Full text of the speech by President Muhammdu Buhari at the Graduation Ceremony of Course 24 of the National Defence College in Abuja on 5 August
I am indeed very happy to attend and address you at this Graduation Ceremony of Course 24 of the National Defence College. At the outset, I would like to congratulate all the Graduating Participants for the successful completion of the course. You must see your graduation as a significant milestone in your professional and academic progress in your various Services. The fellowship being earned by all of you today is as a result of your hardwork and steadfastness during the course. This is a proud moment for you, and I also felicitate with your spouses, family members and friends. You must know that, learning is a continuous exercise and the firm foundation provided to you by the College will empower you to explore new academic and leadership horizons in your future roles and responsibilities.
2. Your graduation is the beginning of a very challenging journey. You live in an era where the pace of transition in research and our socio-political environment is so fast, that even as I speak, new ideas and concepts are being introduced, established ideas are being re-defined and research is opening new fields of learning. Your challenge would be to harness the latest defence and security research as well as extant government policies for the benefit of your Services, Organizations, and indeed your nations. For the Nigerian participants, I expect that you would all have made the most of your time on this course, and be ready to join the ongoing process to change Nigeria for the better.
3. I am happy to state that our nation has made tremendous progress in the last one year towards taking her rightful position in the comity of nations. We hope to continue to build on this progress in the coming years so as to ensure that Nigeria maintains the enviable heights it has achieved thus far. It is a task that all of us must resolve to do.
4. The National Defence College symbolizes the height of military professionalism and excellence in our nation. It is a place where potential strategic leaders are trained in the procedure and processes of strategic leadership. It serves as a good platform to produce leaders that will drive the change direction, which must be followed if we will keep-up with the 21st century.
5. International confidence in our country and its future is beginning to return, because of how we are slowly finding ways to solve our problems. The nation is beginning to have faith in the ability of our society’s institutional capacity to tackle our problems. But we must work doubly hard to restore our nation to higher glory. The Nigerian Armed Forces have proven to be equal to the task of maintaining our internal and external security.
6. You will all recall that on being sworn into office on 29 May 2015, I outlined certain core areas of our national life that require immediate intervention, some of which I would like to reiterate here today. First, we should seek to secure the country, improve the economy and fight corruption. As it is, this is our unfinished business from the past and dates back to the creation of our republic, yet to this day, corruption and poverty remain our main national problems.
7. As part of efforts to address the problem of corruption, we have set in motion legal processes to recover whatever we can and bring to justice those who betrayed their trust.
Thus far, we have been able to recover billions of naira from indicted companies and individuals. In addition, through the implementation and enforcement of the Treasury Single Account, we have been able to save more for our nation.
8. Furthermore, in our fight to end poverty in Nigeria, we have set up social interventions and reliefs for the poor, and already, data is being collated by the Economic Planning Office of the Vice President in conjunction with the World Bank. In addition, through our 2016 budget, we intend to stimulate the economy, making it more competitive by focusing on infrastructural development; delivering inclusive growth; and prioritizing the welfare of Nigerians. We believe that this budget, while helping industry, commerce and investment to pick up, will as a matter of urgency, address the immediate problems of youth unemployment and the terrible living conditions of the very poor and vulnerable Nigerians.
9. We therefore reckon that to tap our vast opportunities we need a philosophy of transparency and accountability in governance. The other core areas that we need to improve are the rule of law and moral standards in government and in society in order to provide a good foundation for good governance so that our gains are not dissipated by corruption. Good governance must be based on a sound moral foundation, a philosophy of transparency, accountability and an ethic of effective implementation. Already, our unrelenting fight against criminality and corruption in governance is a clear testament that we intend to address these problems.
10. Let me assure you all that this Administration is committed to bequeathing to this nation, a new orientation in leadership that will be service-driven and committed to the realization of its promises to the electorates. We are however not under any illusions that this task is an easy one. But we have put our trust in God knowing that with hard work and sound vision, we will triumph.
11. We know that the National Defence College is a truly unique institution, one which we believe, has empowered you with the highest levels of skills in management practices of present day administration and governance for development of our institutions. We are also very pleased to learn that the blueprints of training at this College have kept pace with our current security environment. In this vein, you will be pleased to note that in the last one year, through the hard work, dedication and sacrifices made by members of our armed forces and security services, we have been able to degrade significantly, the capacity of Boko Haram insurgents to wreck havoc on our society.
12. Also, on the matter of Herdsmen/Farmers clashes, I wish to state that this Administration will not tolerate or condone acts of banditry and criminality, under any guise. As such, our security agencies have been mandated to deal with such acts decisively. Let me state that this Administration has been working assiduously in conjunction with our local and international partners, to rebuild damaged communities in North East part of our country. Similarly, we are committed to tackling the issues of underdevelopment and neglect in the Niger Delta area. This is a priority we have set before us and we intend to make appreciable gains in correcting the ills of the past in the Niger Delta by assuaging inherent grievances.
13. As strategic leaders, you must remember that our Armed Forces have been the torch bearers of many of our non-military innovations. I am therefore, very happy to hear that the Graduating Course has undertaken a higher defence management and strategic research on the topic “Youth Bulge in Nigeria, Implication for National Security”. As we seek to solve the myriad of social and political problems we will look closely at your recommendations.
14. As you graduate, I urge you to set for yourselves befitting goals and having done so, utilise your technical competence, skills and hardwork to realise it. I compliment all of you, especially the award winners, for achieving this personal milestone which I hope is a sign of things to come.
15. Finally, I congratulate the Commandant and Staffs of the College for the exemplary job of producing yet another set of strategic leaders for the nation. Your commitment and dedication to work is highly appreciated.
16. I wish you all a rewarding and professionally satisfying career, good health and success in all your endeavours. May God be with you always.