•As Atiku calls for peaceful, prosperous 2019
By Lawrence Olaoye and Lateef Ibrahim
As the year 2019 begins today, President Muhammadu Buhari has called on all Nigerians to join hands with his administration in building a nation in which all resources are utilized for the benefit of the largest number, and not appropriated by a privileged few in their never ending quest to satisfy their greed.
In his new year message to Nigerians, President Buhari said: “I appreciate your support and collaboration in previous years, and look forward to same in 2019, and beyond, as I hope you will renew the mandate you overwhelmingly gave us in 2015, for another term.
“We are motivated by nothing other than service to motherland, and service without selfishness or personal interest. I can assure you all that we are making steady and sustainable progress in all areas of national life. Those who are unbiased can see and appreciate the progress the country has made since 2015.
Buhari assured Nigerians that his administration is not distracted as it moves on, though the journey embarked on since 2015 is tough. “We are not distracted as we move on. We are resolved to build a country in which the resources are utilized for the benefit of the largest number, and not appropriated by a privileged few in their never ending quest to satisfy their greed.
“We are on this mission together, and I assure you of a firm commitment to the ideals of a safe, secure, fair, just and prosperous country. Nigerians desire peace, security, prosperity, inclusiveness and infrastructural development, a nation they can be proud of, a country that can hold its own among the nations.
“It is my utmost pleasure to rejoice with all Nigerians as we enter the year 2019, which will be a very significant one for our country.
“2019 will be an election year for us. In about two months, the polls are due, and we will elect leaders into various offices, at national and state levels.
“As I welcome you into 2019, I also reiterate my many promises and declarations that the general elections will be free, fair and credible. Elections need not be do or die affair, and we should not approach that eventuality in a democracy with trepidation and mortal fear. Happily, a large number of presidential candidates have committed to peace, and peace we shall have.”
Buhari further said though “we have had our challenges: security, economic, political and social, we are resolved to combat and overcome them all. We are moving from potentials to actualization, and it’s a task to be accomplished by us all; man, woman, young, old, military, civilian, all Nigerians.
“Those who continue to trumpet falsehood and negativity are on their own, fighting a losing battle. The greater number of Nigerians are trusting and believing that we shall deliver on our promises for a level playing field at the polls, and that is what we shall do.
“At the turn of every year, we often use the opportunity to look back at the past and forward to the future, to review the outgoing year, its high and low points, successes and failures, and be fully thankful to God.
“The dawn of a New Year is also a time to look forward. To consider new prospects, unfold our plans, and prepare for landmark dates and events.
We Nigerians are a religious people, and we believe that God reigns and rules in the affairs of men. A time like this offers precious opportunity for thanksgiving, stock taking and reflection on goals and targets set for the receding year, and how much was accomplished. The ones not done can then be rolled over into a new year.”
Equally, former Vice President and Presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar has posited that with a purposeful leadership, an end can be put to the issue of terrorism in the country in the new year 2019.
In a new year message to Nigerians personally signed by him and made available to journalists in Abuja, Atiku stressed that in 2019, Nigerians need a leadership that will devote one hundred percent attention to them.
The PDP presidential flag bearer, while saying that Nigerians have seen where division and sectionalism have led them to, added, “Now let us try unity and patriotism”.
He said, as a nation we must not settle for whatever the news year brings. “Rather, we must take collective action, through our choices, in making it a year where we revive national hope, with visionary leadership that sees our economy and institutions working again as they did in our golden era.
“We can chart a new course and open a new chapter that sees every Nigerian living in peace and prosperity with their neighbour.
“It can be the year when our youths finally get a job instead of being unfairly tagged as lazy. With purposeful leadership, it can also be the year when we put an end to terrorism and usher in a golden age of peace.
“But it will not just happen by itself. We have to make changes from the top all the way to the bottom. We already have the vision, the vision of a nation that is a beacon of hope for the Black Race and the world at large, what we lack and what 2019 can provide, is the leadership that has the capacity to translate that vision into reality.
“In 2019, Nigerians need a leadership that is 100% for 100% of Nigerians, 100% of the time. We have seen where division and sectionalism has led us to. Now let us try unity and patriotism.”