By Bayo Fasunwon
To address the nation at this auspice time is not only essential but also a departure from the normal traditional speeches occasioned by festivities or the commemoration of a time in history. It has become not only expedient but also dutiful to address the nation, nationals and even visitors on the happenings in our nation in recent times. While some may consider this as being late, however, we are assured that it is not belated. In recent times, Nigerians have been held hostage against their will in various parts of this country. Some have had to pay ransoms, while many have paid the ultimate price in the quest for their daily bread. The arson, shedding of blood and apprehension that have gripped the nation in these times have been unprecedented in the history of our great nation.
Our founding fathers had a dream of an indivisible, united, and strong nation. In their time, they were united, despite their ethnic and political differences, that Nigeria had a manifest destiny for Africa and every black man on the surface of the earth. In their unity, they demanded and obtained independence for this great nation despite the unwillingness of the colonial chains that held us bound. As one, they formulated constitutions, laws, principles, and policies that made Nigeria the envy and pride of the black race. They were dedicated to the development of the nation, selfless and sacrificial in their leadership to the extent that Nigeria became the true Giant of Africa. With our resources, they ensured that apartheid became history in South Africa; all Africa nations were decolonized and Africans became rulers of themselves. Our selfless fathers also ensured that the unity, which we now hold in disdain, was sustained, even when the prosecution of a Civil War was the only means of sustaining it. After the Civil War, which led to the death of many promising sons and daughters of this great nation, in love, understanding and with the force of unity, the policy of the no winner, no vanquished was adopted. Thus, with the 3 Rs of Reconstruction, Rehabilitation and Reconciliation, our fathers joined hands in building a strong united nation on the ashes of a misguided Civil War.
Several years after the Civil War, the nation is plagued by another senseless war. This time around, we are besieged by our brothers and sisters operating under the guise of religion, self-determination, and economic ascendancy. This government wishes to apologize to all Nigerians for allowing the reign of terror on our fatherland. This government had exercised restraints in meeting force with force in order to rid this nation of the vampires that swarmed on us. We had thought that appealing to the conscience of our fellow compatriots could have stemmed their rage. However, we were wrong. They had refused to hearken to the voice of reason, disdained our olive branches, laughed at our amnesty overtures, and continued in their bloodletting activities. We have not unleashed the full weight of our military might on them because we do not want the innocent, the abducted and misguided Nigerians to perish with the wicked. These terrorists, with their sponsors and international helpers have capitalized on our emotional weakness to provoke the calls for the disintegration of this great nation.
Not only have they affected us politically, we also suffered economically from their onslaughts. Foreign investors and Tourists have treated the nation as a leprous brand. While many local businesses and farmlands have been shut, many businesses and bright minds have exited this country to others, thus contributing to our economic woes. This administration understands that the security of lives and properties of the people is our number one assignment; unfortunately, we have not fared well. For this, we ask for the forgiveness of all. We also understand the agitations of those calling for the disintegration of the country. However, we should desist from making a permanent decision over a temporary issue. The division of the country at this time would affect the politics, economy, and the social lives of the defragmented States in the end. If we stand together in peace and unity, we can, as we did after the Civil War, rebuild a nation of pride to the black race.
This administration has resolved on the following:
A total war has been declared against all terrorist groups, in any guise in this nation. The Nigeria military are being equipped with full arsenals against the bandits in every part of Nigeria. Given the expiration of our endurance, the military has been ordered to infiltrate, smoke out, and destroy all traces of banditry, kidnaps, murderous herdsmen, and Boko Haram insurgents in any part of the country. Furthermore, Nigeria would break diplomatic ties with all nations found to have supported the annihilation of the Nigeria peoples by the terrorists. To this end therefore, all sponsors of terrorism in the country shall be brought to book, and made to face the full wrath of the law. However, it is important to inform all Nigerians that while the military would try as much as possible to reduce all forms of collateral damage, those who pay the supreme sacrifice in securing a peaceful and united nation for all, shall be honored.
Furthermore, this administration has accepted the need for restructuring. While the post Civil War period enforced the 3 Rs, this administration will, in collaboration with the other arms of government, pursue 2 Rs – that is Restructuring and Revitalization in the first instance, and hope that the success of the two would make the third R – Referendum – unnecessary. All Nigerians are therefore encouraged to participate in the restructuring process. We encourage that from the Local Government levels, memoranda should be collated towards the convocation of a National Dialogue. We however appeal that we all should focus on the development of ideas that would further unite the country and make it great again. This process would commence within the next two weeks.
While we are on this, the fight against corruption would be given more priority and higher impetus. To this end, an Executive bill that seeks to eradicate corruption would be sent to the National assembly within the shortest time. For peace to reign at all levels, we also enjoin all Nigerians to desist from all attacks against security personnel and outposts. While this administration would decisively deal with any infractions against security personnel, we also want to assure Nigerians that all security personnel who act outside their rules of engagement shall also be made to face the full wrath of the law.
Finally, address to the nation shall be in prompt response to the various happenings in the State henceforth. Therefore, let us desist from inciting statements that may demoralize our gallant officers and good citizens who believe in the Nigeria dream. Fellow Nigerians, and law-abiding foreigners who reside here, let us join hands and rebuild our great nation. She is all we have. While the war against the insurgents and terrorist take a full scale, let us stay safe, give necessary information, and pray for the peace of Nigeria. Together, we shall win this war.
God bless the People of Nigeria
God bless the Federal Republic of Nigeria.