President Muhammadu Buhari, in a national broadcast this morning to mark Democracy Day, vowed to ensure that the “enemies of state sponsoring crises across the nation” are punished, adding that the trial of those arrested so far would start in earnest.
Also on the occasion of Democracy Day, prominent Nigerians, including former Vice-President Atiku Abubakar; National Leader, All Peoples Congress (APC) Bola Ahmed Tinubu; former President of the Senate, Bukola Saraki, and the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) yesterday called for genuine collaboration among the citizens of Nigeria in the collective struggle to reinforce democratic governance in the country.
The President in the Democracy Day broadcast reviewed his administration’s six years in office and concluded that much still needed to be done by him for Nigerians “despite the score of achievements recorded so far.”
Buhari said: “I will be the first to admit that in spite of our efforts and achievements which are there for all to see, there is still much more to be done and we are doing our best in the face of scarce resources and galloping population growth rate that consistently outstrips our capacity to provide jobs for our populace.”
He disclosed that security challenges facing the nation are being tackled frontally but added that “some criminally minded people” are thwarting his government’s efforts.
The President said: “When you elected me as your President in 2015, you did so knowing that I will put an end to the growing insecurity, especially the insurgency in the North East, but the unintended consequences of our scattering them in the North East pushed them further in-country which is what we are now facing and dealing with. We will, by the Grace of God put an end to these challenges too.
“Unfortunately, like in most conflict situations, some Nigerian criminals are taking undue advantage of a difficult situation and profiteering therefrom with the misguided belief that adherence to the democratic norms handicaps this Administration from frontally and decisively tackling them. We are already addressing these obstacles and we will soon bring some of these culprits to justice”.
He expressed his commitment towards providing an enabling environment for a free, fair and credible electoral system while his tenure lasts.
The President however advised Nigerians to play their part by getting involved at any level by “supporting a democratic system that works for all and not for a section or a select few and demand accountability from your elected leaders”.
The President adds: “My commitment towards 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.”
He also said his government was not against the campaign by some people for constitutional amendments to address the issue of marginalisation but stressed that the legislative arm has the constitutional power to address such matters.
The President said: “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”.
On his administration’s achievements, the President said they include: “Interventions led by Government and the Central Bank of Nigeria driving economic growth over the past six years, targeted mostly to the agricultural, services, infrastructure, power and health care sectors of the economy.
“In the manufacturing sector the CBN – BOI N200 billion facility financed the establishment and operations of 60 new industrial hubs across the country, creating an estimated 890,000 direct and indirect jobs.
“The CBN’s N50 billion Textile Sector intervention Facility increased capacity utilization of ginneries from 30% to nearly 90%.
“The Economic Sustainability Plan – our rebound plan for the COVID-19 pandemic developed in 2020 is currently being executed. The plan is primarily focused on the non-oil sector, which has recorded phenomenal growth contributing over 90% to the GDP growth in Q1 2021. Though marginal we have recorded GDP growth over two quarters; Q2 2020 and Q1 2021. This is evidence of a successful execution of the ESP by the Federal Government.
“My vision of pulling 100 million poor Nigerians out of poverty in 10 years has been put into action and can be seen in the National Social Investment Programme, a first in Africa and one of the largest in the world where over 32.6m beneficiaries are taking part. We now have a National Social register of poor and vulnerable households, identified across 708 local government areas, 8,723 wards and 86,610 communities in the 36 States and the FCT”.