Happy Holidays from the U.S. Mission Nigeria

Hello. I’m Stuart Symington. I’m the
United States Ambassador to Nigeria. On behalf of all the Americans that I
work with here not just in Abuja but also in Lagos and
on behalf of all the Nigerians that we work with, I want to wish you and your
families the happiest of holidays, the best of the ends of 2018 and the best of
2019. You know over the course of the last year I’ve been privileged to travel
from one end of this country to the other. And everywhere I go I’ve been
struck by one thing which is even though a lot of people think that Nigeria’s
greatest resources oil, what Nigerians think and I agree, is Nigeria’s greatest
resource is all of you. Over the course of the year, some remarkable things have
happened. In one place, a courageous Imam saved hundreds of his neighbors and
friends from possible harm and even death by sheltering them in his own
house and in his own mosque. All across the country, men and women of all faiths
came together and worked together to accomplish remarkable things like a team
of girls from Edo State who managed to beat competitors from all around the
world in the United States. What we’ve done this year too has been remarkable,
and we couldn’t do a single thing without Nigerians taking the lead. I’ve
often said to friends and family and colleagues nothing good that truly lasts
in Nigeria will be done by those from outside it’ll only be done by you. But
we’ve worked to end the scourge of HIV/AIDS; to find vaccines; to educate
people who otherwise wouldn’t have a chance for education. We’ve worked with
law enforcement and justice people to bring awful people to account for their
acts. Both those dealing in drugs and those committing other kinds of crimes.
And throughout it all, we have invested in individuals who have created opportunity
not just for themselves but for others. We have businesses here who invest
hundreds of billions of Naira in new enterprises and increasing the size of
old in order to put more and more Nigerians to work in the future in true
partnerships with all of us. Now I know that you all as you look forward to
or facing another round of elections what you do in those elections will be
crucial not just for you but for all of us. And I ask you to think as you get
ready of three things first charge your potential leaders with this notion. Say,
not just what do you say that you’ll do for the country, what have you already
done. Second, it’s incredibly important that you recognize that in a democracy,
it’s you who get to make the decision. On Election Day, and every day the citizens
of Nigeria are the ones that lead this country. So take good care of your voter
card. Make sure that no one convinces you to either give it to them or sell it to
them. And on Election Day, I hope you’ll vote and I hope you’ll vote for people
not just to say the right thing but people who you’re convinced based on
their records will do the right thing for you and for others. Finally if you
have any trouble on Election Day, please report it. Nigeria’s democracy, like those of every other place in the world can get
better every day thanks to you. So finally as you think
about the next few days that end 2018 and you think about all the days and
opportunities ahead, from all of us at the United States Embassy, from all of us
at our Consulate in Lagos, from every American to all of you, Happy Holidays
and enjoy the season. All the best.

Stephen Childs

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