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President Muhammadu Buhari’s Diamond Jubilee Presidential Broadcast (FULL TEXT)

It is important that we reflect on how we got here to enable us to work TOGETHER to get to where we aspire to be.

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Fellow Nigerians, ​I speak to you today as your President and fellow citizen on this epoch occasion of our country’s 60th independence Anniversary.

As President, I wish to renew my appreciation to Nigerians for entrusting me with your hopes and aspirations for a better and greater Nigeria.

Today, it is my unique privilege to re-commit myself to the service of this great country of great people with profound diversities and opportunities. We are bound by destiny to be the largest and greatest black nation on earth.

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At this stage in our nationhood, it is important that we reflect how we got here to enable us to work TOGETHER to get to where we aspire to be as a strong indivisible nation, united in hope and equal in opportunity.

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October 1st 1960 when Prime Minister Alhaji Abubakar Tafawa Balewa received the constitutional instruments symbolizing Nigeria’s independence, he expressed his wish that having acquired our rightful status as an independent sovereign nation, history would record that the building of our nation proceeded at the wisest pace.

This optimism was anchored on the peaceful planning, full and open consultation and harmonious cooperation with the different groups which culminated in Nigeria emerging as a country without bitterness and bloodshed.

Our founding fathers understood the imperative of structuring a National identity using the power of the state and worked towards the unification of Nigerians in a politically stable and viable entity.

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That philosophy guided the foundation that was laid for our young nation of 45 million people with an urban population of approximately 7million occupying an area of 910,768 square km. These demographics led to development challenges for which major efforts were made to overcome.

Today, we grapple with multiple challenges with a population exceeding 200 million occupying the same landmass but 52% residing in urban areas.

Sixty years of nationhood provides an opportunity to ask ourselves questions on the extent to which we have sustained the aspirations of our founding fathers. Where did we do the right things? Are we on course? If not where did we stray and how can we remedy and retrace our steps?

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Upon attaining independence, Nigeria’s growth trajectory was anchored on policies and programmes that positively impacted on all sectors of the economy. However, this journey was cut short by the 30-months of civil war.

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We came out of the civil war with a focus on reconstruction, rehabilitation and reconciliation that enabled the country to put in place world-class development structures and a strengthened public service that well served the government.

This positive trajectory continued with a return to a democratic government which was truncated by another round of military rule.

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For a cumulative 29 of our 60 years of existence as a nation, we have been under military rule. My summary of our journey so far as a nation is necessary to appropriately chart where we need to go and how to get there TOGETHER.

Today, I am aware that our economy along with every single economy in the world is in crisis. We still face security challenges in parts of the country, while our society suffers from a high loss of moral rectitude which is driven by an unbridled craving for political control.

An underlying cause of most of the problems we have faced as a nation is our consistent harping on artificially contrived fault-lines that we have harboured and allowed unnecessarily to fester.

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In addition, institutions such as civil service, police, the judiciary, the military all suffered from a general decline.

We need to begin a sincere process of national healing and this anniversary presents a genuine opportunity to eliminate old and outworn perceptions that are always put to test in the lie they always are.

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The stereotype of thinking of ourselves as coming from one part of the country before seeing ourselves as Nigerians is a key starting point to project us on the road to our deserved nation’s evolution and integration.

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To start this healing process, we are already blessed with the most important asset any nation requires for such – OUR PEOPLE – and this has manifested globally in the exploits of Nigerians in many fields.

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It has been demonstrated time and time again that Nigerians in the diaspora frequently excel in science, technology, medicine, sports, arts and many other fields.

Similarly, the creativity, ingenuity and resourcefulness of Nigerians at home has resulted in globally recognized endeavours.

I am convinced that if we pursue our aspirations TOGETHER we would be able to achieve whatever we desire. That informed our adopting the theme TOGETHER to mark this epochal event.

Together we can change our condition for the better and more importantly together we can do much more for ourselves and for our country.

I chose the path of self-reflection because this is what I do on a daily basis and I must confess that at most times, I always felt the need for a collective reflection as I know that the foundation for a solid future which this administration is laying can only be sustainable if there is a collective commitment by Nigerians.

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Nigeria is not a country for Mr President, any ruling or opposition party but a country for all of us and we must play our part, irrespective of challenges we face, to make this country what we desire.

To achieve this, we must focus our minds, TOGETHER as a people, on ways of resolving the identified critical challenges that underlie our present state. These include:

a. Evolving and sustaining a democratic culture that leaves power in the hands of the people;

b. Supporting the enthronement of the rule of law, demanding accountability of elected representatives and contributing to good governance;

c. Increasing our commitment to peaceful co-existence in a peaceful, secure and united Nigeria;

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d. Harnessing and Optimizing our tremendous human and natural resources to attain our goal of being in the top twenty economies of the world and in the process;

e. Lifting 100 million Nigerians out of poverty in 10 years

f. Strengthening institutions to make them stronger in protecting National Interests; and

g. Imbibing tolerance in diversity.

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I am a firm believer in transparent, free, fair and credible elections as has been demonstrated during my period as a democratically elected President.

The recent build-up and eventual outcome of the Edo State elections should encourage Nigerians that it is my commitment to bequeath to this country processes and procedures that would guarantee that the people’s votes count.

The problems with our electoral process are mainly human-induced as a desperate desire for power leads to desperate attempts to gain power and office.

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Democracy, the world over and as I am pursuing in Nigeria, recognizes the power of the people. However, if some constituencies choose to bargain off their power, they should be prepared for denial of their rights.

This call is made more urgent if we realize that even after a transparent, free, fair and credible election, desperation leads to compromising the judiciary to upturn legitimate decisions of the people.

It is necessary to, therefore support the enthronement of the rule of law by avoiding actions which compromise the judiciary.

Fellow Nigerians, our history has shown that we are a people that have the capacity to live peacefully with one another.

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As a government, we remain committed to our constitutional oath of securing the lives and properties of the citizenry. I, however, call on the citizenry to also support the government by providing the necessary community-level intelligence in addressing these challenges.

In moving forward together, it is important to strengthen our economy to provide sustainable means of livelihood for as many Nigerians as possible so as to eradicate absolute poverty from our midst.

I want to re-emphasize my dedication and commitment, dedication and commitment that propelled my public service career and informed my quest to continually seek for an opportunity to improve the lives of Nigerians, set the country on the path of prosperity and lead the country to a better future.

This administration has been focused on rebuilding and laying the foundations for a sustainable Nigeria.

Of course, we have met and are still meeting the challenges inherent in any rebuilding initiative – more so that of a nation like Nigeria that has undergone avoidable levels of deprivation – but can be surmounted if we all work together.

I wish to reiterate that our people and our spirit of excellence remains our most important asset.

In this wise, the need to return to our age-old ethical and high moral values would be necessary and this informed my launching of the National Ethics and Integrity Policy on Monday 28th September 2020.

The policy would not implement itself and the first contact of the visibility of its implementation is the Public Service whose on-going reforms would be expected to be sustainable and give a radical re-direction in providing services to all Nigerians.

Fellow Nigerians, in addition to public health challenges of working to contain the spread of the Coronavirus, we have suffered a significant drop in our foreign exchange earnings and internal revenues due to 40 per cent drop in oil prices and a steep drop in economic activities, leading to a 60 per cent drop in government revenue.

Our government is grappling with the dual challenge of saving lives and livelihoods in the face of drastically reduced resources.

In this regard, sustaining the level of petroleum prices is no longer possible.

The government, since coming into office has recognized the economic argument for adjusting the price of petroleum. But the social argument about the knock-on effect of any adjustment weighed heavily with the government.

Accordingly, in the last 3 years, we have introduced unprecedented measures in support of the economy and to the weakest members of our society in the shape of;

a. Tradermoni

b. Farmermoni

c. School Feeding Programme

d. Job creation efforts

e. Agricultural intervention programmes

No government in the past did what we are doing with such scarce resources. We have managed to keep things going in spite of the disproportionate spending on security.

Those in the previous Governments from 1999 – 2015 who presided over the near destruction of the country have now the impudence to attempt to criticize our efforts.

In the circumstances, a responsible government must face realities and take tough decisions.

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Petroleum prices in Nigeria are to be adjusted. We sell now at N161 per litre. A comparison with our neighbours will illustrate the point;

a. Chad which is an oil-producing country charges N362 per litre.

b. Niger, also an oil-producing country sells 1 litre at N346.

c. In Ghana, another oil-producing country, the petroleum pump price is N326 per litre.

Further afield, Egypt charges N211 per litre. Saudi Arabia charges N168 per litre. It makes no sense for oil to be cheaper in Nigeria than in Saudi Arabia.

Fellow Nigerians, to achieve the great country we desire, we need to solidify our strength, increase our commitment and encourage ourselves to do that which is right and proper even when no one is watching.

Fellow Nigerians, let us collectively resolve to continue our journey beyond the sixty years on the clear understanding that as a nation we are greater together than being smaller units of nationalities. By the special grace of God, we shall come through any transient challenges.

It is my sincere hope that by the end of this anniversary on September 30th 2021, we will all be proud of taking this individual and collective self-assessment for the progress of our great Nation.

Long Live the Federal Republic of Nigeria.

God Bless us all. Thank you.

Abiola has spent about 14 years in journalism. His career has covered some top local print media like TELL Magazine, Broad Street Journal, The Point Newspaper. The Bloomberg MEI alumni has interviewed some of the most influential figures of the IMF, G-20 Summit, Pre-G20 Central Bank Governors and Finance Ministers, Critical Communication World Conference. The multiple award winner is variously trained in business and markets journalism at Lagos Business School, and Pan-Atlantic University. You may contact him via email - [email protected]

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Economy & Politics

Nigeria’s Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala close to being announced as new DG of WTO

Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala is expected to be announced as the new DG of the World Trade Organisation.

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WTO, Nigeria’s former finance minister, Okonjo-Iweala, gets IMF appointment

Nigeria’s former Finance Minister, Dr Ngozi Okonji-Iweala, is close to being appointed as the new Director-General of the World Trade Organisation (WTO).

READ: Okonjo-Iweala gets Organised private sector’s endorsement for WTO job

According to Reuters, a group of ambassadors also known as “troika” has proposed Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala to lead the WTO giving her a clear path to becoming the first woman to head the WTO since it started 25 years ago. The three ambassadors are thought to wield significant powers in determining what is a very “intricate and opaque” process.

READ: Buhari assures Okonjo-Iweala that the country will push until she emerges WTO DG

Most Nigerian Media houses have already announced NOI as the winner of the process even though this is yet to be made official by the WTO.

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The winner for the role of DG of WTO is expected to be announced formally by the WTO later today.

However, there appears to be a new twist, in the expected announcement of her emergence as the new Director-General of the WTO.

The United States through its representative at the WTO has insisted that the South Korean candidate is still in contention and that Washington will not recognize Okonjo-Iweala as the consensus candidate for appointment as Director-General.

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As a result, the General Counsel of WTO, postponed the announcement of a new Director-General until November 9, after the US presidential election, after further consultations would have been made.

The announcement of Okonjo-Iweala, who is reported to have gotten the support of a vast majority of members states, including the EU, Japan and China, as the new boss of the World Trade Organization, would have been a huge boost for Africa

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Economy & Politics

Kano State presents N147.9 billion budget for 2021 fiscal year

Governor Ganduje has presented the total sum of N147.9 billion as Kano State’s proposed budget for 2021 fiscal year.

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Dala Inland Dry Port set to take off after N2.3 billion investment - Kano Govt., DB to support 1.26 million farmers with $95 million

Kano State Governor, Abdullahi Ganduje has presented the total sum of N147.9 billion as its proposed budget for 2021 fiscal year before the Kano State House of Assembly today.

Presenting the budget tagged “Budget for Economic Recovery and Sustainable Development,”Governor Ganduje said the budget is in furtherance of his administration’s vision for diversification of the state sources of revenue which will engineer development in the future.

Backstory: Recall that Nairametrics had earlier reported the drive and optimism by Kano State government to boost its Internally Generated Revenue. This might probably explain why IGR increased by almost 10% between 2020 allocations and proposed estimates for 2021.

What you should know: The breakdown of the budget verified by Nairametrics showed the following key highlights:

  • The total budget increased by approximately 7.0% from N138.279 billion in 2020 to N147.935 billion in 2021.
  • Capital expenditure for the periods under view increased by 10.93% from N60.485 billion to N67.095 billion.
  • Recurrent expenditure also increased from N77.79 billion to N80.839 billion, indicating a 3.92%. increase for the periods under view.
  • Internally Generated Revenue (IGR) increased by approximately 10% from N24 billion to N26.395 billion during the period under view.
  • A breakdown of the budget showed that the Education sector has over N37 Billion representing 25% of the total budget while the health care delivery service has over N25 Billion representing 17% of the total budget.

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Economy & Politics

Why Okonjo-Iweala should win the WTO DG role – Prof. Moghalu

Professor Kingsley Moghalu has thrown support behind Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala to win the World Trade Organization top job.

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Why Okonjo-Iweala should win the WTO DG role- Prof. Moghalu

A former Deputy Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria, Professor Kingsley Moghalu, has publicly canvassed support for Dr. Ngozi Okonjo Iweala to win the World Trade Organization (WTO) top job.

The former professor of public policy at Fletcher School, Tufts University, made the disclosure via his official Twitter handle, as seen by Nairametrics

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Prof. Moghalu made a strong case for why Africa’s candidate should be considered for the top shot, noting that the need for Africa to get a better deal in the world trading system should be a major criterion in selecting the next WTO DG. He also believed that correcting this negatively skewed trade deal will help tackle poverty and underdevelopment in Africa.

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READ: WTO: Nigeria’s Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala gets European Union support

What you should know

Nairametrics had earlier reported that Nigeria’s Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala and South Korea’s Yoo Myung-hee have emerged as the last two candidates for the top WTO job.

Prof. Moghalu also disclosed that the final selection decision is expected this week or very early next week.

(READ MORE:WTO DG: Okonjo-Iweala gets the backing of 79 countries so far)

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Prof. Moghalu said, “The dynamics of world trade are rigged against Africa, keeping the continent poor and undeveloped. In this piece for Project Syndicate @ProSyn, I make a strong case for why Africa’s candidate, @NOIweala, should be selected as the next Director-General of @wto.

“The final selection decision is expected this week or very early next. Alongside the case for why the African candidate Okonjo-Iweala is best placed to lead WTO, I make the case for the continent more broadly as to how and why it must get a better deal in the world trading system.”

READ: WTO accepts nomination of Okonjo-Iweala as DG despite opposition from Egypt

What this means

If finally selected for the top job, the opportunity will present Dr. Okonjo the platform to solve some global trade-related issues, one of which is Africa’s trade position with the rest of the world.

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