Trump Celebrates American Heroes In Rousing July 4 Speech

US President Donald Trump and the Chairman of The Joint Chiefs of Staff Joseph Dunford watch as aircraft fly overhead during the “Salute to America” Fourth of July event at the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, DC, July 4, 2019. PHOTO: Nicholas Kamm / AFP

 

President Donald Trump sang the praises of the US military and American heroes of the past two and a half centuries Thursday, skirting politics in a rousing Independence Day speech in Washington.

“What a great country,” Trump exclaimed in an address saturated with patriotism and exceptionalism after critics accused him of hijacking the annual celebration.

“For Americans, nothing is impossible,” he said.

Combat aircraft, including the rarely-seen B2 stealth bomber, flew overhead as Trump scrolled through myriad events of US history, from groundbreaking inventions to battlefield victories. He drew cheers of “USA! USA!” from an enthusiastic rain-soaked audience of tens of thousands on the National Mall in Washington.

Trump promised the United States would soon again send men to the moon and go beyond to “plant the American flag on Mars.”

“We will always be the people who defeated a tyrant, crossed a continent, harnessed science, took to the skies, and soared into the heavens, because we will never forget that we are Americans, and the future belongs to us.”

‘The most exceptional nation’

Trump spoke in front of a massive statue of a seated Abraham Lincoln, the heroic 19th-century president, where civil rights icon Martin Luther King Jr gave his “I Have a Dream” speech in 1963.

Trump used the traditionally politics-free holiday to deliver shoutouts to each arm of the military, as well as singling out first responders and the controversial Border Patrol and Immigration and Customs Enforcement agencies that have been criticized for their treatment of migrants.

But he disappointed critics who had warned that Trump, the first president in decades to make a keynote speech on the July 4 holiday, was hijacking the celebration to bolster his own political standing and attack Democratic rivals.

Instead, in a trickling rain, he uncharacteristically avoided talking about himself and his political detractors. He repeatedly ascribed singular greatness to the country, declaring it “the most exceptional nation in the history of the world.”

“Today, we come together as one nation with this very special Salute to America. We celebrate our history, our people, and the heroes who proudly defend our flag — the brave men and women of the United States military!” he said.

“Our nation is stronger today than it ever was before. It is its strongest now,” he said.

Patriotic fervor

The July 4 celebrations usually draw hundreds of thousands of people to the National Mall for picnics and twilight fireworks, and dousings from thunderstorms did not keep away either Trump’s supporters — wearing red caps — nor protesters.

“It’s going to be fabulous, I’m excited,” said Dee Ranson, a 55-year-old from Florida visiting with her family.

“I think it’s awesome, I think it shows courage and patriotic enthusiasm. He is not afraid,” she said before Trump’s speech.

But April Smith, 43, visiting from North Carolina, said she had “no interest” in hearing Trump’s speech, and thought the military “show of power and strength” was unnecessary.

Surrounded by the top officers of the Pentagon, and a panoply of invited Republican officials and VIP donors, the event allowed Trump to stake a strong claim to patriotic fervor 16 months ahead of a presidential election.

Polls show his potential Democratic rivals holding a significant edge over him.

Trump originally wanted a grand military parade for the holiday, ostensibly inspired by France’s rollout of its armed forces on its own national day.

Instead, he got a scaled-back version, with some US armored vehicles parked for display and a flyover by the president’s own Air Force One jet, the B2 bomber, attack helicopters, other warplanes, and the Navy’s Blue Angels aerobatics team.

Even so, it was a show of martial force that has been absent from the US capital for decades, and Trump’s foes blasted it ahead of time as a show of militarism.

“What, I wonder, will Donald Trump say this evening when he speaks to the nation at an event designed more to stroke his ego than celebrate American ideals?” leading Democratic White House contender Joe Biden said earlier Thursday.

Trump himself reveled in the strong crowd, having spent the past 30 months defending himself over the poor turnout for his January 2017 inauguration.

“A great crowd of tremendous Patriots this evening, all the way back to the Washington Monument!” he tweeted, along with a photograph of the audience.

AFP

Ohanaeze’s Criticism Of Buhari’s Independence Day Speech Unfair – Presidency

File Photo

The spokesperson for President Muhammadu Buhari has said Ohanaeze group of Igbo leaders should see themselves as partners with the Federal Government in promoting peace and stability instead of constant criticism of the presidency.

Reacting to some criticisms of the president’s Independence Day Speech, Garba Shehu, Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, said that it was unfair of the group to blame the recent unrest in the southeast region on the Federal Government.

The spokesman said that President Buhari’s speech was a message to all community leaders, and that includes the Ohanaeze.

READ ALSO: NigeriaAt57: 10 Quotes From President Buhari’s Address

“President Buhari was not abdicating his responsibilities. He didn’t request any political leader to do anything seminal or out of the box. All he said is, talk to your out-of-the-line-youth so that we have some peace.

“Igbo leaders need not to be on the defensive. The President was simply saying that the regional leaders also have a role to play in keeping their youth in check.”

The SSA Media said that leaders of every other region of the country, not only the Ohanaeze from the southeast must step out and speak up whenever their youth go out of line.

“President Buhari was simply calling out the regional leaders to their responsibilities, making them aware of the crucial role they can play. This should not be seen as an attack on the Ohaneze or on any other regional leaders,” he said.

READ ALSO: Ohanaeze Visits Sokoto Calls For Continuous Peaceful Coexistence          

Responding to other criticisms of the President’s speech, particularly the declaration that all matters of restructuring or constitutional amendment are the business of the National Assembly, Garba reiterated the President’s line that the Parliament as a key institution in democratic governance is the proper venue for the ventilation of, and resolution of all contentious issues.

“Democracy may be slow and chaotic, but it remains the best system of government the world has got so far. Democracy in Nigeria has come to stay and the administration will deepen it, not kill it.”

He said speeches that aggravate  a Nigerian against another Nigerian are causing damage to our democracy, rocking at the very foundation of our unity and they better not cross those red lines as warned by the President.

Assault on Judiciary, Existential Threat To Nigeria’s Democracy – Nwanze

Chxta NwanzeThe Managing Editor, Y Magazine, Cheta Nwanze, on Thursday described the assault on the judiciary as an existential threat to Nigeria’s democracy, noting that “we cannot wish it away. Neither can we pretend that it is not happening”.

There has been uproar in many quarters following the alleged attack on a judge in Ekiti state and this, Nwanze says must be faced head-on, adding that “a situation where judges start to cower in fear means that the entire structure on which our democracy is built on will not last.”

Nwanze, who analysed President Goodluck Jonathan’s Wednesday Independence Day speech on Sunrise Daily, pointed out that “the President didn’t touch on the most important issue in his speech, which is the assault on the judiciary”, insisting that he could have at least acknowledged it.

“We cannot have a thriving democracy if we don’t have a free and independent judiciary and what’s happening in Ekiti state now is going to be a measure of how our judiciary gets its independence.

He noted that the Chief Justice of Nigeria’s call to all state governors to ensure fiscal independence for the judiciary remains an issue to keep an eye on.

On the argument whether Nigerian’s had anything worth celebrating on the occasion of their 54th year as a sovereign nation, he argued that “there are a 170 million Nigerians and different people see independence in different directions, in different ways.

“A lot of people (who own small businesses) actually went out to work yesterday and that’s a message given without saying anything; That they live day to day, so whatever economic progress we want to beat our chest about, has clearly not delivered to this people because if they fail to work on this given day, then they have a problem.”

He insisted that “that is the real story of Nigeria,” noting that “it’s not about the stories we hear at conferences and all of that but what has the country delivered to its people; the man on the street.”

“Sadly, it hasn’t yet delivered”.

On the recurring theme of security in Independence Day speeches, Nwanze gave kudos to the security agencies, stating that “despite all of the negative reports or the alarmists reports that we hear, they are actually doing a decent job”.

He highlighted that many of the security agents had not received the appropriate training and “insurgencies take a long time to defeat and in most cases, you probably have to come to a negotiated settlement”.

He, however, warned that the elements that feed terrorism and the Boko Haram insurgency are present all over the country, including massive unemployment and poverty.

“When you have those two in tandem, you find that people tend to listen more to extremists but when people have a hope for the future, then people will be less likely to listen to extremists. So we can’t keep beating our chest about two and a half million jobs created we cannot see the jobs and on the other hand we can see people being recruited into these kind of organisations.”

At 52 Nigeria is experiencing more motion than movement, says University don

A Professor of International law and former Vice Chancellor, University of Ado-Ekiti, Akin Oyebode, on Monday said little else apart from the replacement of the Union Jack with the Nigeria flag has changed since 1960.

Mr Oyebode, who was discussing the level of development in Nigeria since independence on Channels Television’s news at 10, said he thought that by now Nigeria should have experienced economic independence to ‘wrestle the firm hold imperialism’.

“But we’ve not succeeded in doing that. Nigeria has remained a neo-colonial economy. In fact, we’ve had more motion than movements in terms of progress in this country,” he said.

Watch the full interview with Mr Oyebode below as he proffers solutions to Nigeria’s leadership problems.

Nigeria has civilian not democratic government – Robert Clarke

A legal practitioner and a Senior Advocate of Nigeria, Robert Clarke on Tuesday said though the country has experienced significant development since  it gained independence from colonial rule, there is still lack of local government presence in most areas.

The 74-year-old lawyer, who joined Channels Television’s breakfast programme, Sunrise Daily via the telephone, said the absence of the local government presence is due to “complete corruption”.

“We need to strengthen every area of governance so that all necessary things can be done to ensure that it is not a civilian government we have but a democratic government,” he said.

“There is the general believe that the representatives we have in Abuja are not elected representatives of the people and that the forms of conducting elections still allows many, many people who should not be in Abuja to be in Abuja.

“And the representative finds out that he doesn’t owe allegiance to the people and the people do not trust him. The problem we have is to strengthen the electoral process so that the people would believe, not only believe, but that they know that they have an influence on their representatives,” Mr Clarke said.

Jonathan’s Independence Day speech is ‘Book of Lamentations’ – Melaye

Dino Melaye, a former member of the House of Representative and the Executive Secretary of Anti-corruption Network on Tuesday said that the Independence Day speech broadcasted on national television by President Goodluck Jonathan is far from impressive calling it the ‘book of lamentations’.

Mr Melaye, who was a guest on Channels Television’s breakfast programme, Sunrise Daily, said what he expected the president to have done with the speech was to give Nigerians hope not to reel out the woes facing the country.

“The speech of Mr President yesterday shouldn’t have been a recorded speech in the Villa, it should have been made before Nigerians,” he said.
The former lawmaker said he was surprised to hear President Jonathan saying that he cannot solve the problems of Nigerians alone.

“Leadership is a serious business. What I expected from my president is a statement of hope not a lamentation. No one would expect that the president alone would ameliorate our problems. What I am saying is that nobody selected the team of Mr President for Mr President. He appointed his Ministers, he appointed his presidential aides. If there is a failure, it is his responsibility,” Mr Melaye said.

Lawyer says Nigeria’s electoral system has improved

A legal practitioner and the pioneer Chairman, Business section of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA), George Etomi on Tuesday said that there are several improvements to make Nigerians celebrate the 52 years Independence from colonial power.

Speaking as a guest on Channels Television’s breakfast programme, Sunrise Daily, Mr Etomi said the one significant area that has experienced improvement is the electoral process.

“The person at the helm of affairs matters a lot. If you have a president or a governor who decides that the electioneering system does not matter, then people would burn, loot, and generally cause mayhem. But if you have a president such as we have, who is not prepared to stick out his neck for anybody but ensures that the system works, then you will have results,” he said.

Watch the video below for the complete interview.

Jonathan says power supply has improved

President Goodluck Jonathan on Monday said that power generation and supply in Nigeria has improved significantly attributing this improvement to the power reforms initiated by his administration.

The president, who disclosed this in a nationwide broadcast to mark the 52 years independence of Nigeria, said that his administration has put in place a cost reflective system to reduce the cost of electricity.

“Our country’s power supply situation is improving gradually,” he said.

The president further said “we are successfully implementing a well-integrated power sector reform programme which includes institutional arrangements to facilitate and strengthen private-sector-led power generation, transmission and distribution.

“We have also put in place a cost-reflective tariff structure that reduces the cost of power for a majority of electricity consumers. I am pleased with the feedback from across the country, of improvements in power supply.
GDP is growing

President Jonathan, who acknoledged the impact of the current financial crisis on the global economy, however said that “during the same period and particularly in the last two years, the Nigerian economy has done appreciably well. Nigeria’s real Gross Domestic Product (GDP) has grown by 7.1 per cent on average”.

“It is also significant that the GDP growth has been driven largely by the non-oil sector. In pursuance of the main goals of the Transformation Agenda, a number of reforms and initiatives are being pursued in key sectors of the economy with a view to consolidating the gains of the economic growth”.

More crude oil
The president also spoke on the gradual improvement of the crude production volumes.

“Our 12-month gas supply emergency plan, put in place earlier this year, has produced more than the targeted volumes of gas for power generation. A robust Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB) has been placed before the National Assembly. Its passage into law will ensure far-reaching reforms, transparency, accountability, increased government revenue and predictability for investors in the Oil and Gas sector”.

More jobs
President Jonathan said: “Several government programmes and projects are creating wealth and millions of job opportunities for our youth and general population. Such programmes include: You-Win, both for the youth and for the women, Public Works, the Local Content Initiative in the Oil and Gas Sector, and the Agricultural Transformation programme.

He said the Nigerian investment environment has also improved as “more corporate bodies are investing in the Nigerian economy. Our Investment Climate Reform Programme has helped to attract over N6.8 trillion local and foreign direct investment commitments”.

“Nigeria has become the preferred destination for investment in Africa. It is ranked first in the top 5 host economies for Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) in Africa, accounting for over 20 per cent of total FDI flows into the continent. We have streamlined bureaucratic activities at the ports to ensure greater efficiency in the handling of ports and port-related businesses. Specifically, we have drastically reduced the goods clearing period in our ports from about six weeks to about one week and under. We have an ultimate target of 48 hours.
“We have put in place, a new visa policy that makes it easier for legitimate investors to receive long stay visas. We have achieved a 24-hour timeline for registration of new businesses, leading to the registration of close to 7, 000 companies within the second quarter of 2012.

We are fighting corruption and we are succeeding – Jonathan

President Goodluck Jonathan on Monday said that his administration is succeeding in the fight against corruption in Nigeria.
The president disclosed this in a nationwide broadcast to mark Nigeria’s 52 years of Independence.

Mr Jonathan said despite the security challenges the country is faced with, his administration have remained resolute in the fight against ‘endemic corruption’.

“Even as we remain focused on the issue of security, the fight against the scourge of corruption is a top priority of our Administration,” he said.

“We are fighting corruption in all facets of our economy, and we are succeeding. We have put an end to several decades of endemic corruption associated with fertilizer and tractor procurement and distribution. We have exposed decades of scam in the management of pensions and fuel subsidy, and ensured that the culprits are being brought to book.

“In its latest report, Transparency International (TI) noted that Nigeria is the second most improved country in the effort to curb corruption.

“We will sustain the effort in this direction with an even stronger determination to strengthen the institutions that are statutorily entrusted with the task of ending this scourge.

“I have given my commitment of non-interference in the work of the relevant agencies and I am keeping my word. What we require is the full cooperation of all tiers of government, and the public, especially civil society and the media.

“This Administration has also introduced for the first time in Nigeria’s history, a Performance Contract System for all Ministers, and other officials of government. This is to further place emphasis on performance, efficiency, and service delivery.

We’ll conquer flooding

Speaking on the flooding that has killed scores of people and displaced over a million other, Mr Jonathan said he has “received the interim Report of the Presidential team that I set up to assess the flooding situation across the country.

“The Federal Government has taken measures to assist the affected States, while considering long term measures to check future reoccurrence.”
Read the full text of President Jonathan’s Independence Day speech here.