This SHOULD BE Muhammadu Buhari’s inaugural speech on Friday:

My dear Compatriots:

The Vice President and I have just taken the Oath of Office and Oath of Allegiance because you have deemed us worthy to serve Nigeria with all our strength, to defend her unity, and uphold her honour and glory. We humbly accept the responsibilities, with much gratitude, at a time of great security, moral and economic tribulations in our country. Our condition now is comparable to America’s during the Great Depression. But just like that great American elected to lead his country then, Franklin D. Roosevelt, I say to you now, “We have nothing to fear but fear itself.”

My covenant with you today is commitment to the cause of Nigeria’s unity, peace and progress. At 72, I have no reason to violate this covenant, and I urge everyone else to keep it by accepting the National Orientation Agency’s slogan: Do what is right. Upon those four little words will this government’s action plan depend for the next four years.

Since April, we have received hundreds of proposals on how to put Nigeria on the right track. Indeed, our nation has not lacked beautiful ideas. What we lack and now seek are good people – honest, selfless, compassionate and hardworking individuals that are ready to do what is right for our country. So everyone who wishes to be in our administration’s good books MUST imbibe our philosophy: Do what is right. We shall not befriend deviants, and deviants should have every cause to fear.

Let me not bore you with a long speech today; otherwise I could spend the next four years narrating what we shall do. I will now outline some of our administration’s agenda, which are embedded in the quest to do what is right. Nobody is leaving this world with money, a political party, a religion or a tribe.

To begin with, let no one be rattled by any of the vote-winning pre-election antics peddled by political opponents: I, Muhammadu Buhari, will never seek, and have no powers to “Islamise” Nigeria. Buhari cannot befriend any murderer or gang that slits the throats of innocent villagers in their homes or kidnaps young women for sex-slavery. Buhari will not treat the Hausa/Fulani differently from the way he will treat Ndigbo or the Itsekiri. Our No. 1 priority is to secure our people and their property, and to deliver death to anyone that undermines another’s right to life, freedom of worship and other freedoms guaranteed by our constitution.

Corruption is stealing; anyone who steals shall have no place anywhere on earth to hide. We shall pursue looters, big or small, to the last gates of hell. We know that stolen money has been recycled in the so-called privatisation of NEPA, Nitel, paper mills, steel mills and others. All transactions pertaining to the sale of these public assets shall be reviewed.

The oil industry shall be made transparent. Needless to add, oil thieves are among those I expect to return what they have stolen. So are oil block owners and importers of petroleum products. There is no oil subsidy now, but future fuel importers will not be allowed to short-change buyers at the pumps. In the long term, nobody would be allowed to import petroleum products or export our God-given resource in crude form anymore.

All agreements reached with foreigners and foreign companies will be respected.

Our constitution, which we have just sworn to uphold, affirms that government exists to provide the good life. After 16 years of our latest experiment with democracy, such a government has been born. We shall strive to lift the over 120million Nigerians trapped in the poverty hole through power, education and agriculture projects dedicated to putting them back to work.

To realise these goals, we shall plug all loopholes. And now, I want everyone to listen: We have accepted advice to give people time to return what they stole. Next week, we shall open a special account into which stolen funds should be paid. Those concerned have up until the end of this year to return the loot hidden in banks and properties both in Nigeria and abroad. We heard that some recently returned some money to the treasury; those who have yet to comply should get wiser before it gets too late. After the deadline, we shall stop at nothing to seize all stolen assets and prosecute suspects, if they are still alive. They either prove their innocence or show us trees in their compounds that grow money.

Everything will be done in accordance with the law, however. There are enough laws already that can be used against armed robbers, terrorists, thieves, kidnappers and murderers who are in the same league as treasury looters. Where there is a lacuna in our statutes, an enabling legislation shall be put in place before the expiration of the deadline. Luckily, we now have a professor of law as Vice President. I expect to see at least N100trillion in that account by December 31, 2015.

I am aware of doubts about my moral authority arising from sponsorship of my election. But if I had rejected funds from suspicious sources, would I have emerged President today? What I promise you is that all those that invested in my election have lost their investments. In the anti-corruption war that begins immediately, nobody found with skeletons in their cupboard would be spared.

After almost 30 years, we are reviving the War Against Indiscipline. Let us restore the queue culture in motor parks, fuel stations, airports, markets – everywhere law and order is needed. Every compound and every street should be kept clean. Parents and schoolteachers, teach children moral values; do not let them go astray. Traditional and religious institutions, stop worshipping money; report those who live above their income for prosecution. Only people who do what is right deserve honours. We should isolate criminals.

We shall reform our politics so that money would play little role in determining who stands for election or who gets elected. Let me confess again: Even this year’s polls were neither free nor fair, though the results reflected the wishes of Nigerians. Political reform is inevitable.

A new regime of tax collection is coming too. Not a kobo will henceforth miss from the NNPC, Nigeria Customs Service, NPA, FIRS, NIMASA and others. Every adult shall pay tax, no matter how little. A new ICT-driven database will ensure that only Nigerians who are up-to-date in tax can vote at elections, do government contracts, receive salaries or enjoy other privileges as citizens.

We shall reduce the cost of governance. Gratuities for serving and former presidents, governors and legislators or “severance” allowances will be abolished. Lawmakers shall no longer receive “constituency allowance” or any other allowance outside of what the RMAFC recommends.

Jobs will be created when power supply is adequate and stable, when food imports are forsaken, and when our education system is transformed so that schools produce job creators.

My dear compatriots, there is a lot of work to be done. I end this speech as I ended my first address to the nation as military head of state, 31 years ago: “This generation of Nigerians and indeed future generations have no other country than Nigeria. We must stay here and salvage it together.”

May God bless and guide all of us. Long live the Federal Republic of Nigeria.



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