President Goodluck Jonathan's Independence Speech - PRAISECAMP ENT.

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President Goodluck Jonathan's Independence Speech

2014 Independence Day Broadcast by His Excellency, President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan, GCFR Wednesday 1st October, 2014 Fellow Nigeri...

2014 Independence Day Broadcast by His Excellency, President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan, GCFR
Wednesday 1st October, 2014

Fellow Nigerians:
1. Today marks the 54th anniversary of our country’s
independence as a sovereign nation. This is also the
tenth month of our journey into a new century, having
marked the centenary of our nation in January this year.

2. The first one hundred years were marked by triumphs
and tribulations, benefits and burdens, opportunities and
challenges. We made some far reaching advances in
building a strong, united and prosperous nation. We also
overcame the forces of disunity that culminated in a
debilitating civil war. We have also renewed our faith in
one another, and in our country. We have proven that we
are truly a resilient nation.

3. In my address to the nation last year, I did emphasize
that we were in a sober moment in our country. We are
still in that mood in spite of the many accomplishments
of our administration. Our sombreness has to do with
the crises of nationhood occasioned by the activities of
terrorist elements who have done the unimaginable to
challenge our unity as a people.

4. On an occasion like this, it is important that we
remember all the precious souls that have been lost in
the unprecedented war of terror unleashed on some
parts of our country by these individuals who want to
compel us to live our lives their way. They will not

5. In their mission, they have maimed and raped. They
have killed men, women and children, rendering many
children orphans and several women widows
6. They have made violence their ideology and are bent
on destroying our country. Dear countrymen and women,
we will not allow them.

7. Night after night, day after day, our security forces
continue to engage the terrorists in battle. My gratitude
goes out to our armed forces whose will has been
greatly challenged by this insurgency more than any
other time, since the civil war.

8. Yet, they have remained undaunted and unwearied in
the face of constant challenge and mortal danger. Driven
by patriotic zeal, they are turning the tide by their
prowess and determination. As Commander-in-Chief, I
will continue to do all it takes to enable them to keep on
inflicting devastating blows at the heart of terror. Fellow
Nigerians, it is our collective duty as patriots to avail
our men and women in uniform of all the support they
need to fight and win this war.

9. This Administration is committed to making Nigeria
safe for all Nigerians, irrespective of our places of birth,
how we worship God and our political persuasion. To all
those waging war against our country, I ask that you lay
down your arms and embrace peace.

10. To those who have genuine grievances, I affirm that
Nigeria will listen to you, if you bring your grievances to
the table of dialogue. To the good people of Nigeria, let
me restate that our task of building a better and greater
country must not waver.

11. While we continue to deploy our resources in the
fight against the terrorists, we do recognize the great toll
the conflict is taking on our people.

12. This is why, to assist the afflicted, we have launched
the Victims Support Fund, an independent multi-sectoral
charity, which will aggressively solicit resources to
augment Government’s statutory intervention, in bringing
succour to the injured, the displaced and the bereaved.

13. In partnership with Nigerian business leaders and
international partners, we have also introduced the Safe
Schools Initiative which is aimed at promoting safe
environments for education nationwide, starting with the
North East region.

14. The Presidential Initiative for the North East, a
comprehensive programme to fast-track the economic
restoration of this region, which has been the epicentre
of terrorist activity, has been set up.

15. Our overall objective is to do all we possibly can, to
sustain in the North-East, the momentum of economic
advancement, which is on-going in other parts of the
country, despite the machinations of the terrorists and
their sponsors.

16. It should now be clear to anyone who was ever in
doubt that these terrorists do not mean well for anyone,
of whatever religion or dispensation. Their persistent
choice of the weakest and most vulnerable in society,
for gruesome attack, provides an insight into their
abnormal mind-set.

17. I urge every Nigerian to put aside political, sectional
or other parochial considerations, and support whole-
heartedly the efforts of the government and the military,
in checking this evil.

18. We are grateful to the international community, and
especially our neighbours who are working closely with
us in confronting this challenge, for their increased
partnership and solidarity. Our steady progress in
weakening the insurgency has certainly justified our

19. Fellow Nigerians, in my independence anniversary
address last year, I informed you that we had taken
cognizance of the suggestion over the years by well-
meaning Nigerians on the need to focus attention on
rebuilding and strengthening the ligaments of our union.
It was in that regard that we announced the convening
of a National Dialogue on the future of our beloved

20. We have successfully delivered on that promise as
we established the 2014 National Conference headed by
Justice Legbo Kutigi. After months of deliberations,
which did not come without its challenges, the
conference concluded its assignment and has handed its
Report to me.

21. I have made a firm commitment that we would act
on the recommendations of the conference. This, I have
started by setting up the Ministerial Committee headed
by the Honourable Attorney General of the Federation to
work out the modalities for implementing the Report.
Every promise I make, God willing, I will see to its
fulfilment. I assure you, we shall implement the report.

22. One major lesson which the 2014 National
Conference has taught us as a country is that, a multi-
ethnic country like ours, must learn to embrace
painstaking dialogue until consensus is established.

23. To me, the National Conference is the greatest
centenary gift to our country that we must cherish and

24. Fellow Nigerians, our 54 year-journey as a nation has
not been easy. There have been tough periods, but the
Nigerian spirit and the unflagging resilience of our people
have seen us through. We will continue to march forward
to greater heights.

25. We have been able to sustain a big, strong and
influential country with a robust economy. We are
currently in our sixteenth year of uninterrupted
democratic rule, daily improving on the consolidation of
our democratic process.

26. Our Administration has made a commitment to
ensure that we build and sustain a democratic
infrastructure anchored on free and fair elections.
International and local observers have attested to the
positive evolution of electoral credibility and we cannot
afford to relent.

27. We will continue to ensure that the will of the
electorate prevails so that political leaders would be
reminded at all times that there is a day of reckoning
when they have to go back to the people at the polls.
Election days must not be days of violence and death.
We must remain vigilant to ensure that our electoral
process is characterised by peace, security and

28. I enjoin the Independent National Electoral
Commission (INEC), all security agencies, politicians and
the electorate to work conscientiously and peacefully,
together, to consolidate on the gains of the recent
elections. Free and fair elections have come to stay;
nothing else will be acceptable to our people.

29. My dear countrymen and women, occasions such as
this present an opportunity to thank God for our country
and to report to you, on our journey so far.

30. Our power sector reform is on course with the
ultimate objective of generating enough electricity to
power our homes, industries and businesses. We are
making giant strides in the Agricultural Sector which we
are re-positioning to diversify our economy. We will
continue to upgrade our infrastructure to make life
easier for all and create an enabling environment for
enterprise to flourish.

31. Over the last four years, the implementation of the
Nigerian Content Act in the Oil and Gas Sector has
ensured major increase in the participation of
indigenous Oil and Gas companies in the industry.
Several critical infrastructure projects have been
commissioned and commenced. The level of indigenous
asset ownership has greatly increased and utilisation of
Nigerian-owned and built assets such as marine vessels
and rigs is being progressively enforced.

32. There has been maximised local value addition by
encouraging the manufacture of equipment components
and parts within the country. There has also been
massive growth in indigenous participation in the
provision of goods and services to the upstream sector
from 10% to 60% within the last four years.

33. Today, following the rebasing of our economy, every
international monitoring and ratings agency now
acknowledges Nigeria as the largest economy in Africa,
with a Gross Domestic Product of five hundred and ten
billion dollars ($510 billion) which also places us as the
26th largest economy in the world. This is progress.

34. Earlier in the year, we launched the Nigeria Industrial
Revolution Plan (NIRP) and the National Enterprise
Development Programme (NEDEP) with the stated
objective of fast tracking inclusive growth, job creation,
enterprise development and industrialisation.

35. The success of these policies is already evident in
the increased value addition in the agricultural and
manufacturing sectors.

36. In line with our objective of encouraging the
production of made-in-Nigeria vehicles and making
Nigeria a regional hub for the automobile industry, a
number of foreign auto manufacturers have established
plants in Nigeria, complementing the laudable efforts of
our local vehicle manufacturers who have also
demonstrated great innovation and competitiveness.

37. We have also launched a special support programme
for Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises with an initial
intervention fund of two hundred and twenty billion naira
(N220 b). This is in addition to the Presidential Job
Creation Board which I inaugurated recently with the
charge to create three million jobs annually.

38. In demonstration of our Administration’s
commitment to addressing Nigeria’s housing deficit, we
have commenced the new mortgage re-finance
programme with the establishment of the Nigerian
Mortgage Re-finance Company. It is expected that, in
addition to creating additional housing units across the
country, this initiative also represents a huge job
creation opportunity.

39. We have recorded notable success in the social
sector. Nigeria has been globally acknowledged for
reducing extreme hunger by more than half, with the
Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) formally
presenting the country with an award for achieving the
Millennium Development Goal on Hunger three years
ahead of the 2015 target date set for the Millennium
Development Goals.

40. This progress is as a result of the deliberate policy
of government to increase capacity in our agricultural
sector of which the first step was to address and
eliminate the graft in our fertilizer procurement system
and ensure that the product gets directly to the farmer.
We are expanding our irrigation infrastructure to ensure
that our farmers have sufficient water supply for dry
season farming.

41. A benefit of these combined actions is that our
national food import bill has declined from 1.1 trillion
naira (6.9 billion dollars) in 2009 to 684.7 billion naira
(4.35 billion dollars) by December 2013, and continues to

42. Modern hybrid schools are being provided for less
privileged children across the country, resulting in
significant increase in the national school enrolment

43. In order to further enhance access to education at
the tertiary level, fourteen new Federal Universities have
been established; and, to encourage persons of
exceptional abilities, our Administration has also
introduced a Presidential Scholarship Scheme based
strictly on excellence and merit.

44. On infrastructure, we are building roads, bridges, and
new rail lines to make it easier to traverse Nigeria and
increase the integration of our people and our ability to
do business with each other. In this regard, we have
commenced the process of building the Second Niger
Bridge. The Loko-Oweto Bridge over River Benue in
Nasarawa and Benue States, will significantly reduce
travel time by road between Northern and Southern
Nigeria. The on-going dredging of the River Niger up to
Baro in Niger State is opening up large parts of the
Nigerian hinterland to maritime activity.

45. The Zungeru and Mambilla Hydro-electric power
projects are on course, and the Kashimbilla dam which
we started a few years ago, is nearing completion. The
successful privatisation of our power sector will in the
long run enhance industrial growth. Policies such as this
and others have raised Nigeria to the enviable status of
being the number one recipient of Foreign Direct
Investment in Africa in the past year.

46. The result of this infrastructure drive is that two and
a half million jobs have been created over the past two
years. This is a record, which we are committed to
improve upon to continue to provide jobs for our youth.

47. An unprecedented number of Airports across the
country, are not only being reconstructed at the same
time, but being re-equipped and reassessed with
emphasis on maintaining global standards.

48. Fellow Nigerians, the goals we set to achieve for our
country involve expanding the frontiers of economic
freedom. Let us therefore unite with one heart and one
mind. All our people must have access to the good
things of life. All our people must be empowered to
pursue the gift of life with happiness. This is our
country; we must build it for our common posterity.

49. As we move into an election year, desperate moves
to overheat the polity are becoming a regular
occurrence. Our political leaders in particular must know
that the contest for power should not translate to the
destruction of the polity.
50. The contest for the leadership of our country must
yield good governance, and not ungovernable spaces.
The love of country should rank higher than our
individual ambitions.

51. We must remain committed to a united and
indivisible Nigeria within democratic parameters. The
protection of individual rights, liberty, equality before the
law, freedom of thought, and a progressive pursuit of a
sound economy must be our goal.

52. I cannot end this address without commenting on the
deadly Ebola Virus Disease (EVD) which was sadly
brought into our country recently. My directives to the
Federal Ministry of Health saw the ministry leading the
charge in curtailing the spread of this deadly scourge
and managing its impact. This is how it should be: swift,
effective and comprehensive action in defence of

53. It must be pointed out that the Ebola battle is still
raging elsewhere in our sub-region. I therefore enjoin all
our citizens to continue to adhere strictly to all the
guidelines that have been given by our health officials to
keep Ebola out of our country.

54. I appreciate and welcome the spirit of collaboration,
unity and partnership with which we confronted the
threat of the Ebola Virus Disease. I thank all Nigerians
for working together to prevent what could have become
a major epidemic. I particularly thank the medical
personnel, some of whom made the ultimate sacrifice.

55. This is the spirit which we must demonstrate at all
times as we face up to our challenges as a nation: one
people, united by a common resolve, in the pursuit of
one common national interest.

56. As we look forward to another year in our national
life, I am more than confident that our tomorrow will be
better than our yesterday and today. Nigeria has got the
human and material resources to excel and we shall
lead the way in that journey to our manifest destiny.
57. Fellow countrymen, brothers and sisters, in all our
plans, and in all our words and our actions, we must
stand together in love and unity, as one people under

58. We are one people from the womb of one Nigeria. We
are brothers and sisters. We are one family. We are

59. God bless the Federal Republic of Nigeria.

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