Acting President Goodluck Jonathan’s National Address

Fellow Nigerians,

AS we all know, our dear President, His Excellency, Umaru Musa Yar’Adua, has been receiving treatment in Saudi Arabia for some time now. Naturally, his absence from the country has generated considerable interest and a heated national debate.

Today, the National Assembly passed a resolution mandating me to act as President, Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. In following the extant provisions of the 1999 Constitution to arrive at this decision, the leadership and members of the National Assembly have shown great courage, statesmanship and patriotism. I salute them all.

In the same vein, I will like to commend all the other political actors and national leaders, particularly the former heads of state, elder statesmen, governors of the 36 States and other leaders of political groups, civil society organisations, the media, and, indeed, all Nigerians, for their valuable contributions and counsel. Our security services also deserve our special commendation for their loyalty and devotion to duty during this trying period. 

The circumstances in which I find myself assuming office today as acting president of our country are uncommon, sober and reflective. More than ever, therefore, I urge all Nigerians as a people of faith in God, to pray fervently for the full recovery of our dear president and his early return. 

The events of the recent past have put to the test, our collective resolve as a democratic nation. I am delighted to note that our nation has demonstrated resilience and unity of purpose. Today affords us time to reconnect with ourselves and overcome any suspicions, hurts and doubts, which had occurred. In all these, there are no winners and no losers, because by the Grace of God, we have, once again, succeeded in moving our country forward. We have all shown that our unity as a people, our love for this country, and our hope for its great future cannot be shaken. 

It is now time for us to move on in a more determined manner to tackle the various challenges which we face as a nation. Our march towards Vision 20:2020 is irreversible.

Therefore, we see a need to prioritise on a few of the most critical areas which continue to plague our effort at engendering meaningful economic growth and development. 

Some of these critical sectors include power, infrastructure, security, generation of employment and business opportunities for our teeming young men and women.

Fellow Nigerians,

The Federal Government will take every step necessary to consolidate the gains of amnesty in the Niger Delta and execute the post-amnesty programme. I, therefore, appeal to all concerned to be patient, as there can be no meaningful development without peace and security. 

As regards the Jos crisis, government will endeavour to sustain the peace and find a lasting solution to the recurring crisis in Plateau State. In the meantime, culprits of the heinous crimes committed in the recent incident will face the full weight of the law. I want to restate that government will not tolerate the culture of impunity that is fast becoming an unwelcome part of our socio-political life.

Our commitment to ensuring the security of lives and property in all parts of the country will also be pursued with renewed zeal. The Nigeria Police and other security services would be given new impetus to perform their duties, even while respecting the human rights of Nigerians. They are fully expected to produce corresponding results. There shall be no excuses for failure. Nigerians deserve to be fully protected at all times nationwide.

Fellow Nigerians,

One of the cardinal commitments of this administration is our commitment to good governance, accountability and transparency. We shall continue to pursue these policy objectives with all the seriousness they deserve. In particular, the war against corruption will be prosecuted more robustly. We will, therefore, strengthen the capacity of the anti-corruption agencies and give them a free hand to prosecute the anti corruption war. 

Let me, once again, commend the people of Anambra State for the successful conduct of the recent gubernatorial election. This has shown that Nigerians can conduct free, fair and credible elections. The Anambra election has, however, exposed some weaknesses in our electoral system and government is determined to plug these loopholes as we approach the next general election in 2011. I want to reassure all Nigerians and our friends around the world that our determination to ensure that the sanctity of the electoral rights of our people shall not be compromised. 

Let me, on behalf of the Nigerian people, appreciate the international community for their goodwill and understanding in our efforts at national development and consolidation of our democracy. Nigeria will continue to play a deserving role in regional and global affairs. 

On a personal note, I am deeply humbled and honoured by this great call to duty. I am fully aware of the responsibilities reposed in me and I want to reassure all Nigerians that this is a sacred trust, which I shall discharge to my fullest abilities.

Thank you and may God bless the Federal Republic of Nigeria