Jonathan: lamentation is Over, Transformation Begins Today


ABUJA, May 29, (THEWILL) - President Goodluck Jonathan, resplendent in his famous Niger delta attire atop a black bowler hat, declared Sunday at the Eagle Square, Abuja, that the ‘era of lamentation in Nigeria is over.’

And again like his predecessors, he assured the often skeptical Nigerians that ‘transformation begins today.’

He made the promises in his inauguration speech marking his formal enthronement and swearing in ceremony as Nigeria’s fourth executive President.

“The march is on. The day of transformation begins today. We will not allow anyone exploit differences in creed or tongue, to set us one against another. Join me now as we begin the journey of transforming Nigeria.

“I will continue to fight, for your future, because I am one of you. I will continue to fight, for improved medical care for all our citizens. I will continue to fight for all citizens to have access to first class education. I will continue to fight for electricity to be available to all our citizens. I will continue to fight for an efficient and affordable public transport system for all our people.

“I will continue to fight for jobs to be created through productive partnerships. You have trusted me with your mandate, and I will never, never let you down,”, he said at the ceremony, which attracted over 20 Presidents, present and former heads of government and foreign delegations including South African President Jacob Zuma, President of Ghana, Mr. John Attah-Mills, Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni, Zambia’s founding President, Dr Kenneth David Kaunda and the Presidnt of Cameroun Mr. Paul Biya amongst others.

Also in attendance were former Presidents and Heads Of State of Nigeria – General Yakubu Gowon, General Olusegun Obasanjo, Alhaji Shehu Shagari, Chief Ernest Shonekan and General Abdusalami Abubakar.

The President, who mounted the podium for the oath taking ceremony at about 12noon WAT, further declared that his leadership is decidedly transformative adding that the transformation will be achieved in all the critical sectors, by harnessing the creative energies of the people.

Specifically, he assured that his administration shall grow the economy to create jobs and generate enduring happiness.

“We must grow the economy, create jobs, and generate enduring happiness for our people. I have great confidence in the ability of Nigerians to transform this country. The urgent task of my administration is to provide a suitable environment, for productive activities to flourish. I therefore call on the good people of Nigeria, to enlist as agents of this great transformation.

“My dear countrymen and women, being a Nigerian is a blessing. It is also a great responsibility. We must make a vow that, together, we will make the Nigerian Enterprise thrive.

“The leadership and the followership must strive to convert our vast human and natural resources into the force that leads to a greater Nigeria. The Nigeria of our dreams must be built on hard work and not on short cuts. Let me salute the Nigerian workers who build our communities, cities and country. They deserve fair rewards, and so do the women that raise our children, and the rural dwellers that grow our food.

“The moment is right. The signs are heart-warming. We are ready to take off on the path of sustained growth and economic development”, he further stated.

Speaking on his economic programme, President Jonathan told the gathering that in his government economic strategy, there will be appropriate policy support to the real sector of the economy.

In his words; “In our economic strategy, there will be appropriate policy support to the real sector of the economy, so that Small and Medium Enterprises may thrive. Nigeria is blessed with enormous natural wealth, and my Administration will continue to encourage locally owned enterprises to take advantage of our resources in growing the domestic economy. A robust private sector is vital to providing jobs for our rapidly expanding population. But this must be a collaborative effort.

“We must form technical and financial partnerships with global businesses and organizations. We live in an age where no country can survive on its own; countries depend on each other for economic well-being. Nigeria is no different. Returns on investment in Nigeria remain among the highest in the world. We will continue to welcome sustainable investment in our economy”, he added.

President Jonathan again informed that his government will push programs and policies that would be beneficial to both local and foreign businesses.

“We will push programs and policies that will benefit both local and foreign businesses, but we must emphasize mutual benefits and win-win relationships. The overall ongoing reforms in the banking and financial sectors are therefore designed to support the real sector of the economy.

“To drive our overall economic vision, the power sector reform is at the heart of our industrialization strategy. I call on all stakeholders, to cooperate with my administration, to ensure the success of the reforms”.

According to him; “Over the next four years, attention will be focused on rebuilding our infrastructure. We will create greater access to quality education and improved health care delivery. We will pay special attention to the agricultural sector, to enable it play its role of ensuring food security and massive job creation for our people.

“The creation of the Nigerian Sovereign Investment Authority will immensely contribute to strengthening our fiscal framework, by institutionalizing savings of our commodity-related revenues. With this mechanism in place, we will avoid the boom and bust cycles, and mitigate our exposure to oil price volatility”, he said.

On Niger Delta he declared that; “The lesson we have learnt is that the resolution of the Niger Delta issue is crucial for the health of the nation's economy. In the interest of justice, equity and national unity, we shall actively promote

the development of the region. I believe that peace is a necessary condition for development.

“Fellow citizens, in every decision, I shall always place the common good before all else. The bane of corruption shall be met by the overwhelming force of our collective determination, to rid our nation of this scourge. The fight against corruption is a war in which we must all enlist, so that the limited resources of this nation will be used for the growth of our common wealth.

“I am confident that we have every reason to look to the future with hope. We owe ourselves and posterity the duty of making this country respectable in the comity of nations. Nigeria, as a responsible member of the international community, will remain committed to the maintenance of global peace and security,” he assured.