President Muhammadu Buhari has said that the three and half year of his government has been spent in laying foundation for a new Nigeria, even as he is ready to move to the next level of building the type of nation that will be the envy of everybody.
“Over the last three and a half years, we have laid the foundations for a strong, stable and prosperous country for the majority of our people. Foundational work is not often visible, neither is it glamorous – but it is vital to achieving the kind of country we desire.”
The President, who spoke today, Sunday at an event to kick campaign for his re-election with the launching of campaign manual/next level document at the Presidential Villa, Abuja, said that judging by the depth of decay, deterioration and disrepair into which Nigeria was sank, “we are certain that these past few years have put us in good stead to trudge on the next level of building an even stronger nation for our people.”
He recalled that his government inherited a nation at war, but that with his government went on to deliver on its commitment to secure the territorial integrity of the nation in the face of a raging insurgency that devastated many parts of the North East.
“We liberated 17 Local Government Areas from the grip of insurgency. Brokering and sustaining peace in the Niger Delta has also been crucial to stabilizing the polity.
“Despite the difficult circumstances presented by weak oil prices and reduced oil production, we delivered on our commitment to make public investments to spur economic growth, job creation, and broad-based prosperity.
“Agriculture continues to expand our economic base, as do our investments in our deficient infrastructure across the length and breadth of this nation. We implemented a responsible and transparent fiscal plan for the challenging economic times that saw us doing more even with lesser oil revenues.
“The past history of grand-scale corruption perpetuated by the highest office in the land has been nipped in the bud just as the Treasury Saving Account has made it more difficult for ministries, departments and agencies to exercise the unrestrained liberties that helped foster a climate conducive to corruption. Now, for the first time, investments in capital projects to expand
infrastructure continue to connect people, goods and opportunities by rail, road and air.
“The Federal Government supported state governments with a bailout that enabled them to pay workers on their payroll.
“We took an unprecedented step towards creating a fairer and more equitable society by implementing Africa’s biggest social investment programme. Through the National Social Investments Programme, we are providing direct support to over 12 million Nigerians who need it by giving relief and assistance to unemployed youth, our children, the weak and vulnerable as well as small and medium businesses.”
Buhari said that even as his government lays the foundation for a stable and prosperous nation, he acknowledged that there is still much work to build on, adding that the next level of effort has an immense focus on job creation
“From an enlargement of the N-Power programme to investing in technology and creative jobs to Agriculture and others, there is scope for 10 million new jobs.
“The march away from a mono-economy must continue with our focus on an industrialization plan coming to fore. With specific plans underway to exploit the comparative advantage of the geo political zones and different states by developing six Industrial Parks and 109 Special Production and Processing Centres (SPPCs) across each senatorial district, our incremental move away from oil dependence is assured. In addition, our development of the Special Economic Zones will quickly concretize our Made in Nigeria for Export (MINE) plan.
“To sustain food production and value addition, our mechanization policy for agriculture will make tractors and processors easily accessible and available for farmers across Nigeria. We will continue a wide scale skilling policy, prioritizing technology to reach the demography of young people within the productive sector on a massive scale even as we create jobs and growth within our economy.
“We believe that our people who are still in poverty have a direct way out and up through our expanded National Social Investments Programme. We believe we can implement the painstaking and comprehensive work we have done to bring an end to the perennial conflict between farmers and herders- a conflict which is heightened by a struggle for land, water and pasture and the effects of climate change and every now and then, opportunistic and cynical manipulation by political actors. We are implementing a blend of measures that ensures that justice, order, modernization and new economic paradigms emerge.
“Perhaps our biggest ambition yet is the overhaul of our education sector. Every child counts – and simply, whatever it takes to prepare our teachers, curriculum and classrooms to attain the right educational goals that grow our country, will be done. We will remodel 10,000 schools every year and retrain our teachers to impart science, technology, engineering, art and mathematics using coding, animation, robotics to re-interpret our curriculum.
“We know that, to succeed, moral integrity and conscience must continue to form the dominant character of our nation and its leadership. Corruption is an existential threat to Nigeria. Despite the gains we have made in closing the gates, we know that there is still much ground to cover to stop systemic corruption. We are committed to deepening the work we started this first time such that the nation’s assets and resources continue to be organized and utilized to do good for the majority of our people.
“The next four years will be quite significant for our country. Nigeria is faced with a choice to keep building a new Nigeria- making a break from its tainted past which favoured an opportunistic few. Our choices will shape us – our economic security and our future prosperity. Nigeria, more than ever before, needs a stable and people-focused government to move the agenda for our country forward.”
President Buhari asked Nigerians to join him and his government “on this journey to the next level of a prosperous, strong and stable Nigeria.”