In his inauguration address, President Joe Biden called on Americans to be ‘different and better’ – read his full speech below
Chief Justice Roberts, Vice-President Harris, Speaker Pelosi, Leader Schumer, Leader McConnell, Vice-President Pence. My distinguished guests, my fellow Americans.
This is America’s day. This is democracy’s day. A day of history and hope, of renewal and resolve. Through a crucible for the ages, America has been tested a new and America has risen to the challenge. Today we celebrate the triumph not of a candidate but of a cause, a cause of democracy. The people – the will of the people – has been heard, and the will of the people has been heeded.
We’ve learned again that democracy is precious, democracy is fragile and, at this hour my friends, democracy has prevailed. So now on this hallowed ground where just a few days ago violence sought to shake the Capitol’s very foundations, we come together as one nation under God – indivisible – to carry out the peaceful transfer of power as we have for more than two centuries.
As we look ahead in our uniquely American way, restless, bold, optimistic, and set our sights on a nation we know we can be and must be, I thank my predecessors of both parties. I thank them from the bottom of my heart. And I know the resilience of our Constitution and the strength, the strength of our nation, as does President Carter, who I spoke with last night who cannot be with us today, but who we salute for his lifetime of service.
I’ve just taken a sacred oath each of those patriots have taken. The oath first sworn by George Washington. But the American story depends not on any one of us, not on some of us, but on all of us. On we the people who seek a more perfect union. This is a great nation, we are good people. And over the centuries through storm and strife in peace and in war we’ve come so far. But we still have far to go.
We’ll press forward with speed and urgency for we have much to do in this winter of peril and significant possibility. Much to do, much to heal, much to restore, much to build and much to gain. Few people in our nation’s history have been more challenged or found a time more challenging or difficult than the time we’re in now. A once in a century virus that silently stalks the country has taken as many lives in one year as in all of World War Two.
Millions of jobs have been lost. Hundreds of thousands of businesses closed. A cry for racial justice, some 400 years in the making, moves us. The dream of justice for all will be deferred no longer. A cry for survival comes from the planet itself, a cry that can’t be any more desperate or any more clear now. The rise of political extremism, white supremacy, domestic terrorism, that we must confront and we will defeat.
To overcome these challenges, to restore the soul and secure the future of America, requires so much more than words. It requires the most elusive of all things in a democracy – unity. Unity. In another January on New Year’s Day in 1863 Abraham Lincoln signed the Emancipation Proclamation. When he put pen to paper the president said, and I quote, ‘if my name ever goes down in history, it’ll be for this act, and my whole soul is in it’.
My whole soul is in it today, on this January day. My whole soul is in this. Bringing America together, uniting our people, uniting our nation. And I ask every American to join me in this cause. Uniting to fight the foes we face – anger, resentment and hatred. Extremism, lawlessness, violence, disease, joblessness, and hopelessness.
With unity we can do great things, important things. We can right wrongs, we can put people to work in good jobs, we can teach our children in safe schools. We can overcome the deadly virus, we can rebuild work, we can rebuild the middle class and make work secure, we can secure racial justice and we can make America once again the leading force for good in the world.
I know speaking of unity can sound to some like a foolish fantasy these days. I know the forces that divide us are deep and they are real. But I also know they are not new. Our history has been a constant struggle between the American ideal, that we are all created equal, and the harsh ugly reality that racism, nativism and fear have torn us apart. The battle is perennial and victory is never secure.
Through civil war, the Great Depression, World War, 9/11, through struggle, sacrifice, and setback, our better angels have always prevailed. In each of our moments enough of us have come together to carry all of us forward and we can do that now. History, faith and reason show the way. The way of unity.
We can see each other not as adversaries but as neighbours. We can treat each other with dignity and respect. We can join forces, stop the shouting and lower the temperature. For without unity there is no peace, only bitterness and fury, no progress, only exhausting outrage. No nation, only a state of chaos. This is our historic moment of crisis and challenge. And unity is the path forward. And we must meet this moment as the United States of America.
If we do that, I guarantee we will not failed. We have never, ever, ever, ever failed in America when we’ve acted together. And so today at this time in this place, let’s start afresh, all of us. Let’s begin to listen to one another again, hear one another, see one another. Show respect to one another. Politics doesn’t have to be a raging fire destroying everything in its path. Every disagreement doesn’t have to be a cause for total war and we must reject the culture in which facts themselves are manipulated and even manufactured.
My fellow Americans, we have to be different than this. We have to be better than this and I believe America is so much better than this. Just look around. Here we stand in the shadow of the Capitol dome. As mentioned earlier, completed in the shadow of the Civil War. When the union itself was literally hanging in the balance. We endure, we prevail. Here we stand, looking out on the great Mall, where Dr King spoke of his dream.
Here we stand, where 108 years ago at another inaugural, thousands of protesters tried to block brave women marching for the right to vote. And today we mark the swearing in of the first woman elected to national office, Vice President Kamala Harris. Don’t tell me things can change. Here we stand where heroes who gave the last full measure of devotion rest in eternal peace.
And here we stand just days after a riotous mob thought they could use violence to silence the will of the people, to stop the work of our democracy, to drive us from this sacred ground. It did not happen, it will never happen, not today, not tomorrow, not ever. Not ever. To all those who supported our campaign, I’m humbled by the faith you placed in us. To all those who did not support us, let me say this. Hear us out as we move forward. Take a measure of me and my heart.
If you still disagree, so be it. That’s democracy. That’s America. The right to dissent peacefully. And the guardrail of our democracy is perhaps our nation’s greatest strength. If you hear me clearly, disagreement must not lead to disunion. And I pledge this to you. I will be a President for all Americans, all Americans. And I promise you I will fight for those who did not support me as for those who did.
Many centuries ago, St Augustine – the saint of my church – wrote that a people was a multitude defined by the common objects of their love. Defined by the common objects of their love. What are the common objects we as Americans love, that define us as Americans? I think we know. Opportunity, security, liberty, dignity, respect, honour, and yes, the truth.
Recent weeks and months have taught us a painful lesson. There is truth and there are lies. Lies told for power and for profit. And each of us has a duty and a responsibility as citizens as Americans and especially as leaders. Leaders who are pledged to honour our Constitution to protect our nation. To defend the truth and defeat the lies.
Look, I understand that many of my fellow Americans view the future with fear and trepidation. I understand they worry about their jobs. I understand like their dad they lay in bed at night staring at the ceiling thinking: ‘Can I keep my healthcare? Can I pay my mortgage?’ Thinking about their families, about what comes next. I promise you, I get it. But the answer’s not to turn inward. To retreat into competing factions. Distrusting those who don’t look like you, or worship the way you do, who don’t get their news from the same source as you do.
We must end this uncivil war that pits red against blue, rural versus urban, conservative versus liberal. We can do this if we open our souls instead of hardening our hearts, if we show a little tolerance and humility, and if we’re willing to stand in the other person’s shoes, as my mom would say. Just for a moment, stand in their shoes.
Because here’s the thing about life. There’s no accounting for what fate will deal you. Some days you need a hand. There are other days when we’re called to lend a hand. That’s how it has to be, that’s what we do for one another. And if we are that way our country will be stronger, more prosperous, more ready for the future. And we can still disagree.
My fellow Americans, in the work ahead of us we’re going to need each other. We need all our strength to persevere through this dark winter. We’re entering what may be the darkest and deadliest period of the virus. We must set aside politics and finally face this pandemic as one nation, one nation. And I promise this, as the Bible says, ‘Weeping may endure for a night, joy cometh in the morning’. We will get through this together. Together.
Look folks, all my colleagues I serve with in the House and the Senate up here, we all understand the world is watching. Watching all of us today. So here’s my message to those beyond our borders. America has been tested and we’ve come out stronger for it. We will repair our alliances, and engage with the world once again. Not to meet yesterday’s challenges but today’s and tomorrow’s challenges. And we’ll lead not merely by the example of our power but the power of our example.
Fellow Americans, moms, dads, sons, daughters, friends, neighbours and co-workers. We will honour them by becoming the people and the nation we can and should be. So I ask you let’s say a silent prayer for those who lost their lives, those left behind and for our country. Amen.
Folks, it’s a time of testing. We face an attack on our democracy, and on truth, a raging virus, a stinging inequity, systemic racism, a climate in crisis, America’s role in the world. Any one of these would be enough to challenge us in profound ways. But the fact is we face them all at once, presenting this nation with one of the greatest responsibilities we’ve had. Now we’re going to be tested. Are we going to step up?
It’s time for boldness for there is so much to do. And this is certain, I promise you. We will be judged, you and I, by how we resolve these cascading crises of our era. We will rise to the occasion. Will we master this rare and difficult hour? Will we meet our obligations and pass along a new and better world to our children? I believe we must and I’m sure you do as well. I believe we will, and when we do, we’ll write the next great chapter in the history of the United States of America. The American story.
A story that might sound like a song that means a lot to me, it’s called American Anthem. And there’s one verse that stands out at least for me and it goes like this:
‘The work and prayers of centuries have brought us to this day, which shall be our legacy, what will our children say?
Let me know in my heart when my days are through, America, America, I gave my best to you.’
Let us add our own work and prayers to the unfolding story of our great nation. If we do this, then when our days are through, our children and our children’s children will say of us: ‘They gave their best, they did their duty, they healed a broken land.’
My fellow Americans I close the day where I began, with a sacred oath. Before God and all of you, I give you my word. I will always level with you. I will defend the Constitution, I’ll defend our democracy.
I’ll defend America and I will give all – all of you – keep everything I do in your service. Thinking not of power but of possibilities. Not of personal interest but of public good.
And together we will write an American story of hope, not fear. Of unity not division, of light not darkness. A story of decency and dignity, love and healing, greatness and goodness. May this be the story that guides us. The story that inspires us. And the story that tells ages yet to come that we answered the call of history, we met the moment. Democracy and hope, truth and justice, did not die on our watch but thrive.
That America secured liberty at home and stood once again as a beacon to the world. That is what we owe our forbearers, one another, and generations to follow.
So with purpose and resolve, we turn to those tasks of our time. Sustained by faith, driven by conviction and devoted to one another and the country we love with all our hearts. May God bless America and God protect our troops.
Thank you, America.
PDP Celebrates Obasanjo At 84
The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has celebrated former President Olusegun Obasanjo on his 84th birthday.
The party in a statement signed by its National Publicity Secretary, Mr Kola Ologbondiyan, in Abuja on Friday described Obasanjo as a patriotic leader and a global figure.
He also described the former president as exceptionally energetic administrator, who made immeasurable contributions, both as a military leader and democratically elected president for the survival, unity, stability and development of Nigeria.
“As a military leader, Obasanjo fought for the unity of our dear nation during its turbulent hours as well as making immense personal sacrifices for the return of democratic rule with the Second Republic in 1979.
“Twenty years after, as a democratically elected President, on the platform of our great party, the PDP, Obasanjo further united our nation with entrenchment of democratic values of all-inclusiveness,” he said.
Ologbondiyan said that Nigerians celebrated Obasanjo for running a visionary administration, leading to the revamping the country’s productive sectors.
“Under the Obasanjo-led PDP administration, our nation witnessed most of its best days as Nigerians particularly in the private sector, thrived in all fields.
“These included telecommunication, aviation, banking and finance, education, manufacturing, sports, entertainment, real estate, healthcare both at home and in the international arena.
“Our party extols Obasanjo’s undying sense of patriotism and love for our dear nation for which he has remained fearlessly active in his counsels, directions and admonitions,” he said.
He prayed God to grant him many more years in good health for the benefit of Nigeria and humanity at large.
Insecurity: Inter-Faith Group Appeals To CAN, Others To See President Buhari As Leader For All
The National Inter-Faith Religious Organizations for Peace (NIFROP) has urged the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) and other religious bodies in the country to embrace President Muhammadu Buhari as a leader for all.
According to the foremost interfaith-faith group, the president has never demonstrated bias against Christians, Muslims or any other religious sect in the country.
This unshakable faith in the unity of Nigeria, the group reckoned, was visible at the last polls in 2019, in which Nigerians across religious and ethnic lines massively voted for the president.
NIFROP’s remarks trails CAN’s insinuation that President Buhari’s prolonged silence on Sheikh Ahmad Gumi’s alleged profiling of military operatives is tantamount to endorsement of the Islamic cleric.
However, speaking at a press conference on Friday, in Abuja, through its grand patron, Bishop Julius Idiwe, NIFROP warned the Christian body not to drag the president into bigotry or partisanship.
Bishop Idiwe noted that CAN’s unwarranted outburst and vituperation on the presidency, with intent to incite the public, negates the core norms and values of all religions.
The inter-faith group insisted that President Buhari has always taken an impartial stand on national issues and doesn’t jump into every statement in the public domain.
Idiwe recalled how Rev Fr. Ejike Mbaka and other Christian preachers in the past launched scathing attacks on the president without any reprimand whatsoever.
While Gumi has insistently canvassed for compensation and amnesty for the bandits, the respected Christian cleric said President Buhari has rejected his proposal.
He, therefore, advised CAN to promote peaceful co-existence, unity, togetherness and the indivisibility of Nigeria.
Read the full statement below:
The leadership of the NationalInter-Faith Religious Organizations for Peace ( NIFROP) is compelled to address a component of us, the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) over comments attributed to an Islamic cleric, Shiek Ahmad Gumi on his alleged negative profiling of non-Muslim soldiers fighting insecurities in the frontlines, in President Muhammadu Buhari was unfairly dragged into a religious campaign. We find the contents of CAN’s statement untrue and a misrepresentation of reality concerning the Buhari Presidency.
NIFROP has found the public utterances and outbursts of CAN, a major Christian body in Nigeria against the Government, office and person of President Buhari extremely misdirected and misleading. And we believe, it is because of a lack of basic knowledge of the operations or mindset of this Presidency.
NIFROP is unexcited the more by the consistent focus by CAN, as exemplified even in the current public statement to align the personality or the Buhari Presidency to the country’s regressive national faultlines of ethnicity, religion and regionalism, even when there is enough evidence against such sermonized inclinations on the President. We again wish to bring to the notice of CAN’s leadership that President Buhari has consistently over the years, clearly resisted a romance with such biases.
It is the conviction of NIFROP that the sacred obligation of religious leaders in the country is to seek peace as also amplified by the Holy Scriptures. It is completely unreasonable to stoke troubles in the land in the magnitude that would cause the widespread crisis. It is our divine duty as clerics to promote peaceful co-existence, unity, togetherness and the indivisibility of Nigerians and Nigeria.
Therefore, CAN’s unwarranted outburst and vituperations on the Presidency, intent on public incitement of the people negates these core norms and values of all religions, as we collectively seek for a unified nation. It is a task President Buhari has glaringly and religiously committed his heart to it as leader of this nation.
President Buhari has never demonstrated through words o actions any discrimination against neither Christian nor Muslims or preference for a particular religious sect in this country. He has not shown any favouritism to any section of this country against another based on religion or ethnicity. Both Christian and Muslim clerics have variously and directly attacked his Presidency, several times in the past; but he has never contemplated or condescended to a clampdown on them using state power for their expressed opinions.
It may interest CAN and their leaders to recall the several damaging prophecies of the SpiritualDirectorr of the Adoration Ministry, Enugu, Rev. Fr. Ejike Mbak against the Government and person of President Buhari, including his 2018 New Year eve prophesy, predicting President Buhari’s defeat in the 2019 presidential elections.
CAN should also remember Fr. Mbaka’s prophecy on December 31, 2020, Crossover Night tagged, ‘Cornucopia of New Miracles from God,” in which he accused President Buhari of politicising the conditions of Nigerian youths. And at another instance, Fr. Mbaka declared that “God is angry with Buhari”, a statement, he later denied after it went viral on social media. But the Presidency never harassed him.
In CAN’s latest statement, it also referenced the most recent open epistle to Nigerians by the Catholic Bishop of Sokoto Diocese, Rev. Fr. Dr Matthew Hassan Kukah in which he severely threw darts at President Buhari and his Government in an obviously inciting and demeaning manner. It angered some Muslim youths who reacted to it by issuing a quit notice to Fr. Kukah to vacate the North or face the consequences.
But CAN deliberately or hypocritically fail to remember or mention that the Presidency instantly condemned and countered the threats of the Muslim youths on Kukah through a public statement. It also took actions to secure his life from any possible physical assault on him. President Buhari warned the enraged and incensed Muslim youths never to contemplate an attack on the Catholic Priest or dare take laws into their hands or else, the consequences would be severe on the perpetrators.
President Buhari has repeatedly hollered publicly and even in his private conversations with eminent Nigerians his unshakeable faith in the oneness of Nigeria. He believes in the doctrine of equity, fairness and justice. That’s why even in 2019, both Christian and Muslim dominated states in Nigeria competitively and massively voted for his reelection. It is a testimony to his demonstrated credentials as the father of the nation and all Nigerians irrespective of religious or ethnic affinities.
And the neutral character of President Buhari has reflected even in the distribution of his appointments and capital projects throughout Nigeria. Every section of the country has an imprint of his administration. CAN’s statement is, therefore, unfortunate and condemnable, to say the least.
Therefore, it is instructive to advise CAN and other religious bigots to necessarily separate the Buhari Presidency from false and imposed religious or ethnic biases.
To consciously and provocatively
align Mr. president with religion or ethnicity over fighting insecurities in the country, profusely as exhibited by CAN is antithetical to all alternatives of panaceas to the crisis of insecurity in the country. CAN and their co-travellers must learn to embrace the President and his views as leader of Nigeria and not as a Fulani, Hausa or a Muslim.
Therefore, it defeats every sane logic and wisdom on CAN’s expectations of the leader of a complex nation like Nigeria to start chasing every statement in public space. For CAN to misconstrue the Presidency’s silence over Shiek Gumi’s utterances as an endorsement of it and a lack of commitment to fighting armed banditry or terrorism in the county is a farce that only exists in the warped imaginations of these CAN leaders.
And there are several examples to buttress this assertion. Whilst Shiek Gumi has insistently canvassed fo compensation and amnesty for the bandits, President Buhari has rejected his proposal. Mr President is clear and loud that there will be no amnesty for bandits or criminals, as his administration is poised to deal with them appropriately.
Mr. President’s recent directive to security operatives to shoot anybody bearing AK-47 and other sophisticated weapons anywhere in the country is one of the series of fresh actions to contain insecurities in the country. Therefore, CAN have no sound basis to castigate or malign Mr President on his result-oriented battles with insecurities in the last five years.
Group Faults RevolutionNow Protesters Over Calls For Buhari’s Resignation
A pan socio-cultural group, Nigeria First, has condemned the purported rally by Omoyele Sowore-led RevolutionNow movement demanding for President Muhammadu Buhari’s resignation.
According to the group, Sowore, having failed legitimately to become president, aims to make the country ungovernable for the current administration, not minding the consequences.
The Nigeria First movement made these known at a press conference on Friday in Abuja.
In his address titled ‘Omoyele Sowore: A call for caution in Nigeria’, the group’s Deputy President, Ndubisi Nwogu, noted that the self-acclaimed activist is not acting in insolation.
Mr Nwogu revealed that the Sahara Reporters founder has the backing of both local and international saboteurs who are pained with the level of sustainable growth and development experienced in Nigeria under President Buhari.
He added that the call for President Buhari’s resignation is part of the overall plot and in the weeks and months ahead, more and more attempts to destabilize the country would surface.
The group, therefore, warned Sowore to desist from this ignoble quest which by all intents and purposes would serve the interest of his paymasters.
It further cautioned that the former presidential hopeful would be held responsible should there be a breakdown of law and order in the country.
Nwogu, however, urged all well-meaning Nigerians to rise in defence of the country in this “critical period of our existence by calling to question the motives of Sowore and his goons in their antics towards misleading the unsuspecting members of the general public”.
Read the full statement below:
You are all warmly welcomed to this event intended to put issues in proper perspective in the interest of the generality of Nigerians. The leadership of Nigeria First believes that recent events in the country indeed calls for caution from all relevant stakeholders at the risk of the country erupting in flames at the behest of some unscrupulous elements that are bent on destabilizing the country for reasons best known to them.
It is indeed despicable that some individuals and organizations would elect to throw caution in the wind by actively promoting causes that would divide the country in a most reckless manner and at the chagrin of our peace and unity as a country.
Nigeria First as a pan-sociocultural group is reiterating that recent events in the country are assuming a dangerous dimension, especially with the call for the resignation of President Muhammadu Buhari by no group other than the Omoyele Sowore led RevolutionNow Movement.
It is indeed obvious that Omoyele Sowore is the brain behind the despicable rally, which is a resurgence of his infamous call for a nationwide revolution in the country that was hugely a flop some months back.
Sadly, the likes of Omoyele Sowore have elected to sell their souls to the devil in return for a plate of porridge. This goes a long way to state the obvious truth that Omoyele Sowore is a cantankerous individual that ekes a living from blackmail and inciting violence, yet, parading himself as an activist and advocate for sustainable growth and development in Nigeria.
Nigeria First as a concerned stakeholder in Nigeria wishes to emphasize that it is now public knowledge that the overarching objective is to destabilize Nigeria and this anomaly is fast gaining traction in a dangerous dimension.
It is also instructive to state that Omoyele Sowore is not acting in insolation in the sense that the sponsorship of his nefarious activities is a combination of both local and international saboteurs that are angry with the level of sustainable growth and development experienced in Nigeria since President Muhammadu Buhari assumed leadership of the country.
Having this as a fact, it then speaks volumes that those that held the country by the jugular for several years have refused to come to terms with the present reality that it is no longer business as usual.
Nigeria First states that the sin of President Muhammadu Buhari remains the fact that he has put the interest of the country at heart and against the interest of a select few that have fed fat from the rot in the system, and responsible for the level of decadence in the polity.
It remains the considered opinion of Nigeria First that the plot to destabilize Nigeria is high on the list of the task before Omoyele Sowore and his goons that have been highly mobilized to incite a revolution in the country so they can truncate our nascent democracy.
Thus, the rally by RevolutionNow is indicative of this grand plot that has been well-planned as well as funded towards achieving their despicable objective aimed at causing unrest in the country.
Nigeria First wishes to use this medium to bring to the attention of Nigerians that indeed Omoyele Sowore is acting the script of some vested interest within political and ethnoreligious circles in Nigeria. And it has indeed assumed a dangerous dimension that indeed calls for concern from all well-meaning Nigerians that are desirous of sustainable growth and development in the country.
Nigeria First is using this medium to warn Omoyele Sowore to desist from his ignoble desire in destabilizing Nigeria which by all intents and purposes would serve the interest of his paymasters in the country and outside the shores of the country.
Nigerians must also come to the realization that the revolution now rally calling for the resignation of President Muhammadu Buhari is a part of the overall plot and in the weeks and months ahead, more and more attempts to destabilize the country would be experienced in the public space in Nigeria.
We are urging well-meaning Nigerians to rise in defence of Nigeria in this critical period of our existence by calling to question the motives of Omoyele Sowore and his goons in their antics towards misleading the unsuspecting members of the general public.
Nigerians must know that Omoyele Sowore by all indications is neck-deep in ensuring that Nigeria is destabilized through his RevolutionNow group. And their recent outing is just one out of the avalanche of planned events they have up their sleeves.
Nigeria First wishes to state in unequivocal terms that Nigerians should hold Omoyele Sowore responsible should there be a breakdown of law and order in the country in the coming weeks and months.
Having stated the above, Nigeria First as an organization would continue to engage other critical stakeholders in Nigeria towards nipping in the bud the plans of Omoyele Sowore and his paymasters towards destabilizing Nigeria.
Thank you all for your time and attention and God bless us all.
Long Live the Federal Republic of Nigeria
Long Live President Muhammadu Buhari.
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