President Goodluck Jonathan yesterday took oath of office with a vow to transform Nigeria. He promised not to let the people down.
The President while speaking after he was sworn in by the Chief Justice of Nigeria, Justice Aloysius Katsina-Alu, at the Eagle Square, Abuja, listed the task before his administration to include that of transformation of the economy, maintenance of security and a better image for the country.
“You have entrusted me with your mandate and I will never let you down. I know your pains because I have been there; look beyond the hardship you have endured and see a new beginning, a new direction, a new spirit. Nigerians I want you to start to dream again, what you see in your dreams we can achieve together. I call upon all the Presidential candidates who contested with me to join hands with us as we begin the transformation of our country. Let us work together”.
President Jonathan was sworn in as President and Commander-in-Chief for his first full elected term at a colourful ceremony at the Eagles Square, Abuja.
He also acknowledged the challenges of driving reforms and healing wounds and rifts generated by the fierce election contests which saw mass protests and killing at least 10 members of the National Youth Service Commission (NYSC) and other Nigerians.
The oath of office and allegiance was administered by the Chief Justice of Nigeria, Justice Aloysius Katsina-Alu and assisted by Sunday Olorundaunsi, the Chief Registrar of the Supreme Court of Nigeria.
He said: “I will continue to fight for your future because I am one of you; I will continue to fight for improved medical care for all our citizens; I will continue to fight for all our citizens to have access to first class education; I will continue to fight for electricity to be available to all our citizens; I will continue to fight for an efficient affordable transport system for all our people; I will continue to fight for jobs to be created to all through productive public partnership”.
The President however advised Nigerians to put the era of lamentations behind them and forgive one another and embrace the new era that will be characterized by hard work and diligence, saying only through such efforts that the nation can be transformed and development attained.
“The time for lamentation is over; this is the era for transformation. This is the time but Nigeria can only be transformed if we all play out parts with commitment and sincerity. Cynicism and skepticism will not help our journey to greatness. Let us believe in a new Nigeria, let us work to build a great country we will all be proud of, this is our hour.
“Fellow compatriots fix your gaze towards the horizon, look ahead and you will see a bright future that we can secure with unity and collective sacrifice”.
President Jonathan urged Nigerians to join hands with him in building the nation of their dreams
He assured that he would fight corruption while adding that he would identify with Nigerians in solving many of the problems confronting them because he had been there before.
The President also called on others who contested the presidential election with him to come forward for the task ahead.
He said the success of the 2011 elections and the widespread acclaim which the exercise received was due to the uncommon patriotism and diligence exhibited by many Nigerians, including members of the Armed Forces, NYSC among others.
“Unfortunately, despite the free, fair and transparent manner the elections were conducted, a senseless wave of violence in some parts of the country led to the death of 10 members of the NYSC and others. These brave men and women paid the supreme sacrifice in the service of our fatherland. They are heroes of our democracy. We offer our heartfelt prayers and condolences in respect of all those who lost their lives.
“In the days ahead, those of us that you have elected to serve must show that we are men and women with the patriotism and passion, to match the hopes and aspirations of you, the great people of this country. We must demonstrate the leadership, statesmanship, vision, capacity, and sacrifice, to transform our nation. We must strengthen common grounds, develop new areas of understanding and collaboration and seek fresh ideas that will enrich our national consensus”.
Despite sending an invitation to his opponents in the April 16 Presidential election, none of those who contested against him including General Muhammadu Buhari, former chairman, Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Nuhu Ribadu and former governor of Kano state, Ibrahim Shekarau were at the event.
Former President Ibrahim Babangida and former Vice President Atiku Abubakar with whom Jonathan contested the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) presidential primaries were also absent at the event.
The President said he will intensify his advocacy against illicit trades in small arms and light weapons which have become the catalyst for conflicts in the African continent; this is just as he urged all Nigerian diplomatic missions abroad are to accord this vision of according dignity to humanity the highest priority.
“My fellow countrymen and women, Nigeria is not just an only land of promise but it shall be a country where positive change shall continue to take place for the good of our people.
“Let us build together, let us bequeath a greater Nigeria to the generation to come.
The ceremony was however attended by many former Nigerian Heads of governments including, former President Olusegun Obasanjo, Chief Ernest Shonekan, Gen. Abdul salami Abubakar, and Alhaji Shehu Shagari.
Jonathan also paid glowing tributes to late President Umaru Musa Yar’Adua with whom he won the Presidential election, fours ago then as Vice President, praying God to bless his soul, even as he commended Nigeria’s founding fathers who had laid the foundation for the unity and greatness of the country.
He said: “We take utmost pride in their contributions; the pivotal task of this generation is to lead our fatherland to the summit of greatness.”
The president was also grateful to the heads of state and government who attended the inauguration, as well as the chairperson of the African Union Commission (AUC) and other world leaders and development partners.
Jonathan also appreciated the contributions of his parents to his success, saying: “I hold a debt of gratitude to my mother and late father; I cannot thank them enough.”
The president further applauded his dear wife and the wife of the vice-president for organising Nigerian women to support democracy.
He was grateful to Nigerians for the trust and confidence which they demonstrated by casting their votes for him.
“I want to assure you that I will do my utmost at all times to continue to deserve your trust.
“I want to specially thank all Nigerians for staying with us in our collective will to build a democratic nation; I want to also thank members of the PPD and members of other political parties who have demonstrated faith in our democratic enterprise.
Jonathan equally acknowledged the contributions of his Vice-President Namadi Sambo, “with whom we moved across this country encouraging Nigerians to see with us and vote for us”.
He was happy at the nation’s political progress, noting that a decade ago nobody would have thought that an individual from a minority ethnic group could win the people’s mandate as president.
He said he was touched by the fact that earlier in the year more than 72 million eligible Nigerians “endured all manner of inconvenience just to secure their voters’ cards in order to exercise their rights to choose those that would govern them”.
Jonathan said the determination which Nigerians displayed was typical of the Nigerian spirit of resilience in the face of the greatest of odds.