In his inaugural speech, President Yar’Adua said : “This is a
historic day for our nation, for it marks an important milestone
in our march towards a maturing democracy.
“For the first time since we cast off the shackles of
colonialism almost a half-century ago, we have at last managed
an orderly transition from one elected government to another.
“We acknowledge that our elections had some shortcomings.
Thankfully, we have well-established legal avenues of redress,
and I urge anyone aggrieved to pursue them.
On electoral process
“I also believe that our experiences represent an opportunity to
learn from our mistakes. Accordingly, I will set up a panel to
examine the entire electoral process with a view to ensuring
that we raise the quality and standard of our general elections,
and thereby deepen our democracy.
"This occasion is historic also because it marks another kind of
transitional generational shift when the children of
independence assume the adult responsibility of running the
country at the heart of Africa.
“My fellow citizens, I am humbled and honoured that you have
elected me and Vice President Jonathan to represent that
generation in the task of building a just and humane nation,
where its people have a fair chance to attain their fullest
“Luckily we are not starting from scratch. We are fortunate to
have been led the past eight years by one of our nation’s
greatest patriots, President Obasanjo. On behalf of all our
people, I salute you, Mr. President, for your vision, your
courage and your boundless energy in creating the roadmap toward
that united and economically thriving Nigeria that we seek.
“Many of us may find it hard to believe now, but before you
assumed the presidency eight years ago, the national
conversation was about whether Nigeria deserved to remain one
country at all.
“Today we are talking about Nigeria’s potential, to become one
of the 20 largest economies in the world by the year 2020. That
is a measure of how far we have come and we thank you. "The
administration of President Obasanjo has laid the foundation
upon which we can build our future prosperity.
"Over the past eight years, Nigerians have reached a national
consensus in at least four areas : to deepen democracy and the
rule of law ; build an economy driven primarily by the private
sector, not government ; display zero tolerance for corruption
in all its forms, and, finally, restructure and staff our
government to ensure efficiency and good governance. I commit
myself to these tasks.
“Our goal now is to build on the greatest accomplishments of the
past few years. Relying on the point agenda that formed the
basis of our compact with voters during the recent campaigns, we
will concentrate on rebuilding our physical infrastructure and
human capital in order to take our country forward.
“We will focus on accelerating economic and other reforms in a
way that makes a concrete and visible difference to ordinary
“Our economy already has been set on the path of growth. Now we
must continue to do the necessary work to create more jobs,
lower interest rates, reduce inflation, and maintain a stable
exchange rate. All this will increase, our chances for rapid
growth and development.
“Central to this is rebuilding our basic infrastructure. We
already have comprehensive plans for mass transportation,
especially railroad development. We will make these plans a
“Equally important, we must devote our best efforts to
overcoming the energy challenge. Over the next four years we
will see dramatic improvements in power generation, transmission
“These plans will mean little if we do not respect the rule of
law. Our government is determined to strengthen the capacity of
law enforcement agencies, especially the police. The state must
fulfill its constitutional responsibility of protecting life and
“The crisis in the Niger Delta commands our urgent attention.
Ending it is a matter of strategic importance to our country. I
will use every resource available to me, with your help, to
address this crisis in a spirit of fairness, justice, and
“We have a good starting point because our predecessor already
launched a masterplan that can serve as a basis for a
comprehensive examination of all the issues. We will involve all
stakeholders in working out a solution. As part of this effort,
we will move quickly to ensure security of life and property,
and to make investments safe.
“In the meantime, I appeal to all aggrieved communities, groups
and individuals to immediately suspend all violent activities,
and respect the law. Let us allow the impending dialogue to take
place in a conducive atmosphere. We are all in this together,
and we will find a way to achieve peace and justice.
“As we work to resolve the challenges of the Niger Delta, so
must we also tackle poverty throughout the country.
“By fighting poverty, we fight disease. We will make advances in
public health, to control the scourge of HIV/AIDS, malaria, and
other diseases that hold back our population and limit our
“We are determined to intensify the war against corruption, more
so because corruption is itself central to the spread of
poverty. Its corrosive effect is all too visible in all aspects
of our national life. This is an area where we have made
significant progress in recent years, and we will maintain the
“We also are committed to rebuilding our human capital, if we
are to support a modern economy. We must revive education in
order to create more equality, and citizens who can function
more productively in today’s world.
“To our larger African family, you have our commitment to the
goal of African integration. We will continue to collaborate
with fellow African states to reduce conflict and free our
people from the leg chains of poverty.
“To all our friends in the international community, we pledge
our continuing fidelity to the goals of progress in Africa and
peace in the world.
“Fellow citizens, I ask you all to march with me into the age of
restoration. Let us work together to restore our time-honoured
values of honesty, decency, generosity, modesty, selflessness,
transparency, and accountability. These fundamental values
determine societies that succeed or fail. We must choose to
succeed. I will set a worthy personal example as your president.
“No matter what obstacles confront us, I have confidence and
faith in our ability to overcome them. After all, we are
Nigerians. We are a resourceful and enterprising people, and we
have it within us to make our country a better place.
“To that end, I offer myself as a servant-leader. I will be a
listener and doer, and serve with humility. “To fulfil our
ambitions, all our leaders at all levels whether local
government councillor or state governor, senator or cabinet
minister must change our style and our attitude. We must act at
all times with humility, courage, and forthrightness.
“I ask you, fellow citizens, to join me in rebuilding our
Nigerian family, one that defines the success of one by the
happiness of many. I ask you to set aside negative attitudes and
concentrate all our energies on getting to our common
destination. All hands must be on the deck.
“Let us join together to ease the pains of today while working
for the gains of tomorrow. Let us set aside cynicism, and strive
for the good society that we know is within our reach.
“Let us discard the habit of low expectations of ourselves as
well as of our leaders. Let us stop justifying every shortcoming
with that unacceptable phrase, ‘the Nigerian factor,’as if to be
a Nigerian is to settle for less.
“Let us recapture the mood of optimism that defined us at the
dawn of independence, that legendary can-do spirit that marked
“Let us join together, now, to build a society worthy of our
children. We have the talent. We have the intelligence. We have
“The challenge is great. The goal is clear. The time is now. “I
thank you, and God bless you.”
Yar’Adua’s inauguration : Presidents, Heads of state Roll Call
Menes Zenan of Ethiopia
Teodoro Obiang Nguema Mbasoga of Equatorial Guinea
Past President Olusegun Obasanjo
Thambo Mbeki of South Africa
John Kufour of Ghana
Idriss Deby of Chad Republic
Boni Yayi of Benin Republic
Abdullahi Yusuf of Somali
de’voire President, Laurent Gbagbo
Biya of Cameroon
Blaise Compaore of Burkina Faso
Gnassingbe of Togo
High Commissioner, Baroness Royal of Blaisdon, Whip of the House
assistant secretary in charge of Africa, Jendayi Frazer
president of Algeria
President of Tanzania, Mohammed Ali Sheni
President of The Gambia, Isatou Njie- Saidy
Former Nigeria Presidents and Heads of state
President, Shehu Shagari
President, Ernest Shonekan
Head of State, Gen. Yakubu Gowon
Military Head of State, General Abubakar Abdulsalam Source :