My grandfather used to say: “If you look at a tree long enough, it will move.” We see what we want to see. Psychologists tell us that nothing controls our lives more than our self-image. We live like the person we see in the mirror. We are what we think we are. If you don’t think you will be successful, you will not. You can not be it if you can not see it. Your life is limited to your vision. If you want to change your life, you must change your vision of your life.
Arnold Schwarzenegger is an actor who has appeared in over 30 films such as; The Terminator, Commando, The Running Man, Governor of Califonia, Total Recall amongst others; but he was not that famous in 1976 when he met with a newspaper reporter. The reporter asked Schwarzenegger.”Now that you’ve retired from bodybuilding, what do you plan to do next?” Schwarzenegger answered very calmly and confidently, ” I am going to be the No.1 movie star in Hollywood.” (Meaning he has a GOAL)
The reporter was shocked and amused at Schwarzenegger’s plan. At that time, it was very hard to imagine how this muscle-bound body builder, who was not a professional actor and who spoke poor English with a strong Austrian accent, could ever hope to be Hollywood’s No.1 movie star! The reporter asked Schwarzenegger how he planned to make his dream come true, Schwarzenegger said: ” I will do it the same way I became the No.1 body builder in the world. What I do is to set a goal on whom I want to be, then I start living like that person in my mind as if it were already true.”
Ladies and gentlemen, that sounds almost childishly simple, doesn’t it? But it worked! Schwarzenegger DID become the No.1 highest paid movie star in Hollywood! Remember: ” If you can see it, you can be it.” So, I admonish you to start seeing something great now. What do you intend to do to live a successful life? What do you want to become later in life? How do you intend to pursue those goals? See it now and you shall be it.
A successful businessman I know wears a shirt with these words on it. “Don’t just pursue your dreams. Chase them down and tackle them!” You only get one life to live, so why not live the best life possible?
Distinguished guests, study after study has revealed that the ability to set goals and make plans for their accomplishment is the “master skill” of success. It is the single most important skill that you can learn and perfect. Becoming an expert at goal-setting and goal-achieving is something that you absolutely must do if you wish to fulfill your potential as a human being.
Why do so few people set goals?
According to the best research, less than three percent of Americans have written goals, and less than one percent review and rewrite their goals on a daily basis. So the reasons why people do not set goals have been of considerable interest to me. I think that there are five basic reasons why people do not set goals.
The first reason is that they are simply not serious. Whenever I speak with a man or woman who has achieved something remarkable, I learn that the achievement occurred after that person had decided to “get serious.” Until you become completely serious and totally determined about your goals, nothing really happens.
2. NOT KNOWING THE IMPORTANCE OF GOALS:
The second reason why people do not set goals is that they do not understand the importance of goals. We find that young men and women who begin to set goals very early in life invariably come from families in which the importance of goals is emphasized. The discussion that takes place around your family dinner table is one of the most powerful formative influences in your life. If your parents didn’t have goals, didn’t talk about goals, did not encourage you to set goals, and did not talk about people outside the family circle who had goals and were moving toward a higher level of achievements, then, you are very likely to grow up with the idea that goals are not even a part of normal existence. This is the case for most people.
3. INABILITY TO SET A CLEAR GOAL:
The third reason why people don’t set goals is because they don’t know how to do it. One of the greatest tragedies of our educational system is that you can receive 15 to 18 years of education in our schools and never once receive a single hour of instruction on how to set goals.
Yet we find that in certain schools where goal-setting programs are introduced early enough, young people become excited about goal-setting – even if the goal is only to increase the scores by 5 or 10 percent over the course of the academic term, or to be on time everyday in the course of a month. Children become so excited about achieving goals that by the third or fourth year, they love to go to school. They get the best grades. They are seldom absent. They are excited about themselves and about their lives.
To this end, schools are advised to set up guidance counseling units and at the same time give occasional career-talks to the students; this is to encourage them to set worthwhile and realistic goals from an early age.
4. FEAR OF REJECTION:
Many people hold back from setting worthwhile goals because they have found that every time they set a goal, somebody steps up and tells them that they cannot achieve it, or that they will lose their money or waste their time. Because each of us is strongly influenced by the opinions of those around us, one of the first things that you must learn when you begin setting goals is to keep your goals confidential. Don’t tell anyone about them. Often, it is the fear of criticism that, more than any other single factor, stops you from goal-setting in the first place. So keep your goals to yourself, with one exception. Share your goals only with others who are committed to achieving goals of their own and who really want you to be successful and achieve your goals as well. Other than that, do not tell anybody about your goals, No one is in a position to criticize you, or to discourage you from setting your goals.
5. FEAR OF FAILURE:
The fifth reason why people do not set goals – and perhaps the most important reason of all – is the fear of failure. People do not set goals because they are afraid that they might fail. In fact, the fear of failure is probably the greatest single obstacle to success in adult life. It can hold you back more than any other psychological problem. The primary reason why you fear failure is simply this: You probably do not understand the role that failure plays in achievement. The fact is that it is impossible to succeed without failing. Failure is an indispensable prerequisite for success, a means to make us do it well and better.
All great success is preceded by great failure. If you wish to fulfill your potential, you have to be willing to risk failure over and over and over, because there is no way that you can ever accomplish worthwhile goals until you have fallen on your face so many times that you have eventually learned the lessons that you need to move forward for a great achievement. In doing a research for his classic book “The Law of Success”, Napoleon Hill interviewed more than 500 of the most successful men and women in America. All of them admitted to him that they had achieved their greatest successes just one step beyond the point where they had experienced their greatest failures.
A key to succeeding through goal-setting is expecting temporary setbacks and obstacles inevitable parts of the goal-achieving process.
HOW DO I SET MY GOAL AND PURSUE IT?
1. Have a desire:
Desire is the key to motivation, but it is means to determination and commitment to an unrelenting pursuit of your goal – a commitment to excellence that will enable you attain the success you seek. What is that one thing that you truly desire? That one thing that makes you excited, keeps you up at night, makes you feel butterflies in your stomach?
This is not the moment to be logical and think what you should want in your life. Put your logic aside and listen to your heart. Allow yourself to desire whatever you want. You know the saying “think big” ?
Well, desire big, as well! To burn with desire and keep quiet about it is the greatest punishment we can bring on ourselves.
Believe in yourself ! Have faith in your abilities! Without a humble but reasonable confidence in your own powers you cannot be successful or happy. You have to absolutely believe you can achieve your goal. If you start by doubting your possibilities that one thing will happen for sure – you will fail. It has been even proven by scientist and it is called a self-fulfilling prophecy: what you expect, eventually manifest itself in your reality.
On the contrary, if you really believe you can do it , you will start seeing all the possibilities to make it happen. You will have more courage and energy to chase your dreams. It is not always easy to have that kind of faith. We have all failed more than once and we fear that we can fail again.
Believe in yourself, listen to your gut, take on challenges, dig deep within yourself to conquer fears and you will perform wonders.
3. Set small goals:
Set small goals for yourself; you can see and enjoy your small successes. Slowly, increase your goals. The worst thing you can do is set a too big goal, something unrealistic. You almost force yourself to fail and prove to yourself that you are not strong enough. So start small. Build your faith and courage.
4. Write it down:
There is something magical about writing things down. Psychologists have proven that we become more committed to what we write down than what we say. Thus, write down your goals.
There is a 3P formula for writing down your goals: use Present, Positive and Personal statement. That means that if your goal is to earn N500,000 by the end of the year, you should write: I earn N500,000 by the end of this year. You use verbs in present tense, you use positive language (write what you want, not what you do not want) and you write in 1st person singular provision.
5. Analyze your starting point:
You know where you want to get. Analyzing where you are now allows you to understand what you will need to do. If your goal is to become a Medical Doctor, then, you need to know your current UTME scores to know how to plan for the next one and plan for it accordingly.
Be honest with yourself. This is not the moment to allow your ego to sabotage your efforts. Whatever your goal is, do a thorough analysis of your strengths and weaknesses in this area with a view to setting and reacting your goal
6. Determine why you want to excel in this area:
Knowing why you want to achieve a particular goal will help you stay focused on it in moments of difficulties and doubt. Usually when we start working on a new project, we are very excited and super motivated. But those feelings do not last forever. They usually come and go. Take some time to write down at least 5 reasons why you want to achieve your goal.
How will your life improve once you get it? Make a list (yes, write it down!) and keep it always available to you.
7. Set a deadline:
Setting deadlines for your goals is one of the main rules for achieving them. Having a deadline helps you in two ways. Firstly, it allows you to plan . You start by deciding when you want to achieve your goal, and plan backwards. This way you will know how much you need to work on your goal every month, every week and every day.
Secondly, it adds a pressure. Humans are lazy by nature. Setting deadlines adds a pressure that motivates us to work.
Think of any assignment you have to do at work or in the university. Do not ever procrastinate on it until a deadline comes and when you have no other choice but to do it? Your deadline is your best guess about when the goal should be achieved.
Do not worry so much about not meeting it. In some cases, you may not, But it does not mean you failed. Deadlines are there to help us achieve our goals, but by no means are they determinants of our success. Once you know a deadline for your goal, set deadlines for all the steps you will need to accomplish beforehand.
8. Identify the obstacles:
Obstacles are those frightful things you see when you take your eyes off your goal. I can guarantee that you will encounter difficulties on your way to achieving your desired outcome. But don’t let that discourage you.
Everybody who has achieved great goals in his life, had to overcome some kind of obstacles.
Think of what could be an obstacle for you. Knowing what the worst case scenario can be, allows you to be prepared; if the obstacle does appear (though it does not always have to), you will know exactly what to do.
Permanence, perseverance and persistence in spite of all obstacles, discouragements and impossibilities: it is this that distinguishes the strong soul from the weak.
9. Determine the additional knowledge and skill you need:
You have a goal. Now ask yourself why is it that this goals is not yet a reality? You probably need to get some new skills and knowledge to achieve it. identify them. Understand what new skills you need to pick to become an expert in the field and to help you get where you want. Create a list of books, events and courses you will need to take to get there. This is how you work on that 80% of obstacles – the part that lies within us.
10. Determine the people you will need/Get the right team:
At more than one time you will need help from somebody. Identify key people for your success. Who can teach you what you need to know and help you stay focused and motivated. Goals are better achieved in a team that shares the same vision and dream.
Once you have that list, start working on relationships with these people. Offer then your help first. Do not expect them to help you if you are not willing to do the same for them. Be genuine and honest. Don’t use anybody for your goals, but create real relationships beneficial for both of you. Do not hesitate, but have the courage to do away with a working partner that does not share your dream. He may be a cog and may make you lose focus.
11. Make a plan:
What does not get planned, does not get done. Having a plan for achieving your goal is essential to your success. Without it, how will you know what to work on? We have limited resources (like time and energy) and you need to make sure you put them to the right use. Make a plan. This is your roadmap.
But stay flexible. Observe how the environment changes. You might need to adjust your plan more than once. Be open for it. Planning itself is a part of your success. Make sure you always remember the maxim “by failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail”.
He, who every morning plans the transactions of the day and follows that plan, carries a thread that will guide him through a labyrinth of the most busy life.
12. Periodical review of the plan:
This is very important for you to achieve your goals; unfortunately, we often ignore this aspect. Periodical review of your plan is a great tool to give you the assurance that your plan is on the right course. And its powers are almost limitless. Create a habit of visualizing what you want. If you want to keep fit, see yourself with the body of your dreams. If you want to have your own business, picture yourself as a successful businessman. By doing so you activate your subconscious, or your supermind .
Here is how the magic works. Your external (the world you live in) is a reflection of your internal (your imagination, beliefs). If you want to change the external, you need to first change the internal. In an almost magical way you will see how the world changes to fit your (internal) dream.
13. Goal Getting Template:
Design your goal getting constitution and be faithful in adhering to its contents. Have self review of your disposition to your vision and mission and forge ahead as you must have trashed out your likely challenges and the way to address them.
This is best done when you know your potentials and the benefits derivable from the set goal; and marry the two together to set a template that consists mostly the challenges and the way to removing them on your fast lane to achieve your goal.
14. Never give up:
The key to achieving your goal is persistence. No matter how much talent you have, if you do not persist, you might just give up right before your big breakthrough. Do not let any failures discourage you. Once you decide you want to achieve a goal, make a decision to never ever give up.
Stay true to yourself, yet always be open to learn. Work hard, and never give up on your dreams, even when nobody else believes they can come true but you. These are not clichés but real tools you need no matter what you do in life to stay focused on your path.
Boys and girls, the market is over; the buyers and sellers are already on their way home. The coming morning of the new dawn will open new lives for you in other higher institutions of learning or other experiences of life. May the Lord be with you till we come across one another again.
I wish you all the very best as you sail through the ocean of life.
ADDRESS OF THE OYO STATE COMMISSIONER FOR EDUCATION, SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY, PROF. ADENIYI OLOWOFELA AT THE PRIZE GIVING/VALEDICTORY CEREMONY OF BODIJA INTERNATIONAL COLLEGE, IBADAN HELD ON SATURDAY, 29TH JULY, 2017.
Buhari fires security chiefs, names replacements
Nigeria’s president, Muhammadu Buhari has accepted the immediate resignation of the Service Chiefs, and their retirement from service.
The top brass involved are the Chief of Defence Staff, General Abayomi Olonisakin; Chief of Army Staff, Lt-Gen. Tukur Buratai; Chief of Naval Staff, Vice Admiral Ibok Ekwe Ibas; and Chief of Air Staff, Air Marshal Sadique Abubakar.
Buhari thanked the outgoing Service Chiefs for what he calls their “overwhelming achievements in our efforts at bringing enduring peace to our dear country,” wishing them well in their future endeavours.
According to a statement signed on Tuesday by the Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity, Femi Adesina, the new Service Chiefs are: Major-General Leo Irabor, Chief of Defence Staff; Major-General I. Attahiru, Chief of Army Staff; Rear Admiral A.Z Gambo, Chief of Naval Staff; and Air-Vice Marshal I.O Amao, Chief of Air Staff.
The statement added President Buhari congratulated the new Service Chiefs, just as he urged them to be loyal and dedicated in the discharge of their responsibilities.
Pendulum: Who Shall Tell the President Nigeria is Dying? | By Dele Momodu
Fellow Nigerians, please, take note of the title of my column this week. I did not say Nigerians are dying. That is stale news, as well as an understatement. My focus is that the country called Nigeria is dying. I do not know what sort of security briefing President Muhammadu Buhari, regularly or periodically, receives from his obviously reticent and incompetent security team. I doubt it includes the fact that Nigeria is speeding towards a monumental collapse, unless a miracle, or something drastic is done to stop this supersonic drift towards perdition. It might even be that the President does not receive any or proper security details, either because he does not want to hear or worse still, he assumes all is well. Whichever way one contemplates these last two scenarios, it is a calamity indeed.
Believe me, I’m not writing as a wailing wailer, or as a Prophet of doom. I am not writing as a clairvoyant or a seer. I merely write as a realist. The symptoms of a failed nation are just too palpable to be missed or ignored by a reasonable people. I am not talking about a State which has failed because of social and economic policies that even the authors and protagonists cannot decipher or fathom. This nation is on the precipice because its leaders are playing Russian Roulette with the security of Africa’s biggest and most important country. It is all now a matter of guesswork, that the gun is loaded, but the way we are going it is looking like every chamber is now full and not just one. Whatever shot you fire is bound to be the killer shot. Our leaders clearly know this but are in such an inebriated state that they have become oblivious, impervious and immune to all the danger signals.
I know power makes people blind. It intoxicates, addles the mind and takes full possession of the powerful, especially if they want to play God. This is why I’m shocked that some Nigerians are already daydreaming about becoming President in 2023, when they have no guarantee that Nigeria will still be alive by then. Or maybe I should not be surprised because what better can one expect from this bungling class of crass elements. The usual leading contenders, as typical of this confounding breed of persons, are pretending that all is well, although they know much better having been the contributors to, and cause, of the problem. They must not be seen to be criticizing the rudderless, directionless and visionless government of President Buhari lest they are marked down as enemies of the President. They know that elections are never held here, stricto sensu. What we have is a selection process with the hapless people being trundled out to deceive the unsuspecting international observers who can’t believe that what they are seeing is possible even in a Banana Republic. Simply put, elections are largely controlled from the very top, where the omnipotent President holds sway, and the outcome of the selection process is dictated by his whims and caprices.
If nobody has yet told the President, then he must hear this somehow. Our security situation is more than dire and grim. It is now catastrophic. Nigerians are now being killed, kidnapped and raped in places that used to know only peace. The orgy of banditry has since moved from the core North and middle belt to Yorubaland, previously considered a safe haven. The tales are unbelievably horrid and terrible. The situation in Ondo State is so critical that the Governor Arakunrin Rotimi Akeredolu (SAN) has now cried out that the “Fulani bandits” must move out of his State within seven days. I salute him for having the courage to say it as it is, being a member of the same party as our most reluctant President who seems unabashedly unaware of the bloody forays and operations perpetrated by some of his kinsmen in far-flung territories and domains outside their traditional space. The Governor obviously cried out in utter exasperation, frustration and, perhaps, fear. I knew him as a die-hard Buharist. But only a bastard would sit arms akimbo and watch his mother or daughter being raped by some monsters and say or do nothing! That is the situation in which Arakunrin Akeredolu has more or less found himself. As with the President, he has discovered, albeit tragically, that family comes first. Nobody will watch over yours, when theirs is also threatened by the same fate. As the Yorubas will say, “a ki so ori olori, ki awodi gbe t’eni lo”!
Osun State has virtually become a major theatre of war involving series of killings and kidnappings. I don’t know if the Governor, Adegboyega Oyetola, has been as vociferous as Arakunrin Rotimi Akeredolu (SAN), but I am sure he is slowly being driven to come to the same conclusion. Akeredolu has nothing against the Fulani. There are many great and peaceful Fulani living in different parts of Nigeria. Some generations of Fulani people have fully integrated in those communities outside their sphere of influence without anyone raising eyebrows. But these bloodthirsty wanderers and vagrants, who are said to have meandered their ways from outside Nigeria, must be flushed out and ruthlessly dealt with regardless of whether the current President of Nigeria is their godfather, avuncular mentor, swami or whatever he represents to them.
The situation in Oyo State is just as scary. I have read the account from no less a personage than the highly respected and revered Alaafin of Oyo, Oba Lamidi Olayiwola Adeyemi III, another die-hard Buharist who now appears ready to part ways with Buhari if necessary. I have had the opportunity of sitting with Iku Baba Yeye, as we fondly call him, and I know how disappointed this esteemed traditional ruler is that the Federal Government has refused to act speedily and decisively on the matter of the gross insecurity ravaging and destroying the country. I was not surprised to receive his lengthy letter to the President days ago which I hope Buhari found time to read, or someone found the opportunity to read to him. I won’t bother to talk about very reserved and highly respectable and regarded Northern Leaders led by the spiritual monarch, The Sultan of Sokoto, Sa’ad Abubakar, a cosmopolitan and cerebral leader I have come to love and adulate so much for his simplicity and forthrightness. Virtually every part of the nation is haemorrhaging to death while the Federal Government is watching helplessly and hopelessly!
The Alaafin has done well by properly documenting some of the dastardly acts of these merciless bandits and his public missive to our President, Muhammadu Buhari excerpts of which are worth repeating on these pages because the letter is one for posterity whatever fate befalls the entity presently known as Nigeria and whichever way the country goes in the end:
“In recent times however, I am worried about the security situation in the country, especially in the South West geo-political zone, nay the entire Yoruba-speaking area of the country including KWARA, Kogi, and Edo States.
“This has to do with the incessant and increasing menace of Fulani herdsmen that have laid siege in almost all the highways of Yorubaland. Whether in Owo, AKURE, Ilesanmi/Ife-Ibadan Road or Ibarapa zone and Ijebu area of Ogun State, the story is the same.
“I have held series of consultations with opinion moulders and eminent Yoruba leaders across board about the menace of these cattle herdsmen with such assault like raping of our women and on some occasions in the presence of their husbands. That is apart from massive destruction of our agricultural lands; which ultimately points to imminent starvation…
“After due consultations with Yoruba leaders… we are worried by the audacity of these lawless people in effecting their illegal acts in broad daylight on our usually bushy highways without any arm of security being able to do anything…
“Now, we cannot even talk of parading suspects, when in actual sense, no major arrests have been made in this part of the country. Without arrests we cannot talk of their facing of the law.
“Unfortunately, and painfully indeed, in the face of the apparent helplessness of our security agencies, where do we go from here?”
It is at the wake of this manifest frustration of our people that our people have found it unavoidable, even though reluctantly to resort to alternative measures to safeguard their lives and property… Today, it is not merely infraction in the course of doing business, but blatant and criminal violation of the constitutional right to life and liberty of innocent citizens of Yoruba land. A few publicly known instances will suffice.
Certain individuals were kidnapped along Erio-Aromoko Road, Ekiti State. They were tortured and exposed to danger in the forest for upward of two weeks.
These victims included the Secretary of the Nigerian Bar Association, Ikole Branch, Adeola Adebayo, whose decomposing body was eventually found after a ransom price of four million Naira had been paid.
Two officials of the Federal Road Safety Corps, both Yoruba, were picked up along Ilesa-Akure highway. In the process of this kidnap, an unnamed individual died.
Musibau Adetumbi, a legal practitioner based in Ibadan, was going to attend an Appeal Court session in Akure when he was kidnapped along Ilesa-Akure highway. Professor Adegbehingbe, a surgeon at Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife was abducted along Ibadan-Ile-Ife highway. Dr. Muslim Omoleke, the Administrative Secretary of the National Electoral Commission was kidnapped around Ilesa, Osun State.
Mr Ayo Oladele, an employee of Guinness Nigeria, and an Old Student of Christ School, Ado-Ekiti, was abducted and taken away and lately, Dayo Adewole, son of a member of your 2015-2019 executive council and Minister of Health, Professor Isaac Adewole was kidnapped on his farm at Iroko, a village along Ibadan-Oyo Road…
As ugly as the picture above seems to be, the people of Yoruba land have remained generally peaceful and have resisted concerted efforts to push them into civil disobedience or adopting self-help mechanisms to protect themselves…
I am therefore writing to you, as a concerned stakeholder in your administration, to alert you and demonstrate to you, the urgency of the need to quickly respond to these and other issues concerning Yoruba land….
There is a general impression among opposition group that you are not known to take decisive and proactive steps in many matters of national interest and that you are not usually too disturbed about the gale of insecurity in Yoruba land…
As no major arrest of Fulani pseudo herdsmen has been made till date in Yoruba land, suspects cannot be paraded, let alone arraigned…
I am aware that members of the Odua People’s Congress scattered all over the world are already being mobilized to stand in the defence of their land and are ready, willing and able to raise an army of volunteers as was done in 1968 by the Agbekoya…”
These are pearly words of wisdom and advice from a monarch who is practically deified in Yoruba land. The President has been stridently admonished and strongly advised in forceful, resounding and vibrating language which is reverberating all over the polity. Effectively, Alaafin Adeyemi is saying that enough is enough and that things will get pretty unpleasant and nasty, pretty soon, unless the President wakes up from his deep, almost comatose, slumber and does the needful by a wholesale revamp and reshaping of our security architecture and thereby protect his fellow Nigerian citizens. The President swore to uphold our Constitution, it is about time that he started upholding that oath by acting like a patriotic Nigerian and safeguarding all his people and preserving their property.
On a similar note, I have been watching the videos of a militant Yoruba man, named Sunday Igboho, from Oyo State and what I see is raw determination to unleash mayhem, if need be, to protect his kinsmen from the brigands and mosstroopers trampling on them and their rights. The views Igboho expresses are symptomatic and reflective of the views of most of Yoruba land. He is the latest Yoruba hero for his fearlessness.
I hope and pray that President Buhari would appreciate this authentic security briefing from The Alaafin, one of Africa’s most important custodians of tradition and culture and resist the temptation of sending his trigger-happy military against the people of Oyo State. They are obviously ready for a full-scale showdown and battle in order to redeem their manhood against the rampaging kidnappers, rapists, raiders and corsairs. I foresee a civil war and bloodbath if action is not taken soon.
May this cup pass over us…
2021: President Buhari’s new year message to Nigerians
Nigeria’s President, Muhammadu Buhari has addressed Nigerians in a traditional New Year broadcast.
In the speech, Buhari, on Friday, re-echoed his commitment to the Nigerian project, just as he urged other Nigerians to do the same.
The President’s speech read:
My fellow countrymen and women,
First, I would like to thank and praise the Almighty who saw us through the year 2020 and has given us the opportunity to witness the start of another new year. We especially thank God because the year 2020 was one of the most trying years since our existence as a Nation.
2. This can also be said about all other nations around the world, due to the challenges posed on our collective humanity by the novel COVID-19 pandemic.
3. While acknowledging that 2020 was a very tough year, we saw this year put to test our national resilience and ability to survive these tough times and also gave renewed hope that we will again brave any storms that lay ahead in 2021 and beyond.
4. As we celebrate the opportunity before us in this New Year 2021, we must also acknowledge the passing away of our brothers and sisters who didn’t make it into this New Year. May their souls rest in perfect peace.
5. We must remember that we also celebrated the historic occasion of our sixty years as an independent and sovereign country on October 1st 2020. In the spirit of hope and gratitude, I would like to remind us again that as a country on the difficult journey to nationhood and greatness, we have confounded the many pundits at home and around the world who never gave the newly-born country that emerged unto the world stage on 1st October 1960 a chance of surviving much longer than a few years.
6. Yet, here we are, 61 years by the next anniversary in October, and not only are we here, we are standing tall in the comity of nations as one country united under the will of God and also actively growing that indivisible Nigerian spirit that has enabled us, year after year, decade after decade, to weather all stormy waters and emerge stronger and better where others have fallen and disintegrated. This nation, this Nigeria will survive and thrive.
7. In this journey to nationhood, we have experienced the highs and lows. 2020 indeed came with a lot of challenges ranging from security and economic issues across the regions to understandable protests that were mainly led by our youths and served notice to the demand for police reforms and accountability. This government heard, this government listened and this government is committed to fulfilling the five demands of our youths, fully understanding that we all wish well for Nigeria.
8. In the midst of all these challenges, I had initially pledged that as your elected President and Commander-in-Chief, I would ensure that these ongoing challenges will be faced head-on with renewed determination and with all the appropriateness and urgency required. Your voices have been heard and we would continue to listen to you, and all the key stakeholders who are committed to the unity of Nigeria to ensure that every region of this nation is safe for us all, while guaranteeing that the future is also secure for the coming generation.
9. I wish to also use this occasion of New Year to reaffirm my commitment to the people of Nigeria, especially the youth who need our collective encouragement and support. In securing this nation we need to secure the future of our youth.
10. Our young people are our most valuable natural resource, at home and abroad. Their ingenuity, creativity, innovation and entrepreneurial spirit is evident to all. Many of our young people are excelling in various spheres of life including sports, entertainment, information and communication technology, commerce and are globally recognized as achievers.
11. As a Government we are committed to actively engaging with the creative energies of our young people. In this regard, we will partner with the legislature to develop an enabling environment to turn their passions into ideas that can be supported, groomed and scaled across regions. This will create vast opportunities in fintech, agriculture, business process startups and in the entertainment industry.
12. The year 2021 will indeed be a year where we will work to reinforce the hopes of fellow Nigerians in the vision of a united and progressive Nigeria. This administration would continue focusing on delivering key strategic priorities under our “SEA” – (Security, Economy and Anti-Corruption) Agenda. Some of the key priority areas we would direct our attention and strengths to include:
ON THE SECURITY:
13. Re-energizing and reorganizing the security apparatus and personnel of the armed forces and the police with a view to enhance their capacity to engage, push back and dismantle the operations of both internal and external extremist and criminal groups waging war against our communities in some parts of the country.
14. In line with the current security challenges, we are facing as a Nation, I would like to reiterate the promise I made recently when over 300 of our boys abducted from Government Science Secondary School, Kankara were successfully rescued by our security operatives.
15. The professionalism shown by our Security Forces and the collaboration from all stakeholders across both State and Federal Governments that led to the successful rescue of the boys is proof that Nigeria has the internal capacity to decisively deal with terror attacks on our citizens.
16. However, we recognize that we rapidly have to move to a more proactive and preemptive posture to ensure that these sorts of traumatic incidents do not become a norm. Our administration is fully aware of the responsibility we have to protect the lives and property of all Nigerians, and we will not relent in learning and adapting to changing threats to our national security and civic wellbeing.
ON THE ECONOMY:
17. Our focus is on revamping the economy through the national economic diversification agenda that supports the primary goal of national food self-sufficiency. This has helped reduce the growing food related inflationary figures and have in considerable measure positively impacted our food security status during the long months of the pandemic lock down.
18. We are also currently rebuilding our national infrastructure base and, in the process, introducing transformation through the rehabilitation, modernization, and expansion of the railway system, national roads and bridges both in rural and urban centres, alongside the airports and seaports.
19. The reforms we have put in place in the power sector would guarantee increased efficiency in our drive to significantly expand the generation and distribution of electricity for use in homes and factories.
20. As an administration we are currently undertaking a series of special interventions designed to boost job creation and support the entrepreneurial drive of our youths.
21. With the recent opening of our borders, we expect that the pent-up demand of legitimate cross-border and international trade will boost the fortunes of the many small businesses and agricultural enterprises that depend on Nigeria’s trade and commerce.
22. The message to our West African neighbours is that Nigeria is once again fully open for those willing to conduct business in a fair and equitable way.
23. On the anti-corruption drive of our administration, we have recorded substantial gains so far and this year, we are committed to continuing along the path of eradicating corruption, through collaboration with all the arms of Government to effectively prosecute this fight.
24. While we would be working with the Legislature to enact laws that would strengthen this fight, we would also be looking at reviewing some of our laws which would ensure that this fight is more effective. On the part of the executive, we would ensure the diligent and timely prosecution of corruption cases, while appealing to the judiciary to ensure that corruption cases are dispensed with expeditiously.
25. The persistence of various forms of violence has meant that in the most affected parts of the country, the fabric of inter-communal harmony woven through years of investment of effort at building trust, mutual respect, and harmony has been threatened.
26. Insecurity as a challenge has direct repercussions on our national economic stability, growth, and development, setting us back at critical points through the destruction of public and private investments.
27. In parts of the country where chronic poverty, social exclusion, and disillusionment among sections of the youth were already a problem, the cycles of violence that have been unleashed by mindless groups like Boko Haram and others have thwarted the efforts of government to undertake the social policy and associated investments that could make a huge difference in the quality of life of our citizens.
28. I am aware that for some of our compatriots, the progress we have registered since the inception of this administration is not nearly as fast or as sufficient as they would wish. I do not begrudge them their views in so far as they signify a wish, in which we all share, for only the very best for our country.
29. Nevertheless, I call upon all Nigerians to carefully recall the circumstances of our coming to office, the facts on the ground and the resources at our disposal since 2015 with the accomplishments of this administration.
30. As a people, we have shown admirable resilience in the face of every adversity, an unmatched capacity to recover speedily from every setback, an unparalleled generosity of spirit when we resolve our differences, and a constant readiness to invest faith and hope in the destiny we share as a united country built on the diversity of its peoples.
31. It is these attributes that underpin the Nigerian spirit of “can do, will do” that gives me hope that we shall yet get to destination and fulfill our calling together, especially with the solid resolutions we are setting in this new year.
32. Keeping our country on a forward march is a duty which we all have and share. In this regard, keeping our country safe from a resurgent cycle of COVID-19 as this administration finalizes its plans to procure and efficiently and effectively distribute the COVID-19 vaccines, I urge you all fellow citizens to observe strict COVID-19 prevention protocols.
33. As your elected President, my pledge to you is the same as it has always been; I will play my part fully and without fear or favour. I invite all of us to do the same. It is what we owe to the founding generation of our beloved country and also to the coming generation. It is what we desire for national prosperity for all demands.
34. Long Live the Nigerian spirit of oneness, togetherness, and unity. Long Live the Federal Republic of Nigeria. I wish you a Happy and prosperous New Year.
May God bless the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
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