President Muhammadu Buhari has warned candidates for next year’s general elections not to set the country ablaze, saying we have no other country than Nigeria.
The president spoke yesterday during the launching of his campaign manual and a document tagged next level at the State House Villa, Abuja.
“I am not unmindful that the National Assembly and the presidential campaign starts today (yesterday), I will implore candidates to go about the campaigns peacefully and decently. We have no other country, let us not set it ablaze because of politics,” he said.
The occasion was attended by the Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, National Chairman of the All Progressives Congress (APC) Adams Oshiomhole, Secretary to the Government of the Federation Boss Mustapha and other top government officials.
The wife of the president, Aisha, was also at the event attended by governors of Katsina, Kebbi, Kogi, Katsina and Nasarawa states.
Noting that the next four years will be quite significant for the country, Buhari said “Nigeria is faced with a choice to keep building a new Nigeria – making a break from its tainted past which favoured an opportunistic few.
“Our choices will shape us – our economic security and our future prosperity. Nigeria, more than ever before, needs a stable and people-focused government to move the agenda for our country forward.”
Urging Nigerians to join them to the next level of a prosperous, strong and stable Nigeria, he said they are committed to deepening the work they started in the country.
“We know that, to succeed, moral integrity and conscience must continue to form the dominant character of our nation and its leadership. Corruption is an existential threat to Nigeria. Despite the gains we have made in closing the gates, we know that there is still much ground to cover to stop systemic corruption,” he said.
The president said they have worked hard to fulfil their campaign promises.
“Four years ago, we promised Nigerians real change – in what we do and how we do it. Nigerians sent a clear message in the last election, and our platform offered a new, ambitious plan for a secure, prosperous and corruption-free country.
“We have worked hard to fulfil our promises – and while the road may have been difficult, over the last three and a half years, we have laid the foundations for a strong, stable and prosperous country for the majority of our people,” he said.
The president added that: “the foundational work is not often visible, neither is it glamorous – but it is vital to achieving the kind of country we desire. Judging by the prior depth of decay, deterioration and disrepair that Nigeria had sunken into, we are certain that these past few years have put us in good stead to trudge on the next level of building an even stronger nation for our people.
“First things had to come first. We were a nation at war – but we delivered on our commitment to secure the territorial integrity of our nation in the face of a raging insurgency that devastated many parts of the North East. We liberated 17 Local Government Areas from the grip of insurgency. Brokering and sustaining peace in the Niger Delta has also been crucial to stabilizing the polity.”
He said despite the difficult circumstances presented by weak oil prices and reduced oil production they delivered on their commitment to make public investments to spur economic growth, job creation, and broad-based prosperity.
“Agriculture continues to expand our economic base, as do our investments in our deficient infrastructure across the length and breadth of this nation. We implemented a responsible and transparent fiscal plan for the challenging economic times that saw us doing more even with lesser oil revenues,” he said.
He said the march away from a mono-economy must continue with the focus on an industrialisation plan coming to fore.
“With specific plans underway to exploit the comparative advantage of the geo political zones and different states by developing 6 Industrial Parks and 109 Special Production and Processing Centres (SPPCs) across each senatorial district, our incremental move away from oil dependence is assured. In addition, our development of the Special Economic Zones will quickly concretise our Made in Nigeria for Export (MINE) plan,” he said.
Earlier, the SGF said the event provided an opportunity for them to showcase the success story of President Buhari’s administration.
“We have 90 days to elect our next leaders and I believe Nigerians will make the right choice of returning our leaders to power,” he said.
Mustapha said the outcome of last Saturday’s by-elections into three federal constituencies in Bauchi, Katsina and Kwara states had shown the direction where the 2019 elections will go.
What we are building, by Fashola
Speaking on “What we are building,” the Minister of Works, Power and Housing, Babatunde Raji Fashola said a total of 365 road projects are ongoing in the 36 states of the federation simultaneously.
Out of the 365, he said, 244 were awarded and abandoned by previous administrations. He said only 121 of the projects were awarded by the present administration.
The minister also said housing projects conceived to address the housing deficit in the country are ongoing in 34 out of the 36 states of the federation.
Also speaking, the Minister of Transportation, Rotimi Amaechi recalled how the President warned him not to award any new project when he was appointed in 2015. He said the directive was to enable the country complete the numerous abandoned projects in the transport sector.
Amaechi, who said there was no opposition party in the country, said: “PDP was in power for 16 years, they should show their scorecard and we have been in power for 3 and a half year, we shall show our scorecard.”
Mini documentaries on infrastructural development ‘investing on people’ and corruption and security were presented at the event.