…Restates Commitment to Free, Fair, Credible Electoral System …Asks Purveyors of Agitations of Self Determination to Seek Solace in National Assembly …As Tinubu Salutes Abiola’s Heroric Sacrifices President Muhammadu Buhari says the economic target of his six year old administration which winds up in 2023, is to lift 100 million Nigerians out of poverty in
…Restates Commitment to Free, Fair, Credible Electoral System
…Asks Purveyors of Agitations of Self Determination to Seek Solace in National Assembly
…As Tinubu Salutes Abiola’s Heroric Sacrifices
President Muhammadu Buhari says the economic target of his six year old administration which winds up in 2023, is to lift 100 million Nigerians out of poverty in the next 10 years, revealing that a total of 10.5 million persons were lifted out of poverty in the last two years.
Restating his administration’s commitment to creating an environment for free, fair and credible electoral system, he advised those complaining of marginalisation, leading to demands for self determination in some parts of the country to seek solace in the National Assembly.
Addressing the nation on the occasion of Democracy Day, the President is upbeat that, “Our over-all economic target of lifting 100 million Nigerians out of poverty in 10 years is our goal notwithstanding COVID-19.
“In the last two years we lifted 10.5 million people out of poverty – farmers, small-scale traders, artisans, market women and the like.
“I am very convinced that this 100 million target can be met and this informed the development of a National Poverty Reduction with Growth Strategy. The specific details of this accelerated strategy will be unveiled shortly.”
Scoring his administration high marks for the management of the COVID-19 pandemic, Buhari reels:
“In the last one year, Nigeria and the whole world faced COVID-19 for which no one was fully prepared.
“Our response to the pandemic involved making hard choices in balancing livelihoods and public health concerns. You are all living witnesses to how successful this has been due to a number of pro-active measures put in place. Our response to COVID-19 is globally acclaimed.
“We were able to ensure that the various lockdown measures did not impact too negatively on the ability of ordinary Nigerians to continue sustaining their livelihoods.
“During the pandemic, we disbursed N5,000 to 1 million Nigerians using a Rapid Response Register and advanced N20,000 to 750,000 beneficiaries of the Conditional Cash Transfer Progamme and provided 1.37 million Nigerians with palliatives from CACOVID.
“At the same time the Federal Government released 109,000 metric tonnes of food reserve stocks and 70,000 metric tonnes of grains to the poor and vulnerable in all 36 states of the federation.
“In addition, Government reduced interest rates from 9% to 5% for struggling businesses and extended credit facilities to 548,345 beneficiaries.”
While restating his commitment to providing an environment for a free, fair and credible electoral system, the President urges the citizenry “to play your part by getting involved at any level you can supporting a democratic system that works for all and not for a section or a select few and demand accountability from your elected leaders.”
On the decision to make June 12 Democracy Day instead of the previous May 29, the President explains:
“When this administration decided to change our Democracy Day from 29th May to June 12th in my first tenure, it was not only to honour the sacrifices of the men and women of our country who fought for the return to democracy but also to demonstrate our commitment to satisfy the aspirations of the people and creating an environment for democracy to be an accepted way of life.
“As your President, I remain committed to providing an enabling environment for a free, fair and credible electoral system under my tenure.
“However, you need to play your part by getting involved at any level you can supporting a democratic system that works for all and not for a section or a select few and demand accountability from your elected leaders.
“My commitment to bequeathing a sustainable democratic culture remains resolute, my pursuit of a fair society remains unshaken and my desire to see that Nigeria remains a country for each and every one of us has never been stronger.”
Responding to agitations of marginalisation, leading to demands for self determination in some parts of the country, the President asks the proponents to seek solace in the National Assembly.
“In responding to the challenges that this period imposes on us, Government also recognises the need to acknowledge notions of marginalisation and agitations for constitutional amendments among various segments of our population.
“While this government is not averse to constitutional reform as part of our nation building process, everyone must understand that the primary responsibility for constitutional amendments lies with the National Assembly.
“This body which, as I said, is the arm of government responsible for constitutional changes has concluded the preliminary stages of amending and improving our constitution in a way that the majority of Nigerians will be happy with.
“Government is, however, willing to play a critical role in the constitutional amendment process without usurping the powers of the National Assembly in this regard,” he says.
Restating his avowed commitment to “the corporate existence of Nigeria, Buhari maintains that, “As your President, I remain ever committed to upholding and defending Nigeria’s Corporate existence.
“In adhering to the Fundamental Objectives and Directive Principles of State Policy notably section 14(2)(b) I shall do all within my power to ensure that the Security and welfare of the people remain the primary purpose of government.”
Meanwhile, All Progressives Congress (APC) National Leader, Mr Bola Tinubu, has called on Nigerians to stand for democracy while saluting the heroic sacrifices of acclaimed winner of June 12, 1993 presidential election, Mr Moshood Kashimawo Abiola.
Tinubu made the call in a congratulatory message to the nation on Friday.
According to the APC leader, democratic good governance offers solutions to national challenges, urging that in spite of the challenges Nigerians were going through, they must stand for democracy.
“Democratic good governance offers the only reasonable solution to the challenges confronting Nigeria.
“Thus, we must stand for democracy today. We must stand for it, even more, tomorrow,” he said.
The former Governor of Lagos State also urged Nigerians to stand against whatever could hinder democracy.
He implored them to stand against those engaging in insurrection and violence as well as those trading in bigotry and hatred.
“We contend against those who would render the people ignorant and poor.
“We celebrate Democracy Day not only because we have come far but to help give us the social fuel and encouragement to continue onward because we have farther to go and even greater things to achieve as one nation and one people,” Tinubu said
The APC leader urged Nigerians to remember MKO Abiola whose victory in the June 12, 1993 Presidential Election was ‘stolen’.
He said: “Abiola remained steadfast and surrendered his own life so that we all might enjoy the democratic victory that was taken from him.”
TInubu said that without Abiola’s historic efforts and sacrifices, June 12 would not have been declared the nation’s Democracy Day.
He asked Nigerians to remember others who also sacrificed so much to bring democracy to Nigeria.
“We best honour these people not by reciting their names but by injecting the spirit and hope of democracy into our words and deeds.
“In becoming better democrats, we also become better at being Nigerians.
“I wish all of you a meaningful and happy Democracy Day,” he said.
Nigeria now marks its Democracy Day on June 12 annually instead of May 29.