President Muhammadu Buhari yesterday told Nigerians that he was feeling their pains saying that mutterings about the new administration being a scam was far fetched, saying that the one-chance scammers have been driven out of town.
The president spoke at the Vanguard Personality Award ceremony in Lagos where he was jointly honoured with his predecessor, Dr. Goodluck Jonathan as Personality of the Year Award, 2015.
Buhari’s call for increased confidence in his administration came as Jonathan praised all Nigerians for contributing to the successes of the elections that characterised his time in office.
Yesterday’s award ceremony which also witnessed awards of Governor of the Year to Governors Adams Oshiomhole of Edo, Kashim Shettima of Borno, Ibikunle Amosun, Ogun and Ibrahim Damkwambo, Gombe saw a melting of the political and cultural differences that shape the country. Various cultural displays intermingled within and outside the Ekpo Hall of Eko Hotel and Suites that was the venue of the award ceremony.
Also honoured yesterday with life time achievement awards were former Vice-President Alex Ekwueme, Mrs. Nike Akande, chairman of the Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry, LCCI, Otunba Sobunmi Balogun and Senator David Dafinone.
Also honoured yesterday was Mr. Jim Ovia, the chairman of Zenith Bank plc as businessman of the year while Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu was honoured with the Hero of Democracy award.
Leading lights in politics and the professions were present at the ceremony yesterday among whom were Governor Ifeanyi Okowa of Delta State.
Yesterday’s award ceremony elicited measured response from the audience when the governor of Ogun State, Senator Ibikunle embraced his predecessor, Aremo Segun Osoba twice. He first embraced him just before the commencement of the ceremony and after he picked up his award.
Yesterday’s award ceremony was flagged off at 7.30 p.m with opening remarks presented by the General Manager/Editor in Chief of Vanguard Media Limited, Mr. Gbenga Adefaye who referenced the award as the epitome of recognition to men and women of excellence in the professions.
Following him the chairman of the ceremony, Oba Otudeko described the award ceremony as one of the most auspicious events of the year.
He praised the exemplary efforts of the awardees in their various endeavours.
In his speech, President Buhari who was represented by the minister of information, Alhaji Lai Mohammed said:
“Distinguished ladies and gentlemen, let me use this opportunity to tell our compatriots that this Administration is keenly aware of the difficulties they are facing at this time, resulting mostly from the fuel scarcity, poor power supply, inflation etc.
“As a government that was propelled into office by the power of the people, we cannot but feel the pains of our compatriots, and we deeply empathise with them. We are working round the clock to ease the pains of Nigerians, and the efforts of the government have started yielding fruits as we seek to make the petroleum products available nationwide, restore gas supply to the power generating firms, reflate the economy and put Nigerians back to work.
“We understand that Nigerians have started questioning whether this indeed is the CHANGE they voted for, while some have even gone as far as saying that by voting for our party, Nigerians have entered one chance.
“Well, I can tell Nigerians that our CHANGE AGENDA is real, and that indeed, they will get the change they voted for. Nigerians have not entered One Chance, because the One Chance drivers and their conductors have been driven out of town.
“While we cannot but provide context for the challenges being faced by our countrymen and women today, in the sense that it has taken years of mismanagement, corruption and inefficiency to get to this sorry pass, we make no excuses. After all the people voted for us so we can correct the mistakes of the past and enthrone good governance.
We are doing just that. But we want our compatriots to realize that 16 years of rot cannot be cleaned up overnight. It is much easier to destroy than to build. But we are determined to rebuild our country and to make life more abundant for our people.
“Change is a process, and that process has begun. We commend Nigerians for their perseverance. We urge them not to lose their confidence in the ability of this Administration to bring about the much-needed change.
The pains of today are temporary, and will soon give way to abundance joy as we put our country firmly on the path of sustainable growth and development.”
The president also lauded what he described as the salutary role of the media in the development of the country’s democracy.