President Muhammadu Buhari has admitted that it is difficult to fulfill all his electoral promises.
He said the task before him was not an easy one.
The President, however, said that he would work hard with his team to bequeath to the country a new orientation in leadership that would be service-driven.
Buhari, who spoke on Friday at the graduation ceremony of Course 24 of the National Defence College, Abuja, where he was the Special Guest of Honour, explained that though it was not easy to fulfill all the electoral promises, he and members of his team were trusting in God that they would deliver through hard work and sound vision.
He said, “Let me assure you all that this administration is committed to bequeathing to this nation, a new orientation in leadership that will be service-driven and committed to the realisation of its promises to the electorates.
“We are however not under any illusion that this task is an easy one.
“But we have put our trust in God knowing that with hard work and sound vision, we will triumph.”
Buhari expressed delight that in the last one year, through the hard work, dedication and sacrifices made by members of the nation’s armed forces and security services, the nation had been able to degrade the capacity of Boko Haram insurgents to wreck havoc.
On the incessant clashes between herdsmen and farmers, the President said his administration would not condone any act of criminality.
He said he had therefore directed security agencies to deal decisively with the situation.
The President said, “On the herdsmen/farmers clashes, I wish to state that this administration will not tolerate or condone acts of banditry and criminality, under any guise.
“As such, our security agencies have been mandated to deal with such acts decisively.
“Let me state that this administration has been working assiduously in conjunction with our local and international partners, to rebuild damaged communities in North-East part of our country.
“Similarly, we are committed to tackling the issues of underdevelopment and neglect in the Niger Delta area.
“This is a priority we have set before us and we intend to make appreciable gains in correcting the ills of the past in the Niger Delta by assuaging inherent grievances,” he said.
For the Nigerian graduating Participants, Buhari said he expected that they would all have made the most of their time on the course and be ready to join the ongoing process to change Nigeria for the better.
He stated that Nigeria had made tremendous progress in the last one year towards taking its rightful position in the comity of nations.
The President promised to continue to build on the progress in the coming years so as to ensure that Nigeria maintains the enviable heights it had achieved thus far, adding that it is a task that all Nigerians must resolve to do.
He said, “International confidence in our country and its future is beginning to return because of how we are slowly finding ways to solve our problems.
“The nation is beginning to have faith in the ability of our society’s institutional capacity to tackle our problems. But we must work doubly hard to restore our nation to higher glory.
“The Nigerian Armed Forces have proven to be equal to the task of maintaining our internal and external security.”
The President recalled that at the inception of his administration, he outlined certain core areas of national life that require immediate intervention, which are to secure the country, improve the economy and fight corruption.
He said corruption and poverty remained the country’s main problems.
Through his anti-corruption war, he said billions of naira had been recovered from indicted companies and individuals.
The President added that the nation had saved more money through the implementation of the Treasury Single Account.
Buhari said, “To tap the nation’s vast opportunities, Nigeria needs a philosophy of transparency and accountability in governance.
“The other core areas that we need to improve are the rule of law and moral standards in government and in society in order to provide a good foundation for good governance so that our gains are not dissipated by corruption.
“Good governance must be based on a sound moral foundation, a philosophy of transparency, accountability and an ethic of effective implementation.
“Already, our unrelenting fight against criminality and corruption in governance is a clear testament that we intend to address these problems.”
In his welcome address, the college’s Commandant, Rear Admiral Samuel Alade, told the graduating participants that a lot had changed in the polity while they were in the college since September last year.
Alade therefore urged them to quickly embrace the change mantra as exemplified by Buhari.
While saying the concept of change had permeated throughout the entire country, he urged the participants to contribute to its sustenance.
He sought the Federal Government’s support towards the completion of the college’s permanent site.
Alade disclosed that the college had trained a total of 2001 participants since its inception, including international military officers.
As part of its regional and international assignments, he said the Economic Community of West African States recently tasked the college to research into incessant herdsmen and farmers’ clash in the region and proffer solutions before it gets out of hand.
He said Course 24 had 130 participants, including seven officers from outside the country, adding they had the privilege, for the first time in the history of NDC, of making a presentation to Vice-President Yemi Osinbajo.
He said all the participants who started the course on September 6, 2015 had been adequately trained and are expected to add value to the society in their various capacities.
Alade added that more foreign countries are now showing interest in the NDC with 13 countries already showing interest in Course 25 which will start soon.
A breakdown of the 140 graduating participants showed that the Nigerian Army contributed 55 participants; Nigeria Navy, 40; Nigerian Air Force, 12; Nigeria Police, five; Nigerian Immigration Service, one; National Intelligence Agency, one; and NDC, one.
Others are Department of Intelligence Agency, one; Department of State Service, one; Federal Road Safety Corps, one; Nigerian Prisons Service, one; Nigerian Security and Civil Defence Corps, one; Ministry of Defence, one; Ministry of Foreign Affairs, one; and international participants, seven.
Dignitaries who attended the event included the Emir of Kano, Muhammed Sanusi II; Speaker of the House of Representatives, Yakubu Dogara; former military Head of State, Gen. Abdulsalami Abubakar (retd.); service chiefs, members of the Federal Executive Council and others.
Meanwhile, the presidential candidate of the KOWA Party in the last general elections, Prof. Oluremi Sonaiya, and an elder statesman and governor of old Kaduna State, Alhaji Balarabe Musa, on Friday reacted to Buhari’s admission that he is finding it difficult to fulfill all his electoral promises.
They said Buhari ought to have vividly studied the true situation of the country before he offered himself to serve.
According to Sonaiya, Buhari’s admission indicated he did not have the true picture of the situation on ground before the last general election.
She said the effects of inadequate study of the situation before Buhari became the President were manifesting in non-payment of workers’ salaries for many months and economic crisis in the country.
Sonaiya said, “One should not make electoral promises without getting the full picture of the situation on ground. But of course, that is past now. There are some promises one should not have made. Buhari promised change and I believe that many Nigerians are still waiting to see the change that the President promised.
“I was expecting a radical change, but unfortunately I still have the feeling that Nigerians are continuing mostly with business as usual.
“There are lots of talks about corruption and people are being arrested for whatever role they might have played in the embezzlement of public fund, but it is disheartening that we have not seen conviction so far. So, how long is this going to take before we see somebody convicted and sent to prison for corruption?”
She therefore urged the President to be transparent.
Sonaiya said, “There should be transparency in his government. How much money is being recovered from suspected looters? What is difficult in letting Nigerians know? Otherwise, they will think somebody stole N1bn and N200m is recovered from him and Nigerians will want to know what happens to the rest of the money.”
Balarabe Musa asked Nigerians not to doubt Buhari’s admission and described it as unfortunate.
Musa said, “If it is true that he says he finds it difficult to fulfill all the electoral promises, then, it means he has admitted that the task is daunting, we should not doubt what he said.
“The onus is on him to call for the government of national unity headed by the All Progressives Congress and involve the remaining political party according to their relevance.”
It will be recalled that in February 2015, prior to his election, Buhari had, at the Chatham House in London, the United Kingdom, made a wide range of promises to Nigerians.
He promised that his administration would be tough on terrorism by initiating a comprehensive economic development plan which promotes infrastructural development, job creation, agriculture and industrialisation in the affected areas.
Buhari had said, “We will always act on time and not allow problems to irresponsibly fester, and I, Muhammadu Buhari, will always lead from the front and return Nigeria to its leadership role in regional and international efforts to combat terrorism.”
In the face of dwindling oil revenue, he also said he would reposition the economy by tackling waste and corruption.
He had said, “And in doing this, I will, if elected, lead the way, with the force of personal example. On corruption, there will be no confusion as to where I stand. Corruption will have no place and the corrupt will not be appointed into my administration.
“I’m running for President to lead Nigeria to prosperity and not adversity. In reforming the economy, we will use proceeds recovered from corruption to fund our party’s social investments programmes in education, health, and safety nets such as free school meals for children, emergency public works for unemployed youth and pensions for the elderly.
“As a progressive party, we must reform our political economy to unleash the pent-up ingenuity and productivity of the Nigerian people thus freeing them from the curse of poverty.
“We will run a private sector-led economy, but maintain an active role for government through strong regulatory oversight and deliberate interventions and incentives to diversify the base of our economy, strengthen productive sectors, improve the productive capacities of our people and create jobs for our teeming youths.
“In short, we will run a functional economy driven by a worldview that sees growth not as an end by itself, but as a tool to create a society that works for all, rich and poor alike.”
The APC, the party on which platform Buhari was elected President, also promised in its manifestoes to bring permanent peace and solution to the Niger Delta and other conflict prone areas, initiate policies to ensure the removal of state of origin, tribe, ethnic and religious affiliations and replace them with state of residence.
Also, the party said it would guarantee a minimum price for selected crops and facilitate storage of agricultural products as and when necessary, while creating a food inspectorate division nationwide with a view to improving nutrition and eliminating food-borne hazards in the country.