjo alighting first to the excitement of the crowd.
Jonathan said: “The moment, is right and the signs to take off on the path of sustained growth and economic development are heart-warming.”
The fight against corruption, he said, shall be met by the overwhelming force of all Nigerians collective determination.
All Nigerians, he said must enlist in the fight so that the limited resources of this nation will be used for the growth of our commonwealth.
He said in the interest of justice, equity and national unity, his administration shall actively promote the development of the Niger Delta region, but he added that peace is a necessary condition for development.
Jonathan also promised to always place the common good before all else in every decision he will be taking.
His administration, he said, portend a new era for Africa as according to him, Nigeria will lead the process for democracy and development in Africa and in particular, Nigeria will support the consolidation of democracy, good governance and human rights in the continent.
Africa, Jonathan said, must develop its vast resources to tackle poverty and under-development.
He also promised not to betray the trust and mandate given to him in the April 16 presidential election.
Said the President: “I know your pain, because I have been there. Look beyond the hardship you have endured. See a new beginning; a new direction; a new spirit.
“Nigerians, I want you to start to dream again. What you see in your dreams, we can achieve together. I call upon all the presidential candidates who contested with me to join hands with us as we begin the transformation of our country.”
At the ceremony were the presidents of Uganda, Zimbabwe, Sao-Tome and Principe, Liberia, Senegal and South Africa.
Others are: the Presidents of the Republic of Niger, Sierra Leone, Trinidad and Tobago, Cote de’ Ivoire, Burkina Faso, Central African Republic, Congo-Brazzaville, Cape Verde, Equatorial Guinea, Guinea -Bissau, Gabon, Guinea-Conakry, Mauritania, Namibia, Rwanda, Saharawi Republic, Mali, Togo, Ghana, Gambia, Zambia, Benin and Chad.
Vice Presidents came from the Federal Republic of Korea, Burundi, Gambia, Kenya and Tanzania. Former Zambian President Kenneth Kaunda was there.
So, were the Prime Ministers of Swaziland, Georgia and Ethiopia.
The Mayor of Dallas, United States, was present.
Other former Nigerian presidents and Heads of state present are: Alhaji Shehu Shagari, General Yakubu Gowon, Chief Ernest Shonekan, General Abdulsalami Abubakar as well as former Vice President Alex Ekuweme.
Ghana’s former President, Jerry Rawlings and his wife were also present.
Governors, Adams Oshiomhole (Edo), Timipre Sylva (Bayelsa), Ibrahim Idris (Kogi), Olusegun Mimiko (Ondo), Murtala Nyako (Adamawa) and Aliyu Wamako (Sokoto) were also there.
President Jonathan said the time for lamentation was over as Nigeria will hence cease to be a land of promise, but a country where positive change shall continue to take place for the good of the people.
He, however, said the needed transformation could only happen, if every Nigerian is committed.
He urged Nigerians to work towards building a great country which everyone will be proud of, as “this is the hour”.
“The leadership and the followership must strive to convert our vast human and natural resources into the force that leads to a greater Nigeria. The Nigeria of our dreams must be built on hard work and not on short cuts. Let me salute the Nigerian workers who build our communities, cities and country. They deserve fair rewards, and so do the women that raise our children, and the rural dwellers that grow our food,” Jonathan said.
“The moment is right. The signs are heart-warming. We are ready to take off on the path of sustained growth and economic development. In our economic strategy, there will be appropriate policy support to the real sector of the economy, so that Small and Medium Enterprises may thrive. Nigeria is blessed with enormous natural wealth, and my Administration will continue to encourage locally owned enterprises to take advantage of our resources in growing the domestic economy. A robust private sector is vital to providing jobs for our rapidly expanding population. But this must be a collaborative effort.
“We must form technical and financial partnerships with global businesses and organizations. We live in an age where no country can survive on its own; countries depend on each other for economic well-being. Nigeria is no different. Returns on investment in Nigeria remain among the highest in the world. We will continue to welcome sustainable investment in our economy.
“We will push programs and policies that will benefit both local and foreign businesses, but we must emphasise mutual benefits and win-win relationships. The overall ongoing reforms in the banking and financial sectors are therefore, designed to support the real sector of the economy.
“To drive our overall economic vision, the power sector reform is at the heart of our industrialisation strategy. I call on all stakeholders, to cooperate with my administration, to ensure the success of the reforms.
“Over the next four years, attention will be focused on rebuilding our infrastructure. We will create greater access to quality education and improved health care delivery. We will pay special attention to the agricultural sector, to enable it play its role of ensuring food security and massive job creation for our people.
“The creation of the Nigerian Sovereign Investment Authority will immensely contribute to strengthening our fiscal framework, by institutionalising savings of our commodity-related revenues. With this mechanism in place, we will avoid the boom and bust cycles, and mitigate our exposure to oil price volatility.
“The lesson we have learnt is that the resolution of the Niger Delta issue is crucial for the health of the nation’s economy. In the interest of justice, equity and national unity, we shall actively promote the development of the region. I believe that peace is a necessary condition for development.
“Fellow citizens, in every decision, I shall always place the common good before all else.
“The bane of corruption shall be met by the overwhelming force of our collective determination to rid our nation of this scourge. The fight against corruption is a war in which we must all enlist, so that the limited resources of this nation will be used for the growth of our commonwealth.
“I am confident that we have every reason to look to the future with hope.
“We owe ourselves and posterity the duty of making this country respectable in the comity of nations. Nigeria, as a responsible member of the international community, will remain committed to the maintenance of global peace and security. We will continue to play an active role in the United Nations. Our role in the African Union, ECOWAS, and the Gulf of Guinea will be enhanced to ensure greater human and energy security.
“Your Excellencies, Distinguished Ladies and Gentlemen, this is a new dawn for Africa. We fought for decolonization. We will now fight for democratisation.
“Nigeria, in partnership with the African Union, will lead the process for democracy and development in Africa. In particular, we will support the consolidation of democracy, good governance and human rights in the continent.
“Africa must develop its vast resources to tackle poverty and under-development.
“Conscious of the negative effect of insecurity on growth and development, my Administration will seek collaboration at bilateral and multilateral levels, to improve our capability in combating trans-border crimes. In this regard, we will intensify our advocacy against the illicit trades in small arms and light weapons, which have become the catalyst for conflicts on the African continent.
“All Nigerian diplomatic missions abroad are to accord this vision of defending the dignity of humanity the highest priority.
“My fellow countrymen and women, Nigeria is not just a land of promise; it shall be a nation where positive change will continue to take place, for the good of our people. The time for lamentation is over. This is the era of transformation. This is the time for action. But Nigeria can only be transformed if we all play our parts with commitment and sincerity. Cynicism and skepticism will not help our journey to greatness. Let us all believe in a new Nigeria. Let us work together to build a great country that we will all be proud of. This is our hour.
“Fellow Compatriots, lift your gaze towards the horizon. Look ahead and you will see a great future that we can secure with unity, hard work and collective sacrifice. Join me now as we begin the journey of transforming Nigeria. I will continue to fight for your future, because I am one of you. I will continue to fight for improved medical care for all our citizens. I will continue to fight for all citizens to have access to first class education. I will continue to fight for electricity to be available to all our citizens. I will continue to fight for an efficient and affordable public transport system for all our people. I will continue to fight for jobs to be created through productive partnerships.
“You have trusted me with your mandate, and I will never, never let you down. I know your pain because I have been there. Look beyond the hardship you have endured. See a new beginning; a new direction; a new spirit. Nigerians, I want you to start to dream again. What you see in your dreams, we can achieve together. I call upon all the presidential candidates who contested with me to join hands with us as we begin the transformation of our country.
“Let us work together; let us build together; let us bequeath a greater Nigeria to the generations to come.”