Full text of President’s article on Washington post

President Muhammadu Buhari has said that he will
not be appointing ministers until September.
Buhari also expressed his resolve to instil good
governance in Nigeria and tackle the scourge of
corruption that has held the country back for too
long.
The President disclosed this through an opinion
piece published on The Washington Post on
July 20, 2015.

Read the full article below:

This month, the world moved a step closer to the
defeat of Boko Haram, the jihadist group that has
terrorized hundreds of thousands in the northern
states of Nigeria. In one of my first acts since
taking office as president six weeks ago, I have
replaced the heads of Nigeria’s army, navy and air
force. Our new military leadership has not been
chosen because of their familiarity with those in
government, as was too often the case in the past,
but on their track records and qualifications alone.
These new military leaders will be based in Borno
State in northern Nigeria, where the headquarters
of the armed services has been relocated. This
shift of resources and command directly to the
front line, in addition to the replacement of the head
of the State Security Service, Nigeria’s intelligence
organization, and a new emphasis on working in
partnership with our neighbors, has equipped us to
take the fight directly to Boko Haram.
Already we are beginning to see a degrading of
Boko Haram’s capabilities as a fighting force. In
recent weeks, it appears to have shifted away
from confronting the military directly to an
increase in attacks on civilian areas, as we saw
only last week when an elderly woman and 10-
year-old girl blew themselves up at a Muslim
prayer gathering in northeastern Nigeria. We
should not be confused by this change, hateful as
it is: It does not mean that Boko Haram is
succeeding in its aims — it shows that it is losing.
While we work to defeat the terrorists, I ask the
people of Nigeria and the world for resolve and
fortitude. The campaign we will wage will not be
easy; it may not be swift. We should expect stages
of success and also moments when it may appear
that our advances have been checked. But no one
should have any doubt as to the strength of our
collective will or my commitment to rid this nation
of terror and bring back peace and normalcy to all
affected areas.
Similarly, my determination should not be
underestimated in other matters. This includes
instilling good governance and tackling the scourge
of corruption that has held Nigeria back for too
long.
As I meet with President Obama today — the first
time a president of the United States will encounter
a Nigerian counterpart following the peaceful
transfer of power in a contested election in our
history — I will be discussing my plans for critical
reforms. So, too, will I discuss why the formation of
my administration is taking time and, crucially, why
it must. Already there are voices saying these
changes are taking too long — even though only six
weeks have passed since my inauguration. I hear
such calls, but this task cannot and should not be
rushed.
When cabinet ministers are appointed in
September, it will be some months after I took the
oath of office. It is worth noting that Obama himself
did not have his full Cabinet in place for several
months after first taking office; the United States
did not cease to function in the interim. In Nigeria’s
case, it would neither be prudent nor serve the
interests of sound government to have made these
appointments immediately on my elevation to the
presidency; instead, Nigeria must first put new
rules of conduct and good governance in place.
I cannot stress how important it is to ensure that
this process is carried out correctly, just as it has
been crucial to first install the correct leadership of
the military and security services before we fully
take the fight to Boko Haram.
There are too few examples in the history of
Nigeria since independence where it can be said
that good management and governance were
instituted at a national level. This lack of a
governance framework has allowed many of those
in charge, devoid of any real checks and balances,
to plunder. The fact that I now seek Obama’s
assistance in locating and returning $150 billion in
funds stolen in the past decade and held in foreign
bank accounts on behalf of former, corrupt officials
is testament to how badly Nigeria has been run.
This way of conducting our affairs cannot continue.
Indeed, the failure of governance, it can be argued,
has been as much a factor in Nigeria’s inability
thus far to defeat Boko Haram as have been issues
with the military campaign itself.
So the path we must take is simple, even if it is not
easy: First, instill rules and good governance;
second, install officials who are experienced and
capable of managing state agencies and ministries;
and third, seek to recover funds stolen under
previous regimes so that this money can be
invested in Nigeria for the benefit of all of our
citizens.
We seek the support and partnership of the United
States in these tasks. The importance of the fight
against terrorism and corruption in Nigeria,
Africa’s most powerful economy and largest
populace, cannot be underestimated. Our allies can
provide much-needed military training and
intelligence as our soldiers take the war effort to
Boko Haram. Similarly, we look to U.S. businesses
as well as the Obama administration to help
develop governance initiatives that can ensure that
Nigeria’s wealth benefits all its people, not just a
few. By taking these steps, we will be positioned to
benefit from increased investment — particularly in
energy and electricity — from the United States.
I was elected on a platform of change. I know this
is what the people of Nigeria desire more than
anything else. I know they are impatient for action.
I realize the world waits to see evidence that my
administration will be different from all those that
came before. Yet reforming my country after so
many years of abuse cannot be achieved
overnight.
In our campaigns against both Boko Haram and
corruption, we should remain steadfast and
remember, as it is said: “Have patience. All things
become difficult before they become easy.”
POLL
‘Jola Sotubo
is a Senior Associate at Pulse.
‘Jola is a lawyer by profession, a
photographer by training and a
writer at heart. She believes that
the status quo is never good enough and that life is
best lived to the fullest.
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