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Friday 29 May 2015


Inaugural speech by His Excellency, President Muhammadu Buhari
following his swearing-in as President of the Federal Republic of
Nigeria on 29 th May, 2015

I am immensely grateful to God Who Has preserved us to witness this
day and this occasion. Today marks a triumph for Nigeria and an
occasion to celebrate her freedom and cherish her democracy.
Nigerians have shown their commitment to democracy and are
determined to entrench its culture. Our journey has not been easy but
thanks to the determination of our people and strong support from
friends abroad we have today a truly democratically elected
government in place.

I would like to thank President Goodluck Jonathan for his display of
statesmanship in setting a precedent for us that has now made our
people proud to be Nigerians wherever they are. With the support and
cooperation he has given to the transition process, he has made it
possible for us to show the world that despite the perceived tension
in the land we can be a united people capable of doing what is right
for our nation. Together we co-operated to surprise the world that
had come to expect only the worst from Nigeria. I hope this act of
graciously accepting defeat by the outgoing President will become
the standard of political conduct in the country.

I would like to thank the millions of our supporters who believed in
us even when the cause seemed hopeless. I salute their resolve in
waiting long hours in rain and hot sunshine to register and cast their
votes and stay all night if necessary to protect and ensure their votes
count and were counted.  I thank those who tirelessly carried the
campaign on the social media. At the same time, I thank our other
countrymen and women who did not vote for us but contributed to
make our democratic culture truly competitive, strong and definitive.
I thank all of you.

Having just a few minutes ago sworn on the Holy Book, I intend to
keep my oath and serve as President to all Nigerians.
I belong to everybody and I belong to nobody.

A few people have privately voiced fears that on coming back to
office I shall go after them. These fears are groundless. There will be
no paying off old scores. The past is prologue.

Our neighbours in the Sub-region and our African brethenen should
rest assured that Nigeria under our administration will be ready to
play any leadership role that Africa expects of it. Here I would like to
thank the governments and people of Cameroon, Chad and Niger for
committing their armed forces to fight Boko Haram in Nigeria.

I also wish to assure the wider international community of our
readiness to cooperate and help to combat threats of cross-border
terrorism, sea piracy, refugees and boat people, financial crime, cyber
crime, climate change, the spread of communicable diseases and
other challenges of the 21 st century.

At home we face enormous challenges. Insecurity, pervasive
corruption, the hitherto unending and seemingly impossible fuel and
power shortages are the immediate concerns. We are going to tackle
them head on. Nigerians will not regret that they have entrusted
national responsibility to us. We must not succumb to hopelessness
and defeatism. We can fix our problems.

In recent times Nigerian leaders appear to have misread our mission.
Our founding fathers, Mr Herbert Macauley, Dr Nnamdi Azikiwe, Chief
Obafemi Awolowo, Alhaji Ahmadu Bello, the Sardauna of Sokoto,
Alhaji Abubakar Tafawa Balewa, Malam Aminu Kano, Chief J.S.
Tarka, Mr Eyo Ita, Chief Denis Osadeby, Chief Ladoke Akintola and
their colleagues worked to establish certain standards of governance.
They might have differed in their methods or tactics or details, but
they were united in establishing a viable and progressive country.
Some of their successors behaved like spoilt children breaking
everything and bringing disorder to the house.

Furthermore, we as Nigerians must remind ourselves that we are heirs
to great civilizations: Shehu Othman Dan fodio’s caliphate, the
Kanem Borno Empire, the Oyo Empire, the Benin Empire and King
Jaja’s formidable domain. The blood of those great ancestors flow in
our veins. What is now required is to build on these legacies, to
modernize and uplift Nigeria.

Daunting as the task may be it is by no means insurmountable.
There is now a national consensus that our chosen route to national
development is democracy. To achieve our objectives we must
consciously work the democratic system. The Federal Executive
under my watch will not seek to encroach on the duties and
functions of the Legislative and Judicial arms of government. The
law enforcing authorities will be charged to operate within the
Constitution. We shall rebuild and reform the public service to
become more effective and more serviceable. We shall charge them
to apply themselves with integrity to stabilize the system.

For their part the legislative arm must keep to their brief of making
laws, carrying out over-sight functions and doing so expeditiously.
The judicial system needs reform to cleanse itself from its immediate
past. The country now expects the judiciary to act with dispatch on
all cases especially on corruption, serious financial crimes or abuse
of office. It is only when the three arms act constitutionally that
government will be enabled to serve the country optimally and avoid
the confusion all too often bedeviling governance today.

Elsewhere relations between Abuja and the States have to be clarified
if we are to serve the country better. Constitutionally there are limits
to powers of each of the three tiers of government but that should
not mean the Federal Government should fold its arms and close its
eyes to what is going on in the states and local governments. Not
least the operations of the Local Government Joint Account. While
the Federal Government can not interfere in the details of its
operations it will ensure that the gross corruption at the local level is
checked. As far as the constitution allows me I will try to ensure that
there is responsible and accountable governance at all levels of
government in the country. For I will not have kept my own trust with
the Nigerian people if I allow others abuse theirs under my watch.

However, no matter how well organized the governments of the
federation are they can not succeed without the support,
understanding and cooperation of labour unions, organized private
sector, the press and civil society organizations. I appeal to
employers and workers alike to unite in raising productivity so that
everybody will have the opportunity to share in increased prosperity.
The Nigerian press is the most vibrant in Africa. My appeal to the
media today – and this includes the social media – is to exercise its
considerable powers with responsibility and patriotism.

My appeal for unity is predicated on the seriousness of the legacy we
are getting into. With depleted foreign reserves, falling oil prices,
leakages and debts the Nigerian economy is in deep trouble and will
require careful management to bring it round and to tackle the
immediate challenges confronting us, namely; Boko Haram, the Niger
Delta situation, the power shortages and unemployment especially
among young people. For the longer term we have to improve the
standards of our education. We have to look at the whole field of
medicare. We have to upgrade our dilapidated physical

The most immediate is Boko Haram’s insurgency. Progress has been
made in recent weeks by our security forces but victory can not be
achieved by basing the Command and Control Centre in Abuja. The
command centre will be relocated to Maiduguri and remain until Boko
Haram is completely subdued. But we can not claim to have defeated
Boko Haram without rescuing the Chibok girls and all other innocent
persons held hostage by insurgents.

This government will do all it can to rescue them alive. Boko Haram
is a typical example of small fires causing large fires. An eccentric
and unorthodox preacher with a tiny following was given posthumous
fame and following by his extra judicial murder at the hands of the
police. Since then through official bungling, negligence, complacency
or collusion Boko Haram became a terrifying force taking tens of
thousands of lives and capturing several towns and villages covering
swathes of Nigerian sovereign territory.

Boko Haram is a mindless, godless group who are as far away from
Islam as one can think of. At the end of the hostilities when the
group is subdued the Government intends to commission a
sociological study to determine its origins, remote and immediate
causes of the movement, its sponsors, the international connexions
to ensure that measures are taken to prevent a reccurrence of this
evil. For now the Armed Forces will be fully charged with prosecuting
the fight against Boko haram. We shall overhaul the rules of
engagement to avoid human rights violations in operations. We shall
improve operational and legal mechanisms so that disciplinary steps
are taken against proven human right violations by the Armed Forces.
Boko Haram is not only the security issue bedeviling our country. The
spate of kidnappings, armed robberies, herdsmen/farmers clashes,
cattle rustlings all help to add to the general air of insecurity in our
land. We are going to erect and maintain an efficient, disciplined
people – friendly and well – compensated security forces within an
over – all security architecture.

The amnesty programme in the Niger Delta is due to end in
December, but the Government intends to invest heavily in the
projects, and programmes currently in place. I call on the leadership
and people in these areas to cooperate with the State and Federal
Government in the rehabilitation programmes which will be
streamlined and made more effective. As ever, I am ready to listen to
grievances of my fellow Nigerians. I extend my hand of fellowship to
them so that we can bring peace and build prosperity for our people.
No single cause can be identified to explain Nigerian’s poor
economic performance over the years than the power situation. It is a
national shame that an economy of 180 million generates only
4,000MW, and distributes even less. Continuous tinkering with the
structures of power supply and distribution and close on $20b
expanded since 1999 have only brought darkness, frustration, misery,
and resignation among Nigerians. We will not allow this to go on.
Careful studies are under way during this transition to identify the
quickest, safest and most cost-effective way to bring light and relief
to Nigerians.

Unemployment, notably youth un-employment features strongly in
our Party’s Manifesto. We intend to attack the problem frontally
through revival of agriculture, solid minerals mining as well as
credits to small and medium size businesses to kick – start these
enterprises. We shall quickly examine the best way to revive major
industries and accelerate the revival and development of our railways,
roads and general infrastructure.

Your Excellencies, My fellow Nigerians I can not recall when Nigeria
enjoyed so much goodwill abroad as now. The messages I received
from East and West, from powerful and small countries are indicative
of international expectations on us. At home the newly elected
government is basking in a reservoir of goodwill and high
expectations. Nigeria therefore has a window of opportunity to fulfill
our long – standing potential of pulling ourselves together and
realizing our mission as a great nation.

Our situation somehow reminds one of a passage in Shakespeare’s
Julius Ceasar

There is a tide in the affairs of men which,

taken at the flood, leads on to fortune;

Omitted, all the voyage of their life,

Is bound in shallows and miseries.

We have an opportunity. Let us take it.

Thank you
Muhammadu Buhari
President Federal Republic of NIGERIA and
Commander in-chief-of the Armed forces

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