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Read President Buhari’s inaugural speech

Inaugural speech by His Excellency, President
Muhammadu Buhari following his swearing-in as
President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria on
29th May, 2015
I am immensely grateful to God Who Has
preserved us to witness this day and this
occasion. Today marks a triumph for Nigeria and
an occasion to celebrate her freedom and cherish
her democracy. Nigerians have shown their
commitment to democracy and are determined
to entrench its culture. Our journey has not been
easy but thanks to the determination of our
people and strong support from friends abroad
we have today a truly democratically elected
government in place.
I would like to thank President Goodluck
Jonathan for his display of statesmanship in
setting a precedent for us that has now made our
people proud to be Nigerians wherever they are.
With the support and cooperation he has given to
the transition process, he has made it possible for
us to show the world that despite the perceived
tension in the land we can be a united people
capable of doing what is right for our nation.
Together we co-operated to surprise the world
that had come to expect only the worst from
Nigeria. I hope this act of graciously accepting
defeat by the outgoing President will become the
standard of political conduct in the country.
I would like to thank the millions of our
supporters who believed in us even when the
cause seemed hopeless. I salute their resolve in
waiting long hours in rain and hot sunshine to
register and cast their votes and stay all night if
necessary to protect and ensure their votes count
and were counted. I thank those who tirelessly
carried the campaign on the social media. At the
same time, I thank our other countrymen and
women who did not vote for us but contributed
to make our democratic culture truly competitive,
strong and definitive.
I thank all of you.
Having just a few minutes ago sworn on the Holy
Book, I intend to keep my oath and serve as
President to all Nigerians.
I belong to everybody and I belong to nobody.
A few people have privately voiced fears that on
coming back to office I shall go after them. These
fears are groundless. There will be no paying off
old scores. The past is prologue.
Our neighbours in the Sub-region and our African
brethenen should rest assured that Nigeria under
our administration will be ready to play any
leadership role that Africa expects of it. Here I
would like to thank the governments and people
of Cameroon, Chad and Niger for committing
their armed forces to fight Boko Haram in Nigeria.
I also wish to assure the wider international
community of our readiness to cooperate and
help to combat threats of cross-border terrorism,
sea piracy, refugees and boat people, financial
crime, cyber crime, climate change, the spread of
communicable diseases and other challenges of
the 21st century.
At home we face enormous challenges. Insecurity,
pervasive corruption, the hitherto unending and
seemingly impossible fuel and power shortages
are the immediate concerns. We are going to
tackle them head on. Nigerians will not regret that
they have entrusted national responsibility to us.
We must not succumb to hopelessness and
defeatism. We can fix our problems.
In recent times Nigerian leaders appear to have
misread our mission. Our founding fathers, Mr
Herbert Macauley, Dr Nnamdi Azikiwe, Chief
Obafemi Awolowo, Alhaji Ahmadu Bello, the
Sardauna of Sokoto, Alhaji Abubakar Tafawa
Balewa, Malam Aminu Kano, Chief J.S. Tarka, Mr
Eyo Ita, Chief Denis Osadeby, Chief Ladoke
Akintola and their colleagues worked to establish
certain standards of governance. They might have
differed in their methods or tactics or details, but
they were united in establishing a viable and
progressive country. Some of their successors
behaved like spoilt children breaking everything
and bringing disorder to the house.
Furthermore, we as Nigerians must remind
ourselves that we are heirs to great civilizations:
Shehu Othman Dan fodio’s caliphate, the Kanem
Borno Empire, the Oyo Empire, the Benin Empire
and King Jaja’s formidable domain. The blood of
those great ancestors flow in our veins. What is
now required is to build on these legacies, to
modernize and uplift Nigeria.
Daunting as the task may be it is by no means
insurmountable. There is now a national
consensus that our chosen route to national
development is democracy. To achieve our
objectives we must consciously work the
democratic system. The Federal Executive under
my watch will not seek to encroach on the duties
and functions of the Legislative and Judicial arms
of government. The law enforcing authorities will
be charged to operate within the Constitution. We
shall rebuild and reform the public service to
become more effective and more serviceable. We
shall charge them to apply themselves with
integrity to stabilize the system.
For their part the legislative arm must keep to
their brief of making laws, carrying out over-sight
functions and doing so expeditiously. The judicial
system needs reform to cleanse itself from its
immediate past. The country now expects the
judiciary to act with dispatch on all cases
especially on corruption, serious financial crimes
or abuse of office. It is only when the three arms
act constitutionally that government will be
enabled to serve the country optimally and avoid
the confusion all too often bedeviling governance
Elsewhere relations between Abuja and the States
have to be clarified if we are to serve the country
better. Constitutionally there are limits to powers
of each of the three tiers of government but that
should not mean the Federal Government should
fold its arms and close its eyes to what is going on
in the states and local governments. Not least the
operations of the Local Government Joint
Account. While the Federal Government can not
interfere in the details of its operations it will
ensure that the gross corruption at the local level
is checked. As far as the constitution allows me I
will try to ensure that there is responsible and
accountable governance at all levels of
government in the country. For I will not have
kept my own trust with the Nigerian people if I
allow others abuse theirs under my watch.
However, no matter how well organized the
governments of the federation are they can not
succeed without the support, understanding and
cooperation of labour unions, organized private
sector, the press and civil society organizations. I
appeal to employers and workers alike to unite in
raising productivity so that everybody will have
the opportunity to share in increased prosperity.
The Nigerian press is the most vibrant in Africa.
My appeal to the media today – and this includes
the social media – is to exercise its considerable
powers with responsibility and patriotism.
My appeal for unity is predicated on the
seriousness of the legacy we are getting into. With
depleted foreign reserves, falling oil prices,
leakages and debts the Nigerian economy is in
deep trouble and will require careful
management to bring it round and to tackle the
immediate challenges confronting us, namely;
Boko Haram, the Niger Delta situation, the power
shortages and unemployment especially among
young people. For the longer term we have to
improve the standards of our education. We have
to look at the whole field of medicare. We have to
upgrade our dilapidated physical infrastructure.
The most immediate is Boko Haram’s insurgency.
Progress has been made in recent weeks by our
security forces but victory can not be achieved by
basing the Command and Control Centre in
Abuja. The command centre will be relocated to
Maiduguri and remain until Boko Haram is
completely subdued. But we can not claim to have
defeated Boko Haram without rescuing the
Chibok girls and all other innocent persons held
hostage by insurgents.
This government will do all it can to rescue them
alive. Boko Haram is a typical example of small
fires causing large fires. An eccentric and
unorthodox preacher with a tiny following was
given posthumous fame and following by his
extra judicial murder at the hands of the police.
Since then through official bungling, negligence,
complacency or collusion Boko Haram became a
terrifying force taking tens of thousands of lives
and capturing several towns and villages covering
swathes of Nigerian sovereign territory.
Boko Haram is a mindless, godless group who are
as far away from Islam as one can think of. At the
end of the hostilities when the group is subdued
the Government intends to commission a
sociological study to determine its origins, remote
and immediate causes of the movement, its
sponsors, the international connexions to ensure
that measures are taken to prevent a reccurrence
of this evil. For now the Armed Forces will be fully
charged with prosecuting the fight against Boko
haram. We shall overhaul the rules of
engagement to avoid human rights violations in
operations. We shall improve operational and
legal mechanisms so that disciplinary steps are
taken against proven human right violations by
the Armed Forces.
Boko Haram is not only the security issue
bedeviling our country. The spate of kidnappings,
armed robberies, herdsmen/farmers clashes,
cattle rustlings all help to add to the general air of
insecurity in our land. We are going to erect and
maintain an efficient, disciplined people – friendly
and well – compensated security forces within an
over – all security architecture.
The amnesty programme in the Niger Delta is due
to end in December, but the Government intends
to invest heavily in the projects, and programmes
currently in place. I call on the leadership and
people in these areas to cooperate with the State
and Federal Government in the rehabilitation
programmes which will be streamlined and made
more effective. As ever, I am ready to listen to
grievances of my fellow Nigerians. I extend my
hand of fellowship to them so that we can bring
peace and build prosperity for our people.
No single cause can be identified to explain
Nigerian’s poor economic performance over the
years than the power situation. It is a national
shame that an economy of 180 million generates
only 4,000MW, and distributes even less.
Continuous tinkering with the structures of power
supply and distribution and close on $20b
expanded since 1999 have only brought darkness,
frustration, misery, and resignation among
Nigerians. We will not allow this to go on. Careful
studies are under way during this transition to
identify the quickest, safest and most cost-
effective way to bring light and relief to Nigerians.
Unemployment, notably youth un-employment
features strongly in our Party’s Manifesto. We
intend to attack the problem frontally through
revival of agriculture, solid minerals mining as
well as credits to small and medium size
businesses to kick – start these enterprises. We
shall quickly examine the best way to revive
major industries and accelerate the revival and
development of our railways, roads and general
Your Excellencies, My fellow Nigerians I can not
recall when Nigeria enjoyed so much goodwill
abroad as now. The messages I received from
East and West, from powerful and small countries
are indicative of international expectations on us.
At home the newly elected government is basking
in a reservoir of goodwill and high expectations.
Nigeria therefore has a window of opportunity to
fulfill our long – standing potential of pulling
ourselves together and realizing our mission as a
great nation.
Our situation somehow reminds one of a passage
in Shakespeare’s Julius Ceasar
There is a tide in the affairs of men which,
taken at the flood, leads on to fortune;
Omitted, all the voyage of their life,
Is bound in shallows and miseries.
We have an opportunity. Let us take it.
Thank you
Muhammadu Buhari
President Federal Republic of NIGERIA
Commander in-chief-of the Armed forces

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