As we enter a new year, I want to assure Nigerians that the future of our nation is better than its past. We have had some challenges and together, we have either overcome them or are in the process of overcoming them. In our overcoming, we have bonded together and our understanding of our unique Nigerianness has grown.
As 2013 dawns on us, we must use this year to further define the type of future we want as a nation. We should be conscious that this year is the last year before the centenary of Nigeria’s amalgamation of 1914 so we must do everything to ensure that the coming new century must be a Nigerian century and for that to happen we must sow good seeds today.
With your help this administration has been doing whatever it takes to make Nigeria fulfill the dreams of our founding fathers.
In the last year, Nigeria has made positive strides in the area of GDP growth where we have maintained a consistent GDP growth rate of over 6% per annum for the last 3 years prompting the Clinton Foundation this year to celebrate Nigeria as one of the 10 fastest growing economies of the world.
In the past, we were used to reading negative stories about Nigeria from the International Community. But because of the progress we have made as a nation, the leading lights of the International Community now point to Nigeria as a beacon of economic hope to the rest of the world.
In his 2012 speech to the Conservative Party, on the 10th of October, 2012, the British Prime Minister, David Cameron had this to say about Nigeria “Yes, we’ve been hearing about China and India for years …but it’s hard to believe what’s happening in Brazil, in Indonesia, in Nigeria too. Meanwhile, the old powers are on the slide. What do the countries on the rise have in common? They are lean, fit, obsessed with enterprise, spending money on the future – on education, incredible infrastructure and technology.”
The world has not failed to notice that Nigerian’s Life Expectancy has increased by 10%, that millions of children who were out of the school system are now having opportunities to go to school with the take of f of the Almajiri education scheme, that thousands of young Nigerians with ideas but no finance have been empowered to start up a business and employ others under the Youths Enterprise With Innovation in Nigeria (YouWIN) initiative. In 2012, the Per Capita Income of the average Nigerian increased year on year when compared to 2011.
We are spending more on infrastructure so that in the New Year Nigerians can spend more time at work. We are generating power at our highest rate ever; Our Sovereign Wealth Fund is set to take off so that future generations of Nigerians can have savings even before they are born. We are near self sufficiency in cement production and are set to reach the same height in rice production and other staples owing to the unique voucher system of fertilizer distribution that cuts out the middle man.
Once considered a dead and buried sector, our railways have been revived and it is now possible to travel from Lagos to Kano at less than the cost that it used to take to travel between Lagos to Ibadan by road.
Dear friends, these and other initiatives have been undertaken to ensure that when I say to you that I wish you a happy New Year, I say so with the knowledge that this is not mere wishful thinking, because this administration has laid the foundation upon which the average Nigerian can step up and actualize that greeting into reality.
Once again, I, Dr. Goodluck Ebele Jonathan, do wish a Happy New Year and may God grant you your heart’s desire on this and every other day.