President Buhari Writes For Washington Post | Read

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The article is titled “Nigeria Committed To Good Governance
And Fighting Terror” … Read below

This month, the world moved a step closer to the defeat of
Boko Haram, the jihadist group that has terrorized hundreds
of thousands in the northern states of Nigeria. In one of my
first acts since taking office as president six weeks ago, I
have replaced the heads of Nigeria’s army, navy and air
force. Our new military leadership has not been chosen
because of their familiarity with those in government, as was
too often the case in the past, but on their track records and
qualifications alone.

These new military leaders will be based in Borno State in
northern Nigeria, where the headquarters of the armed
services has been relocated. This shift of resources and
command directly to the front line, in addition to the
replacement of the head of the State Security Service,
Nigeria’s intelligence organization, and a new emphasis on
working in partnership with our neighbors, has equipped us
to take the fight directly to Boko Haram.

Already we are beginning to see a degrading of Boko
Haram’s capabilities as a fighting force. In recent weeks, it
appears to have shifted away from confronting the military
directly to an increase in attacks on civilian areas, as we saw
only last week when an elderly woman and 10-year-old girl
blew themselves up at a Muslim prayer gathering in
northeastern Nigeria. We should not be confused by this
change, hateful as it is: It does not mean that Boko Haram is
succeeding in its aims — it shows that it is losing.
While we work to defeat the terrorists, I ask the people of
Nigeria and the world for resolve and fortitude. The
campaign we will wage will not be easy; it may not be swift.

We should expect stages of success and also moments when
it may appear that our advances have been checked. But no
one should have any doubt as to the strength of our
collective will or my commitment to rid this nation of terror
and bring back peace and normalcy to all affected areas.
Similarly, my determination should not be underestimated
in other matters. This includes instilling good governance
and tackling the scourge of corruption that has held Nigeria
back for too long.

As I meet with President Obama today — the first time a
president of the United States will encounter a Nigerian
counterpart following the peaceful transfer of power in a
contested election in our history — I will be discussing my
plans for critical reforms. So, too, will I discuss why the
formation of my administration is taking time and, crucially,
why it must. Already there are voices saying these changes
are taking too long — even though only six weeks have
passed since my inauguration. I hear such calls, but this task
cannot and should not be rushed.

When cabinet ministers are appointed in September, it will
be some months after I took the oath of office. It is worth
noting that Obama himself did not have his full Cabinet in
place for several months after first taking office; the United
States did not cease to function in the interim. In Nigeria’s
case, it would neither be prudent nor serve the interests of
sound government to have made these appointments
immediately on my elevation to the presidency; instead,
Nigeria must first put new rules of conduct and good
governance in place.

I cannot stress how important it is to ensure that this
process is carried out correctly, just as it has been crucial to
first install the correct leadership of the military and security
services before we fully take the fight to Boko Haram.

There are too few examples in the history of Nigeria since
independence where it can be said that good management
and governance were instituted at a national level. This lack
of a governance framework has allowed many of those in
charge, devoid of any real checks and balances, to plunder.

The fact that I now seek Obama’s assistance in locating and
returning $150 billion in funds stolen in the past decade and
held in foreign bank accounts on behalf of former, corrupt
officials is testament to how badly Nigeria has been run. This
way of conducting our affairs cannot continue.

Indeed, the failure of governance, it can be argued, has
been as much a factor in Nigeria’s inability thus far to defeat
Boko Haram as have been issues with the military campaign
itself.

So the path we must take is simple, even if it is not easy:
First, instill rules and good governance; second, install
officials who are experienced and capable of managing state
agencies and ministries; and third, seek to recover funds
stolen under previous regimes so that this money can be
invested in Nigeria for the benefit of all of our citizens.

We seek the support and partnership of the United States in
these tasks. The importance of the fight against terrorism
and corruption in Nigeria, Africa’s most powerful economy
and largest populace, cannot be underestimated. Our allies
can provide much-needed military training and intelligence
as our soldiers take the war effort to Boko Haram. Similarly,
we look to U.S. businesses as well as the Obama
administration to help develop governance initiatives that
can ensure that Nigeria’s wealth benefits all its people, not
just a few. By taking these steps, we will be positioned to
benefit from increased investment — particularly in energy
and electricity — from the United States.
I was elected on a platform of change. I know this is what
the people of Nigeria desire more than anything else. I know
they are impatient for action. I realize the world waits to see
evidence that my administration will be different from all
those that came before. Yet reforming my country after so
many years of abuse cannot be achieved overnight. In our
campaigns against both Boko Haram and corruption, we
should remain steadfast and remember, as it is said: “Have
patience. All things become difficult before they become
easy.”

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