President Muhammadu Buhari’s Independence day broadcast touched on a number of the issues plaguing Nigeria currently. From the agitation for Biafra to the current state of the fight against corruption, the President did not mince words.
Below is a list of them as culled from the speech put out by Femi Adesina, the media spokesman of President Buhari:
1. “October 1st remains a special date for all Nigerians as this marks the day when we attained one of the most precious of human desires — freedom. “Over the years the country has gone through trials and tribulations, but October 1st is always a day for celebrations.
2. “We should remind ourselves of the recent journey from 1999 – 2015, when our country happily returned to democratic rule. “However, in spite of oil prices being an average of $100 per barrel and about 2.1m barrels a day, that great piece of luck was squandered and the country’s social and physical infrastructure neglected. We were left with no savings and huge infrastructure deficit.
3. “In the past two years, Nigeria has recorded appreciable gains in political freedom. A political party at the centre losing elections of state governor, national sssembly seat and even state assemblies to the opposition parties is new to Nigeria. “Added to these are complete freedom to associate, to hold and disseminate opinions. Such developments clearly attest to the country’s growing political development. But like all freedoms, this is open to abuse.
4. “Recent calls on re-structuring, quite proper in a legitimate debate, has let in highly irresponsible groups to call for dismemberment of the country. We can not and we will not allow such advocacy.
5. “As a young army officer, I took part from the beginning to the end in our tragic civil war costing about 2m lives, resulting in fearful destruction and untold suffering. Those who are agitating for a re-run were not born by 1967 and have no idea of the horrendous consequences of the civil conflict which we went through.
6. “I am very disappointed that responsible leaders of these communities do not warn their hot-headed youths what the country went through. Those who were there should tell those who were not there, the consequences of such folly.
7. “On security, Nigerians must be grateful to our gallant Armed Forces for rolling back the frontiers of Boko Haram’s terrorism, defeating them and reducing them to cowardly attacks on soft and vulnerable targets.” 8. “Our Armed Forces in an effort to enhance the operational capability of troops of Operation Lafiya Dole have established mobile strike teams in the northeast. These will ensure the final push to wipe out the remnants of Boko Haram. “In addition, through targeted air strikes most of the leadership and identified logistics bases and routes of the insurgents have been neutralized. “The armed forces have established a naval presence in the Lake Chad Basin as part of the coordinated military efforts to curtail the movements or re-emergence of the sect in the area.” 9. “Equally commendable are contributions of the governors of Ondo, Edo, Delta, Imo, Cross River, Benue, Ogun, Kaduna and Plateau states for their support for the presidential initiative for palm oil, rubber, cashew, cassava, potatoes and others crops.
10. “We are fully aware that fighting corruption was never going to be a straightforward task. We expected corrupt elements to use any weapon to fight back, mainly judicial obstruction and political diversion. But we are determined to eradicate corruption from our body politic.” 11. “I call on all Nigerians to combat corruption at every turn. By not asking for and refusing to accept a bribe, by reporting unethical practices or by blowing a whistle, together we can beat corruption. “The government for its part will work for accountability at all levels – federal, state and local governments. Change will then be real.” 12. “As we enter the second half of our term of office, we intend to accelerate progress and intensify our resolve to fix the country’s challenges and problems.