Viewpoint : Muhammadu Buhari

We would do well to reflect on what binds us together and the great strength our diversity bestows on us. Ours is an ambitious nation, and as citizens we have every right to look forward to the future with well-founded confidence and optimism, considering where we find ourselves today. There has been a steady improvement in the security situation in the north-east, and we remain committed to ending the crisis as soon as possible and to making the north-east safe for all. The police and other security and law enforcement agencies have been working under the most difficult conditions to keep the country safe. We will now continue to empower them by deepening their professionalism and providing all the necessary force multipliers and enablers required in order for them to prevail in the field.

We are diversifying away from a reliance on oil to increased manufacturing capacity, solid minerals development and agriculture. Efforts are on course in the Niger Delta to clean up polluted land, restore the hopes of youths in the region, re-establish livelihoods, and strengthen their capacity to guarantee a brighter future for themselves and for our country.

Nigeria is one of the countries in the world most affected by environmental degradation, as a consequence of climate change. We are signatories to almost all conventions and agreements aimed at slowing down the effect of climate change and mitigating its now evident consequences. The impact of the shrinking of Lake Chad on lives and livelihoods, and the pollution caused by oil exploitation activities alone, make it imperative for us to be at the forefront of the struggle for a safer and more sustainable environment. We will continue to mobilise international support for our efforts in this regard. Progress is being made in the fight against corruption and the recovery of stolen public funds and assets, despite vicious and stiff resistance. The shameful past practice of the brazen theft of billions of naira is no more. Shady deals and public contracts that were never delivered have become things of the past.

Consequently, and this is very evident across the country, we have done more with less in infrastructural developments. We have dealt with roads, railways, major bridges, schools, energy and power, air and seaports, and the welfare of both civilian and military serving and retired personnel, including the payment of legacy debts such as pension arrears. There is now an enabling environment for local and foreign investment in Nigeria. We are building a rules-based system, a level playing field that is free from fixers and intermediaries. This is the cornerstone to helping genuine investors and honest consumers, and the platform that will allow for the real reforms that we intend to deliver over the coming years. We are gradually strengthening the economy with a stable naira and falling inflation rate. We are building an economy that will move away from an over-reliance on oil. As a result, we have witnessed a massive return to farms and seen a bumper harvest, despite recurrent floods across the country.

Our youth plays a central role in Nigeria’s continuing progress and developments in all fields of our national endeavour, including technology, agriculture, mining, engineering and especially the creative arts. Together we are building a more diverse, inclusive and self-reliant economy. We have funded and are currently funding support for schools and universities to upgrade facilities and provide training programmes for entrepreneurs and rehabilitation schemes for victims of terrorism and human trafficking. At the international level, we remain a responsible and respected member of the international community, playing active positive roles within ECOWAS, the African Union and the UN, as well as all other regional and international organisations and institutions of which we are members. We will continue to support initiatives aimed at addressing the challenges of our times. Nigeria is on the right path for future development. All Nigerians work for a united, peaceful, prosperous and secure Nigeria, where all, irrespective of background, can aspire to succeed.