Full Text: President Buhari’s Speech at the Opening Session of the AU Summit






14TH JUNE 2015

Excellency President Robert Mugabe, Chairman of the Union,

Excellency President Jacob Zuma, our Host,

Excellencies fellow Presidents and Heads of Government

Excellency Mr. Jan Eliasson, Deputy Secretary-General of the United Nations,

Excellency Dr. Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma, Chairperson of the AU Commission,

Excellencies, Heads of Delegation,

Invited Guests, Distinguished Ladies and Gentlemen

1. Please permit me to join previous speakers in conveying my delegation’s appreciation to our host, H.E. President Jacob Zuma, to his Government, and the brotherly people of South Africa for their warm hospitality, and for the excellent arrangements made for our comfort and for the success of our meetings. As this is my first address at this august assembly, may I also congratulate H.E. Dr. Robert Gabriel Mugabe, President of the Republic of Zimbabwe, for his unanimous election as the Chairman of our Union.

2. I feel highly honoured and extremely pleased to be able to address you today, barely two weeks after my inauguration as the President of Nigeria, following the 2015 Presidential election in my country. That process, which was adjudged as the fairest and most credible in the history of elections in Nigeria, was midwifed by the dogged and sustained determination of the Nigerian people, and their desire to deepen our democracy. Their quest was amply supported, and even encouraged by the goodwill of our friends and partners in the international community. I therefore wish to seize this opportunity to convey my very deep appreciation to all those who contributed to the success of that election.

3. My election has been described as historic. I agree that it is indeed historic because for the first time in the practice of democracy in my country, an opposition Party has defeated the ruling Party in a keenly contested election. The election was also held against the backdrop of the fears and concerns expressed both in Nigeria and among our international friends abroad and partners that the outcome of the election could spell doom for Nigeria. I am glad that even though those fears and concerns were not without basis, the outcome was totally different, to the relief of all of us.

4. I cannot fail to acknowledge the very positive role played by my predecessor, H.E. President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan, in averting the feared crisis, and in facilitating the peaceful transition of power between the two parties. I also wish to express my deep appreciation to all who honoured us with their presence at my inauguration, and even those, who for unavoidable reasons were unable to attend. I thank you all.

Mr. Chairman,

5. It is gratifying to note that our Union has made laudable progress over the past one and a half decades since its transformation from the Organization of African Unity (OAU) to the African Union (AU). Notably, we have been able to redirect our priorities at the continental level from mainly political goals to more diverse aspirations that are equally fundamental to our survival and development in a global community.

6. It is however clear, Mr. Chairman, that some of the greater challenges to our peoples within this Union still lie in the political, economic, as well as peace and security spheres. Our continent is currently bedevilled by the twin evils of terrorism and insecurity; poverty, youth unemployment, and underdevelopment. The destructive effects of the inhuman and criminal campaigns of the Boko Haram insurgency in Nigeria and neighbouring countries; the Al-Shabab attacks in East Africa, and the activities of the Al-Qaida in the Maghreb, all bear testimony to a continent under siege.

Mr Chairman,

Excellencies and Colleagues

7. On our part, I was convinced on my assumption of office that the best approach would be to work within the framework of the Lake Chad Basin Commission (LCBC) to mobilse collective support to fight against Boko Haram. I have in this regard, directed the relocation of Nigeria’s Command Centre to place it closer to the theatre of action. Furthermore, I have vigorously engaged the members states of the LCBC to better coordinate the strategies and tactics in fighting the insurgency in the region. I believe that this approach can be enhanced through complimentary regional and continental efforts.

8. The images in the international mass media of African youths getting drowned in the Mediterranean sea on their illegal attempts, and often times illusory hope of attaining better life in Europe is not only an embarrassment to us as leaders, but dehumanises our persons. Indeed, they combine to paint a very unfavourable picture of our peoples and countries.

9. Those of us gathered here today owe it as a duty to reverse this ugly trend. We must put an end to the so-called push factors that compel our young men and women to throw caution to the winds and risk life, limbs and all, on this dangerous adventure. We must redouble our efforts to sustain the economic development of our countries, ensure empowerment of our youths, create more jobs, improve and upgrade our infrastructure, and above all continue the enthronement of a regime of democracy, good governance and respect for human rights and rule of law. These and other measures that engender peace and stability must be pursued relentlessly.

10. In this connection, we must persist in our collective endeavour to work together through the African Union and our respective Regional Economic Communities (RECs), to uplift our continent and provide the African peoples the enabling environment for the realization of their legitimate dreams and aspirations. At this juncture, let me assure you of the unflinching commitment of Nigeria to the ideals and aspirations of the African Union as explained in the Agenda 2063, which is geared towards ensuring a peaceful, prosperous and integrated Africa in the next 50 years. It is for this reason that Nigeria is fully and irrevocably committed to the ECOWAS vision.

11. We do so because we believe that African integration is best attained through the instrumentality of our Regional Economic Communities (RECs) as the building blocs of viable continental institutions. Nigeria will therefore continue to play her part in supporting the African Union Commission and other continental and regional institutions in their efforts to prioritize African development in all sectors of human endeavour.

12. The journey might look arduous, but certainly not impossible. There are opportunities in every challenge. If and when we adopt this call for a change of attitude, approach, and disposition towards agreed protocols and commitments, we shall be bequeathing a politically stable, economically developed, and socially harmonious Africa, thereby justifying the confidence reposed in us by our electorates. We will also demonstrate our qualities as statesmen and true daughters and sons of Africa.

13. I thank you for your kind attention.

AU Summit: 25th Ordinary Session Opens In South Africa

au summitThe ordinary session of the Assembly of Heads of State and Government of the African Union has opened on Sunday in South Africa.

African leaders congratulated newly-elected presidents including Muhammadu Buhari of Nigeria, Mozambique’s Filipe Nyusi and Pakalitha Mosisili of Lesotho.

They also congratulated Sudanese President Omar Al Bashir for conducting a successful poll.

This warm welcome is coming on the heels of a court order issued by a Pretoria high court judge, Hans Fabricious preventing President Al-Bashir from leaving South Africa.

The order is pending a decision of the court, to be made after an urgent application that Al Bashir be arrested today.

The judge made the order after granting the state a 3-hour period in which to prepare arguments in response to South Africa litigation centre’s application that President Jacob Zuma and the National Prosecuting Authority arrest Al Bashir on the order of the International Crimes Court (ICC).

As a signatory of the Rome treaty, South Africa is obliged to arrest the president, but the AU has previously refused to heed the ICC call, accusing them of targeting African leaders.

The ceremony featured statement by President Buhari and other newly elected and outgoing Heads of State and Government.

The Nigerian President, Muhammadu Buhari, on Saturday chaired the Peace and Security Council meeting at the 25th AU Summit holding in Johannesburg, South Africa.

Talks at the meeting largely focused on security challenges facing some African countries, as participants sought better ways of tackling insurgency in some West African countries.

Buhari Chairs Peace And Security Council Meeting At AU Summit

Muhammadu-Buhari-In-South-Africa-for-AU-Summit-Peace-MeetingPresident Muhammadu Buhari on Saturday chaired the Peace and Security Council meeting at the 25th AU Summit holding in Johannesburg, South Africa.

Talks at the meeting largely focused on security challenges facing some African countries, as participants sought better ways of tackling insurgency in some West African countries.

For over five years, Nigeria has been making efforts to contain insurgency in the oil-rich nation’s north-east perpetrated by the Boko Haram terrorist group.

President Buhari drew the attention of the meeting to the challenges in Nigeria’s north-east which he said had affected neighbouring countries.

“Boko Haram has extended its reach to Nigeria’s neighbouring countries, which makes it not limited to Nigeria.

“I am pleased to note that Cameroon, Chad and Niger are fighting side by side with Nigeria under the umbrella of the Multi-National Joint Task Force to defeat Boko Haram,” he said.

The meeting also discussed the crises in South Sudan and Burundi, with emphasis on the need for leaders of African countries to place the nation’s interest above their personal interest.

At the meeting were the UN Deputy Secretary General, Jan Eliasson, Chairperson of African Union (AU) Commission, Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma,  AU Commissioner for Peace and Security and Ambassador Smail Chergui among others.Muhammadu-Buhari-At-AU-Summit

President Buhari will also hold bilateral talks with other African leaders on the sidelines of the summit to consolidate his ongoing drive to secure Nigeria and neighbouring countries from Boko Haram,” the statement read.

The Nigerian leader in his inaugural speech on May 29 made a strong commitment to ending the insurgency in the north-east.

President Buhari is due back in Abuja on Tuesday at the conclusion of the summit which will focus mainly on continental peace and security.

Nigeria’s security challenges topped the “wish list” that  President Muhammadu Buhari presented to the G7 industrialised countries in meetings held between him and heads of governments at the summit of the group in Germany.

He participated in the G7 Outreach program for invited heads of government and global institutions.

The Nigerian President had also visited the Presidents of Chad and Niger Republic on his first trip outside the country after his May 29 inauguration. His mission was also to discuss security matters.


President Buhari Meets Service Chiefs, Receives Briefs On Insurgency War

BuhariPresident Muhammadu Buhari has held his first meeting with service chiefs in Abuja. The meeting which began at noon on Tuesday was to review the fight against terrorism by the military and the general insecurity situation in the country.

Our State House correspondent reports that President Buhari received briefs from service chiefs on how far the military has gone in prosecuting the war and what next to be done to end the insurgency.

Briefing journalists after the meeting which lasted for over four hours, the Chief of Naval Staff, Vice Admiral Usman Jubril said that it became necessary to brief the Commander in Chief so that he would have first-hand information about the security situation in the land following his inauguration.

On Boko Haram, the service chiefs also briefed the Commander in Chief about the level of success recorded and what they were doing to sustain the tempo. He said the relocation of the command to Borno State would take place soon.

The service chiefs present as the meeting include the Chief of Defence Staff, Air Chief Marshal Alex Barde, Chief of Army Staff, Lt.Gen. Kenneth Minimah, among others including the Inspector-General of Police, Solomon Arase.

The meeting held at the Defence House.

The President is also expected to travel to Chad and Niger on Wednesday and Thursday for further discussion on matters related to the fight against terrorism.

Meanwhile, the National Assembly say they are in receipt of a letter from the President seeking confirmation of 15 special advisers that will work with him.

This is the first correspondence between President Buhari and the National Assembly since he assumed office on May the 29th.

The President on Sunday announced two appointments; that of Garba Shehu and Femi Adesina as spokespersons.


Presidential Villa Empty On Buhari’s First Day At Work

VillaThose who expected President Muhammadu Buhari to be at the Presidential Villa to resume work immediately on the first day of the week and his resumption, may have been disappointed.

Cleaning and renovation work are said to still be ongoing in the President’s office and residence while he operated from the Defence House in Aso drive in the Federal Capital Territory.

Civil servants were seen doing skeletal work while awaiting the political heads who will give them direction on what next to do in the new dispensation.

President Muhammadu Buhari has, however, started performing his official duties as he is set to embark on his first trip outside the country since his inauguration on May 29, 2015.

He is visiting the Presidents of Chad and Niger Republic on Wednesday to discuss security matters.

The visit is not unexpected considering President Buhari’s emphatic declaration to fight insurgency in his inaugural speech at the swearing-in held at the Eagles Square in Abuja, the nation’s capital city.

On Thursday, May 28, the former president, Dr. Goodluck Jonathan had conducted President Buhari round the Presidential Villa on a familiarisation tour.


Buhari To Meet Chad, Niger Presidents On First Trip Outside Nigeria

BuhariNigerian President, Muhammadu Buhari, is set to embark on his first trip outside the country since his inauguration on May the 29th, 2015.

He is visiting the Presidents of Chad and Niger Republic on Wednesday to discuss security matters.

The visit is not unexpected considering President Buhari’s emphatic declaration to fight insurgency in his inaugural speech at the swearing-in held at the Eagles Square in Abuja, the nation’s capital city.

President Buhari had expressed his readiness to tackle the enormous challenges facing the oil-rich nation, one of which is insecurity owing majorly to the activities of the terrorist group, Boko Haram.

He referred to Boko Haram’s insurgency as the “most immediate” challenge he wants to tackle.

It is believed that this trip is to enable the Nigerian President to further discuss with the country’s neighbours on how to curb the dreaded sect, having acknowledged the support of their governments and thanked them for their cooperation with Nigeria in the fight against the militants.

“Our neighbours in the Sub-region and our African brethren should rest assured that Nigeria under our administration will be ready to play any leadership role that Africa expects of it.

“Here I would like to thank the governments and people of Cameroon, Chad and Niger for committing their armed forces to fight Boko Haram in Nigeria,” Buhari said on Friday.