Nigerian @ 54 Independence Day Speech By President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan

President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan (GCFR)
President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan (GCFR)


Fellow Nigerians,
Today marks the 54th anniversary of our country’s independence as a sovereign nation. This is also the tenth month of our journey into a
new century, having marked the centenary of our nation in January this year.

The first one hundred years were marked by triumphs and tribulations, benefits and burdens, opportunities and challenges. We made some far
reaching advances in building a strong, united and prosperous nation. We also overcame the forces of disunity that culminated in a debilitating civil war. We have also renewed our faith in one another, and in our country. We have proven that we are truly a resilient nation.

In my address to the nation last year, I did emphasize that we were in a sober moment in our country. We are still in that mood in spite of the
many accomplishments of our administration. Our sombreness has to do with the crises of nationhood occasioned by the activities of
terrorist elements who have done the unimaginable to challenge our unity as a people.

On an occasion like this, it is important that we remember all the precious souls that have been lost in the unprecedented war of terror unleashed on some parts of our country by these individuals who want to compel us to live our lives their way. They will not succeed!
In their mission, they have maimed and defiled. They have killed men, women and children, rendering many children orphans and several
women widows. They have made violence their ideology and are bent on destroying our country. Dear countrymen and women, we will not allow them. Night after night, day after day, our security forces continue to engage the terrorists in battle. My gratitude goes out to our armed forces whose will has been greatly challenged by this insurgency more than any other time, since the civil war. Yet, they have remained undaunted and unwearied in the face of constant challenge and mortal danger. Driven by patriotic zeal, they are turning the tide by their prowess and determination. As Commander-in-Chief, I will continue to do all it takes to enable them to keep on inflicting devastating blows at the heart of terror.

Fellow Nigerians, it is our collective duty as patriots to avail our men and women in uniform of all the support they need to fight and WIN this war. This Administration is committed to making Nigeria safe for all Nigerians, irrespective of our places of birth, how we worship God and our
political persuasion. To all those waging war against our country, I ask that you lay down YOUR arms and embrace peace. To those who have genuine grievances, I affirm that Nigeria will listen to you, if you bring YOUR grievances to the table of dialogue. To the good people of Nigeria, let me restate that our task of building a better and greater country must not waver.

While we continue to deploy our resources in the fight against the terrorists, we do recognize the great toll the conflict is taking on our people. This is why, to assist the afflicted, we have launched the Victims Support Fund, an independent multi-sectoral charity, which will aggressively solicit resources to augment Government’s statutory intervention, in bringing succour to the injured, the displaced and the bereaved.

In partnership with Nigerian business leaders and international partners, we have also introduced the Safe Schools Initiative which is aimed at
promoting safe environments for education nationwide, STARTING with the North East region. The Presidential Initiative for the North East, a comprehensive programme to fast-track the economic restoration of this region, which has been the epicentre of terrorist activity, has been
set up.

Our overall objective is to do all we possibly can, to sustain in the North-East, the momentum of economic advancement, which is on-going in other parts of the country, despite the machinations of the terrorists and their sponsors. It should now be clear to anyone who was ever in doubt that these terrorists do not mean well for anyone, of whatever religion or dispensation. Their persistent choice of the weakest and most vulnerable in society, for gruesome attack, provides an insight into their abnormal mind-set. I urge every Nigerian to put aside political, sectional or other parochial considerations, and support whole-heartedly the efforts of the government and the military, in checking  his evil.

We are grateful to the international community, and especially our neighbours who are working closely with us in confronting this challenge, for their increased partnership and solidarity. Our steady progress in weakening the insurgency has certainly justified our cooperation.

Fellow Nigerians, in my independence anniversary address last year, I informed you that we had taken cognizance of the suggestion over the years by well-meaning Nigerians on the need to focus attention on rebuilding and strengthening the ligaments of our union. It was in that regard that we announced the convening of a National Dialogue on the future of our beloved country. We have successfully delivered on that promise as we established the 2014 National Conference headed by Justice Legbo Kutigi. After months of deliberations, which did not come without its challenges, the conference concluded its assignment and has handed its Report to me. I have made a firm commitment that we would act on the recommendations of the conference. This, I have started by setting up the Ministerial Committee headed by the Honourable Attorney General of the Federation to work out the modalities for implementing the Report. Every promise I make, God willing, I will see to its fulfilment. I assure you, we shall implement the report.

One major lesson which the 2014 National Conference has taught us as a country is that, a multi-ethnic country like ours, must learn to embrace  painstaking dialogue until consensus is established. To me, the National Conference is the greatest centenary gift to our country that we must cherish and sustain.

Fellow Nigerians, our 54 year-journey as a nation has not been easy. There have been tough periods, but the Nigerian spirit and the unflagging resilience of our people have seen us through. We will continue to march forward to greater heights. We have been able to sustain a big, strong and influential country with a robust economy. We are currently in our sixteenth year of uninterrupted democratic rule, daily improving on the consolidation of our democratic process.

Our Administration has made a commitment to ensure that we build and sustain a democratic infrastructure anchored on free and fair elections. International and local observers have attested to the positive evolution of electoral credibility and we cannot afford to relent. We will continue to ensure that the will of the electorate prevails so that political leaders would be reminded at all times that there is a day of reckoning when they have to go back to the people at the polls. Election days must not be days of violence and death. We must remain vigilant to ensure that our electoral process is characterised by peace, security and transparency. I enjoin the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), all security agencies, politicians and the electorate to work conscientiously and peacefully, together, to consolidate on the gains of the recent elections. Free and fair elections have come to stay; nothing else will be acceptable to our people.

My dear countrymen and women, occasions such as this PRESENT an opportunity to thank God for our country and to report to you, on our
journey so far. Our power sector reform is on course with the ultimate objective of generating enough electricity to power our homes, industries and businesses. We are making giant strides in the Agricultural Sector which we are re-positioning to diversify our economy. We will continue to upgrade our infrastructure to make life easier for all and create an enabling environment for enterprise to flourish. Over the last four years, the implementation of the Nigerian Content Act in the Oil and Gas Sector has ensured major increase in the participation of indigenous Oil and Gas companies in the industry.

Several critical infrastructure projects have been commissioned and commenced. The level of indigenous asset ownership has greatly increased
and utilisation of Nigerian-owned and built assets such as marine vessels and rigs is being progressively enforced. There has been maximised local value addition by encouraging the manufacture of equipment components and parts within the country. There has also been massive growth in indigenous participation in the provision of goods and services to the upstream sector from 10% to 60% within the last four years. Today, following the rebasing of our economy, every international monitoring and ratings agency now acknowledges NIGERIA as the largest economy in Africa, with a Gross Domestic Product of five hundred and ten billion DOLLARS ($510 billion) which also places us as the 26th largest economy in the world. This is progress.

Earlier in the year, we launched the Nigeria Industrial Revolution Plan (NIRP) and the National Enterprise Development Programme (NEDEP) with the stated objective of fast tracking inclusive growth, job creation, enterprise development and industrialisation. The success of these policies is already evident in the increased value addition in the agricultural and manufacturing sectors. In line with our objective of encouraging the production of made-in-Nigeria vehicles and making Nigeria a regional hub for the automobile industry, a number of foreign auto manufacturers have established plants in Nigeria, complementing the laudable efforts of our local vehicle manufacturers who have also demonstrated great innovation and COMPETITIVENESS .

We have also launched a special support programme for Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises with an initial intervention fund of two hundred and twenty billion NAIRA (N220 b). This is in addition to the Presidential Job Creation Board which I inaugurated recently with the charge to create three million jobs annually.  In demonstration of our Administration’s commitment to addressing Nigeria’s housing deficit, we have commenced the new mortgage re- finance programme with the establishment of the Nigerian Mortgage Re-finance Company. It is expected that, in addition to creating additional housing units across the country, this initiative also represents a huge job creation opportunity.

We have recorded notable success in the social sector. Nigeria has been globally acknowledged for reducing extreme hunger by more than half, with the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) formally PRESENTING the country with an award for achieving the Millennium Development Goal on Hunger three years ahead of the 2015 target date set for the Millennium Development  Goals. This progress is as a result of the deliberate policy of government to increase capacity in our agricultural sector of which the first step was to address and eliminate the graft in our fertilizer procurement system and ensure that the product gets directly to the farmer. We are expanding our irrigation infrastructure to ensure that our farmers have sufficient water supply for dry season farming.

A benefit of these combined actions is that our national food import bill has declined from 1.1 trillion NAIRA (6.9 billion dollars) in 2009 to 684.7 billion naira (4.35 billion dollars) by December 2013, and continues to decline.  Modern hybrid schools are being provided for less privileged children across the country, resulting in significant increase in the national school enrolment figure. In order to further enhance access to education at the tertiary level, fourteen new Federal Universities have been established; and, to encourage persons of exceptional abilities, our Administration has also introduced a Presidential Scholarship Scheme based strictly on excellence and merit.

On infrastructure, we are building roads, bridges, and new rail lines to make it easier to traverse Nigeria and increase the integration of our people and our ability to do business with each other. In this regard, we have commenced the process of building the Second NIGER Bridge. The Loko-Oweto Bridge over River Benue in Nasarawa and Benue States, will significantly reduce travel time by road between Northern and Southern Nigeria. The on-going dredging of the River Niger up to Baro in Niger State is opening up large parts of the Nigerian hinterland to maritime activity. The Zungeru and Mambilla Hydro-electric power projects are on course, and the Kashimbilla dam which we STARTED a few years ago, is nearing completion.

The successful privatisation of our power sector will in the long run enhance industrial growth. Policies such as this and others have raised NIGERIA to the enviable status of being the number one recipient of Foreign Direct Investment in Africa in the past year. The result of this infrastructure drive is that two and a half million jobs have been created over the past two years. This is a record, which we are committed to improve upon to continue to provide jobs for our youth. An unprecedented number of Airports across the country, are not only being reconstructed at the same time, but being re-equipped and reassessed with emphasis on maintaining global standards.

Fellow Nigerians, the goals we set to achieve for our country involve expanding the frontiers of economic freedom. Let us therefore unite with one heart and one mind. All our people must have access to the good things of life. All our people must be empowered to pursue the gift of life with happiness. This is our country; we must build it for our common posterity.

As we move into an election year, desperate moves to overheat the polity are BECOMING a regular occurrence. Our political leaders in particular must know that the contest for power should not translate to the destruction of the polity. The contest for the leadership of our country must yield good governance, and not ungovernable spaces. The love of country should rank higher than our individual ambitions. We must remain committed to a united and indivisible Nigeria within democratic parameters. The protection of individual rights, liberty, equality before the law, freedom of thought, and a progressive pursuit of a sound economy must be our goal.

I cannot end this address without commenting on the deadly Ebola Virus Disease (EVD) which was sadly brought into our country recently. My directives to the Federal Ministry of Health saw the ministry leading the charge in curtailing the spread of this deadly scourge and managing its impact. This is how it should be: swift, effective and comprehensive action in defence of citizens. It must be pointed out that the Ebola battle is still raging elsewhere in our sub-region. I therefore enjoin all our citizens to continue to adhere strictly to all the guidelines that have been given by our health officials to keep Ebola out of our country.
I appreciate and welcome the spirit of collaboration, unity and partnership with which we confronted the threat of the Ebola Virus Disease. I
thank all Nigerians for working together to prevent what could have BECOME a major epidemic. I particularly thank the medical personnel, some of  whom made the ultimate sacrifice. This is the spirit which we must demonstrate at all times as we face up to our challenges as a nation: one people, united by a common resolve, in the pursuit of one common national interest. As we look forward to another year in our national life, I am more than confident that our tomorrow will be better than our yesterday and today. NIGERIA has got the human and material resources to excel and we shall lead the way in that journey to our manifest destiny.

Fellow countrymen, brothers and sisters, in all our plans, and in all our words and our actions, we must stand together in love and unity, as one people under God.

President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan
President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan

We are one people from the womb of one NIGERIA .

We are brothers and sisters. We are one family.

We are Nigerians.


The Things That Happen To You!

28/09/2014 ~ SuccessJourney Daily Post with Nicholas Akomire ©2014

Things That Happen To You
Things That Happen To You

Life as we have come to realize is filled with a lot of unexpected happenings, sometimes good, sometimes bad and sometimes terrible things happen even to good people and when these things happen we are almost tempted to ask God why?

I once had the priviledge to hear a teenager tell me his life story and I was shocked at how humans can be so wicked to each other. This young man who is the eldest of 3 lost his mother quite early in life and was left with the father who could barely provide their needs but had his own house in the village where he lived with the three children.

Not so many months after this boy got out of secondary school, they lost the dad to sickness and this boy was saddled with the responsibility of fending for himself and the two siblings. While he was still trying to get his head around this unhappy life, the eldest member of the father’s family sold the father’s house and threw them out into the street to go look for somewhere to stay because he believes he now owns the property.

I listened with great pain as this young man narrated how life has turned his dreams upside down. Where would he go? How can he make something good out of life? How can he still ever amount to something great in life? These were the questions that ran through my mind while he shared his tale.

Maya Angelou said “You may not control all the events that happen to you, but you can decide not to be reduced by them”.

Our stories are quite different and so are our challenges but our stories would be told only by the way we decide to respond to the happenings of life. Do we decide to sit still and wet our pillows with tears? Or do we get up and work hard to have a better story or do we leave it all to faith and just hope that maybe, just maybe things would change for the good? These are the choices we are faced with.

I have learnt to become a sticker for the adage that says “Good things come to those who wait, but better things come to those who go out and get them”.

Whatever you decide to do, do not allow the things that happen to you reduce the man you were born to be…chase your dreams while you still can.

I honour you.

Nicholas Akomire

Twitter: @ItsNicholasAE

What Goes Around Comes Around!

20/09/2014 ~ SuccessJourney Daily Post with Nicholas Akomire ©2014

What Goes Around Comes Around
What Goes Around Comes Around

Hello there, how did your week go? Great? Or Not Great? If it didn’t go as you had hoped, don’t worry too much, it will be sure to get better with the coming week. Here is a little story piece to get your weekend started. Enjoy.

One day a man saw an old lady, stranded on the side of the road, but even in the dim light of day, he could see she needed help. So he pulled up in front of her Mercedes and got out. His Pontiac was still sputtering when he approached her.

Even with the smile on his face, she was worried. No one had stopped to help for the last hour or so. Was he going to hurt her? He didn’t look safe; he looked poor and hungry. He could see that she was frightened, standing out there in the cold. He knew how she felt. It was those chills which only fear can put in you. He said, “I’m here to help you, ma’am. Why don’t you wait in the car where it’s warm? By the way, my name is Bryan Anderson.”

Well, all she had was a flat tire, but for an old lady, that was bad enough. Bryan crawled under the car looking for a place to put the jack, skinning his knuckles a time or two. Soon he was able to change the tire. But he had to get dirty and his hands hurt.

As he was tightening up the lug nuts, she rolled down the window and began to talk to him. She told him that she was from St. Louis and was only just passing through. She couldn’t thank him enough for coming to her aid.

Bryan just smiled as he closed her trunk. The lady asked how much she owed him. Any amount would have been all right with her. She already imagined all the awful things that could have happened had he not stopped. Bryan never thought twice about being paid. This was not a job to him. This was helping someone in need, and God knows there were plenty, who had given him a hand in the past. He had lived his whole life that way, and it never occurred to him to act any other way.

He told her that if she really wanted to pay him back, the next time she saw someone who needed help, she could give that person the assistance they needed, and Bryan added, “And think of me.”

He waited until she started her car and drove off. It had been a cold and depressing day, but he felt good as he headed for home, disappearing into the twilight.

A few miles down the road the lady saw a small cafe. She went in to grab a bite to eat, and take the chill off before she made the last leg of her trip home. It was a dingy looking restaurant. Outside were two old gas pumps. The whole scene was unfamiliar to her. The waitress came over and brought a clean towel to wipe her wet hair. She had a sweet smile, one that even being on her feet for the whole day couldn’t erase. The lady noticed the waitress was nearly eight months pregnant, but she never let the strain and aches change her attitude. The old lady wondered how someone who had so little could be so giving to a stranger. Then she remembered Bryan.

After the lady finished her meal, she paid with a hundred dollar bill. The waitress quickly went to get change for her hundred dollar bill, but the old lady had slipped right out the door. She was gone by the time the waitress came back. The waitress wondered where the lady could be. Then she noticed something written on the napkin.

There were tears in her eyes when she read what the lady wrote: “You don’t owe me anything. I have been there too. Somebody once helped me out, the way I’m helping you. If you really want to pay me back, here is what you do, do not let this chain of love end with you.” Under the napkin were four more $100 bills.

Well, there were tables to clear, sugar bowls to fill, and people to serve, but the waitress made it through another day. That night when she got home from work and climbed into bed, she was thinking about the money and what the lady had written. How could the lady have known how much she and her husband needed it? With the baby due next month, it was going to be hard… She knew how worried her husband was, and as he lay sleeping next to her, she gave him a soft kiss and whispered soft and low, “Everything’s going to be all right. I love you, Bryan Anderson.”

There is an old saying “What goes around comes around.”

Enjoy your weekend.

Nicholas Akomire

Twitter: @ItsNicholasAE

If I Could Be Anywhere Now, It Would Be Seychelles!

Seychelles Flag

Have you ever thought of that one place where you would love to just pack your bags and run to if you had the means and time? Well for me Seychelles would be just the perfect place to go.

Why Seychelles you ask?  The Republic of Seychelles as it is officially called comprises of 115 Islands in the Indian Ocean – imagine waking from your bed to a wonderful view of the ocean. Seychelles is a beautiful destination that extends from between 4 to 10 degrees south of the equator and which lies between 480km and 1,600km from the east coast of Africa, my home.

Seychelles Map
Seychelles Map

Seychelles gained independence in 1976 and since then has expanded roughly seven times due largely to the tourist sector which employs about 30% of the labour force and provides more than 70% hard currency earnings and by tuna fishing.

The Islands of Seychelles cluster around the main island of Mahe, where you have an international airport and the capital city, Victoria. So you will not have to swim there…hehehe…just kidding.  And there is also a major seaport in Victoria.

Seychelles can be described as a living museum of natural history and a sanctuary for one of the rarest species of flora and fauna as described by a travel agency. Nowhere else on earth will you find unique endemic specimens such as the fabulous Coco-de-mer – the largest seed in the world, the jelly fish tree – with only eighth surviving examples, the Seychelles’ paradise flycatcher and Seychelles warbler. 450px-Female_coco_de_mer_growth The Islands of Seychelles are home to about 75 endemic plant species, with a further 25 or so species in the Aldabra group.air_seychelles

The republic of Seychelles boasts of a mixed ethnic group of French, African, Indian, Chinese and Arabians. With its official language being Seychellois Creole. Other languages spoken is English (5.1%), French (0.75%) and others. This means that whatever language you speak, you will not have a communication barrier.seychelles map MAIN

The Seychelles market boasts of an array of great home made products such as Jewelleries, mirror paintings, textiles, pottery etc.  You will be sure to find something interesting and unique.Kempinski-Seychelles-Resort-on-8-1024x576

Seychelles has an array of great hotels and spas with exquisite hotel services and amenities – swimming pools, lovely rooms, beaches, tours, tasty meals etc.. Some of the great hotels and spa you will find in Seychelles are: Kempinski Seychelles Resort, La Reserve Hotel, Chateau St Cloud, Savoy Resort & Spa,  Le Meridien Fisherman’s Cove, and Sunset Beach Hotel etc. The list goes on and on. But one thing all of these hotels have in common is the great view of the ocean and the blue waters, you will be sure to like it.

So when you are thinking of your next vacation, and dreaming of stunning beaches, blue waters, great views from your room and exquisite meals, think of Seychelles…hmm…it’s indeed a wonderful destination.turtle-diving-seychelles