Full speech of Buhari 2019 Democracy Day celebration

Protocols

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.

  1. Twenty years ago, a democratically elected government took over from the military in a historic transfer of political power for our country.

  1. Today, we are privileged to mark the longest period of unbroken democratic leadership and 5peaceful transfer of power from one democratically elected government to another in Nigeria.

  2. 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.

  3. All interested parties are agreed that the recent elections, which except for pockets of unrest, were free, fair and peaceful.

  4. 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.

  5. Victory is your greatest reward; peace, unity and greater prosperity will be our collective legacy.

Your Excellencies, Fellow Nigerians,

  1. 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 harms way and defending our values and protecting our future.

  2. 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.

  3. 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.

  4. Fellow Nigerians, I have had the privilege of free education from Primary school to Staff College to War College.

  5. I received my formative education in Katsina and Kaduna and my higher education in England, India and the United States.

  6. 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.

  7. 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.

  8. 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.

  9. 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.

  10. 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.

  11. 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.

  12. 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.

  13. 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.

  14. 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.

  15. A huge responsibility therefore rests on this and succeeding Administrations to develop, harness and fulfil our enormous potential into a force to be reckoned with globally.

  16. Thus far, we Nigerians can be proud of our history since Independence in 1960. We have contributed to UN peace-keeping responsibilities all over the world; we have stabilized Liberia, Sierra Leone, Ivory Coast and two years ago we prevented the Gambia from degenerating into anarchy.

  17. Without Nigerian influence and resources, the liberation of Angola, Mozambique, Namibia, Zimbabwe and ultimately South Africa would have come at greater cost. This fact had been attested by none other than the late Nelson Mandela himself.

  18. Elsewhere, Nigeria is the Big Brother to our neighbours. We are the shock-absorber of the West African sub-region, the bulwark of ECOWAS and Lake Chad Basin Commission. We can therefore be proud to be Nigerians. We must continue to be Good Neighbours and Good Global Citizens.

  19. At home, we have been successful in forging a nation from different ethnicities and language groups: our evolution and integration into one nation continues apace.

  20. When, therefore we came to office in 2015 after a decade of struggle we identified three cardinal and existential challenges our country faced and made them our campaign focus, namely security, economy and fighting corruption.

  21. None but the most partisan will dispute that in the last four years we have made solid progress in addressing these challenges.

  22. When I took the oath of office on 29 May 2015, insecurity reigned. Apart from occupying 18 local governments in the North East, Boko Haram could at will attack any city including the Federal Capital, could threaten any institution including bombing the United Nations building and Police Headquarters in Abuja.

  23. Admittedly, some of the challenges still remain in kidnappings and banditry in some rural areas. The great difference between 2015 and today is that we are meeting these challenges with much greater support to the security forces in terms of money, equipment and improved local intelligence. We are meeting these challenges with superior strategy, firepower and resolve.

  24. In face of these challenges, our Government elected by the people in 2015 and re-elected in March has been mapping out policies, measures and laws to maintain our unity and at the same time lift the bulk of our people out of poverty and onto the road to prosperity.

  25. This task is by no means unattainable. China has done it. India has done it. Indonesia has done it. Nigeria can do it. These are all countries characterized by huge burdens of population.

  26. China and Indonesia succeeded under authoritarian regimes. India succeeded in a democratic setting. We can do it.

  27. With leadership and a sense of purpose, we can lift 100 million Nigerians out of poverty in 10 years.

  28. Following the 60 percent drop in oil prices between 2015 and 2016, through monetary and fiscal measures, we stimulated economic growth, curbed inflation and shored up our external reserves.

  29. We now have witnessed 8 quarters of positive growth in the economy and our GDP is expected to grow by 2.7 percent this year.

  30. Furthermore, our external reserves have risen to billion enough to finance over 9 months of current import commitments.

  31. This Administration is laying the foundation and taking bold steps in transforming our country and liberating our people from the shackles of poverty.

  32. First, we will take steps to integrate rural economies to the national economic grid by extending access to small-scale credits and inputs to rural farmers, credit to rural micro-businesses and opening up many critical feeder roads.

  33. Secondly, for small-scale enterprises in towns and cities, we shall expand facilities currently available so that we continue to encourage and support domestic production of basic goods and reduce our reliance of imported goods as I will outline later.

  34. For the next four years, we will remain committed to improving the lives of people by consolidating efforts to address these key issues as well as emerging challenges of climate change, resettling displaced communities and dealing decisively with the new flashes of insecurity across the country, and the impacts on food scarcity and regional stability.

  35. We are not daunted by the enormity of the tasks ahead. Instead, we are revived by this new mandate to work collaboratively with State and Local Governments, Legislators, the Diplomatic Corps and all Nigerians to rebuild and reposition our country as the heartbeat and reference point for our continent.

  36. Fellow Nigerians, Your Excellencies, Ladies