Jonathan's Address On Nigeria's 51st Independence Day
Address To The Nation By President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan, GCFR,
On The Occasion Of Nigeria's 51st Independence Anniversary - 1st
On this day 51 years ago, the British Union Jack was lowered and
replaced by our national Green-White-Green flag, heralding the
independence of our nation. The 1st of October remains a special
day for us, for Africa, and indeed the world.
As we celebrate today, we remember with pride, the nationalism
and patriotism that inspired our founding fathers and the
Nigerian people. They set aside their differences, to secure the
unity and independence of our great country.
That is the Nigerian spirit! For the Nigerian spirit cannot be
broken. We are a resilient nation, determined to chart a course,
through the turbulent waters of nation building. The Nigerian
spirit is vibrant today in the world.
Our citizens at home and abroad, are making their mark in all
fields of human endeavour. These hard-working and committed
Nigerians, remain a source of pride to us and a beacon of what
is achievable, if we remain focused and determined.
I know that a great number of you are joining hands with me and
the Administration, in the great task ahead.
I value all Nigerians. I see our youth who are looking for jobs
and yet remain hopeful. I see the farmer, and fisherman, toiling
everyday to earn a living. I see the teacher, working hard, to
train our future generations, with much sacrifice. I see the
market women whose entrepreneurial spirit helps to generate
income for their children and families. I see our sportsmen and
women training hard to bring glory to our nation. I see our
resilience and commitment, as a nation, to defend our democracy
and secure our future.
I see every single profession and vocation, making positive
contributions to national progress. I value you all!
Together, we shall work for a Nigeria in which democracy and the
rule of law are sacrosanct.
A country where corruption and its attendant vices, are
banished. A country where human life is sacred and respected,
and where the rights of the individual are protected.
Nigeria is a young entity in the comity of nations and yet in
her 51 years, she has made significant strides in making her
presence felt all over the world. Our diplomatic and
peacekeeping efforts, in various parts of the continent, have
helped to end conflict and avert crises. In sustaining global
security, our intervention has been crucial to peace, progress
and democracy for the citizens of the affected countries.
The journey to nationhood always has its own challenges. Nigeria
has had her own share. Our growing pains as a nation have
included the civil war, the June 12 election crisis and
restlessness in the Niger Delta. But Nigeria has always overcome
each of these challenges. We overcame before. We will overcome
Today, as a nation, there is much for us to celebrate. We
celebrate our diversity. We celebrate our entrepreneurial
We celebrate our resilience and ability to turn adversity into
hope. We celebrate our culture. For the labours of our heroes
past, shall never be in vain.
As your President, let me reassure all Nigerians that I remain
resolutely committed to the ideals and dreams of our founding
fathers. Let me also reassure Nigerians that I will strongly
defend the peace and stability of our nation.
My administration will spare no effort in fighting crime,
building peace, and securing our homeland against internal
threats and infiltration by violent groups, from outside our
We condemn all acts of violence and declare that such acts of
mindless savagery shall not be allowed to define our country. We
will not be deterred. Our resolve is strong.
I have put in place a new and reinvigorated national security
strategy, to combat the threat to our safety. Yet, no matter
what I do as your President and no matter what we do as your
elected leaders, at all levels, the peace and security of our
nation rest also on our collective efforts as citizens, in our
All leaders and citizens, in every community, must therefore
make peace the number one priority of their daily routine. This
is because, without peace, no community can realize its
objectives or achieve a happy and productive life for its
The current incidents of violence and terror, in parts of the
country, will surely be overcome. We will secure the safety of
our citizens for only when we do this, will we be able to build
the needed peace and tranquility in all parts of the federation.
Securing our peace and stability will ensure economic growth and
prosperity for all.
Since I assumed office, as the President of our great country, I
have continued to focus my attention on the economy. I have
taken several measures to address structural weaknesses which
stand between us and economic growth and prosperity for all.
We are growing our economy, to generate employment opportunities
for our teeming youth and enhanced prosperity for every citizen.
This remains the main focus of my administration.
In a few days time, I shall launch an innovative competition for
our young entrepreneurs to come up with ways to expand their
businesses, create more jobs, and sharpen their business skills.
Now, it is very clear that without fundamental reforms in the
key sectors of our economy, we will not be able to fully unlock
our potential as a nation. We must manage our resources more
prudently and efficiently. We must provide stable electricity to
our citizens to help drive economic activity.
I call on our political leaders to put aside partisan politics,
for united action towards the advancement of our nation. We must
Because of the measures we have taken on the economy, our GDP is
today one of the fastest growing in Africa. We are currently
growing the economy at 7.8%. We expect to sustain an 8% growth
rate and a better GDP in the medium term, on our journey towards
realizing our Vision 20:2020 goal.
We shall strive to make this growth, job creating and inclusive.
Growth in agriculture and other non-oil sectors are crucial, to
help diversify the economy and to generate much needed jobs.
Agriculture remains one of the highest priorities in my
government's Agenda for National Transformation. We have set out
clear, agricultural, transformation action plans and policy
measures, to achieve self-sufficiency in the production of rice,
cassava, maize, sorghum and other staple foods.
Self-sufficiency in rice alone will save us the 356 Billion
Naira that we currently spend annually importing rice. We will
revamp the way we distribute fertilizers, taking government out
of distribution of fertilizers.
We plan to reach 20 million farmers with private-sector
distributed fertilizers over the next four years. We will
improve the investment environment and incentives for the
private sector across the agricultural value chains. Our
agricultural transformation plan will generate 3.5 million jobs
and an additional 20 million metric tons of food.
But we must all show pride in our farmers. We should eat what we
produce. The increasing popularity of local products, like 'Ofada
Rice', 'Badegi rice', and 'Abakaliki Rice', attest to the fact,
that the populace will readily embrace locally grown produce.
We must also take pride in our scientists. This week, Nigeria
released 8 new high yielding cocoa varieties. This will help to
transform cocoa production, across the 14 cocoa producing states
in the nation.
We have put in place implementable programmes to transform our
Nation from an importer of petroleum products, to the regional
hub for exportation of value-added petroleum and petrochemical
products. We are revamping existing refineries and building
three new ones.
We are effectively supporting the private-sector led
construction of world scale petrochemical and fertilizer plants.
This will for the first time in our history, result in effective
monetization of our abundant natural gas resources while at the
same time, creating over a million jobs.
Our potential is huge. We have the requisite market volume. We
have a youthful, energetic, and hardworking population.
The structural and managerial bottlenecks, that have obstructed
our economic growth, are being addressed, to unleash the energy
and potentials of this nation.
To achieve this, I am determined to ensure that Nigerians have
reliable electricity. Our economy will grow faster, and our hard
working small businesses will thrive, when we finally fix the
power challenges we face. We are fast tracking power reforms, to
improve the generation and distribution of electricity.
Already, we are beginning to do things differently. I believe
that integrity, honour, patriotism, selfless service and fear of
God, must be the hallmarks of leadership at all levels.
A nation is sustained by its institutions and systems. I have
taken strong measures to improve on governance. It is in this
regard, that I signed into law, the Freedom of Information Act.
I will further strengthen all institutions, to ensure greater
transparency, probity, and accountability at all levels.
Last year, I promised to restore confidence in our electoral
system and pledged to deliver free and fair elections. To
achieve that, we initiated some electoral reforms and
strengthened INEC and other related agencies.
As a result, our April 2011 general elections was adjudged by
Nigerians and the international community as the most
transparent and credible elections, ever conducted in our
country. Indeed, post-election petitions reduced by over 50%.
Let me assure all Nigerians of my resolve to lead our nation
into a safer, more peaceful, and prosperous future for our
For the time has come, to rise above ethnic and religious
The time has come, to unite against violence, in all its
The time has come, to secure our peace, and unite against
suffering, and deprivation;
I see a new Nigeria rising. A Nigeria, that is economically
strong. A Nigeria, that takes its rightful place of leadership
in the world. A Nigeria, that uses its diversity to reinforce
its strength. A Nigeria, we all can be proud of.
This is the Nigeria we need and this is the Nigeria, we all must
As we celebrate today, let us resolve to build the Nigeria of
I thank you. God bless you all.
And God bless the Federal Republic of Nigeria.