By Ihuoma Chiedozie, Abuja
President Goodluck Jonathan commenced a four-year term in office on Sunday with a promise to Nigerians: ‘Your days of lamentation are over.’
“The time for lamentation is over; this is the era of transformation,” he said shortly after he took his oath of office and allegiance administered on him by the Chief Justice of the Federation, Justice Alloysius Katsina -Alu, at the Eagle Sqaure Abuja.
Jonathan whose inaugural address centred around hope and transformation, said he appreciated the trust reposed in him by Nigerians who gave him their manddate.
He added that because of the mandate and the fact that he was one of them, he will certainly not let them down.
“We know your pains because I have been there; I look beyond the hardship that you have endured and see a new beginning, a new direction, a new spirit,” Jonathan said.
He spoke about transforming the economy, the health sector, the power sector, the agricultural sector, the eduction sector, transport sector, job creation and provision of infrastructure, in the message which resonated his electioneering promises.
Advising Nigerian to shun cynism, he said he was optimistic that he would not disappoint because they (Nigerians) had not only given him their mandate but because he was one of them.
He said, “Cynicism and skepticism would not help our journey to greatness, let us all believe in a new Nigeria, let us work together to build a great country we would all be proud of, this is our power.
“Fellow compatriots lift your gaze towards the horizon, look ahead and you will see a great future that you can secure with unity, hardwork and collective sacrifice.
“Join me now as we begin the journey of transforming Nigeria. I will continue to fight for your future because I am one of you.
“I will continue to fight for improved medical care for all our citizens, I will to fight for all citizens to have access to first class education, I will continue to fight for electricity to be available for all our citizens.
“I will continue to fight for an efficient and improved transport system for all our people, I will continue to fight for jobs to be created through productive enterprise and partnership.
“You have trusted me with your mandate, and I will never, never let you down.
“We know your pains because I have been there; I look beyond the hardship that you have endured and see a new beginning, a new direction, a new spirit.”
Reiterating that the days of lamentation were over in the country, the President called on Nigerians to look towards the horizon to see a brighter future.
He also called on them to partner his administration and to dream dreams of a greater future.
Jonathan said, “Nigeria is not just a land of promise; it shall be a nation where positive change would continue to take place for the good of our people. The time for lamentation is over; this is the era of transformation.
“This is the time for action, but Nigeria can only be transformed if we all play our parts with commitment and sincerity.
“Nigerians, I want you to start to dream again, what you see in your dreams we can achieve together. The Nigeria of our dreams must be built on hard work and not on short cuts.”
Continuing, Jonathan said the country had begun its journey to development had and reiterated his determination’s readiness to improve the standard of living of Nigerians.
“Our decade of development has begun. The march is on. The day of transformation begins today. Today, our unity is firm, and our purpose is strong, our determination unshakable. Together, we will unite our nation and improve the living standards of all our peoples whether in the North or in the South; in the East or in the West,” he said.
Vowing to resist divisive tendencies, he added, “We will not allow anyone exploit differences in creed or tongue, to set us one against another.”
He said, “We must grow the economy, create jobs, and generate enduring happiness for our people. I have great confidence in the ability of Nigerians to transform this country.
“The urgent task of my administration is to provide a suitable environment, for productive activities to flourish. I therefore call on the good people of Nigeria, to enlist as agents of this great transformation.”
Jonathan also called on the other candidates who contested the presidential election to partner him in the quest to transform the country.
In the same breath, he assured that the Nigerians dream was realistic.
The President said, “I am mindful that I represent the shared aspiration of all our people to forge a united Nigeria: a land of justice, opportunity and plenty.
“Confident that a people that are truly committed to a noble ideal, cannot be denied the realization of their vision, I assure you that this dream of Nigeria, that is so deeply felt by millions, will indeed come to reality.”
He noted that his victory in the presidential poll was an indication of the possibility of the Nigerians dream.
“A decade ago, it would have been a mere daydream to think that a citizen from a minority ethnic group could galvanize national support, on an unprecedented scale, to discard ancient prejudices, and win the people’s mandate as President of our beloved country.
“That result emanated from the toil and sacrifice of innumerable individuals and institutions, many of whom may never get to receive public appreciation for their effort.”
Congratulating other elected officials, the President urged them to match the hopes and aspirations of Nigerians with passion and patriotism.
He also appraised the country’s future, saying it was bright.
Jonathan said, “The moment is right. The signs are heart-warming. We are ready to take off on the path of sustained growth and economic development.
“I am confident that we have every reason to look to the future with hope.
“Over the next four years, attention will be focused on rebuilding our infrastructure. We will create greater access to quality education and improved health care delivery.
“We will pay special attention to the agricultural sector, to enable it play its role of ensuring food security and massive job creation for our people. “In our economic strategy, there will be appropriate policy support to the real sector of the economy, so that Small and Medium Enterprises may thrive.
“We live in an age where no country can survive on its own; countries depend on each other for economic well-being. Nigeria is no different.
“Returns on investment in Nigeria remain among the highest in the world. We will continue to welcome sustainable investment in our economy.
“We will push programs and policies that will benefit both local and foreign businesses, but we must emphasize mutual benefits and win-win relationships.
“The overall ongoing reforms in the banking and financial sectors are therefore designed to support the real sector of the economy. To drive our overall economic vision, the power sector reform is at the heart of our industrialisation strategy.”
Jonathan also restated his commitment to the resolution of the Niger Delta crises and the war against corruption as well as making Nigeria’s leading position in Africa a priority.
Jonathan also paid tribute to Nigeria’s founding fathers, saying it was their enduring sacrifice and abiding faith in its unity and greatness that laid its foundation.
“We take utmost pride in their contributions; the pivotal task of this generation is to lead our fatherland to the summit of greatness,’’ he said.
He was also not silent on the late President Umaru Musa Yar’Adua with whom he won the presidential election four years ago as his running mate.
Besides, he also appreciated the contributions of his parents to his success, saying,” I hold a debt of gratitude to my mother and late father; I cannot thank them enough.’’
Jonathan equally acknowledged the contributions of his Vice-President Namadi Sambo, “with whom we moved across this country encouraging Nigerians to see with us and vote for us.”
Twenty-six Heads of State and governments, including South African President, Jacob Zuma; Uganda’s Yoweri Museveni and Zimbabwe’s Robert Mugabe, attended the ceremony.
Nine foreign vice-presidents and six former Nigerian leaders were also in attendance