Friday, 29 May 2015

Read Full Text of GEJ's remarks at the presentation of Handing-over notes to Buhari

1. I welcome you all to this occasion of the formal
presentation of the Hand-over notes of my
Administration to the in-coming Administration of
the President-Elect, General Muhammadu Buhari.
2. This event and tomorrow’s inauguration of a new
administration are truly historic as it is the first time
in the history of our nation that we are witnessing
the democratic and orderly transfer of power at the
Federal level from one political party to another.
3. The Hand-over notes which we now present, contain
the governance philosophy, strategies, policies,
programmes and activities of my Administration for the
period - 2011-2015. Also to be found in the notes are the
objectives, targets and implementation strategies,
achievements and challenges of our key policies, schemes,
initiatives as well as the status of commitments and
liabilities of the various MDAs.
4. As we hand over the affairs of the nation, it is
appropriate to recall that at inception, in May 2011, we
committed ourselves to consolidating national unity
through democratization and good governance. Our
assessment then, and our firm belief ever since, is that the
unity of Nigeria, the security, well-being, greater freedoms
and opportunities for all citizens must remain the primary
objectives of government.
5. The Agenda for National Transformation which we did
our best to implement consisted of clear and consistent
governance strategies, policies, plans, programmes and
projects, in all facets of our national life. Emphasis was
placed on human and state security, democratization,
sound economic management, as well as structural and
institutional reforms.
6. Our foremost concern was the unity of Nigeria. In
keeping with that concern, we engineered a process that
began with a review of issues outstanding from previous
Constitutional Conferences by the Belgore Committee. After
that, we widened political consultations through a National
Dialogue that was orchestrated through the Okurounmu
Committee. These culminated in the all-inclusive National
Conference which unanimously reaffirmed that Nigeria
must remain united and indivisible.
7. The Conference also made resolutions and
recommendations for serious constitutional, political and
governance reforms, which we have forwarded to the
National Assembly for appropriate legislative action. It is
our hope that the incoming Government will accord the
Report of the National Conference the very high priority that
it deserves, as a genuine expression of the will of our
8. The recognition that the starting point for good
governance is the legitimacy of the government itself
informed our commitment to promoting free and fair
9. It also motivated innovations in the management and
conduct of elections which we undertook. Hopefully, in the
years ahead, those innovations will be properly and fully
implemented so that Nigerians will be even more assured of
the integrity of the electoral system and the legitimacy of
any government that it produces.
10. To
strengthen the social contract between the government and
the governed, we institutionalized the rule of law as well as
the independence of the legislature and the judiciary. We
also promoted group and individual freedoms. As a result,
there is vast expansion in democratic, social and economic
space for all citizens.
11.Our nation and citizens faced many new challenges over
the past four years but the greatest was the vastly
increased menace of Boko Haram with their mindless
terror, mass killings, utter ruthlessness, kidnapping of
innocent children and other unspeakable acts of brutality.
12. We should
all remember that Boko Haram’s emergence predated our
administration going as far back as 2002. The group
however became extremely malignant with the killing of its
leader, Mohammed Yusuf in July 2009.
13. It therefore
became an urgent task for us to effectively confront the
great threat Boko Haram posed to the security and well-
being of our people. To do so, we overhauled and virtually
reinvented our security architecture to confront Boko
Haram and its insurgency. We re-organized our security
apparatus. We re-equipped and fully motivated our forces.
14. Victory is
now in sight and within our reach. However, the cost in
blood of citizens and heroes; and the diversion of national
treasure from urgent needs for development have been
very high. While more than 500 women and children have
been rescued from the clutches of Boko Haram thus far by
our security forces, it remains my sincere hope and prayer
that our beloved daughters from Chibok will soon be
reunited with us.
15. I wish to
thank the Nigerian people for their resilience and patience. I
also wish to pay very special and personal tribute to all the
men and women of our valiant armed forces and security
agencies. Their sacrifice and dedication have brought us
thus far.
16. While
striving to overcome our national security challenges, we
still gave necessary attention to economic development.
Our goal was to achieve long-term economic growth and
stability, improve the quality and quantum of infrastructure
and enhance human capital development.
17. Our
financial system reforms included the Treasury Single
Account [TSA] that unified the structure of government
accounts for all MDAs and thereby brought order to cash
flow management; and Government Integrated Financial
Management Information System [GIFMIS] was introduced
to plug leakages and waste of resources. The Integrated
Payroll and Personnel Information System [IPPIS] weeded
out 60,450 ghost workers in 359 out of 425 MDAs,
yielding N185.4 billion in savings to the Federal
18. Improved
Revenue Mobilization was achieved through improvements
in the laws and compliance measures. In 2013 alone, these
measures resulted in a 69% rise in Federal tax revenues
from N2.8 trillion to N4.8 trillion. Also, Waiver Policy and
Trade Facilitation were reformed to create a more rational
regime. Our emphasis shifted to granting waivers to
specific sectors instead of individual companies and the
Sovereign Wealth Fund was established to provide
stabilization from external shocks, provide funding for
critical infrastructure and savings for future generations.
19. Our
Financial Sector reforms addressed the issues of
inefficiencies in the coordination and monitoring of the
financial system. Our policies promoted transparency,
better risk management, new banking models and payment
systems. We established the Assets Management
Corporation of Nigeria as a resolution mechanism for toxic
banking assets. We strengthened banking supervision and
enhanced public confidence in Nigerian Banks
20. Similarly, we
undertook innovative reforms for job creation and
repositioned the manufacturing, agriculture and housing
sectors. Specifically, it was observed that over the years,
job creation did not keep pace with economic growth. Thus
unemployment, especially amongst the youth was
assuming alarming dimensions.
21. To address
this, my administration made job creation a key
consideration for all programmes in the Transformation
Agenda. Emphasis was also shifted towards empowering
youths to become entrepreneurs rather than job seekers,
through such initiatives as Youth Enterprise with Innovation
in Nigeria (YOU-WIN), Graduate Internship Scheme (GIS),
the SURE-P Technical Vocational Education and Training
Programme (TVET) and the Youth Employment in
Agriculture Programme (YEAP).
Manufacturing in Nigeria faces many
challenges, including poor power supply, high cost of input,
high cost of doing business, multiple taxation, poor
infrastructure and lack of synergy with the labour market.
To address these problems, we launched several
programmes and initiatives including the National Industrial
Revolution Plan and a new National Automobile Policy
designed to boost domestic car production and expand
existing capacity. Since then, five new private vehicle
assembly plants have been established.
23. Agriculture is critical to national
survival and yet the sector was besieged with
many problems. By year 2010, Nigeria was the
second largest importer of food in the world,
spending about N 1.3 trillion on the importation of
fish, rice and sugar alone.
24. The reforms we introduced in
agriculture dramatically increased local production
of staple food and saved us vast amounts of
money that we would have spent on the
importation of food items.
25. To address the glaring
inadequacy of critical national infrastructure, we
focused on the Power Sector, Roads, Railways,
Aviation, Ports and Harbours as well as on Water
and Sanitation, Information and Communication
26. My government introduced the Power Sector
Roadmap in 2010. Since then, we have privatized the
generation and distribution aspects in a most
transparent process. Obstacles to the private sector
investments in power supply were removed and we
developed cost effective electricity tariff to make the
sector more attractive. It remains our hope that the
successor companies to PHCN and also the private
sector will step forward with the necessary investment
to make the power reform work.
27. The major challenge in the road sector in
Nigeria is the high cost of building roads and it
continues to rise. The other challenge is the fact that
because of regular use, roads are one of the fastest
depreciating assets in developing countries.
28. To address this, Government has developed
the required legal and regulatory framework and
created opportunities for Private Public Partnership
(PPP) in road construction and maintenance.
29. From Ore/Benin Road, Lagos/Ibadan
Expressway to the Kano/Maiduguri dualisation
projects, we made concerted efforts to address age-
long problems of delays in construction, design defect,
neglect and ineffective maintenance. The construction
of the historic Second Niger Bridge has also
commenced, and on completion, it will open new and
far-reaching opportunities for greater trade and
interaction among our people.
30. In the Aviation Sector, our government
developed a Master Plan to institutionalise safety and
security, and to develop infrastructure at the airports
and local airlines. We embarked on the reconstruction
and rehabilitation of 22 airports nationwide.
Construction work on five new international terminals
in Lagos, Abuja, Port Harcourt, Kano and Enugu are
also on-going.
31. There has been a revolution in rail
transportation. We rehabilitated the old narrow gauge
network and ensured that it has served our people
steadily for three years running with new coaches and
improved expanded services nationwide.
32. We are in the construction stages of a new
national network for standard gauge speed-train
services, with the new rail line segment, from Abuja to
Kaduna, successfully completed. In addition, we have
initiated the process for the construction of an
ultramodern coastal rail line that will run from Lagos to
Calabar, with a link to Onitsha.
33. We have also successfully completed the
dredging of River Niger, from Warri in Delta State to
Baro in Niger State, and completed construction works
for the Onitsha River Port. Other River Ports at Baro,
Lokoja and Oguta, are at advanced construction
stages. Working with the states and development
partners, we have facilitated the process towards the
development of two new deep sea ports at Lekki in
Lagos, and Ibaka in Akwa Ibom. We have also
implemented reforms to streamline the clearing regime
in existing ports, increasing cargo turnover time and
easing business for all users.
34. In the oil and gas sector, our local content
policy has continued to empower Nigerian companies,
particularly in technical and engineering projects. The
Gas Revolution Industrial Park in Delta State is
unprecedented in the sub
-​ sector, and will not only deliver Africa’s biggest industrial
park, but all the accompanying benefits to local industry
and job creation.
35. We recognized Human Capital as the most
important agent for transformational development. Our
reforms in this sector focused on Health, Education
and Social Development and also on Women and Youth
Empowerment and Social Safety Nets.
36. In the Health sector, the comprehensive
National Strategic Health Development Plan (NSHDP)
of 2011 laid the foundation for widening access and
improving the quality of healthcare with lower infant
mortality rates and higher life expectancy for the
populace. Our effective curtailment of the Ebola
epidemic has continued to receive worldwide acclaim
as an example in prompt and effective national disease
management. On our watch, guinea-worm has been
eradicated from Nigeria and we are on the verge of
wiping out polio entirely.
37. In the Education sector, our objectives are
clear and precise. They emphasise expansion of
access and the upgrade of quality. I am proud that we
have widened access by establishing 18 more Federal
Universities and other specialized polytechnics. We
strengthened TETFUND and used it to boldly address
the problems of inadequate infrastructure in the
existing institutions.
38. I am particularly proud of our efforts with
regards to Early Childhood Education and Out-of-
School Children. We provided modern hybrid Almajiri
Education Programme in the North, attended to
schooling needs of boys in the South-East and ensured
the construction of special girls’ schools in 13 States of
the Federation to improve girl-child education. We
expanded opportunities for open and distance learning
and provided scholarships at all levels to help improve
access to quality education for bright and promising
39. We have promoted gender-mainstreaming
with commensurate priority and opportunities for our
womenfolk, beginning with ensuring that not less than
30 per cent of key Federal appointments go to women.
Other initiatives that we have taken include: the
National Gender Policy, Establishment of Gender Units
in Federal MDAs, Women Empowerment Training
Programmes, Micro-Credit for Women, Social Safety
Net Programmes and the Conditional Cash Transfer
(CCT) Scheme.
40. My Administration has emphasized giving a free
hand to our Anti-corruption agencies such as the Economic
and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) and the
Independent Corrupt Practices Commission (ICPC). We
preferred that they mature into strong institutions instead
of being the images, the hammer and the anvil of a strong
man. We must encourage them to abide by the rule of law
and due process instead of resorting to dramatic or illegal
actions orchestrated for cheap applause
41. Beyond the very impressive records of
enhanced convictions by statutory anti-corruption agencies
like the EFCC and ICPC, our other strategy has been to
fashion economic policies that deliver higher deterrence
and frustrate concealment. In this regard, the Bureau of
Public Procurement has played a central role and impacted
strongly on the fight against corruption.
42. In Sports, we have improved our national
performance in team and individual events. The
disappointment of not qualifying to defend our African
Football Championship was cushioned by a decent
FIFA World Cup appearance, an Under-17 World Cup
win in addition to other victories in other international
football tournaments and the Paralympics. We have
also encouraged excellence in other sports, apart from
football, resulting in exceptional performance in
international sporting events, especially in athletics.
43. Our foreign policy position remains strong.
In October 2013, Nigeria was elected as a non-
permanent member of the United Nations Security
Council for the second time on our watch. Our country
had only served in that capacity thrice before 2011,
since independence in 1960. Our Administration also
played a leading role in the resolution of security and
political challenges in our sub-region, particularly in
Niger, Cote D’Ivoire, Mali, Guinea-Bissau and Burkina
44. In addition, we increased engagement with
Nigerians in the diaspora who contribute so much in
remittances to their fatherland. Our Administration
successfully encouraged more of them to invest in
Nigeria and others to return home and join in the task
of nation-building.
45. In summary, Your Excellency, distinguished
ladies and gentlemen, our administration has done its best
to intervene robustly and impact positively on key aspects
of our national life.
46. There is no doubt that challenges still abound,
but they are surmountable and overwhelming national
transformation remains realisable, with continuity,
commitment and consistency.
47. Nigeria is blessed with citizens that will always
remain faithful, firmly committed to national unity,
accelerated political, social and economic development.
48. As we hand over the reins of government, I
believe that our nation is secure, our democracy is stable,
and the future is bright. Let us all work together, and with
greater resolve, continue to build a stronger and more
prosperous nation.
49. May God Almighty continue to bless our dear
country, Nigeria.
50. I thank you all.