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Democracy is as much a result as it is a process and today’s event invites us to reflect on both the processes and results of our thriving democracy. There is evidence of stronger democratic institutions.
There is even stronger evidence of an evolving culture of better consultation, better stakeholder input and better mass buy-in on all major issues of national development.
It is within this context that I have incorporated a Mid-Term Performance Review Report of my administration, to enable Nigerians see the progress made so far in implementing the policies, programmes and projects encapsulated in my administration’s Transformation Agenda (2011 – 2015).
The economy has recorded an impressive GDP growth and we surpassed our annual targets in 8 out of the 14 broad areas of the Transformation Agenda. Consequently, Nigeria’ global ranking by GDP has improved from the 44th position in 2010, to the 36th.
The celebration of Democracy Day, a day dedicated to reflections on the meaning, gains and sustainability of democracy, should be used to think about how to sustain our collective resolve to face the future together as one people, guided by the principles of consultation, mutual respect and equity.
That is the only way to gird our loins for the distance ahead, because democracy is more a journey across wide terrains than arrival at some secluded waterhole.
The time has come for us to see democracy beyond the mere form and focus on the substance, which is that democracy is a way of life that combines good governance with economic efficiency. Today we can proudly speak of such achievements as the reduction of the overall fiscal deficit-to-GDP ratio to
2.41%, the growth of our fiscal reserves (ECA/SWF) to US$9.5 billion, and our external reserves to US$48.8 billion; as at the first quarter of 2013. These are in addition to the financial sector reforms and the external validation of our macroeconomic achievements by the key international rating agencies.
May 29 is not a day set aside merely to commemorate the swearing in of a government that emerged through elections, after nearly two decades of military rule. More significantly, it is a day for stock taking and for the renewal of vows to deliver good governance to Nigerians. The achievements in physical infrastructure, exemplified by the current electricity generation capacity of 4,500MW, which is expected to rise to 9,000MW by the first quarter of 2014, are key service delivery indices. The Report also sets out clear targets and performance indicators which are being tracked regularly through the Ministerial Performance Scorecards.
The Report presents very detailed and credible facts and figures showing the performance of the Administration at this half-way mark. As a people, our goal in deepening our collective democratic experience is to build a community of equals, wherein everyone has responsibility for the wellbeing of all.