Buhari to EU: My priorities for Nigeria’s development
The Special Adviser to the President on Political matters, Senator Babafemi Ojudu recently met with the Political Counsellors of the European Union to deliberate on some key issues that President Muhammadu Buhari’s government would like to engage with the European Union on, as critical partners for the actualization of the Presidents vision of a more prosperous and developed nation.
It would be recalled that on assumption of office, the President promised Nigerians and the international community that his government will secure the country, rebuild the economy, rid the nation of corruption and make Nigeria stronger than it had ever been.
Some salient issues that Ojodu harped on were:
* That President Buhari’s administration remains committed to the battle against corruption and is working assiduously towards systemic and attitudinal changes in the country. The need for changes in the system at all levels of government has become imperative. It is intended to forestall the previously prevailing and permissive systems that made it easy for government functionaries to steal mind-boggling sums from the nation’s coffers, and difficult for the system to detect.
* That the President’s pledge to end Boko Haram’s insurgency within 7 months of taking up the mantle of leadership has yielded tremendous results. Nigerians and the international community can now rest assured knowing that Boko Haram has been contained. The military is now in the process of mopping up the fleeing remnants of the Boko Haram mis-adventurists. The Nigerian environment is, therefore, safe for investments, both local and international.
* That the President thanks the international community for their support in bringing about security in the country. In particular, the good working relationship that President Buhari has forged with his counterparts in Cameroun, Niger and Mali, has contributed in great measure in bringing about peace and security in Nigeria.
* That the President recognizes the fact that though the country has made great progress in securing the nation, the government’s commitment to restoring the nation’s economy, ravaged by past mismanagement and corruption is unwavering. This in spite of the plummeting price of oil in the international market.
* That President Buhari knows the problems as much as Nigerians feels them. He is therefore mindful of the sufferings that Nigerians have had to endure over the years and in the early months of his administration. The long wait for enduring solutions to our country’s problems is now almost over, especially with the passage of the 2016 budget. Nigerians will soon feel the impact of President Buhari’s policies as soon as the budget implementation starts in earnest.
* That the President believes that Nigerians, must change our old ways of doing things. There is an urgent need to communicate across to the generality of the people the mantra of change. The change we advocate is not a forced change from the top to the bottom. Rather, it is the government’s position that meaningful change has to come from all angles – from the bottom to the top, the top to the bottom and everywhere in between! Every Nigerian, and not just the leaders, must eschew corruption; inculcate the culture and habit of doing the right things in the proper manner at all levels in all segments of society.
* That the President is of the firm conviction that youths are the future of the nation. There is particular emphasis on getting them to know and do what is right by their nation, from the elementary schools to the tertiary educational level. To this effect, the government is tinkering with an initiative known as the Change Club, all across the 36 states of the federation and Abuja.
* That also dear to the heart of President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration is the empowerment of our women and the improvement in the lives of vulnerable Nigerians who constitute the poorest of the poor among us. From the President’s standpoint, the empowerment of women who constitute about 50% of Nigeria’s voting population must go beyond exercising their votes during election period. Women will be encouraged and given the opportunity to participate not only during elections but also in governance of our country. The country needs internal as well as external support to make this a reality in the best interest of the nation.
* That the unity of Nigeria is of paramount interest to President Buhari. Consequently the government is desirous of integrating all regions of the country in this government, regardless of their political inclination. It does not matter whether a region or state voted for him or not in the 2015 presidential election. In particular, the government hopes to integrate fully the South East and South- South into the governance of the country. This accounts for why the President has insisted on the inclusion in the 2016 budget, the Lagos-Calabar rail lines which transverse many of the states in the South East and South-South.
* That the Presidency would soon commence the implementation of the Regional Town Hall meetings where the President or the Vice President will go round the country, interact with Nigerians from all walks of life with the view to enunciating the governments ideas to the people. This would provide ample opportunities to receive feedbacks from Nigerians and the international community on government policies and programmes.