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President Goodluck Jonathan’s 2014 Independence Day Broadcast

Goodluck-Jonathan

Goodluck-Jonathan

President Goodluck Jonathan today addressed
Nigerians to commemorate Nigeria’s 54th
independence anniversary.
Jonathan
harped on the need for Nigerians to support
the efforts of the government in its fight against
terrorism. He also spoke of the achievements of
his administration and policies put in place to
ensure the development of the country.
Here is the full text of his address:
Fellow Nigerians,
Today marks the 54th anniversary of our
country’s independence as a sovereign
nation. This is also the tenth month of our
journey into a new century, having marked
the centenary of our nation in January this
year.
The first one hundred years were marked by
triumphs and tribulations, benefits and
burdens, opportunities and challenges. We
made some far reaching advances in building
a strong, united and prosperous nation. We
also overcame the forces of disunity that
culminated in a debilitating civil war. We
have also renewed our faith in one another,
and in our country. We have proven that we
are truly a resilient nation.
In my address to the nation last year, I did
emphasize that we were in a sober moment
in our country. We are still in that mood in
spite of the many accomplishments of our
administration. Our sombreness has to do
with the crises of nationhood occasioned by
the activities of terrorist elements who have
done the unimaginable to challenge our
unity as a people.
On an occasion like this, it is important that
we remember all the precious souls that
have been lost in the unprecedented war of
terror unleashed on some parts of our
country by these individuals who want to
compel us to live our lives their way. They
will not succeed!
In their mission, they have maimed and
defiled. They have killed men, women and
children, rendering many children orphans
and several women widows.
They have made violence their ideology and
are bent on destroying our country. Dear
countrymen and women, we will not allow
them.
Night after night, day after day, our security
forces continue to engage the terrorists in
battle. My gratitude goes out to our armed
forces whose will has been greatly
challenged by this insurgency more than any
other time, since the civil war.
Yet, they have remained undaunted and
unwearied in the face of constant challenge
and mortal danger. Driven by patriotic zeal,
they are turning the tide by their prowess
and determination. As Commander-in-Chief,
I will continue to do all it takes to enable
them to keep on inflicting devastating blows
at the heart of terror. Fellow Nigerians, it is
our collective duty as patriots to avail our
men and women in uniform of all the
support they need to fight and win this war.
This Administration is committed to making
Nigeria safe for all Nigerians, irrespective of
our places of birth, how we worship God and
our political persuasion. To all those waging
war against our country, I ask that you lay
down your arms and embrace peace.
To those who have genuine grievances, I
affirm that Nigeria will listen to you, if you
bring your grievances to the table of
dialogue. To the good people of Nigeria, let
me restate that our task of building a better
and greater country must not waver.
While we continue to deploy our resources
in the fight against the terrorists, we do
recognize the great toll the conflict is taking
on our people.
This is why, to assist the afflicted, we have
launched the Victims Support Fund, an
independent multi-sectoral charity, which
will aggressively solicit resources to
augment Government’s statutory
intervention, in bringing succour to the
injured, the displaced and the bereaved.
In partnership with Nigerian business
leaders and international partners, we have
also introduced the Safe Schools Initiative
which is aimed at promoting safe
environments for education nationwide,
starting with the North East region.
The Presidential Initiative for the North East,
a comprehensive programme to fast-track
the economic restoration of this region,
which has been the epicentre of terrorist
activity, has been set up.
Our overall objective is to do all we possibly
can, to sustain in the North-East, the
momentum of economic advancement,
which is on-going in other parts of the
country, despite the machinations of the
terrorists and their sponsors.
It should now be clear to anyone who was
ever in doubt that these terrorists do not
mean well for anyone, of whatever religion
or dispensation. Their persistent choice of
the weakest and most vulnerable in society,
for gruesome attack, provides an insight into
their abnormal mind-set.
I urge every Nigerian to put aside political,
sectional or other parochial considerations,
and support whole-heartedly the efforts of
the government and the military, in
checking this evil.
We are grateful to the international
community, and especially our neighbours
who are working closely with us in
confronting this challenge, for their
increased partnership and solidarity. Our
steady progress in weakening the
insurgency has certainly justified our
cooperation.
Fellow Nigerians, in my independence
anniversary address last year, I informed
you that we had taken cognizance of the
suggestion over the years by well-meaning
Nigerians on the need to focus attention on
rebuilding and strengthening the ligaments
of our union. It was in that regard that we
announced the convening of a National
Dialogue on the future of our beloved
country.
We have successfully delivered on that
promise as we established the 2014 National
Conference headed by Justice Legbo Kutigi.
After months of deliberations, which did not
come without its challenges, the conference
concluded its assignment and has handed its
Report to me.
I have made a firm commitment that we
would act on the recommendations of the
conference. This, I have started by setting
up the Ministerial Committee headed by the
Honourable Attorney General of the
Federation to work out the modalities for
implementing the Report. Every promise I
make, God willing, I will see to its fulfilment.
I assure you, we shall implement the report.
One major lesson which the 2014 National
Conference has taught us as a country is
that, a multi-ethnic country like ours, must
learn to embrace painstaking dialogue until
consensus is established.
To me, the National Conference is the
greatest centenary gift to our country that
we must cherish and sustain.
Fellow Nigerians, our 54 year-journey as a
nation has not been easy. There have been
tough periods, but the Nigerian spirit and
the unflagging resilience of our people have
seen us through. We will continue to march
forward to greater heights.
We have been able to sustain a big, strong
and influential country with a robust
economy. We are currently in our sixteenth
year of uninterrupted democratic rule, daily
improving on the consolidation of our
democratic process.
Our Administration has made a commitment
to ensure that we build and sustain a
democratic infrastructure anchored on free
and fair elections. International and local
observers have attested to the positive
evolution of electoral credibility and we
cannot afford to relent.
We will continue to ensure that the will of
the electorate prevails so that political
leaders would be reminded at all times that
there is a day of reckoning when they have
to go back to the people at the polls. Election
days must not be days of violence and death.
We must remain vigilant to ensure that our
electoral process is characterised by peace,
security and transparency.
I enjoin the Independent National Electoral
Commission (INEC), all security agencies,
politicians and the electorate to work
conscientiously and peacefully, together, to
consolidate on the gains of the recent
elections. Free and fair elections have come
to stay; nothing else will be acceptable to our
people.
My dear countrymen and women, occasions
such as this present an opportunity to thank
God for our country and to report to you, on
our journey so far.
Our power sector reform is on course with
the ultimate objective of generating enough
electricity to power our homes, industries
and businesses. We are making giant strides
in the Agricultural Sector which we are re-
positioning to diversify our economy. We will
continue to upgrade our infrastructure to
make life easier for all and create an
enabling environment for enterprise to
flourish.
Over the last four years, the implementation
of the Nigerian Content Act in the Oil and
Gas Sector has ensured major increase in
the participation of indigenous Oil and Gas
companies in the industry. Several critical
infrastructure projects have been
commissioned and commenced. The level of
indigenous asset ownership has greatly
increased and utilisation of Nigerian-owned
and built assets such as marine vessels and
rigs is being progressively enforced.
There has been maximised local value
addition by encouraging the manufacture of
equipment components and parts within the
country. There has also been massive
growth in indigenous participation in the
provision of goods and services to the
upstream sector from 10% to 60% within the
last four years.
Today, following the rebasing of our
economy, every international monitoring
and ratings agency now acknowledges
Nigeria as the largest economy in Africa,
with a Gross Domestic Product of five
hundred and ten billion dollars ($510 billion)
which also places us as the 26th largest
economy in the world. This is progress.
Earlier in the year, we launched the Nigeria
Industrial Revolution Plan (NIRP) and the
National Enterprise Development
Programme (NEDEP) with the stated
objective of fast tracking inclusive growth,
job creation, enterprise development and
industrialisation.
The success of these policies is already
evident in the increased value addition in
the agricultural and manufacturing sectors.
In line with our objective of encouraging the
production of made-in-Nigeria vehicles and
making Nigeria a regional hub for the
automobile industry, a number of foreign
auto manufacturers have established plants
in Nigeria, complementing the laudable
efforts of our local vehicle manufacturers
who have also demonstrated great
innovation and competitiveness.
We have also launched a special support
programme for Micro, Small and Medium
Enterprises with an initial intervention fund
of two hundred and twenty billion naira
(N220 b). This is in addition to the
Presidential Job Creation Board which I
inaugurated recently with the charge to
create three million jobs annually.
In demonstration of our Administration’s
commitment to addressing Nigeria’s housing
deficit, we have commenced the new
mortgage re-finance programme with the
establishment of the Nigerian Mortgage Re-
finance Company. It is expected that, in
addition to creating additional housing units
across the country, this initiative also
represents a huge job creation opportunity.
We have recorded notable success in the
social sector. Nigeria has been globally
acknowledged for reducing extreme hunger
by more than half, with the Food and
Agriculture Organization (FAO) formally
presenting the country with an award for
achieving the Millennium Development Goal
on Hunger three years ahead of the 2015
target date set for the Millennium
Development Goals.
This progress is as a result of the deliberate
policy of government to increase capacity in
our agricultural sector of which the first step
was to address and eliminate the graft in our
fertilizer procurement system and ensure
that the product gets directly to the farmer.
We are expanding our irrigation
infrastructure to ensure that our farmers
have sufficient water supply for dry season
farming.
A benefit of these combined actions is that
our national food import bill has declined
from 1.1 trillion naira (6.9 billion dollars) in
2009 to 684.7 billion naira (4.35 billion
dollars) by December 2013, and continues to
decline.
Modern hybrid schools are being provided
for less privileged children across the
country, resulting in significant increase in
the national school enrolment figure.
In order to further enhance access to
education at the tertiary level, fourteen new
Federal Universities have been established;
and, to encourage persons of exceptional
abilities, our Administration has also
introduced a Presidential Scholarship
Scheme based strictly on excellence and
merit.
On infrastructure, we are building roads,
bridges, and new rail lines to make it easier
to traverse Nigeria and increase the
integration of our people and our ability to
do business with each other. In this regard,
we have commenced the process of building
the Second Niger Bridge. The Loko-Oweto
Bridge over River Benue in Nasarawa and
Benue States, will significantly reduce travel
time by road between Northern and
Southern Nigeria. The on-going dredging of
the River Niger up to Baro in Niger State is
opening up large parts of the Nigerian
hinterland to maritime activity.
The Zungeru and Mambilla Hydro-electric
power projects are on course, and the
Kashimbilla dam which we started a few
years ago, is nearing completion. The
successful privatisation of our power sector
will in the long run enhance industrial
growth. Policies such as this and others have
raised Nigeria to the enviable status of being
the number one recipient of Foreign Direct
Investment in Africa in the past year.
The result of this infrastructure drive is that
two and a half million jobs have been
created over the past two years. This is a
record, which we are committed to improve
upon to continue to provide jobs for our
youth.
An unprecedented number of Airports
across the country, are not only being
reconstructed at the same time, but being
re-equipped and reassessed with emphasis
on maintaining global standards.
Fellow Nigerians, the goals we set to achieve
for our country involve expanding the
frontiers of economic freedom. Let us
therefore unite with one heart and one
mind. All our people must have access to the
good things of life. All our people must be
empowered to pursue the gift of life with
happiness. This is our country; we must
build it for our common posterity.
As we move into an election year, desperate
moves to overheat the polity are becoming a
regular occurrence. Our political leaders in
particular must know that the contest for
power should not translate to the
destruction of the polity.
The contest for the leadership of our
country must yield good governance, and
not ungovernable spaces. The love of
country should rank higher than our
individual ambitions.
We must remain committed to a united and
indivisible Nigeria within democratic
parameters. The protection of individual
rights, liberty, equality before the law,
freedom of thought, and a progressive
pursuit of a sound economy must be our
goal.
I cannot end this address without
commenting on the deadly Ebola Virus
Disease (EVD) which was sadly brought into
our country recently. My directives to the
Federal Ministry of Health saw the ministry
leading the charge in curtailing the spread of
this deadly scourge and managing its impact.
This is how it should be: swift, effective and
comprehensive action in defence of citizens.
It must be pointed out that the Ebola battle
is still raging elsewhere in our sub-region. I
therefore enjoin all our citizens to continue
to adhere strictly to all the guidelines that
have been given by our health officials to
keep Ebola out of our country.
I appreciate and welcome the spirit of
collaboration, unity and partnership with
which we confronted the threat of the Ebola
Virus Disease. I thank all Nigerians for
working together to prevent what could
have become a major epidemic. I particularly
thank the medical personnel, some of whom
made the ultimate sacrifice.
This is the spirit which we must demonstrate
at all times as we face up to our challenges
as a nation: one people, united by a common
resolve, in the pursuit of one common
national interest.
As we look forward to another year in our
national life, I am more than confident that
our tomorrow will be better than our
yesterday and today. Nigeria has got the
human and material resources to excel and
we shall lead the way in that journey to our
manifest destiny.
Fellow countrymen, brothers and sisters, in
all our plans, and in all our words and our
actions, we must stand together in love and
unity, as one people under God.
We are one people from the womb of one
Nigeria. We are brothers and sisters. We are
one family. We are Nigerians.
God bless the Federal Republic of Nigeria.

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