At 52, “our nation is indeed making progress” -Jonathan

In his nationwide broadcast to celebrate Nigeria's 52nd
independence, President Goodluck Jonathan called on Nigerians to
remain dedicated saying Nigeria is "indeed making progress."

The president used the broadcast not only to pay tribute to past
heroes who fought for the independent possible but reeled out
achievements of his transformation agenda.

His whole speech reads:

"Beloved countrymen and women, on this day, fifty-two years ago, our
founding fathers brought joy and hope to the hearts of our people
when they won independence for our great country. Nigeria made a
clean break with more than six decades of colonial rule, and emerged
as a truly independent nation. That turning point was a new beginning
for our nation.  

"Those who witnessed the lowering of the Union Jack and the
emergence of the Green White Green flag continue to relish the
memory, because that ceremony was not just about the destiny of a
nation, but the future of a people.  

"That future is here; we are the inheritors of a great legacy that goes
even much farther into the past.

"The worthy patriots who made this possible were young men and
women in their twenties and thirties. They worked together to restore
dignity and honour to the Nigerian people. Their resolve united a
multicultural and multilingual nation of diverse peoples, with more than
250 distinct languages and ethnic groups.

" In 1960, our diversity became a source of strength, and the new
leaders resolved to carry the flag of independence for the benefit of
future generations. They had their differences, but they placed a
greater premium on the need to come together to build a new nation.

"It is that resolve, and that glorious moment that we celebrate today.
We also celebrate the patriotism of our heroes past: Dr Nnamdi
Azikiwe, Sir Abubakar Tafawa Balewa, Sir Ahmadu Bello, Chief
Obafemi Awolowo, Sir Michael Okpara, Chief Anthony Enahoro,
Herbert Macaulay, and several others who made the case for our
independence.

"We remember as always, their contributions to the making of the
Nigerian nation, and the efforts of their successors since 1960. We
also celebrate the unfailing optimism and resilience of Nigerians who
remain proud of our national identity.  

"On this special day, I call on every Nigerian to remain steadfast,
because our nation is indeed making progress. I call on every
Nigerian to rediscover that special spirit that enables us to triumph
over every adversity as a people:

"We weathered the storm of the civil war, we have refused to be
broken by sectarian crises; we have remained a strong nation.  I bring
to you today, a message of renewed hope and faith in the immense
possibilities that lie ahead.

"Fellow citizens, I have an unshaken belief in the future of our great
Country. I consider it a priority and sacred duty to continue to
strengthen the bond of unity that holds our nation together and to
promote and nourish the creative energies of our people. This is a
central objective of our administration's Transformation Agenda.  
Nigeria, I assure you, will continue to grow from strength to strength.

"Since I assumed office as President of our dear country on the 6th of
May 2010, I have continued to work with our countrymen and women
to enhance our nation's growth and development.  

"Our vision is encapsulated in the Transformation Agenda. We are
working hard and making progress on many fronts. We have cleaned
up our electoral process; our elections are now globally acclaimed to
be free and fair. Nigeria is now on a higher pedestal regarding
elections.

"Over the past five years, the global economy has been going
through a weak and uncertain recovery. During the same period and
particularly in the last two years, the Nigerian economy has done
appreciably well despite the global financial crisis. Nigeria's real Gross
Domestic Product (GDP) has grown by 7.1 per cent on average.

"It is also significant that the GDP growth has been driven largely by
the non-oil sector. In pursuance of the main goals of the
Transformation Agenda, a number of reforms and initiatives are being
pursued in key sectors of the economy with a view to consolidating
the gains of the economic growth.

"Our country's power supply situation is improving gradually. We are
successfully implementing a well-integrated power sector reform
programme which includes institutional arrangements to facilitate and
strengthen private-sector-led power generation, transmission and
distribution.

"We have also put in place a cost-reflective tariff structure that
reduces the cost of power for a majority of electricity consumers. I am
pleased with the feedback from across the country, of improvements
in power supply.

"We are continuing to improve and stabilize on our crude production
volumes; our 12-month gas supply emergency plan, put in place
earlier this year, has produced more than the targeted volumes of gas
for power generation. A robust Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB) has been
placed before the National Assembly. Its passage into law will ensure
far-reaching reforms, transparency, accountability, increased
government revenue and predictability for investors in the Oil and
Gas sector.

"Several government programmes and projects are creating wealth
and millions of job opportunities for our youth and general population.
Such programmes include: You-Win, both for the youth and for the
women, Public Works, the Local Content Initiative in the Oil and Gas
Sector, and the Agricultural Transformation programme.

"We have improved on our investment environment; more corporate
bodies are investing in the Nigerian economy. Our Investment Climate
Reform Programme has helped to attract over N6.8 trillion local and
foreign direct investment commitments.

"Nigeria has become the preferred destination for investment in
Africa. It is ranked first in the top 5 host economies for Foreign Direct
Investment (FDI) in Africa, accounting for over 20 per cent of total FDI
flows into the continent. We have streamlined bureaucratic activities
at the ports to ensure greater efficiency in the handling of ports and
port-related businesses.  Specifically, we have drastically reduced the
goods clearing period in our ports from about six weeks to about one
week and under. We have an ultimate target of 48 hours.

"We have put in place, a new visa policy that makes it easier for
legitimate investors to receive long stay visas. We have achieved a
24-hour timeline for registration of new businesses, leading to the
registration of close to 7, 000 companies within the second quarter of
2012.  

"The Manufacturers Association of Nigeria (MAN) has disclosed that,
as at July 2012, 249 new members across the country had joined the
Association, and that capacity utilization has also improved. The
multiplier effect of this development on our job creation programme
cannot be over-emphasized.

"In the last two years, we have put in place structures for an upgrade
of the country's health sector, to promote in every respect, the
individual citizen's right to quality, affordable and accessible
healthcare.

"In this regard, we are devoting resources under the Subsidy
Reinvestment Program (SURE-P) to reducing malaria incidents,
dramatically reducing maternal and child mortality, and eradicating
polio.

"Fellow Nigerians, in recent times, we have witnessed serious security
challenges in parts of our country. We have taken pro-active
measures to check the menace. This has included constant
consultation and collaboration with our neighbours and other friendly
nations on issues relating to internal and cross border security, and
the sharing of information on smuggling and illegal dealing in small
arms and light weapons.

"Our security agencies are constantly being strengthened and
repositioned for greater efficiency. Many Nigerians have
acknowledged that there has been a significant decline in the spate of
security breaches.

"While expressing our condolences to the affected families, let me
reiterate the commitment of this Administration to ensure the safety of
lives and property of all Nigerians.

"Even as we remain focused on the issue of security, the fight against
the scourge of corruption is a top priority of our Administration.  We
are fighting corruption in all facets of our economy, and we are
succeeding. We have put an end to several decades of endemic
corruption associated with fertilizer and tractor procurement and
distribution.  We have exposed decades of scam in the management
of pensions and fuel subsidy, and ensured that the culprits are being
brought to book.

"In its latest report, Transparency International (TI) noted that Nigeria
is the second most improved country in the effort to curb corruption.

"We will sustain the effort in this direction with an even stronger
determination to strengthen the institutions that are statutorily
entrusted with the task of ending this scourge.

"I have given my commitment of non-interference in the work of the
relevant agencies and I am keeping my word. What we require is the
full cooperation of all tiers of government, and the public, especially
civil society and the media.

"This Administration has also introduced for the first time in Nigeria's
history, a Performance Contract System for all Ministers, and other
officials of government. This is to further place emphasis on
performance, efficiency, and service delivery.

"Fellow Nigerians, our determined efforts on several fronts not-
withstanding, our country still faces a number of challenges.

"Those challenges should not deter us. In the last few weeks, for
example, many of our communities have been ravaged by floods,
resulting in the loss of lives and property, and the displacement of
persons.

"I want to reassure all affected Nigerians that I share in their grief, and
our Administration is taking steps to address these incidents, in
collaboration with the States and Local Governments.

"I have received the interim Report of the Presidential team that I set
up to assess the flooding situation across the country.

"The Federal Government has taken measures to assist the affected
States, while considering long term measures to check future
reoccurrence.

"We must continue to work together, confidently and faithfully, to
ensure that our country's potentials are realised to the fullest; that our
dreams are translated into reality; and that our goals are achieved.

"Let me reiterate that our administration is committed to the pursuit of
fundamental objectives of an open society: the pursuit of freedom,
security and prosperity for the Nigerian people, and the rule of law.

"In the next few days, I shall lay before the National Assembly the
2013 Federal Budget Proposal so that deliberations can commence in
earnest on the key policies, programmes and projects that will mark a
decisive year for our development and transformation.

"I have no doubt that by the time I address you on our next
independence anniversary, many of our reform efforts would have
yielded even better results.

"Over the years, several leaders have built on the foundation laid by
our Founding Fathers. The baton is now in our hands. Let me assure
all Nigerians that we shall not fail.

"I am confident that Nigeria will continue to be a source of pride to its
citizens; to Africa and the Black Race and to humanity; a land that is
known for progress, freedom, peace and the promotion of human
dignity.

"May God bless the Federal Republic of Nigeria. May God bless you
all

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