President Muhammadu Buhari has promised that despite the fragile unity of the state and calls for secession from certain quarters, Nigeria would not “break up under me.”
The President said, “In the past two years, Nigeria has recorded appreciable gains in political freedom. A political party at the centre losing governorship elections, National Assembly seats and even state assemblies to opposition parties is new to Nigeria.
“Added to these is a complete freedom to associate, to hold and disseminate opinions. Such developments clearly attest to the country’s growing political development.
“Recent calls for re-structuring, quite proper in a legitimate debate, has let in highly irresponsible groups to call for dismemberment of the country. We cannot and we will not allow such advocacy.
“As a young army officer, I took part from the beginning to the end of our tragic civil war costing about two million lives, resulting in fearful destruction and untold suffering. Those who are agitating for a rerun were not born by 1967 and have no idea of the horrendous consequences of the civil conflict which we went through.
“Government is keeping up the momentum of dialogue with stakeholders in the Niger Delta to keep the peace. We intend to address genuine grievances of the communities.
“Government is grateful to the responsible leadership of those communities and will pursue lasting peace in the Niger Delta.”
“The APC government’s rallying cry to restore security, rebalance the economy and fight corruption was not all rhetoric.
“The country must first be secured. The economy must be rebalanced so that we do not depend on oil alone.
“We must fight corruption, which is Nigeria’s number one enemy. Our administration is tackling these tasks in earnest,” he said.
The President highlighted some of the achievements of his administration in the last two years in the areas of security, economy, and the fight against corruption.
He said as the nation entered the second half of his four-year term of office, he intended to accelerate progress and intensify his resolve to fix the country’s challenges and problems.
On security, he said Nigerians must be grateful to the nation’s Armed Forces for rolling back the frontiers of Boko Haram’s terrorism, defeating them and reducing them to “cowardly attacks on soft and vulnerable targets.”
He thanked the country’s neighbours and the international community for the collective efforts to defeat terrorism.
“Government is working round the clock to ensure the release of the remaining Chibok girls, as well as other persons in Boko Haram captivity. Government will continue to support the Armed Forces and other security agencies to fight not only terrorism, but kidnapping, armed robbery, herdsmen/farmers violence and to ensure peace, stability and security in our country,” he added.
“Since December last year, this administration has produced over seven million 50kg bags of fertiliser. Eleven blending plants with a capacity of 2.1 million metric tons have been reactivated. We have saved $150m in foreign exchange and N60bn in subsidy. Fertiliser prices have dropped from N13,000 to N5,500 per 50kg bag.
“Furthermore, a new presidential initiative is starting with each state of the federation creating a minimum of 10,000 jobs for unemployed youths, again with the aid of CBN’s development finance initiatives.
“Power remains a huge problem. As of September 12, production of power reached an all-time high of 7,001 megawatts. Government is increasing its investment, clearing up the operational and financial logjam bedevilling the industry. We hope to reach 10,000 megawatts by 2020.
“Key priorities include better energy mix through solar and hydro technologies. I am glad to say that after many years in limbo, the Mambilla Power Project has taken off.
“Elsewhere in the economy, the special window created for manufacturers, investors and exporters and foreign exchange requirements has proved very effective. Since April, about $7bn has come through this window alone. The main effect of these policies is improved confidence in the economy and better investment sentiments.
“The country has recorded seven consecutive months of lower inflation, naira rate is beginning to stabilise, appreciating from N525 per $1 in February this year to N360 today. Broad-based economic growth is leading us out of recession.
“Furthermore, in order to stabilise the polity, the Federal Government gave additional support to states in the form of State Excess Crude Account loans, Budget Support Facility, and Stabilisation Fund Release to state and local government as follows: N200bn in 2015; N441bn in 2016; and N1tn in 2017, totalling N1.642tn.