President Muhammadu Buhari traditionally addressed the nation in a nationwide broadcast to celebrate Nigeria’s 57 independence anniversary and said he would not allow Nigeria to be dismembered by agitations for restructuring.
I CANNOT ALLOW NIGERIA TO BE DISMEMBERED
He said “Recent calls on re-structuring, quite proper in a legitimate debate, has let in highly irresponsible groups to call for dismemberment of the country. We cannot and we will not allow such advocacy”.
According to him, those who are routing for restructuring through violence were not in 1967 during the Nigerian civil war and have no idea of the sad tale of its outcome.
“As a young Army Officer, I took part from the beginning to the end in our tragic civil war costing about 2m lives, resulting in fearful destruction and untold suffering. Those who are agitating for a re-run were not born by 1967 and have no idea of the horrendous consequences of the civil conflict which we went through” Buhari said.
“I am very disappointed that responsible leaders of these communities do not warn their hot-headed youths what the country went through. Those who were there should tell those who were not there, the consequences of such folly.
“At all events, proper dialogue and any desired constitutional changes should take place in a rational manner, at the National and State Assemblies. These are the proper and legal fora for National debate, not some lop-sided, un-democratic body with pre-determined set of objectives.
“Government is keeping up the momentum of dialogue with stakeholders in the Niger Delta to keep the peace. We intend to address genuine grievances of the communities.
“Government is grateful to the responsible leadership of those communities and will pursue lasting peace in the Niger Delta”.
In the address, the President remarked, that Nigeria has recorded appreciable gains in political freedom.
His words: “In the past two years, Nigeria has recorded appreciable gains in political freedom. A political Party at the Centre losing elections of State Governor, National Assembly seat and even State Assemblies to the opposition parties is new to Nigeria”.
“Added to these are complete freedoms to associate, to hold and disseminate opinions. Such developments clearly attest to the country’s growing political development. But like all freedoms, this is open to abuse”.
WE ARE WORKING TO SECURE RELEASE OF REMAINING CHIBOK GIRLS
The President said his government is working round the clock to ensure release of the remaining Chibok girls, as well as other persons in Boko Haram captivity.
“Government will continue to support the Armed Forces and other security agencies to fight not only terrorism, but kidnapping, armed robberies, herdsmen/farmers violence and to ensure peace, stability and security in our country” he said.
He called on Nigerians to be grateful to our gallant Armed Forces for rolling back the frontiers of Boko Haram’s terrorism, defeating them and reducing them to cowardly attacks on soft and vulnerable targets.
Nigeria, according to him, is grateful to its neighbours and the international community for the collective efforts to defeat this world-wide menace of terrorism.
“Not even the most organized and most equipped police and security forces in the world can escape the menace of modern day terrorism, as we have seen in recent years in Europe and other parts of the world”.
“But we are not letting up. Our Armed Forces in an effort to enhance the operational capability of troops of OPERATION LAFIYA DOLE have established Mobile Strike Teams in the North East. These will ensure the final push to wipe out the remnants of Boko Haram.
“In addition, through targeted air strikes most of the leadership and identified logistics bases and routes of the insurgents have been neutralized. The Armed Forces have established a Naval presence in the Lake Chad Basin as part of the coordinated military efforts to curtail the movements or re-emergence of the sect in the area.
WE KNEW FIGHTING CORRUPTION WON’T BE EASY
President Buhari said he knew fighting corruption which he said his party promised was not going to be a ‘straightforward task’
He said “We are fully aware that fighting corruption was never going to be a straightforward task. We expected corrupt elements to use any weapon to fight back, mainly judicial obstruction and political diversion. But we are determined to eradicate corruption from our body politic”.
He said with all measures put in place to fight corruption, the CHANGE would soon become real in the country.
“By not asking for and refusing to accept a bribe, by reporting unethical practices or by blowing a whistle, together we can beat corruption. The government for its part will work for accountability at all levels – Federal, State and Local Governments. CHANGE will then be real”.
POWER IS A HUGE PROBLEM
In the address, the President admitted that power remains a huge problem in the country.
“As of September 12th, production of power reached an all — time high of 7,001 Megawatts. Government is increasing its investment, clearing up the operational and financial log jam bedeviling the industry. We hope to reach 10,000 Megawatts by 2020”, he said.
“Key priorities include better energy mix through solar and Hydro technologies. I am glad to say that after many years of limbo, Mambilla Power Project has taken off.