By Lawrence Olaoye, Ikechukwu Okaforadi and Umar Muhammad Puma

President Muhammadu Buhari has told beleaguered Nigerians that he shares in their sufferings, promising to identify with them at all times in his policy.

The President, in a New Year message he personally signed and made available to newsmen yesterday, said his relocation into the fortress of power has not alienated him from the common man.Buhari-presents

He stated “I am aware that Nigerians have experienced a number of significant hardships over the past months. Living in the State House has not alienated me from your daily sufferings. I am aware of the lengthy queues at fuel stations and of the difficulties businesses have faced in acquiring foreign exchange. These challenges are only temporary; we are working to make things better.

“When I presented myself to you as a presidential candidate and asked you to vote for me, I wanted to be a leader who keeps his promises. I wanted to be a leader who restores the people’s hope in those elected to serve them. I wanted to be a leader who initiates positive and enduring CHANGE.

“I am still totally committed to being that kind of leader. Unforeseen circumstances and other distractions notwithstanding, I shall still do my utmost best to keep every promise I made to Nigerians during my election campaign.

“In the past seven months since our inauguration on May 29, 2015, my administration has focused on laying the right foundation for the CHANGE you voted for during our historic presidential election.

“Nigerians will in due course begin to enjoy the fruits of all our ongoing work. The effective and efficient implementation of our 2016 budget proposals will address many of the socio-economic issues that are of current concern to our people.

“One area in which Nigerians, especially those in the northeast, have already begun to experience major CHANGE is in the war on terror.

“I commend our Armed Forces for significantly curtailing the insurgency which has ravaged the northeast of Nigeria over the past few years.

However, there is still a lot of work to be done in the area of security. Our Armed Forces will maintain, consolidate and build on their successes in the war against Boko Haram and violent extremism.

“This government will not consider the matter concluded until the terrorists have been completely routed and normalcy restored to all parts of the country that have been adversely affected by the Boko Haram insurgency.

“Our crackdown on corruption will continue to be vigorously undertaken. I urge the courts to support our efforts and help in the recovery of stolen funds by speedily concluding trials and showing that impunity no longer has a place in our country.

Our challenges are many but our determination to succeed is strong and unshaken.”

Also yesterday the Senate President, Bukola Saraki has joined in the call for Nigerians to join hands with the present government led by President Muhammadu Buhari, towards revamping the economy of the country in the new year of 2016.

In a New Year message to Nigerians signed by the Special Adviser, Media and Publicity to the Senate President, Yusuph Olaniyonu, in Abuja, Saraki urged for more tolerance among Nigerians to help eliminate violence and crisis across the country.

He stressed the need for effective collaboration between the people and the Federal Government is imperative to overcome the nation’s most pressing socio-economic challenges and to make the nation prosperous once again.

The speaker of the House of Representatives, Rt. Hon. Yakubu Dogara, has also assured Nigerians that 2016 offers a real opportunity for change in the country.

In a New Year message signed by his special adviser on Media and Public Affairs, Turaki Hassan, the speaker praised the unshakable commitment of leaders at all levels of government to a better Nigeria.

He cited the pro – people 2016 Budget of President Buhari’s administration which is before the National Assembly and said , “when passed into law and faithfully executed will not only lift the common man from abject poverty, it will also usher in the much needed opportunities for innovation and investment that are the engines of economic growth and prosperity.”

The Speaker who expressed hope that happy times will be here again, however, maintained that, “the people must go to work to make it happen as government alone cannot solve all our problems”.

Former Vice President Atiku Abubakar similarly called on Nigerians to work in concert for nation building and the consolidation of the dividends of our hard-earned democracy.

Atiku in a statement he personally signed said. “It is crystal clear even to his harshest critics that President Muhammadu Buhari means well for the country and intends to spend big and wisely in capital projects that would bring about needed infrastructure and public amenities that would in turn generate massive employment for ready hands. The least I can ask of you is to support him on his avowed commitment to make Nigeria work for all of us.

“As good citizens, we should not foreclose the chance of great times to come for our dear people and great country.”, Atiku said.

Former Senate President, David Mark in a new year message to Nigerians stressed that there is no better time than now for the nation to face the stark reality and declare an emergency on how to diversify the economy.

Senator Mark believes that the economic challenges are surmountable if all hands are on deck instead of hoping against hope on the price of crude oil adding ” we cannot continue to sulk on the failure of yesterday and the mistake of today , but the past should serve as a useful lesson for better tomorrow “, a statement signed Paul Mumeh, Media Assistant to Senator David Mark said yesterday.

Meanwhile, to ensure a secure, peaceful and hitch-free nation-wide New Year celebration, the IGP has directed all Zonal AIGs and State Command Commissioners of Police to ensure an effective and efficient deployment of all operational manpower and tools at the disposal of their respective Commands. He has further directed the AIG Border Patrol to ensure that the nation’s borders are effectively manned to prevent any cross-border crime.

A statement by ACP Olabisi Kolawole, Force Public Relations Officerm Force Headquarters, Abuja yesterday said, while saluting the courage and gallantry of officers of the Force for their tireless services in protecting lives and property during the year, the IGP charges Police personnel to continue to be civil in the discharge of their constitutional responsibilities. He, however, warned that officers found acting contrary to the Force’s “Vision and Mission” will be appropriately sanctioned.

The Inspector-General of Police, while wishing all Nigerians a very blissful and peaceful New Year Celebrations, assured the public of the Nigeria Police Force readiness and commitment towards ensuring a safe and secure environment.

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