by Muhammed Buhari
I am very pleased to be here today as part of this induction programme and to address the elected Members of the 8th National Assembly. I heartily congratulate all of you for being found worthy to be elected by Nigeria’s citizens in a fair and transparent election process.
I am delighted to say that we stand on the threshold of history. For the first time in our post independence history, power is going to be transferred from an incumbent ruling party to an opposition party. This is inspite of predictions of calamitous outcomes. Nigerians have indeed proven once again that they are a united people and stand resolute to protect its growing democracy.
I wish to specifically acknowledge and laud the maturity exhibited by the political class, the professionalism of our security agencies, the competence and resilience of INEC, but above all the doggedness of Nigerians and their commitment to ensuring that their wishes are represented and respected.
I daresay, it is equally a victory for all political parties and their leaderships for according due respect to the electoral process and accepting the results in most cases.
I wish to specifically acknowledge the role played by the President, H.E Goodluck Ebele Jonathan for accepting the results of the election before final announcement was made.
The legislature is a critical component and necessary ingredient of democracy and good governance. The legislature by nature is inherently democratic in the sense that all members are equal and are elected representatives of the Nigerian people. As President-Elect, I recognize this fact and believe that legislators carry this heavy burden of representation with all the seriousness it deserves. For a president to be successful in addressing community development and general welfare of the various people of the country, he or she would benefit from working closely and in harmony with the legislative arm of government. I therefore commit myself to working with the legislature as development partners motivated by the desire to deliver good governance.
Distinguished Elected Members of the 8th National Assembly, we are all aware of the challenges our dear nation has been facing and will continue to do so in the near future.
These daunting challenges include:
– General insecurity and insurgency that has caused extreme human hardship and destruction of lives, livelihoods that may take us over a decade to rebuild across most of North Eastern Nigeria and some parts of North western Nigeria.
– Devastation and environmental degradation in the Niger Delta area which must be attended to.
– Decline in revenues due to fall in oil prices which poses a threat to Government’s capacity to deliver on reconstruction of devastated areas and the new government development agenda.
– Endemic corruption which has crippled human and infrastructure development for decades.
– Unacceptably poor provision of power supply which has had a crippling effect on development of small businesses and indeed the wider economy.
– Deindustrialization for the past 3 decades leading to closure of many industries and migration of many to other African countries.
– Unacceptably high levels of unemployment and especially Youth Unemployment reaching over 40%.
– High cost of governance that has been crowding out capital and human development.
– Erosion of public social services such as infrastructure, health and education.
– Lack of development in the agricultural and solid mineral sectors.
Distinguished Members of the 8th National Assembly, I see these development challenges as the mission of my presidency. I need the support of the Members of National Assembly on the battle front. I need your support in many respects.
First and foremost, appropriate policies need to be put in place and such policies may have to be translated into
Secondly, the oversight functions of the legislature is critical in ensuring that policies are implemented effectively and transparently. Therefore, my mission to bring integrity into governance would better succeed if complemented with a strong culture of transparent oversight.
– Thirdly, we need to collaborate on the budget process and restructuring of the public sector so as to collectively tackle the menace of high recurrent cost at the expense of capital and human development.
– Fourthly, there is an urgent need to contain this high state of insecurity. All of you are representing various communities. We need to work together to address the problem from both its roots and manifestations.
The strongest mitigating forces at this point are to redress the power sector deficits, encourage investments that are job creating and focus on human development and reconstruction. We also need to deploy efforts in conflict resolution and peace building in all our communities.
I am here today, to invite you to work with the executive as partners in progress, as champions of good governance and development and as warriors for change. Together, we can make this nation great and as a role model in Africa and other emerging economies and democracies.
I wish you a successful completion of your induction programme. I wish all of you a successful and effective tenure in the service of our fatherland.
Muhammed Buhari is a former military dictator and president-elect of Nigeria. He delivered this speech to members of the Federal House of Assembly who have been elected in 2015.
The opinions expressed in this article are solely those of the author.