Tag Archives: #democracy day

THE YEARS ROLL BY, AND BUHARI KEEPS FAITH AS A DEMOCRAT – FEMI ADESINA

Let’s begin with this story a retired Colonel of the Nigerian Army told me recently about the man Muhammadu Buhari, who was assuming duty as General Officer Commanding (GOC) 2 Mechanized Infantry Division, in January 1981.

“I was a Captain then,” the retired Colonel said. “General Buhari had just been posted as our GOC. We had heard a lot about his sense of duty, timeliness, fairness, and discipline. We soon saw it on display in a way we never forgot.”
It was an evening to host the new GOC to a welcome cocktail reception. The event was billed for 8 p.m.

“By 7.45 p.m, the new GOC arrived, and began to walk round the precincts of the venue. On the dot of 8 p.m, with just a handful of officers in the reception hall, he stepped in.
“Having surveyed the hall, he went back to the gates. There were two. He ordered the Sergeant-major there to lock the inner one firmly, with strict instructions to let nobody in again. He went back in, and the reception began.

“The senior officers, Majors, Lt Colonels, Colonels, all arrived, and asked to be let in. The Sergeant-major politely told them where the lock-up orders came from.”
Throughout the duration of the cocktail, the senior officers were outside the inner gate, watching proceedings. And when the event ended, the GOC walked briskly to meet them, and said: “All of you, see me by 8 a.m in the office tomorrow.”
He departed.

The Colonel ended the story this way: “Of course, most of the officers were standing by the office of the GOC as early as 6 a.m the next morning.” I laughed till my ribs ached.

From 2 Mechanized Infantry Division, Buhari was posted to 3rd Armoured Division in Jos, and from there, he emerged head of state on December 31, 1983.

In the next 20 months, the country knew that a new sheriff was in town. A strict man. Disciplinarian. A man who detested corruption, and all forms of evil acts. Of course, some people, ever abhorrent of discipline and order, described it as tyranny. They said a tyrant was here, and tried to make the false label stick.
As it is said, base coin tends to drive good coin out of circulation. Forces of reaction got rid of the Buhari regime in August 1985, demonized it to no end, and the man went into limbo of some sorts.

Then in 2002, the General came back to national reckoning, waving the flag of democracy. He asked to be an elected President.
Tyrant, tyrant, some people chose to scream, till they shouted themselves hoarse. They deluded the larger number. Buhari couldn’t emerge President in 2003, in 2007, and in 2011, though vastly popular.

And during the prelude to 2015 election, he made landmark declarations about his having become a “converted democrat.” He did so twice, and it resonated round the country.
The first was at a lecture he delivered on February 26, 2015, at Chatham House, United Kingdom. He declared: “ I cannot change the past. But I can change the present and the future. So before you is a former military ruler and a converted democrat who is ready to operate under democratic norms and is subjecting himself to the rigors of democratic elections for the fourth time.”

The second time was on March 17, 2015, about two weeks before the general elections. It was at a meeting with the Nigerian Press Organization, where he submitted: “I cannot change the past. But I can change the present and the future. Dictatorship goes with military rule, as do edicts such as Decree 4. However, I am a former-former, note the emphasis on the word ‘former’-military ruler and now a converted democrat who is ready to operate under democratic norms.”

Those who had always maligned and de-marketed him shouted tyrant, tyrant again. But Nigerians were no longer listening. They elected Buhari as their President with massive votes. They repeated the same feat in 2019.
Now, five years down the line, has Buhari kept faith with his avowal as a converted democrat? Or is he still a tyrant in Agbada, instead of the military uniform he used to wear? Is it only the clothe that changed, with the real man as anti-democratic as ever?

In this Democracy Day season , it provides fortuitous opportunity to examine the man Buhari as a genuine or pseudo-democrat.
What are the hallmarks of a true democrat? Many. Let’s itemize them, and we then ask the man Buhari to stand before the mirror. It was Michael Jackson who sang: “I’m starting with the man in the mirror, I’m asking him to change his ways.” Are we going to ask President Buhari to change his ways, or to continue as the good democrat he is? Let’s go:

Transparency and accountability are the lifeblood of democracy. No opacity. A true democrat does not fear the shining spotlight. No dark corners in his actions and activities.
Again, a true democrat must subscribe to the following, among others. Inclusiveness, working with and carrying along diverse interests; men, women, young, old, boys, girls. There must be broad participation.

Rule of law is a bedrock of democracy. The democrat must respect separation of powers. Freedom of speech. Freedom of the Press. Freedom of choice, for people to elect the leaders they prefer. Freedom of religion and assembly. Equality of all before the law. And readiness to face the rigour of election.
How does President Buhari fare in the light of these hallmarks?

Transparency and accountability. World over, he is known for this. Let me give out this information. The Anyim-Osigwe Foundation holds annual lectures, in which they bring world leaders to Nigeria as Guest Speakers. In 2016, the theme was anti-corruption, and they were shopping for a speaker. Their board of trustee members round the world asked them why they were looking for a speaker, when the man of the hour was with them in Nigeria. They said no one else fitted the bill better than President Buhari. That was how he was the one who delivered the 2016 Lecture at the International Conference Centre, Abuja.

Inclusiveness and broad participation. Look at the campaign structure for 2019 elections. Men, women, old, young, boys, girls, all were part of it. And they all have a place in the government that has been put together today. The work continues.

Respect for rule of law. Those who want to cavil had two things they pointed to. Former NSA, Sambo Dasuki, and Sheikh El-Zak Zakky. National security considerations didn’t matter to them. Sambo Dasuki is now out on bail, Zak Zakky is in the custody of the Kaduna State government.

They forget crucial court rulings that went against the governing party, which Buhari belongs to, but which were obeyed. Zamfara, Rivers, Bayelsa, and other states were lost through court pronouncements. And for Buhari, the law was supreme, and remains supreme.
Separation of powers. We had a hostile National Assembly between 2015 and 2019.

Buhari let them be. Yet in this country, we had a President who worked with five Senate presidents. He kept removing them, because he couldn’t manipulate them.
Freedom of the Press. Guaranteed. No journalist is hounded or detained for what he has published.

Freedom of speech. Also guaranteed in the country, even when some of the speeches are incendiary in nature. Civil society remains outspoken, even when some of the views expounded are uncomfortable and toxic to national cohesion and amity.

Freedom of choice. Unassailable. Before the last elections, President Buhari told the country. Go out and elect people of your choice, according to your conscience, across political parties. That’s a democrat at work.
Freedom of religion.Rock solid. Except for those crying wolf where there was none, Nigeria remains a plural religious society. Everyone is free to practice his or her religion.
Equality before the law. Guaranteed. No high, no low. Do the crime, do the term. No double standards.

Rigours of election. Buhari believes. He contested four times before he won in 2015, visiting all states in the country. Last year, at 76, he did the same, feats that much younger opponents could not match.
We can begin to wind down, can we? Okay. Let’s hear what state governors and personalities outside the President’s All Progressives Congress have said of him, which affirm the man’s democratic credentials:
“I use this opportunity to thank Mr. President and to say one of the greatest things that will move this nation forward is forthrightness, which President Buhari has been displaying. In our meetings. Every governor is pleased with him. It is not a question of being in this party or the other. He displays rare sense of humility, honesty and the willingness to carry this country forward. And that’s what we are looking for. We are not interested in this party or other party; we are interested in the man who has the welfare and the interest of the nation at heart.” – Governor Dave Umahi of Ebonyi State.
“Never in the history of Nigerian politics has Cross River State benefited this much from the gale of appointments that have come to us… This is a president who is an APC member while Cross River is a PDP state. This is a man who did not look at all biases and made a choice of Cross River State as the first state to perform his first working visit; this is unprecedented.” – Governor Ben Ayade, Cross River State.
“The recent elections in Anambra and the results show that President Buhari deserves a loud ovation. A landmark statement has been made. The roots of our democracy have been entrenched and your name has been inscribed in Gold forever in the hearts of Ndi Anambra.” – Chief Ifeanyi Ubah.
“I am grateful and appreciative of the seriousness of President Buhari in fighting corruption, affirming the rule of law and also stopping corrupt individuals from using illegally acquired wealth to buy immunity from prosecution through the backdoor. My administration will continue to support the war against corruption as I am convinced that corruption, wherever found, is antithetical to peace and development of our people.” – Governor Okezie Ikpeazu of Abia State.
“I must observe that today, no fewer than 122,000 children are feeding daily under the school feeding programme, which employs a total of 1,040 caterers for 1060 schools, across the 21 local governments, courtesy of President Muhammadu Buhari.” – Governor Willie Obiano of Anambra State.
What more shall we say? Six new Federal Colleges recently approved by the President in Bauchi, Benue, Ebonyi, Osun, Sokoto and Edo states. Four of these are PDP states.
All states in the country have enjoyed more than N2.5 trillion in bailouts, irrespective of party affiliations.
And now, the clincher: June 12 is now Democracy Day, in honor of Bashorun MKO Abiola, who won an election on that date in 1993, but denied by the military. He eventually died in military detention. After more than 20 years, with many Presidents who benefitted from the sacrifice looking the other way, it was Buhari who expiated the sins of his predecessors.
Shall we still look for another democrat? Doubtful. A converted democrat is here!

*Adesina is Special Adviser on Media and Publicity to President Buhari

The BOT Chairman PRP Call FG To Prosecute The Mastermind of June 12 Annulment

The former governor of Kaduna State, Balarabe Musa, has asked the Federal Government to prosecute the masterminds of the annulment of the June 12, 1993 elections.

Speaking on Friday at his residence to mark the Democracy Day celebration, the ex-governor called on President Muhammadu Buhari to identify those involved in the act and arraign them in court for treason.

Musa urged the President to go beyond declaring June 12 as Democracy Day by making political moves to unearth the reasons behind the cancellation of the elections considered as the fairest in Nigeria’s history.

“When we started commending Buhari for doing what we didn’t expect with regards to June 12, I said for him to complete his task and convince us qualitatively, he should use his position as the President of Nigeria and Chief Executive of the country to investigate the circumstances that led to the annulment, those responsible and punish them effectively so that it cannot happen again,” he said.

The ex-governor regretted that former Military President, General Ibrahim Babangida who annulled the election, thus denying the late business mogul and philanthropist, Chief Moshood Abiola the opportunity of becoming Nigeria’s president.

Going forward, Musa called for the restructuring of the nation, arguing that the Federal Government is too powerful.

He, therefore, wants devolution of powers in a way as to carry every geopolitical zone of the country to the betterment of all Nigerians.

Source: http://www.channelstv.com

GOV. ZULUM: June 12, The Absence of governance At LOCAL GOVT Areas not acceptable

Gov. Zulum: June 12, The Absence of governance At Local Gov’t Areas not acceptable – Daily Watch Press

Fellow compatriots

Today June 12 is ‘Democracy Day’.

A day set aside by the Federal government symbolizing the turning point of the political struggle that entrenched democratic political governance in Nigeria after a long period of military rule. While we were reflecting on the dividends of the democratic political dispensation, the enemies of democracy were hatching evil machination to create havoc and horror amongst our peace loving communities in the state. The gruesome murder of over 50 innocent villagers in Gubio by the insurgents is quite barbaric, inhuman and retrogressive. These unwholesome acts by the insurgents will not deter us from our commitment to fight to finish all acts of terrorism in the state. We pray for all the souls of the departed and for the Almighty to give the families the fortitude to bear the loss of their loved ones.

Nigerians embraced democracy because it is a political system that preserves and promotes the dignity and fundamental rights of the individual. It fosters economic and social development and strengthens the societal cohesion and enhances national tranquillity. This is because democracy is founded on the primacy of the law and the exercise of human rights. In a democracy, no one is above the law and all are equal before the law. This shows the nexus between peace, development, respect for and observance of the rule of law and human rights. In battling to strengthen our nascent democracy challenges there must be. However, as we contend with such issues like that of security, we must put hope in the place of despair, bravery in place of cowardice, hard work in the place of indolence if we want to strengthen our democracy.

There is no gainsaying the fact that we have seen the dividends of democracy. We have made giant strides in major sectors- beefing up the security infrastructure, reconstruction and rehabilitation of destroyed schools, health and public facilities and provision of basic social amenities such water, electricity and roads. As we begin to celebrate our one year of governance, we will make vivid the achievements recorded so far.

Fellow compatriots, democracy is founded on the right of everyone to take part in the management of public affairs. It therefore requires the existence of representative institutions at all levels- the national, state and local government levels. Democratic institutions and processes must also foster decentralised local, State and national government and administration, which is a right and a necessity, and which makes it possible to broaden the base of public participation. The lack of formidable governance at the Local level is a matter of serious concern. I have personally gone round and found that civil authority at the level of the local Government is either completely absent or very weak. This does not augur well for democracy and development. Moreover, all our plans for resettlement of displaced communities will be hampered as a result of this unfortunate development.

This administration will not accept such a disposition and has taken measures to address such lapses squarely. We must build the institutional capacity of the local government areas to fast track grass-roots development and bring government closer to the people. This administration will ensure proper devolution of powers to the local government councils to be able to provide appropriate services and carry out development activities responsive to local wishes and to encourage participatory democracy at the local government level. This administration will ensure all Local Government Councils are headed by elected Chairmen and councils to engender democratic governance at that level.

Fellow Compatriots, we have of recent been battling with the challenge of the coronavirus pandemic and took the entire comity of nations unawares. The fight against the global pandemic made open the inadequate health capacity of all nations. The complete lockdown strategy devastated the entire world economy. As oil dependent nation, Nigeria’s economy suffered greatly. This invariably affected our allocation from the federation accounts with negative impact on development. During the tiring period, we mobilize resources and support to provide for the palliatives to cushion the effects of the lockdown.

We sincerely appreciate the understanding and resilience of our good people as we gradually navigate out of both the security and COVID-19 challenges before us. Let us pray assiduously to the Almighty for the protection and safeguard against all anti-democratic forces threatening the peace and security of our state and nation.

I wish us all a happy DEMOCRACY DAY.
Thank you.

Being a text of statewide address by Prof Babagana Umara Zulum, Governor of Borno State to commemorate the Democracy Day 2020.

The POET: NEW NIGERIA – Peter Ekpe

They might certainly say the obvious
They think we do less right and more dubious
Like One Aliko Dangote and a million Hushpuppi’s
Please hold on Mr. Racist bobby
We are more than just what stinks
And way above what the west think
You think what defines us is to do what we are told?
Cos our nation is in the market of powerful elites sold
But we are more than civilized
We are an idea in the process of being realized
Our culture strung together in woven aso-oke tapestry
And the colourful design is what makes our history
With influences that range from A to Zed
And yes, we say Zed instead of Zee
We are the brightness of all that is black
The Titans around the world that never slack
Our ambition is called an advisory content
Though we hope for the President that is God sent
Cos we believe in generation beyond our own
Knowing many of us intellectually have grown
Like the Women Gladiators against the democracy of dominatrix
The young generation plotting the graph of our political matrix
Summoning the courage like cathexis
To fight same Politician’s shedding like ecdysis
One day, the take over revolution will be televised
And the balance of restructuring will bring forth a rise
From the battle zone of Sambisa forest
To the borders of eko we shall build a fortress
More than the Danko hills to Munungu mountain peak
And on the country side of the Mambilla plateau we will seek,
Knock, progress, tick tock, tick tock like a clock
Standing for ages in unity like the Olumo rock
Deep inside the ancient Ogbunike cave
To the ambiance of Abuja we will crave
And merry with the bliss of Orido’s palm wine
For our eyes will glisten like the northern sunshine
Because we are myriad choices in the South and West
And million upon million striving voices in the East
Shouting, exploring the earth like merchants
Industrious in the battle of survival we chant
For pacifism and the dividends of democracy
Against bad leaders demonstrating nothing but demo-crazy

By: Peter Ekpe.

DEMOCRACY DAY: NATIONAL BROADCAST BY PRESIDENT MUHAMMADU BUHARI

NATIONAL BROADCAST BY PRESIDENT MUHAMMADU BUHARI ON DEMOCRACY DAY, JUNE 12TH 2020

Fellow Nigerians,

  1. The 2020 celebration of Democracy Day marks 21 years of uninterrupted civil administration in our dear country. This day provides us an opportunity to reflect on our journey as a nation, our achievements and struggles.
  2. It is a day to honour our founding fathers who toiled to establish our republic and every Nigerian who has worked tirelessly to sustain it.
  3. We are celebrating this year’s Democracy Day despite the COVID-19 pandemic which afflicts our nation and the whole world.
  4. It is indeed a very difficult time for everyone especially those who have lost loved ones to the virus and those whose sources of livelihood have been severely constrained by the stringent measures we introduced at every level of government to contain the virus and save lives.
  5. The dedication of our health and other essential services staff towards containing this virus is a testament of our courage and resilience as a people and as a great nation, and I use this opportunity to say thank you to all of you for your service to the nation.
  6. Sustaining our democracy thus far has been a collective struggle, and I congratulate all Nigerians and particularly leaders of our democratic institutions on their resilience and determination to ensure that Nigeria remains a shining example of democracy.
  7. In my 2019 Democracy Day address, I promised to frontally address the nation’s daunting challenges, especially insecurity, economy and corruption. I therefore find it necessary to give an account of my stewardship on this day.
  8. We have recorded notable achievements in the course of implementing our nine priority objectives and are establishing a solid foundation for future success.
  9. On the economic front, our objectives have remained to stabilize the macroeconomy, achieve agricultural and food security, ensure energy sufficiency in power and petroleum products, develop infrastructure, fight corruption and improve governance.
  10. We have witnessed eleven quarters of consecutive GDP growth since exiting recession. The GDP grew from 1.91% in 2018 to 2.27% in 2019 but declined to 1.87% in the first quarter of 2020 as a result of the decline in global economic activities due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
  11. Every single economy in the world has suffered a decline. Ours has been relatively moderate.
  12. In order to stabilize the economy, the Monetary Authority took steps to build the external reserves which resulted in improved liquidity in the foreign exchange market. The external reserves grew from $33.42 billion on April 29th 2020 to about $36.00 billion in May, 2020 which is enough to finance seven months of import commitments.
  13. Agriculture remains the key to our economic diversification strategy. The Presidential Fertilizer Initiative programme continues to deliver significant quantities of affordable and high-quality fertilizers to our farmers. This initiative has also revived 31 blending plants and created a significant number of direct and indirect jobs across the value chain.
  14. Government is also revamping the cotton, textile and garment sector via a CBN Textile Revival Intervention Fund that would considerably reduce foreign exchange spent on cotton and other textile imports.
  15. Through the food security initiative, we are promoting “Grow What We Eat” and “Eat What We Grow”. I am also delighted that more and more Nigerians are taking advantage of the opportunities in the agriculture and agri-business sector. I assure you that government will continue to support the Agriculture sector through the CBN Anchor Borrowers Programme and similar schemes.
  16. To protect our farming investments, we have deployed 5,000 Agro-Rangers and employed 30,289 in our para-military agencies.
  17. We are also integrating rural communities to the formal economy by extending access to credit and inputs to rural farmers and building feeder roads.
  18. Our efforts on growing non-oil exports have started to yield some results. For instance, in the past year, our revenue from Cocoa and Sesame Seed increased by $79.4 million and $153 million.
  19. Africa presents a huge opportunity for our export base diversification and we are developing our strategy to grow intra-Africa trade through the Africa Continental Free Trade Area Agreement.
  20. Nigeria has risen by 25 places on the World Bank’s Ease of Doing Business ranking from 146th to 131st and is now rated as one of the top ten reforming countries.
  21. This development is due to the Visa on Arrival policy, consistent promotion of initiatives that expand facilities available to Micro Small and Medium Scale Enterprises, robust electronic registration and payment system, seamless processing of business registration and reduction of cost of registering business by 50%. We are confident that on-going efforts would result in further improvement of this rating.
  22. We remain committed to expanding our mining sector. To this end, I have directed the resuscitation of the Ajaokuta Steel Plant based on Government-to-Government financing and a Public-Private Sector financing.
  23. With foreign and domestic investments and the participation of Small Scale Miners, we are harnessing the supply value chain in gold production.
  24. We would also be launching a fully digitized mineral rights management platform for quick processing of mineral rights application, digitization of records and plugging revenue leakages.
  25. The Power Sector remains very critical to meeting our industrial development aspirations and we are tackling the challenges that still exist in the delivery of power through different strategies.
  26. We are executing some critical projects through the Transmission Rehabilitation and Expansion Programme including the:

a. Alaoji to Onitsha, Delta Power Station to Benin and Kaduna to Kano;

b. 330kv DC 62km line between Birnin Kebbi and Kamba;

c. Lagos/Ogun Transmission Infrastructure Project;

d. Abuja Transmission Ring Scheme; and

e. Northern Corridor Transmission Project.

  1. Our agreement with Siemens will transmit and distribute a total of 11,000 Megawatts by 2023, to serve our electricity needs.
  2. On transportation, another critical sector to improving our economic competitiveness, we are growing the stock and quality of our road, rail, air and water transport infrastructure.
  3. Through the SUKUK-Funded Road Projects, a total of 412km of the targeted 643km road projects have been completed, representing 64%.
  4. The Presidential Infrastructure Development Fund projects are also progressing very well. On the 2nd Niger Bridge, piling work has been completed and the approach roads are being constructed. 48% of work on this bridge has been achieved. We have constructed 102km of the 376km Abuja – Kaduna – Kano Road, representing 38%, and the 42.9km Obajana – Kabba Road is 87.03% complete.
  5. Furthermore, the Federal Roads Maintenance Agency has completed routine maintenance on over 4,000km of federal roads out of the 5,000km targeted.
  6. We are extending and upgrading our railway network too. We are introducing more locomotives, coaches and wagons for the Abuja-Kaduna Rail Line. The Central Ajaokuta – Itakpe – Warri Line has been completed and is being extended from Itakpe to Abuja on one end and from Warri Town to Warri Port on the other.
  7. The Lagos-Ibadan Rail Line is 90% completed and would be extended to the Lagos Port which would help address the long-standing grid-lock at the Apapa port.
  8. The Kano – Maradi Single Track Standard Gauge Railway, Coastal Railway Project and Port Harcourt – Maiduguri Standard Gauge Railway, with its associated branch lines running through the South Eastern and Gombe States, industrial park and Bonny Deep Sea Port are all ready for concessioning.
  9. Government continues to make investments in the Aviation sector to position it as a travel and trade hub in West Africa and the wider African continent.
  10. Airport Terminals in Abuja, Lagos, Kano and Port Harcourt are being expanded, while the rehabilitation of the Enugu Airport is almost completed. All our airports are being raised to international standards with the provision of necessary equipment, especially navigational aids, to guarantee world class safety standards.
  11. For the first time in over ten years, Nigeria is conducting bidding process for 57 Marginal Oil Fields to increase revenue and increase the participation of Nigerian companies in oil and exploration and production business.
  12. We continue to grow local content in other areas of the oil and gas sector with the disbursement of funds from the $200 million Nigerian Content Intervention Fund to indigenous manufacturers and service providers.
  13. With sustained engagement of youths, opinion leaders and other stakeholders, we have restored peace in the Niger Delta Region and maintained our oil production levels.
  14. The Head office of the Niger Delta Development Commission will be commissioned shortly. The Funding of sections I–IV of the East-West Road shall be pursued with a view to completing the project by the end of 2021.
  15. Furthermore, I am determined to ensure that development meant for the people of the Niger Delta get to them so I have authorised a Forensic Audit of the Niger Delta Development Commission.
  16. Digital Economy continues to play an important role in our development agenda as we move into the age of Artificial Intelligence.
  17. Since the creation of the Ministry of Communication and Digital Economy, the National Digital Economy Policy and Strategy has been launched. Steps have been taken to achieve a reduction of connectivity cluster gaps from 207 to 114 as well as increase the level of 4G coverage by 30%.
  18. Nigeria remains committed to expanding access to quality education to enhance the productivity of its citizens and would continue to pursue the enforcement of free and compulsory basic education for the first 9 years of schooling.
  19. In pursuit of this, we have launched the Better Education Service Delivery for All in 17 states, established additional 6 Federal Science and Technical Colleges and currently executing a pro-active Teacher Training Plan with all states of the Federation.
  20. In our revision of the operations of specialized education funds and to implement reforms that would optimize their benefits to the sector, we have adopted a Public-Private Sector Partnership for provision of infrastructure and also collaborate with the private sector to create jobs.
  21. Our pursuit of affordable housing for the low and middle-income earners has received a boost with the delivery of 1,200 housing units, provision of 520 service plots with infrastructure through a Public Private Sector partnership and the issuance of 868 mortgages totaling N7.7 Billion. Similarly, Home Renovation Loans totaling N16.2 Billion have been granted to 19,210 people.
  22. To enable sustainable access to safe and sufficient water to meet the social, cultural, environmental and economic development needs of all Nigerians, we continue to expand our water supply, irrigation and dam facilities.
  23. The Completion of Amauzari, Amla Otukpo and other 42 Earth Dams with combined job creation of about 43,354 direct jobs and 71,172 indirect jobs, would provide more support for irrigation agriculture and water supply.
  24. To further institutionalize our effort in this regard, I signed the Executive Order 009 on Ending Open Defecation in Nigeria.
  25. In order to improve our forest cover and in fulfilment of my commitment at the 74th Session of the United Nations General Assembly in 2019, we have commenced the planting of 25 million trees. This initiative will also contribute to our effort to mitigate the effect of climate change.
  26. In the area of security, we remain unshaken in our resolve to protect our national infrastructure including on-shore and off-shore oil installations, secure our territorial waters and end piracy in the Gulf of Guinea.
  27. Ending insurgency, banditry and other forms of criminality across the nation is being accorded appropriate priorities and the men and women of the Armed Forces of Nigeria have considerably downgraded such threats across all geo-political zones.
  28. All the Local Governments that were taken over by the Boko Haram insurgents in Borno, Yobe and Adamawa have long been recovered and are now occupied by indigenes of these areas who were hitherto forced to seek a living in areas far from their ancestral homes.
  29. The total collapse of the economies of these areas, which constituted a threat to our food security, has also been reversed with the gradual recovery of farming and other economic activities.
  30. I regret recent sporadic incidents with tragic loss of lives in Katsina and Borno States as a result of criminals taking advantage of COVID-19 restrictions. Security Agencies will pursue the perpetrators and bring them to swift justice.
  31. I must implore state and local governments to revamp their intelligence assets so that the Security Agencies can nip in the bud any planned attacks in remote rural areas. I send my heartfelt condolences to all the relatives and communities affected.
  32. As part of the strengthening of our internal security architecture, the Ministry of Police Affairs was created.
  33. Amongst others, Government has expanded the National Command and Control Centre to nineteen states of the federation, resuscitated the National Public Security Communication System and commenced the implementation of the Community Policing Strategy.
  34. Government has similarly established a Nigerian Police Trust Fund as a public-private sector vehicle for alternative sources of funding security activities.
  35. To reduce security challenges through our external borders especially smuggling of oil products out of the country, inflow of small arms and drugs into the country and equally protect our local manufacturers, we introduced operation “Ex-Swift Response” closing our borders from August 20th 2019, and have considerably succeeded in meeting its objectives as well as improving our national revenue.
  36. Our Government has continued to work to reduce social and economic inequality through targeted social investment programmes, education, technology and improved information.
  37. Our Social Investment Programme has continued to be a model to other nations and has engaged 549,500 N-Power beneficiaries, 408,682 beneficiaries of the Conditional Cash Transfer Programme and 2,238,334 beneficiaries of the Growth Enhancement and Empowerment Programme. This is being done in collaboration with the States.
  38. Similarly, “Marketmoni” and “Tradermoni” Programmes have provided affordable loans to small and micro scale enterprises to grow their businesses. Under the National Home-Grown School Feeding Programme, over 9,963,729 children are being fed to keep them in school and improve their nutritional status.
  39. Fellow Nigerians, the year 2020 has been like none other. In January 2020, the COVID-19 was declared a global pandemic by the World Health Organization. The number of global infections has risen from less than 8,000 shared between China and eighteen other countries to over 7million spread over 216 countries and on all continents.
  40. Nigeria recorded its first case of COVID-19 on February 27th 2020 and within the first 100 days, I have had cause to address the nation on three occasions within one month, which underscores the gravity of this pandemic.
  41. There is no doubt that this pandemic has affected the global economy and all known socio-economic systems. It has also brought grief and pain to families that have lost their loved ones. Like many Nigerians, I feel the grief and pain not only as your President but also as someone who has lost a close member of my staff and some relatives and friends.
  42. In order to have a robust National response, I approved a Presidential Task Force on COVID-19 to provide guidance and leadership in tackling the pandemic nationwide.
  43. State Governments also constituted their own COVID-19 Task Forces. Complementing this was the establishment of a National Emergency Operations Centre responsible for providing technical and professional guidance in the National Response.
  44. The overall objective of the PTF COVID-19 is to ensure that the pandemic does not overwhelm our health systems, while ensuring that we maintain an effective Case Management System to help in containing the spread of the virus.
  45. The impact of the pandemic has disrupted our economic system and to ensure its functioning while still addressing the spread, the Federal Government put in place a number of various non-pharmaceutical measures to slow down the spread of the virus, in addition to a progressive re-opening of the economy.
  46. As part of the strategy to create jobs in reducing the effect of COVID-19 on our youths, I directed the employment of 774, 000 Nigerians. These youths will be engaged in Special Public Works Programme aimed at cushioning the effects of economic downturn. Each of the 774 local government areas in the country will be allotted 1,000 slots. I am pleased to report that this programme has commenced.
  47. I receive regular briefing from the PTF on COVID-19. I note that the National Response relies on Science, Data and Experience in taking decisions. This informed my approval for the ease of lock down phase to ensure a balance between lives and livelihoods.
  48. I am confident that the steps being taken by the PTF would result in flattening the COVID-19 curve. I, therefore, implore all Nigerians to abide by the approved guidelines and protocols. There is hope for us all if we take individual and collective responsibility.
  49. Government is determined to turn this COVID-19 challenge into a motivation to action by building a nation-wide public health care system that will help us overcome the COVID-19 pandemic and prepare for any future outbreak.
  50. Already, we have begun to look inward and I charge our inventors, researchers and scientists to come up with solutions to cure COVID-19.
  51. Government has continued to implement accountability and transparent policies through the Open Government Partnership and the transparency portal on financial transactions. Similarly, we have strengthened auditing and accountability mechanisms so as to ensure that rules and regulations are followed strictly.
  52. Anti-Corruption Agencies have secured more than 1,400 convictions and also recovered funds in excess of N800 billion. These monies are being ploughed into development and infrastructure projects.
  53. The Public Service of Nigeria remains the bedrock for the formulation and implementation of policies, programmes and projects in the country. This accounts for why it continues to evolve especially as new socio-economic challenges emerge for Government to address.
  54. I will continue to give all the necessary support for the on-going reforms designed to return discipline, integrity and patriotism as the hallmark of the public service.
  55. In the face of dwindling resources and rising cost of governance, I have authorized that the White Paper on the Rationalisation of Government Parastatals and Agencies be reviewed for implementation.
  56. Our youth population remains a source of strength in achieving development objectives. In this regard, we would continue to concentrate in developing their skills, providing them with opportunities to express their entrepreneurial, research and industrial capacities as well as ample opportunity to take leadership positions in the service of the nation.
  57. The commitment of this Administration to the well-being of people living with disabilities remains unwavering. Government recognises their contributions to development. I have directed that all relevant Government agencies pay special attention to the peculiarities of persons with disabilities in the formulation and implementation of their policies and programmes, and where suitable their employment.
  58. Nigerian women remain a particular treasure to this nation and for this reason this Administration has continued to give them a place of pride in the affairs of our country.
  59. I salute your courage, enterprise and resilience as well as your contributions to national development. I wish to assure all our women of this administration’s determination to fight Gender Based Violence through the instrumentality of the law and awareness creation. I am particularly upset at recent incidents of rape especially of very young girls. The Police are pursuing these cases with a view to bringing perpetrators of these heinous crimes to swift justice.
  60. Government continues to recognize and harness the power of the media for positive development. The reforms of the broadcast and advertising industries including digital switch over and continuous engagement through town hall meetings remain central to accurate and credible information dissemination.
  61. Our culture provides the basis for our existence as a people and a nation. In preserving iconic aspects of our national culture, this government has been pursuing the recovery of artefacts removed from Nigeria, promoting heritage sites and festivals and working towards designating some of our heritage sites as UNESCO World Heritage Centres.
  62. This administration is focused on ensuring that Nigeria would always be governed by the Rule of Law and I would do my utmost to uphold the constitution and protect the lives and property of all Nigerians.
  63. Government has initiated a number of policies and programmes designed to promote the legal rights of Nigerians, facilitate the institutionalization of a responsive legal system, provide support to all constituted bodies in implementing their mandates and improve our custodial system of justice.
  64. The National Assembly has been an important partner in our quest to sustain our democracy and achieve our development objectives.
  65. I therefore greatly thank the leadership and members of the Senate and the House of Representatives for their invaluable support at all times.
  66. I will also like to convey our deep appreciation to members of the Press for your doggedness in the struggle for attainment of democracy since the beginning of our nationhood.
  67. I must admit that the relationship between the media and successive governments has not always been perfect. But there is no denying the fact that you have been an effective watchdog for the society especially in holding public officers to account. It is sad that in the course of securing our democracy, some of your colleagues have had to pay a heavy price.
  68. We will continue to guarantee freedom of the Press as we place high premium on responsible journalism that is devoid of hate speech, fake news and other unethical professional conduct.
  69. Fellow Nigerians, as we celebrate this year’s Democracy Day, let us remember that, notwithstanding our aspirations, humanity and indeed democracy is under the threat of COVID-19. Nigeria has survived many crises before and came out stronger. I am confident that by God’s grace we shall overcome this one and emerge stronger and more purposeful.
  70. Thank you for listening. God bless the Federal Republic of Nigeria.

The June 12 And The 21 Years of Uninterrupted Democracy In Nigeria

Comrade N. D Shehu Kanam, Lecturer, Federal University, Kashere, Gombe State, Nigeria.

The June 12 And The 21 Years of Uninterrupted Democracy In Nigeria

Today we are privilege to mark the longest period of unbroken democracy and peaceful transfer of power from one democratically elected government to another in Nigeria.

We are all involved in close quarters in struggle to keep one Nigeria, we therefore can do no more than dedicate the rest of our life for the unity of Nigeria and upliftment of Nigeria. Thus far we Nigerians can be proud of our history since independence in 1960.

Admittedly, the challenges of Covid-19, kidnappings and banditry still remain in some rural areas.

As a people, we are and have to be determine and focused to the numerous overlapping approaches, processes to community development and engagement centered on relationship at the core of facilitating understanding and evaluation, involvement, exchange of information and opinions, about a concept, issue or project with the aim of building social capital and enhancing social outcomes through decision making.

Community capacity building and women self help focusing on helping communities obtain strength and maintain the ability to set and achieve their own development objective.

We will enhance asset-base community development, community base participatory research to find out their problems.

Community organizing and participatory planning including community planning as a rural development researcher.

Happy democracy day
Dengi constituency, plateau and Nigeria.

By: Comrade N. D Shehu Kanam,
Senior Legislative Aide to Senator Hezekiah Dimka (APC), Plateau Central.