State of the nation address

By Casmir Igbokwe

Published: Sunday, 22 Feb 2009

 LAST Thursday, February 19, 2009, the Senate passed a bill which, if signed into law, makes it mandatory for the President to present a ‘State of the Nation Address’ annually. The bill stipulates that the President must deliver the address personally to a joint session of the National Assembly. Among the issues he shall address are national security, the economy, external debt situation, defence, poverty eradication, education, agricultural policy, and federal character. Considering the busy schedule of the Commander-in-Chief, I have decided to help him with the first draft of the address free of charge. He is free to add or subtract from this draft. Mr. President, here is the address:

Fellow countrymen! I am compelled to address you again a few months after my budget speech in which I itemised my vision for this nation. I have a great need to visit Saudi Arabia. But I postponed it just to respect our distinguished legislators. This is another testimony to the commitment of this administration to the rule of law.

Since our government assumed office in May 2007, a lot has happened. But because we don’t blow our trumpet, critics and some opposition elements say we have not done anything for the country. Some even call me Baba go-slow.

 But our achievements are there for everybody to see. In the area of security, for instance, we have done a lot. Our gallant policemen have engaged armed robbers fire for fire. The heat on the robbers is so much now that some of them have decided to turn into goats to escape arrest. But we shall not be deceived. Even if they turn to snakes, our agile officers will arrest them and deal decisively with them. And for assassins and those plotting to cause mayhem in the next elections, your days are numbered. By the time the armoured vehicles ordered by some government functionaries and top politicians arrive, you will realise that we mean business.

 Closely related to this is our defence policy. Distinguished senators, you know that our beloved nation is not fighting any external war at the moment. Our major headache is internal insurrection in different parts of the country, especially in the Niger Delta and Jos. I can assure you that the situation is under control. In Jos, we have instituted a panel to probe the crisis there and bring the culprits to book. Our soldiers are also on top of the situation in the Niger Delta. In fact, we have pushed the so-called militants into Equatorial Guinea and we shall help the government of that country to crush whatever is remaining of the criminals. Let me also use this opportunity to appeal to the oil companies to return to their bases in the Niger Delta. We are intensifying efforts to beef up security in that region.

The activities of these criminals may have affected our oil output and revenue, but our economy is not down yet. You know there is a global economic recession, but the merciful Allah has continued to sustain us. We have fat external reserves to deal with any emergency situation. In order to avoid jealousy from other countries, we have instructed the Central Bank of Nigeria to remove any information about the reserves from its official website. As part of our efforts to achieve Vision 2020, we have constituted the Vision 2020 Business Support Group made up of eminent Nigerians. By 2020, insha Allah, life expectancy in Nigeria will be 70 years as opposed to the current 46.5 years. We will eradicate most infectious diseases and make our public hospitals the pride of all Nigerians. By then, Germans and Saudi Arabians will be the ones coming to our hospitals to attend to their health.

 Our children and children’s children will not die unnecessarily anymore. Each child of primary school age will have access to computers and will never have cause to sit on the bare floor during classes.

 Fellow Nigerians, we have resolved to eradicate poverty from every corner of Nigeria. Our target is a per capita income of $4,000. Realising that agriculture is a key factor to this vision, we have decided to start by importing tonnes of rice from India. This will keep us going pending when we gather enough resources to import implements for mechanised farming.

 By 2020, we will have reduced our penchant for importation. Our strategy is to empower our manufacturers and industrialists to produce cheap and quality goods. We are already partnering with the private sector to embark on a massive importation of generators as a stopgap measure pending when the House of Representatives comes up with a report of its power sector probe. That probe report is also what is holding back my promise to declare an emergency in the power sector.

 Those who doubt our capability to fulfil our promises should look at our banks as a guide. The state of the banking industry gives a clue to the state of any nation’s economy. If our economy is in danger as some alarmists want us to believe, why do you think some of our bank executives are acquiring private jets?

 Distinguished lawmakers, fellow Nigerians, the task ahead is enormous. But with the guidance of Almighty Allah, we shall succeed. We need your cooperation, especially as 2011 approaches. One term of four years is not enough to accomplish the task. We need a second term to finish what we have started. With your unflinching support, we shall be among the 20 developed economies in 2020.

Long live distinguished senators!

 Long live distinguished Reps!

 Long live the Federal Republic of Nigeria!

 God bless Nigeria!

 Conmen will never repent

 It has come to my notice that some criminally-minded elements use my name to attempt to defraud people. One of their tactics is to place a call, especially to some of those they find their numbers on the Readers‘ Court page, and make some demands claiming to be Casmir Igbokwe, Editor of SUNDAY PUNCH. In one of such instances, a conman called one of my readers last Tuesday via 08022589626 and said he would send his account number wherein the reader should pay a certain sum of money to ensure his reactions were published regularly. Please note that I have not and will never ask you to give me money to publish anything. As for those whose only trade is to destroy people‘s reputation just for pecuniary gains, nemesis will catch up with them one day.


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