Friday, 30 October 2020

PRESS STATEMENT – ELECTION MONITOR CALLS ON THE SUPREME COURT OF THE FEDERAL REPUBLIC OF NIGERIA TO URGENTLY REVIEW ITS JUDGMENT OF THE 2019 ABIA GOVERNORSHIP ELECTION


 


PRESS STATEMENT – ELECTION MONITOR CALLS ON THE SUPREME COURT OF THE FEDERAL REPUBLIC OF NIGERIA TO URGENTLY REVIEW ITS JUDGMENT OF THE 2019 ABIA   GOVERNORSHIP ELECTION

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

The 2019 Abia  State Governorship Election held on 9th March 2019. On Wednesday 8th January 2020, the Supreme Court of Nigeria gave a judgment which affirmed the victory of Dr Okezie Victor Ikpeazu as governor.

Election Monitor believes that based on its own assessment the Supreme Court should urgently review its judgment of the 2019 Abia  State Governorship Election. The reasons leading to this position are attached.

Election Monitor felt it necessary to do an audit analysis of the 2019 Abia  State Governorship Election as a Nigerian organization that is committed to the promotion of good governance.

Long live the Federal Republic of Nigeria!

Nigeria shall prevail!

God Bless the Federal Republic of Nigeria!

Signed

Abiodun Ajijola

National Coordinator


PRESS STATEMENT – ELECTION MONITOR CALLS ON THE SUPREME COURT OF THE FEDERAL REPUBLIC OF NIGERIA TO URGENTLY REVIEW ITS JUDGMENT OF THE 2019 ABIA GOVERNORSHIP ELECTION




PRESS STATEMENT – ELECTION MONITOR CALLS ON THE SUPREME COURT OF THE FEDERAL REPUBLIC OF NIGERIA TO URGENTLY REVIEW ITS JUDGMENT OF THE 2019 KWARA GOVERNORSHIP ELECTION


 


PRESS STATEMENT – ELECTION MONITOR CALLS ON THE SUPREME COURT OF THE FEDERAL REPUBLIC OF NIGERIA TO URGENTLY REVIEW ITS JUDGMENT OF THE 2019 KWARA GOVERNORSHIP ELECTION

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

The 2019 Kwara State Governorship Election held on 9th March 2019. On Wednesday 8th January 2020, the Supreme Court of Nigeria gave a judgment which affirmed the victory of Alhaji Abdulrahman Abbulrazaq as governor.

Election Monitor believes that based on its own assessment the Supreme Court should urgently review its judgment of the 2019 Kwara State Governorship Election. The reasons leading to this position are attached.

Election Monitor felt it necessary to do an audit analysis of the 2019 Kwara State Governorship Election as a Nigerian organization that is committed to the promotion of good governance.

Long live the Federal Republic of Nigeria!

Nigeria shall prevail!

God Bless the Federal Republic of Nigeria!

Signed

Abiodun Ajijola

National Coordinator


Kindly click the link below:

PRESS STATEMENT – ELECTION MONITOR CALLS ON THE SUPREME COURT OF THE FEDERAL REPUBLIC OF NIGERIA TO URGENTLY REVIEW ITS JUDGMENT OF THE 2019 KWARA GOVERNORSHIP ELECTION





PRESS STATEMENT – ELECTION MONITOR CALLS ON THE SUPREME COURT OF THE FEDERAL REPUBLIC OF NIGERIA TO URGENTLY REVIEW ITS JUDGMENT OF THE 2019 LAGOS GOVERNORSHIP ELECTION



PRESS STATEMENT – ELECTION MONITOR CALLS ON THE SUPREME COURT OF THE FEDERAL REPUBLIC OF NIGERIA TO URGENTLY REVIEW ITS JUDGMENT OF THE 2019 LAGOS GOVERNORSHIP ELECTION

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

The 2019 Lagos State Governorship Election held on 9th March 2019. On Wednesday 18th December 2019, the Supreme Court of Nigeria gave a judgment which affirmed the victory of Mr Babajide Sanwo-Olu as governor.

Election Monitor believes that based on its own assessment the Supreme Court should urgently review its judgment of the 2019 Lagos State Governorship Election. The reasons leading to this position are attached.

Election Monitor felt it necessary to do an audit analysis of the 2019 Lagos State Governorship Election as a Nigerian organization that is committed to the promotion of good governance.

Long live the Federal Republic of Nigeria!

Nigeria shall prevail!

God Bless the Federal Republic of Nigeria!

Signed

Abiodun Ajijola

National Coordinator


Kindly click the link below:


PRESS STATEMENT – ELECTION MONITOR CALLS ON THE SUPREME COURT OF THE FEDERAL REPUBLIC OF NIGERIA TO URGENTLY REVIEW ITS JUDGMENT OF THE 2019 LAGOS GOVERNORSHIP ELECTION

 



 

Tuesday, 6 October 2020

President Buhari's Nigerian Independence Day 60th Anniversary full speech

 President Buhari's full speech

Fellow Nigerians,

I speak to you today as your President and fellow citizen on this epoch occasion of our country's 60th independence Anniversary.

As President, I wish to renew my appreciation to Nigerians for entrusting me with your hopes and aspirations for a better and greater Nigeria.

2. Today, it is my unique privilege to re-commit myself to the service of this great country of great people with profound diversities and opportunities. We are bound by destiny to be the largest and greatest black nation on earth.

3. At this stage in our nationhood it is important that we reflect how we got here to enable us work TOGETHER to get to where we aspire to be as a strong indivisible nation, united in hope and equal in opportunity.

4. On October 1st 1960 when Prime Minister Alhaji Abubakar Tafawa Balewa received the constitutional instruments symbolizing Nigeria’s independence, he expressed his wish that having acquired our rightful status as an independent sovereign nation, history would record that the building of our nation proceeded at the wisest pace.

5. This optimism was anchored on the peaceful planning, full and open consultation and harmonious cooperation with the different groups which culminated in Nigeria emerging as a country without bitterness and bloodshed.

6. Our founding fathers understood the imperative of structuring a National identity using the power of the state and worked towards unification of Nigerians in a politically stable and viable entity.

7. That philosophy guided the foundation that was laid for our young nation of 45 million people with an urban population of approximately 7million occupying an area of 910,768 square kilometers. These demographics led to development challenges for which major efforts were made to overcome.

8. Today, we grapple with multiple challenges with a population exceeding 200million occupying the same land mass but 52% residing in urban areas.

9. Sixty years of nationhood provides an opportunity to ask ourselves questions on the extent to which we have sustained the aspirations of our founding fathers. Where did we do the right things? Are we on course? If not where did we stray and how can we remedy and retrace our steps?

10. Upon attaining independence, Nigeria’s growth trajectory was anchored on policies and programmes that positively impacted on all sectors of the economy. However, this journey was cut short by the 30-months of civil war.

11. We came out of the civil war with a focus on reconstruction, rehabilitation and reconciliation that enabled the country to put in place world class development structures and a strengthened public service that well served the government. This positive trajectory continued with a return to democratic government which was truncated by another round of military rule.

12. For a cumulative 29 of our 60 years existence as a nation, we have been under military rule.

13. My summary of our journey so far as a nation is necessary to appropriately chart where we need to go and how to get there TOGETHER.

14. Today, I am aware that our economy along with every single economy in the world is in crisis. We still face security challenges in parts of the country, while our society suffers from a high loss of moral rectitude which is driven by unbridled craving for political control.

15. An underlying cause of most of the problems we have faced as a nation is our consistent harping on artificially contrived fault-lines that we have harboured and allowed unnecessarily to fester.

16. In addition, institutions such as civil service, police, the judiciary, the military all suffered from a general decline.

17. We need to begin a sincere process of national healing and this anniversary presents a genuine opportunity to eliminate old and outworn perceptions that are always put to test in the lie they always are.

18. The stereotype of thinking of ourselves as coming from one part of the country before seeing ourselves as Nigerians is a key starting point to project us on the road to our deserved nation’s evolution and integration.

19. To start this healing process, we are already blessed with the most important asset any nation requires for such – OUR PEOPLE – and this has manifested globally in the exploits of Nigerians in many fields.

20. It has been demonstrated time and time again that Nigerians in the diaspora frequently excel in science, technology, medicine, sports, arts and many other fields.

21. Similarly, the creativity, ingenuity and resourcefulness of the Nigerian at home have resulted in globally recognized endeavours.

22. I am convinced that if we pursue our aspirations TOGETHER we would be able to achieve whatever we desire. That informed our adopting the theme TOGETHER to mark this epochal event.

23. Together we can change our condition for the better and more importantly, together we can do much more for ourselves and for our country.

24. I chose the path of self-reflection because this is what I do on a daily basis and I must confess that at most times, I always felt the need for a collective reflection as I know that the foundation for a solid future which this administration is laying can only be sustainable if there is a collective commitment by Nigerians.

25. Nigeria is not a country for Mr. President, any ruling or opposition party but a country for all of us and we must play our part, irrespective of challenges we face, to make this country what we desire.

26. To achieve this, we must focus our minds, TOGETHER as a people, on ways of resolving the identified critical challenges that underlie our present state. These include:

a. Evolving and sustaining a democratic culture that leaves power in the hands of the people;

b. Supporting the enthronement of the rule of law, demanding accountability of elected representatives and contributing to good governance;

c. Increasing our commitment to peaceful co-existence in a peaceful, secure and united Nigeria;

d. Harnessing and Optimizing our tremendous human and natural resources to attain our goal of being in the top twenty economies of the world and in the process;

e. Lifting 100 million Nigerians out of poverty in 10 years;

f. Strengthening institutions to make them stronger in protecting National Interests; and

g. Imbibing tolerance in diversity.

27. I am a firm believer in transparent, free, fair and credible elections as has been demonstrated during my period as a democratically elected President.

28. The recent build-up and eventual outcome of the Edo State elections should encourage Nigerians that it is my commitment to bequeath to this country processes and procedures that would guarantee that the people’s votes count.

29. The problems with our electoral process are mainly human induced as desperate desire for power leads to desperate attempts to gain power and office.

30. Democracy, the world over and as I am pursuing in Nigeria, recognizes the power of the people. However, if some constituencies choose to bargain off their power, they should be prepared for denial of their rights.

31. This call is made more urgent if we realise that even after a transparent, free, fair and credible election, desperation leads to compromising the judiciary to upturn legitimate decisions of the people.

32. It is necessary to, therefore support the enthronement of the rule of law by avoiding actions which compromise the judiciary.

33. Fellow Nigerians, our history has shown that we are a people that have the capacity to live peacefully with one another.

34. As a government, we remain committed to our constitutional oath of securing the lives and properties of the citizenry. I, however, call on the citizenry to also support government by providing the necessary community level intelligence in addressing these challenges.

35. In moving forward together, it is important to strengthen our economy to provide sustainable means of livelihood for as many Nigerians as possible so as to eradicate absolute poverty from our midst.

36. I want to re-emphasize my dedication and commitment, a dedication and commitment that propelled my public service career and informed my quest to continually seek for an opportunity to improve the lives of Nigerians, set the country on the path of prosperity and lead the country to a better future.

37. This administration has been focused on rebuilding and laying the foundations for a sustainable Nigeria. Of course, we have met and are still meeting the challenges inherent in any rebuilding initiative – more so that of a nation like Nigeria that has undergone avoidable levels of deprivation – but can be surmounted if we all work together.

38. I wish to re-iterate that our people and our spirit of excellence remains our most important asset.

39. In this wise, the need to return to our age-old ethical and high moral values would be necessary and this informed my launching of the National Ethics and Integrity Policy on Monday 28th September, 2020.

40. The policy would not implement itself and the first contact of the visibility of its implementation is the Public Service whose on-going reforms would be expected to be sustainable and give a radical re-direction in providing services to all Nigerians.

41. Fellow Nigerians, in addition to public health challenges of working to contain the spread of the Coronavirus, we have suffered a significant drop in our foreign exchange earnings and internal revenues due to 40 per cent drop in oil prices and steep drop in economic activities, leading to a 60 per cent drop in government revenue.

42. Our government is grappling with the dual challenge of saving lives and livelihoods in face of drastically reduced resources.

43. In this regard, sustaining the level of petroleum prices is no longer possible. The government, since coming into office has recognized the economic argument for adjusting the price of petroleum. But the social argument about the knock-on effect of any adjustment weighed heavily with the government.

44. Accordingly, in the last three years, we have introduced unprecedented measures in support of the economy and to the weakest members of our society in the shape of:

a. Tradermoni

b. Farmermoni

c. School Feeding Programme

d. Job creation efforts

e. Agricultural intervention programmes

45. No government in the past did what we are doing with such scarce resources. We have managed to keep things going in spite of the disproportionate spending on security. Those in the previous Governments from 1999 – 2015 who presided over the near destruction of the country have now the impudence to attempt to criticize our efforts.

46. In the circumstances, a responsible government must face realities and take tough decisions.

47. Petroleum prices in Nigeria are to be adjusted. We sell now at N161 per litre. A comparison with our neighbours will illustrate the point;

a. Chad which is an oil producing country charges N362 per litre

b. Niger, also an oil producing country sells 1 litre at N346.

c. In Ghana, another oil producing country, petroleum pump price is N326 per litre.

48. Further afield, Egypt charges N211 per litre. Saudi Arabia charges N168 per litre. It makes no sense for oil to be cheaper in Nigeria than in Saudi Arabia.

49. Fellow Nigerians, to achieve the great country we desire, we need to solidify our strength, increase our commitment and encourage ourselves to do that which is right and proper even when no one is watching.

50. Fellow Nigerians, let us collectively resolve to continue our journey beyond the sixty years on the clear understanding that as a nation we are greater together than being smaller units of nationalities. By the special grace of God we shall come through any transient challenges.

51. It is my sincere hope that by the end of this anniversary on September 30th 2021, we will all be proud of taking this individual and collective self-assessment for the progress of our great Nation.

Long Live the Federal Republic of Nigeria.

God Bless us all. Thank you.

Sunday, 27 September 2020

PRESS STATEMENT: ELECTION MONITOR CALLS ON ALL NIGERIANS TO SHUN PROTESTS AGAINST FUEL PRICE HIKE AND ELECTRICITY TARIFF REVIEW BUT ENCOURAGES LABOUR AND OTHER STAKEHOLDERS TO TAKE A SOLUTION BASED APPROACH

 



PRESS STATEMENT: ELECTION MONITOR CALLS ON ALL NIGERIANS TO SHUN PROTESTS AGAINST FUEL PRICE HIKE AND ELECTRICITY TARIFF REVIEW BUT ENCOURAGES LABOUR AND OTHER STAKEHOLDERS TO TAKE A SOLUTION BASED APPROACH

Monday 28th September, 2020

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Election Monitor is a Nigerian organization that is committed to the promotion of good governance. Election Monitor strongly believes that the planned nationwide industrial action by The Nigerian Labour Congress (NLC), Trade Union Congress (TUC) as well as other groups is not the solution to the fuel price hike and electricity tariff review recently introduced by The Federal Government of Nigeria.

Firstly, Election Monitor would like to cast the attention of Nigerians and other stakeholders to late 2011 and early 2012 when the then Federal Government attempted to remove the subsidy on premium motor spirit (PMS) or petrol. It would be recalled that protests lasted several days. Clearly hindsight indicates that the action of the Federal Government at the time was the right action as a result of the endemic corruption in the subsidy scheme as well as its unsustainability for the country. However, nationwide protests were called and eventually the Government had to rescind its decision. The challenge is that ten years later Nigeria is at this same junction and unfortunately some stakeholders and citizens would want the nation to take the same unfortunate step it took ten years ago. After almost 10 years the nation has spent trillions on subsidy payments with almost no major benefit to Nigerians except a few who benefit tremendously from the scheme. The current Federal Government has taken the bull by the horns and deregulated which a plethora of economists and analysts agree is the right thing to do. For those who speak of timing the question is that how long do Nigerians want this scheme to be in place after almost ten years since the last significant attempt to get rid of it. The truth is that Nigeria is at least ten years (and much more actually) late already and any further delay to full deregulation will lead to possible catastrophe in the not so distant future. In line with this Election Monitor strongly commends the Federal Government of Nigeria for taking this bold decision despite the current backlash and challenging economic situation in the country.

Secondly, the electricity tariff hike has also been condemned by some who feel that the burden on citizens will be too much. Based on information made available by the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC) the new Service Based Tariff (SBT) is expected to achieve the following:

Ensure that prices charged by DisCos are fair to consumers but sufficient to allow recovery of efficient cost of operation including a reasonable return on capital invested in the business.  

Ensure that tariffs will be commensurate to the quality of service measured by number of hours and quality of service to clusters of electricity customers.

Provide the path to transitioning the Nigerian Electricity Supply Industry to service-based cost-reflective tariffs by July 2021.

Improvement in reliability and quality of supply on a progressive basis, as well as incentivize the operators to expedite metering of their customers.

In summary, the SBT is primarily designed to ensure that those who use more electricity pay more while those who use less pay less (what is the problem with that?). Nigerians must ask whether giving an electricity bill of the same amount to two houses who consume vastly different sums of electricity is actually fair and the right thing to do? Election Monitor strongly believes that the new Service Based Tariff is the way to go for Nigeria as it will ultimately work in favour of both consumers and the operators over time especially as it will encourage increased and much needed investment in the sector. What is critical here is to ensure that the objectives of the SBT are met and that there is effective regulation of the sector to ensure optimum compliance.

It is very clear that any attempt to reverse the deregulation of petrol or the new Service Based Tariff (SBT) while seeming to appear populist and beneficial for citizens in the short-run will lead to significantly increased levels of inefficiencies in petrol and power supply nationwide and eventually much greater hardship for more citizens and a considerably increased poverty rate. Nigerians need to ask whether they want a short-term fix to get a temporary high (and get deeper mired in poverty after the eyes are cleared) or a long-term solution though somewhat painful but that will bring a lasting joy and prosperity.

Election Monitor as stated earlier does not believe that a protest can in any way address the current challenges especially as a result of these new policies of Government. Therefore Election Monitor makes the following recommendations:

There is a need for citizens to refuse en mass to engage in any action which will lead to increased poverty and hardship for the people without addressing the core issues. Nigerians should remember around just a year ago protests were held against xenophobic attacks in South Africa with the resultant effect that many shops were looted and destroyed in some locations with some citizens being physically attacked. Many of the victims are struggling to get back on their feet if they are able to at all. While citizens have the right to protest citizens must ask what outcome will such an action produce considering the current realities?

Nigeria has spent several months in some level of lockdown which has had adverse effects on the economy. Many businesses (even the large ones) are barely making it, if operating at all while a plethora of people have been laid off with many receiving less pay but doing the same work with increasing living costs. Downing tools and shutting down the economy indefinitely will frustrate economic recovery efforts as well as pose a significant security risk to the peace and stability of the entire nation.

The Federal Government of Nigeria must urgently engage in massive and sustained grass roots sensitization of its new policies and why these are in the best interest of Nigerians for the long-term. Because there is a general trust deficit for Government, there is a need for Government to engage diverse stakeholders (some of which may have more credibility before the average citizen) to communicate these messages. An information gap means room for distortion of the facts and would allow anti-government agents to sow seeds of discord and misinformation to ultimately destabilize the country.

The NLC, TUC and other interested groups should not demand a policy reversal from Government but rather demand a framework (possibly backed by law) to ensure that the policies are fully implemented within a reasonable time frame with verifiable indicators. Labour should then hold, Government to this framework and ensure that the Government does what it says that it will do. Negotiations should not be about strike or no strike but should be about making sure these policies are implemented fairly, effectively and ubiquitously. For example most Nigerians understand that 24 hours power supply cannot happen overnight however what they detest is having to pay for power they do not consume. So Labour needs to hold Government and the operators accountable to ensure that all Nigerians are metered based on the presidential directive. Even though there is a cap for estimated billing Labour needs to advocate for a mechanism to ensure that this cap is not exceeded and that DisCos who flout this are held accountable. Ultimately once every power consumer has a meter the exploitation of citizens will drop significantly. This aspect of ensuring that the polices work for the average citizen should be the focus of Labour and other interested groups.

The NLC, TUC and other groups should demand the Federal Government establish a National Fund where all savings from subsidy withdrawal are accrued (other sources can contribute to this Fund as well). This fund should form the basis for a National Transportation Master Plan for Nigeria. The Federal Government alongside the state governments should come together (perhaps under the National Economic Council or any other platform) to agree on developing a nationwide public transportation system that will provide the average citizen access to quality and affordable transportation services without the purchase of a car or motorbike. This project will ensure that all major cities in Nigeria are accessible by rail and well coordinated bus services within the next ten years. The Federal Government should focus on Inter-State public transportation while states should focus on intra-state transportation (effective, time based local bus services; mono-rail connecting key locations in state capitals and other towns, trams etc). A plan to effectively utilize the nation’s waterways for safe and affordable transportation should also be included. Most importantly, The National Transportation Project would need to harmonise all the various means of transportation to ensure seamless interconnectivity. Trains get to airports; monorail gets to bus terminals and motor parks; boats get to motor or taxi parks etc. This project will be a truly national project and will require all states to cooperate and participate and commit to doing their own part. Once a state has signed into this the state is obligated to implement its own portion of the Plan irrespective of whoever is elected as state governor at the polls. This means continuity and a greater likelihood of success. Labour needs to drive discussions with Government to get this sort of transportation system functional with milestones that can be tracked and used to keep the project on track. Any state that fails to implement based on the timelines will face the ire of its people who will be sensitized about this Plan and will demand its prompt and full implementation. Since most Nigerians use petrol for transportation and power generation, these are the areas that must receive accelerated intervention with the savings from the withdrawal of subsidy. Once Nigerians see the National Public Transportation System coming to reality they will find it easier to accept the deregulation and increase in electricity tariffs. In addition some citizens and private concerns (both in and outside Nigeria) would be willing to invest in the Master Plan via a National Transportation Bond floated on the Nigerian Stock Exchange (and possibly other Exchanges) providing increased sources of funding for the project.

It is important to state that this Federal Government has already made gargantuan investments in the railway sector and clearly much more is needed and at a faster pace as much as is possible but having an organized National Transportation System is critical for socio-economic development in the country. Private refineries are fast coming on stream and local refining capacity will be very significant within the next five years.

Election Monitor calls on Labour and all stakeholders to shun any industrial action and discuss ways Government can make these policies work in the best interest of Nigerians. Citizens should increase their trust in Government especially considering the significant efforts made by Government in recent years despite the level of revenue coming into the country. This is a national problem and each state as well as the Federal Government, citizens, non-state actors and international partners need to support the process which will ultimately be in Nigeria’s interest.

Long live the Federal Republic of Nigeria!

Nigeria shall prevail!

God bless the Federal Republic of Nigeria!

Signed

Abiodun Ajijola

National Coordinator



Friday, 12 June 2020

Full text of President Buhari’s Democracy Day Speech 2020



Full text of President Buhari’s Democracy Day Speech 2020 


Fellow Nigerians, 
1. The 2020 celebration of Democracy Day marks 21 years of uninterrupted civil administration in our dear country. This day provides us an opportunity to reflect on our journey as a nation, our achievements and struggles.
  1. It is a day to honour our founding fathers who toiled to establish our republic and every Nigerian who has worked tirelessly to sustain it.
  2. We are celebrating this year’s Democracy Day despite the COVID-19 pandemic which afflicts our nation and the whole world.
  3. It is indeed a very difficult time for everyone especially those who have lost loved ones to the virus and those whose sources of livelihood have been severely constrained by the stringent measures we introduced at every level of government to contain the virus and save lives.
  4. The dedication of our health and other essential services staff towards containing this virus is a testament of our courage and resilience as a people and as a great nation, and I use this opportunity to say thank you to all of you for your service to the nation.
  5. Sustaining our democracy thus far has been a collective struggle, and I congratulate all Nigerians and particularly leaders of our democratic institutions on their resilience and determination to ensure that Nigeria remains a shining example of democracy.
  6. In my 2019 Democracy Day address, I promised to frontally address the nation’s daunting challenges, especially insecurity, economy and corruption. I therefore find it necessary to give an account of my stewardship on this day.
  7. We have recorded notable achievements in the course of implementing our nine priority objectives and are establishing a solid foundation for future success.
  8. On the economic front, our objectives have remained to stabilize the macroeconomy, achieve agricultural and food security, ensure energy sufficiency in power and petroleum products, develop infrastructure, fight corruption and improve governance.
  9. We have witnessed eleven quarters of consecutive GDP growth since exiting recession. The GDP grew from 1.91% in 2018 to 2.27% in 2019 but declined to 1.87% in the first quarter of 2020 as a result of the decline in global economic activities due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
  10. Every single economy in the world has suffered a decline. Ours has been relatively moderate.
  11. In order to stabilize the economy, the Monetary Authority took steps to build the external reserves which resulted in improved liquidity in the foreign exchange market. The external reserves grew from $33.42 billion on April 29th 2020 to about $36.00 billion in May, 2020 which is enough to finance seven months of import commitments.
  12. Agriculture remains the key to our economic diversification strategy. The Presidential Fertilizer Initiative programme continues to deliver significant quantities of affordable and high-quality fertilizers to our farmers. This initiative has also revived 31 blending plants and created a significant number of direct and indirect jobs across the value chain.
  13. Government is also revamping the cotton, textile and garment sector via a CBN Textile Revival Intervention Fund that would considerably reduce foreign exchange spent on cotton and other textile imports.
  14. Through the food security initiative, we are promoting “Grow What We Eat” and “Eat What We Grow”. I am also delighted that more and more Nigerians are taking advantage of the opportunities in the agriculture and agri-business sector. I assure you that government will continue to support the Agriculture sector through the CBN Anchor Borrowers Programme and similar schemes.
  15. To protect our farming investments, we have deployed 5,000 Agro-Rangers and employed 30,289 in our para-military agencies.
  16. We are also integrating rural communities to the formal economy by extending access to credit and inputs to rural farmers and building feeder roads.
  17. Our efforts on growing non-oil exports have started to yield some results. For instance, in the past year, our revenue from Cocoa and Sesame Seed increased by $79.4 million and $153 million.
  18. Africa presents a huge opportunity for our export base diversification and we are developing our strategy to grow intra-Africa trade through the Africa Continental Free Trade Area Agreement.
  19. Nigeria has risen by 25 places on the World Bank’s Ease of Doing Business ranking from 146th to 131st and is now rated as one of the top ten reforming countries.
  20. This development is due to the Visa on Arrival policy, consistent promotion of initiatives that expand facilities available to Micro Small and Medium Scale Enterprises, robust electronic registration and payment system, seamless processing of business registration and reduction of cost of registering business by 50%. We are confident that on-going efforts would result in further improvement of this rating.
  21. We remain committed to expanding our mining sector. To this end, I have directed the resuscitation of the Ajaokuta Steel Plant based on Government-to-Government financing and a Public-Private Sector financing.
  22. With foreign and domestic investments and the participation of Small Scale Miners, we are harnessing the supply value chain in gold production.
  23. We would also be launching a fully digitized mineral rights management platform for quick processing of mineral rights application, digitization of records and plugging revenue leakages.
  24. The Power Sector remains very critical to meeting our industrial development aspirations and we are tackling the challenges that still exist in the delivery of power through different strategies.
  25. We are executing some critical projects through the Transmission Rehabilitation and Expansion Programme including the:
a. Alaoji to Onitsha, Delta Power Station to Benin and Kaduna to Kano;
b. 330kv DC 62km line between Birnin Kebbi and Kamba;
c. Lagos/Ogun Transmission Infrastructure Project;
d. Abuja Transmission Ring Scheme; and
e. Northern Corridor Transmission Project.
  1. Our agreement with Siemens will transmit and distribute a total of 11,000 Megawatts by 2023, to serve our electricity needs.
  2. On transportation, another critical sector to improving our economic competitiveness, we are growing the stock and quality of our road, rail, air and water transport infrastructure.
  3. Through the SUKUK-Funded Road Projects, a total of 412km of the targeted 643km road projects have been completed, representing 64%.
  4. The Presidential Infrastructure Development Fund projects are also progressing very well. On the 2nd Niger Bridge, piling work has been completed and the approach roads are being constructed. 48% of work on this bridge has been achieved. We have constructed 102km of the 376km Abuja – Kaduna – Kano Road, representing 38%, and the 42.9km Obajana – Kabba Road is 87.03% complete.
  5. Furthermore, the Federal Roads Maintenance Agency has completed routine maintenance on over 4,000km of federal roads out of the 5,000km targeted.
  6. We are extending and upgrading our railway network too. We are introducing more locomotives, coaches and wagons for the Abuja-Kaduna Rail Line. The Central Ajaokuta – Itakpe – Warri Line has been completed and is being extended from Itakpe to Abuja on one end and from Warri Town to Warri Port on the other.
  7. The Lagos-Ibadan Rail Line is 90% completed and would be extended to the Lagos Port which would help address the long-standing grid-lock at the Apapa port.
  8. The Kano – Maradi Single Track Standard Gauge Railway, Coastal Railway Project and Port Harcourt – Maiduguri Standard Gauge Railway, with its associated branch lines running through the South Eastern and Gombe States, industrial park and Bonny Deep Sea Port are all ready for concessioning.
  9. Government continues to make investments in the Aviation sector to position it as a travel and trade hub in West Africa and the wider African continent.
  10. Airport Terminals in Abuja, Lagos, Kano and Port Harcourt are being expanded, while the rehabilitation of the Enugu Airport is almost completed. All our airports are being raised to international standards with the provision of necessary equipment, especially navigational aids, to guarantee world class safety standards.
  11. For the first time in over ten years, Nigeria is conducting bidding process for 57 Marginal Oil Fields to increase revenue and increase the participation of Nigerian companies in oil and exploration and production business.
  12. We continue to grow local content in other areas of the oil and gas sector with the disbursement of funds from the $200 million Nigerian Content Intervention Fund to indigenous manufacturers and service providers.
  13. With sustained engagement of youths, opinion leaders and other stakeholders, we have restored peace in the Niger Delta Region and maintained our oil production levels.
  14. The Head office of the Niger Delta Development Commission will be commissioned shortly. The Funding of sections I–IV of the East-West Road shall be pursued with a view to completing the project by the end of 2021.
  15. Furthermore, I am determined to ensure that development meant for the people of the Niger Delta get to them so I have authorised a Forensic Audit of the Niger Delta Development Commission.
  16. Digital Economy continues to play an important role in our development agenda as we move into the age of Artificial Intelligence.
  17. Since the creation of the Ministry of Communication and Digital Economy, the National Digital Economy Policy and Strategy has been launched. Steps have been taken to achieve a reduction of connectivity cluster gaps from 207 to 114 as well as increase the level of 4G coverage by 30%.
  18. Nigeria remains committed to expanding access to quality education to enhance the productivity of its citizens and would continue to pursue the enforcement of free and compulsory basic education for the first 9 years of schooling.
  19. In pursuit of this, we have launched the Better Education Service Delivery for All in 17 states, established additional 6 Federal Science and Technical Colleges and currently executing a pro-active Teacher Training Plan with all states of the Federation.
  20. In our revision of the operations of specialized education funds and to implement reforms that would optimize their benefits to the sector, we have adopted a Public-Private Sector Partnership for provision of infrastructure and also collaborate with the private sector to create jobs.
  21. Our pursuit of affordable housing for the low and middle-income earners has received a boost with the delivery of 1,200 housing units, provision of 520 service plots with infrastructure through a Public Private Sector partnership and the issuance of 868 mortgages totaling N7.7 Billion. Similarly, Home Renovation Loans totaling N16.2 Billion have been granted to 19,210 people.
  22. To enable sustainable access to safe and sufficient water to meet the social, cultural, environmental and economic development needs of all Nigerians, we continue to expand our water supply, irrigation and dam facilities.
  23. The Completion of Amauzari, Amla Otukpo and other 42 Earth Dams with combined job creation of about 43,354 direct jobs and 71,172 indirect jobs, would provide more support for irrigation agriculture and water supply.
  24. To further institutionalize our effort in this regard, I signed the Executive Order 009 on Ending Open Defecation in Nigeria.
  25. In order to improve our forest cover and in fulfilment of my commitment at the 74th Session of the United Nations General Assembly in 2019, we have commenced the planting of 25 million trees. This initiative will also contribute to our effort to mitigate the effect of climate change.
  26. In the area of security, we remain unshaken in our resolve to protect our national infrastructure including on-shore and off-shore oil installations, secure our territorial waters and end piracy in the Gulf of Guinea.
  27. Ending insurgency, banditry and other forms of criminality across the nation is being accorded appropriate priorities and the men and women of the Armed Forces of Nigeria have considerably downgraded such threats across all geo-political zones.
  28. All the Local Governments that were taken over by the Boko Haram insurgents in Borno, Yobe and Adamawa have long been recovered and are now occupied by indigenes of these areas who were hitherto forced to seek a living in areas far from their ancestral homes.
  29. The total collapse of the economies of these areas, which constituted a threat to our food security, has also been reversed with the gradual recovery of farming and other economic activities.
  30. I regret recent sporadic incidents with tragic loss of lives in Katsina and Borno States as a result of criminals taking advantage of COVID-19 restrictions. Security Agencies will pursue the perpetrators and bring them to swift justice.
  31. I must implore state and local governments to revamp their intelligence assets so that the Security Agencies can nip in the bud any planned attacks in remote rural areas. I send my heartfelt condolences to all the relatives and communities affected.
  32. As part of the strengthening of our internal security architecture, the Ministry of Police Affairs was created.
  33. Amongst others, Government has expanded the National Command and Control Centre to nineteen states of the federation, resuscitated the National Public Security Communication System and commenced the implementation of the Community Policing Strategy.
  34. Government has similarly established a Nigerian Police Trust Fund as a public-private sector vehicle for alternative sources of funding security activities.
  35. To reduce security challenges through our external borders especially smuggling of oil products out of the country, inflow of small arms and drugs into the country and equally protect our local manufacturers, we introduced operation “Ex-Swift Response” closing our borders from August 20th 2019, and have considerably succeeded in meeting its objectives as well as improving our national revenue.
  36. Our Government has continued to work to reduce social and economic inequality through targeted social investment programmes, education, technology and improved information.
  37. Our Social Investment Programme has continued to be a model to other nations and has engaged 549,500 N-Power beneficiaries, 408,682 beneficiaries of the Conditional Cash Transfer Programme and 2,238,334 beneficiaries of the Growth Enhancement and Empowerment Programme. This is being done in collaboration with the States.
  38. Similarly, “Marketmoni” and “Tradermoni” Programmes have provided affordable loans to small and micro scale enterprises to grow their businesses. Under the National Home-Grown School Feeding Programme, over 9,963,729 children are being fed to keep them in school and improve their nutritional status.
  39. Fellow Nigerians, the year 2020 has been like none other. In January 2020, the COVID-19 was declared a global pandemic by the World Health Organization. The number of global infections has risen from less than 8,000 shared between China and eighteen other countries to over 7 million spread over 216 countries and on all continents.
  40. Nigeria recorded its first case of COVID-19 on February 27th 2020 and within the first 100 days, I have had cause to address the nation on three occasions within one month, which underscores the gravity of this pandemic.
  41. There is no doubt that this pandemic has affected the global economy and all known socio-economic systems. It has also brought grief and pain to families that have lost their loved ones. Like many Nigerians, I feel the grief and pain not only as your President but also as someone who has lost a close member of my staff and some relatives and friends.
  42. In order to have a robust National response, I approved a Presidential Task Force on COVID-19 to provide guidance and leadership in tackling the pandemic nationwide.
  43. State Governments also constituted their own COVID-19 Task Forces. Complementing this was the establishment of a National Emergency Operations Centre responsible for providing technical and professional guidance in the National Response.
  44. The overall objective of the PTF COVID-19 is to ensure that the pandemic does not overwhelm our health systems, while ensuring that we maintain an effective Case Management System to help in containing the spread of the virus.
  45. The impact of the pandemic has disrupted our economic system and to ensure its functioning while still addressing the spread, the Federal Government put in place a number of various non-pharmaceutical measures to slow down the spread of the virus, in addition to a progressive re-opening of the economy.
  46. As part of the strategy to create jobs in reducing the effect of COVID-19 on our youths, I directed the employment of 774, 000 Nigerians. These youths will be engaged in Special Public Works Programme aimed at cushioning the effects of economic downturn. Each of the 774 local government areas in the country will be allotted 1,000 slots. I am pleased to report that this programme has commenced.
  47. I receive regular briefing from the PTF on COVID-19. I note that the National Response relies on Science, Data and Experience in taking decisions. This informed my approval for the ease of lock down phase to ensure a balance between lives and livelihoods.
  48. I am confident that the steps being taken by the PTF would result in flattening the COVID-19 curve. I, therefore, implore all Nigerians to abide by the approved guidelines and protocols. There is hope for us all if we take individual and collective responsibility.
  49. Government is determined to turn this COVID-19 challenge into a motivation to action by building a nation-wide public health care system that will help us overcome the COVID-19 pandemic and prepare for any future outbreak.
  50. Already, we have begun to look inward and I charge our inventors, researchers and scientists to come up with solutions to cure COVID-19.
  51. Government has continued to implement accountability and transparent policies through the Open Government Partnership and the transparency portal on financial transactions. Similarly, we have strengthened auditing and accountability mechanisms so as to ensure that rules and regulations are followed strictly.
  52. Anti-Corruption Agencies have secured more than 1,400 convictions and also recovered funds in excess of N800 billion. These monies are being ploughed into development and infrastructure projects.
  53. The Public Service of Nigeria remains the bedrock for the formulation and implementation of policies, programmes and projects in the country. This accounts for why it continues to evolve especially as new socio-economic challenges emerge for Government to address.
  54. I will continue to give all the necessary support for the on-going reforms designed to return discipline, integrity and patriotism as the hallmark of the public service.
  55. In the face of dwindling resources and rising cost of governance, I have authorized that the White Paper on the Rationalisation of Government Parastatals and Agencies be reviewed for implementation.
  56. Our youth population remains a source of strength in achieving development objectives. In this regard, we would continue to concentrate in developing their skills, providing them with opportunities to express their entrepreneurial, research and industrial capacities as well as ample opportunity to take leadership positions in the service of the nation.
  57. The commitment of this Administration to the well-being of people living with disabilities remains unwavering. Government recognises their contributions to development. I have directed that all relevant Government agencies pay special attention to the peculiarities of persons with disabilities in the formulation and implementation of their policies and programmes, and where suitable their employment.
  58. Nigerian women remain a particular treasure to this nation and for this reason this Administration has continued to give them a place of pride in the affairs of our country.
  59. I salute your courage, enterprise and resilience as well as your contributions to national development. I wish to assure all our women of this administration’s determination to fight Gender Based Violence through the instrumentality of the law and awareness creation. I am particularly upset at recent incidents of rape especially of very young girls. The Police are pursuing these cases with a view to bringing perpetrators of these heinous crimes to swift justice.
  60. Government continues to recognize and harness the power of the media for positive development. The reforms of the broadcast and advertising industries including digital switch over and continuous engagement through town hall meetings remain central to accurate and credible information dissemination.
  61. Our culture provides the basis for our existence as a people and a nation. In preserving iconic aspects of our national culture, this government has been pursuing the recovery of artefacts removed from Nigeria, promoting heritage sites and festivals and working towards designating some of our heritage sites as UNESCO World Heritage Centres.
  62. This administration is focused on ensuring that Nigeria would always be governed by the Rule of Law and I would do my utmost to uphold the constitution and protect the lives and property of all Nigerians.
  63. Government has initiated a number of policies and programmes designed to promote the legal rights of Nigerians, facilitate the institutionalization of a responsive legal system, provide support to all constituted bodies in implementing their mandates and improve our custodial system of justice.
  64. The National Assembly has been an important partner in our quest to sustain our democracy and achieve our development objectives.
  65. I therefore greatly thank the leadership and members of the Senate and the House of Representatives for their invaluable support at all times.
  66. I will also like to convey our deep appreciation to members of the Press for your doggedness in the struggle for attainment of democracy since the beginning of our nationhood.
  67. I must admit that the relationship between the media and successive governments has not always been perfect. But there is no denying the fact that you have been an effective watchdog for the society especially in holding public officers to account. It is sad that in the course of securing our democracy, some of your colleagues have had to pay a heavy price.
  68. We will continue to guarantee freedom of the Press as we place high premium on responsible journalism that is devoid of hate speech, fake news and other unethical professional conduct.
  69. Fellow Nigerians, as we celebrate this year’s Democracy Day, let us remember that, notwithstanding our aspirations, humanity and indeed democracy is under the threat of COVID-19. Nigeria has survived many crises before and came out stronger. I am confident that by God’s grace we shall overcome this one and emerge stronger and more purposeful.
  70. Thank you for listening. God bless the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
. Being the full text of President Muhammadu Buhari’s broadcast to Nigerians on Nigeria’s Democracy Day.