Nigerian president Jonathan calls for national unity in inaugural speech

08:33, May 30, 2011      

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Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan called for a national unity in his inaugural speech delivered in Abuja on Sunday.

President Jonathan also solicited for the support of all citizens at home and in the diaspora in his agenda of transforming Nigeria in the next four years.

The president said the task of nation building could only be made possible by collective efforts of every Nigerian.

"Our unity is firm, our purpose is strong and our determination is unshaking," he added.

The president said the Nigerians have given him a rare opportunity to rule the nation, noting that he could not afford to fail them.

The president said his election is a new dawn, a new beginning of bright hopes and positive change.

He maintained that with commitment, determination and hardwork, the country would take its rightful place as the giant of Africa.

The president thanked the Nigerians for voting for him in the general elections that had been termed as free, fair and credible.

The Nigerian leader also eulogized late former president Umaru Yar 'Adua for his selfless service to the country, noting that Nigerians would forever remember him with pride.

Jonathan, 54, took the oath of office before Chief Justice Aloysius Iyorgyer Katsina-Alu, pledging to uphold Nigeria's unity and pursue its best interests.

Nnamadi Sambo Jonathan was sworn in as the vice president.

Jonathan took over the presidency after his predecessor Umaru Yar A'dua died last year. Jonathan is a southerner from the oil- rich Niger Delta.

The inauguration ceremony, kicked off at about 11 a.m. local time, saw five Brigade of Guards comprising two from the Nigerian Army and one each from the Navy, Police and the Air force on parade.

There were calisthenics displays from Nigerian children.

After the performances, Jonathan and Nnamadi Sambo were sworn in at 12:45 p.m. local time on the Eagle Square in Abuja. The ceremony was attended by about 50 foreign delegations with more than 12 African heads of state and government. Chinese Railway Minister Sheng Guangzu attended the inaugural ceremony as the special envoy of President Hu Jintao.

Also in attendance were former Nigerian heads of state. However, former head of state and retired Gen. Ibrahim Babangida was not at the ceremony, as well as former vice president Atiku Abubakar.

Similarly, former military head of state and presidential candidate of the Congress for Progressive Change in the April elections Gen. Muhammadu Buhari did not attend the inauguration ceremony of Jonathan.

Buhari said his presence at the ceremony would amount to conferring legitimacy on an illegitimate enterprise.

Buhari was among the presidential candidates defeated by Jonathan in the April 16 presidential poll.

Jonathan, the Peoples Democratic Party standard-bearer, polled over 22.5 million votes, while Buhari came a distant second, securing 12.2 million votes.

Others who lost out in the race are the Action Congress of Nigeria standard-bearer Nuhu Ribadu, and his All Nigeria Peoples Party counterpart Ibrahim Shekarau. Jonathan's victory at the poll had resulted in widespread violence in some states in the north, as aggrieved party faithful protested the outcome of the exercise conducted by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).

At least 10 National Youth Service Corps members who acted as presiding officers for INEC during the poll were killed in the orgy of violence.

Houses and places of worship were also burnt in Kano, Katsina, Kaduna, Bauchi, and Gombe states, while the homes of particularly traditional rulers and community leaders allegedly sympathetic to the PDP were looted and razed by angry youths.

Buhari and his party, the CPC, rejected some of the presidential results, alleging that they were fabricated to favor the PDP, even when local and international observers affirmed that the election was credible.

The CPC standard-bearer had specifically alleged that there were nocturnal movements of aircraft moving thumb-printed ballot papers around the country during the presidential poll.

Source: Xinhua
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