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Office environment of the Press Secretary
(Abuja, Nigeria)
For Immediate Launch August 26, 2000

Home of Associates Chamber
Nationwide Assembly Making
Abuja, Nigeria

3:fifteen P.M. (L)

THE PRESIDENT: Thank you extremely a lot. (Applause.) Mr. President of the Senate, the Speaker, Mr. Deputy President and Deputy Speaker, associates of the Assembly. It is a fantastic honor for me to be in this article with associates of my Cabinet and authorities, associates of the United States Congress, mayors of some of our larger cities, and my daughter. And we are glad to be in this article. (Applause.)

I will have to say, this is the to start with time I have been released as President in eight several years, speaking to parliamentary bodies all more than the earth, where they played a track right before I spoke. (Laughter and applause.) I preferred it a lot. (Laughter.) It acquired us all in a fantastic body of head.

Twenty-two several years back, President Jimmy Carter became the to start with President ever to go to sub-Saharan Africa when he arrived in Nigeria, stating he had arrive from a fantastic nation to go to a fantastic nation. (Applause.) Additional than two several years back, I arrived to Africa for the longest go to ever by an American President to establish a new partnership with your continent. But unfortunately, in Nigeria, an illegitimate authorities was killing its persons and squandering your sources. All most People in america understood about Nigeria then was a sign at their community airport warning them not to fly in this article.

A year afterwards, Nigeria found a transitional leader who stored his guarantees. (Applause.) Then, Nigerians elected a President and a Nationwide Assembly and entrusted to them — to you — the challenging perform of rebuilding your nation and making your democracy.

Now, after all over again, People in america and persons all all over the earth will know Nigeria for its audio and artwork, for its Nobel Prize winners and its Tremendous Falcons, for its commitment to peacekeeping and its management in Africa and all over the earth. In other phrases, after all over again, persons will know Nigeria as a fantastic nation. (Applause.)

You have started to wander the extensive highway to restore the wrongs and mistakes of the past, and to establish bridges to a improved long run. The highway is more difficult and the rewards are slower than all hoped it would be when you commenced. But what is most essential is that today you are transferring forward, not backward. And I am in this article simply because your struggle — your struggle for democracy and human legal rights, for equity and financial growth, for peace and tolerance — your struggle is America’s struggle and the world’s struggle. (Applause.)

Certainly, the whole earth has a large stake in your achievements — and not just simply because of your dimension or the prosperity of your all-natural sources, or even your capability to help elevate this overall continent to peace and prosperity but also simply because so lots of of the fantastic human dramas of our time are getting played out on the Nigerian stage.

For illustration, can a fantastic place that is property to one in six Africans realize success in making a democracy amidst so a lot variety and a past of so a lot trouble? Can a creating place, blessed with tremendous human and all-natural sources, thrive in a global overall economy and elevate all its persons? Can a nation so blessed by the verve and vigor of many traditions and lots of faiths be enriched by its variety, not enfeebled by it? I think the reply to all individuals queries can, and will have to be, sure. (Applause.)

There are nonetheless individuals all over the earth who see democracy as a luxury that persons request only when periods are fantastic. Nigerians have demonstrated us that democracy is a requirement, particularly when periods are challenging. The dictators of your past hoped the challenging periods would silence your voices, banish your leaders, damage your spirit. But even in the darkest days, Nigeria’s persons understood they will have to stand up for freedom, the freedom their founders promised.

Achebe championed it, Sunny Ade sang for it. Journalists like Akinwumi Adesukar fought for it. Lawyers like Gani Fawehinmi testified for it. (Applause.) Political leaders like Yar’Adua died for it. (Applause.) And most essential, the persons of Nigeria voted for it. (Applause.)

Now, at previous, you have your place back again. Nigerians are electing their leaders, performing to cut corruption and investigate past abuses, shedding gentle on human legal rights violations, turning a fearless press into a absolutely free press. It is a brave beginning.

But you know improved than I how a lot much more will have to be completed. Each individual nation that has struggled to establish democracy has found that achievements is dependent on leaders who think authorities exists to serve persons, not the other way all over. President Obasanjo is these a leader. And the battle to establish democracy is dependent also on you, on legislators who will be both equally a examine on and a equilibrium to government authority and be a resource –(applause.) You know, if I stated that to my Congress, they would nonetheless be clapping and standing. (Laughter.)

And this is essential, way too — allow me finish. (Laughter.) In the constitutional system, the Legislature supplies a examine and equilibrium to the Government, but it will have to also be a resource of resourceful, responsible management, for in the finish, perform will have to be completed and development will have to be created. (Applause.)

Democracy is dependent on a political culture that welcomes spirited debate without letting politics turn into a blood activity. It is dependent on solid establishments, an unbiased judiciary, a army under business civilian command. It involves the contributions of ladies and guys alike. (Applause.) I will have to say I am extremely glad to see a number of ladies in this viewers today, and also I am glad that Nigerian ladies have their very own Very important Voices software — (applause) — a software that my wife has labored extremely challenging for, both equally in Africa and all all over the earth.

Of class, in the finish, productive political transform will have to commence to increase people’s each day lives. That is the democracy dividend Nigerians have waited for.

But no one should anticipate that all the harm completed more than a technology can be undone in a year. (Applause.) Authentic transform needs perseverance and patience. It needs openness to honorable compromise and cooperation. It needs assistance on a constant foundation from the persons of Nigeria and from your close friends abroad. That does not suggest getting affected person with corruption or injustice, but to give up hope simply because transform comes slowly but surely would only be to hand a victory to individuals who do not want to transform at all. (Applause.)

Recall something we People in america have acquired in more than 224 several years of expertise with democracy: It is constantly and almost everywhere a perform in development. It took my very own place practically 90 several years and a bitter civil war to established each and every American absolutely free. It took an additional 100 several years to give each and every American the basic legal rights our Structure promised them from the beginning.

Since the time of our revolution, our ideal minds have debated how to equilibrium the tasks of our nationwide and condition authorities what the correct equilibrium is among the President and the Congress what is the roll of the courts in our nationwide daily life. And since the extremely beginning, we have labored challenging with various levels of achievements and occasional, regrettable, occasionally painful failures, to weave the various threads of our nation into a coherent, unified tapestry.

These days, The us has persons from more than two hundred racial, ethnic and spiritual teams. We have faculty districts in The us where, in one faculty district, the parents of the children discuss more than 100 diverse languages. It is an exciting problem. But it is one that I am confident is a fantastic opportunity, just as your variety — your spiritual variety and your ethnic variety — is a fantastic opportunity. In a global culture, expanding ever much more intertwined — a fantastic opportunity if we can obtain unity in our popular humanity if we can discover not only to tolerate our distinctions, but in fact to rejoice our distinctions if we can think that how we worship, how we discuss, who our parents had been, where they arrived from are terribly essential, but on this Earth, the most essential matter is our popular humanity, then there can be no halting us. (Applause.)

Now, no culture has each and every entirely solved this issue. As you battle with it you imagine of the Middle East, Northern Ireland, the Balkans, the ongoing tragedy of Kashmir. And you realize it is a formidable problem. You also know, of class, that democracy does not reply these queries. It just offers all absolutely free persons the likelihood to obtain the answers that perform for them.

I know that many years of mis-rule and deprivation have created your spiritual and ethnic divisions further. Nobody can wave a hand and make the troubles go absent. But that is no purpose to allow the notion of one united Nigeria slip absent. Just after all, immediately after all this time, if we started off trying to redraw the map of Africa, we would just be piling new grievances on outdated. Even if we could individual all the persons of Africa by ethnicity and religion, would we seriously rid this continent of strife? Think of all the points that would be broken up and all the mountains of development that have been built up that would be taken down if that had been the circumstance.

Exactly where there is way too a lot deprivation and way too small tolerance, distinctions between persons will constantly feel larger, and will constantly be like open sores waiting to be turned into arrows of hatred by individuals who will be advantaged by doing so. But I imagine it is truly worth noting for the overall earth that in opposition to the history of large cultural distinctions, a history of repression and ethnic strife, the hopeful fact in this article today is that Nigeria’s 250 diverse ethnic teams have stayed jointly in one nation. (Applause.) You have struggled for democracy jointly. You have forged nationwide establishments jointly. All your finest achievements have arrive when you have labored jointly.

It is not for me to convey to you how to take care of all the problems that I observe much more closely than you may possibly visualize I do. You happen to be a absolutely free persons, an unbiased persons, and you will have to take care of them. All I can convey to you is what I have found and knowledgeable these previous several years as President in the United States and in doing the job with other fantastic persons with similar aspirations on each and every continent of the globe. We have to obtain honorable methods to reconcile our distinctions on popular ground.

The overwhelming fact of present day daily life almost everywhere, think it or not, is not the growth of the global overall economy, not the explosion of data technologies and the World wide web, but the expanding interdependence these modifications are bringing. No matter if we like it or not, much more and much more our fates are tied jointly — within nations and outside of nationwide borders, even outside of continental borders and across fantastic oceans. No matter if we like it or not, it is occurring. You can imagine of large illustrations, like our financial interconnections. You can imagine of anecdotal illustrations, like the fact that we now have a phenomenon in the earth regarded as airport
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