..Lauds INEC, security agencies
…Renames Abuja Stadium after Abiola
AT LEAST 100 million Nigerians will be ushered into prosperity and improved standard of living above the poverty cut in the next 10 years.
President Muhammadu Buhari made the promise yesterday in his speech at the inaugural June 12 Democracy Day celebration in Abuja, pledging his administration’s commitment to ensuring rapid and positive growth of all sectors of Nigeria economy to move the country away from endemic poverty.
According to him, this will be achieved by consolidating on progresses already made in his first tenure. “Our Gross Domestic Product (GDP) is expected to grow by 2.7 per cent this year. Our external reserve has risen to 45 billion dollars, enough to finance over nine months of current equal commitments. The principal interest of this administration is to consolidate on the achievements of the last four years. In the last four years, we have made solid progress. We can lift 100 million Nigerians out of poverty in 10 years,” the president said.
Buhari equally stated that his administration has laid a foundation of taking bold steps in transforming the country and can only build on it to deliver the people from shackles of poverty.
“First we will take steps in integrating the rural economy to national economic grade by extending access to input to rural farmers as well as credit to rural micro businesses and opening up many critical feeder roads. Secondly, all small scale enterprises in towns and cities would share facilities currently available so that we can continue to encourage and support domestic production of basic goods to improve our lives,” he said.
The president also vowed to repeat his first four years successes in his second term with emphasis on recaliberating the economy building and infrastructure.
He highlighted Nigeria’s exit from recession, successes against Boko Haram militants – including the return of the kidnaped Chibok schoolgirls, road and railways construction, and loans for farmers, as some landmarks of his administration in his first term, adding that he would continue to build roads, fix the electricity grid and improve other infrastructure as well as investing in agriculture.
“When economic inequality rises, insecurity rises. But when we actively reduce inequality through investments in social and hard infrastructure, insecurity reduces. We are not daunted by the enormity of the task ahead,” Buhari reiterated.
In a related development, President Buhari has commended Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) and Nigerian security agencies for conducting free and fair general polls in 2019.
He made the commendation during the June 12 Democracy Day celebration at the Eagle Square in Abuja yesterday, disclosing that INEC was given all the necessary support by providing the commission with all the resources needed for successful electoral process.
According to him, the various security agencies in the country must be commended for maintaining peace and order and for laying down their lives to protect the nation.
“Today, we are privileged to mark the 9th secretariat of unbroken democracy leadership and peaceful transfer of power; we have won a democratic election government for another four years in Nigeria.
Throughout the last four years, I respected the independency of INEC, I ensured that INEC got every resources needed to independently conduct impartial management of elections in the country. Political parties can agree that the recent elections, 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 consistently voted for me. I and Nigerians must collectively commend our Armed Forces and other security agencies for working round the clock to protect us by putting themselves to protect our future,” Buhari said.
Similarly, Buhari used the occasion to blame instances of inter-communal and inter-religious strife and violence on ethnic, political or religious leaders, adding that these leaders incite and sponsor violence to exploit fault lines and thereby weaken the country as way of sabotaging his administration in its fight against corruption.
“When I took the oath of office on May 29, 2015, insecurity reigned. Apart from occupying 18 local government areas (LGAs) in the Northeast, Boko Haram can at will attack any city including the Federal Capital Territory; can threaten any institution including bombing the United Nations building and Police Headquarters in Abuja.
Admittedly, some of the challenges still remain in kidnapings 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,” he said.