June 12 is the new democracy day in Nigeria and President Buhari during the celebration addressed the country.
Below are excerpts from his speech.
All Praise is due to GOD Almighty Who spared our lives to be present at this great occasion. We give thanks also that the democratic process has been further entrenched and strengthened.
- Twenty years ago, a democratically elected government took over from the military in a historic transfer of political power for our country.
- Today, we are privileged to mark the longest period of unbroken democratic leadership and 5th peaceful transfer of power from one democratically elected government to another in Nigeria.
- Throughout the last four years, I respected the independence of INEC. I ensured that INEC got all the resources it needed for independent and impartial management of elections in the country.
- All interested parties are agreed that the recent elections, which except for pockets of unrest, were free, fair and peaceful.
- I thank all the people who worked for our party, who campaigned and who voted for us. I thank my fellow Nigerians, who, since 2003 have consistently voted for me.
- Victory is your greatest reward; peace, unity and greater prosperity will be our collective legacy.
Your Excellencies, Fellow Nigerians,
- I and Nigerians collectively must give adequate thanks to our Armed Forces, Police and other law enforcing agencies for working round the clock to protect us by putting themselves in harm’s way and defending our values and protecting our future.
- Terrorism and insecurity are worldwide phenomena and even the best policed countries are experiencing increasing incidents of unrest and are finding things hard to cope.
- The principal thrust of this new Administration is to consolidate on the achievements of the last four years, correct the lapses inevitable in all human endeavors and tackle the new challenges the country is faced with and chart a bold plan for transforming Nigeria.
- Fellow Nigerians, I have had the privilege of free education from Primary school to Staff College to War College.
- I received my formative education in Katsina and Kaduna and my higher education in England, India and the United States.
- I have worked and served in Kaduna, Lagos, Abeokuta, Makurdi, Port Harcourt, Maiduguri, Ibadan, Jos and finally here in Abuja. Throughout my adult life, I have been a public servant. I have no other career but public service. I know no service but public service.
- I was involved at close quarters in the struggle to keep Nigeria one. I can therefore do no more than dedicate the rest of my life to work for the unity of Nigeria and upliftment of Nigerians.
- In 2002-2003 campaigns and elections, I travelled by road to 34 of the 36 states of the Federation. This year I travelled by air to all 36 states of the Federation.
- Before and during my time in the Armed Forces and in government, I have interacted with Nigerians of all ages and persuasions and different shades of opinion over a period of more than fifty years.
- And my firm belief is that our people above all want to live in peace and harmony with their fellow Nigerians. They desire opportunity to better themselves in a safe environment.
- Most of the instances of inter-communal and inter-religious strife and violence were and are still as a result of sponsorship or incitements by ethnic, political or religious leaders hoping to benefit by exploiting our divisions and fault lines, thereby weakening our country.
- And our country Nigeria is a great country. According to United Nations estimates, our population will rise to 411 million by 2050, making us the third most populous nation on earth behind only China and India.
- We have water, arable land, forests, oil and gas and vast quantities of solid minerals. We are blessed with an equable climate. However, the bulk of our real wealth lies in Agriculture, Livestock, Forestry and Mining. We possess all the ingredients of a major economic power on the world stage.
- What we require is the will to get our acts together. And our strength is in our people – our youth, our culture, our resilience, our ability to succeed despite the odds.