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“Tonight, I wish to bid you farewell as President of our country for the past eight years. Tomorrow, May 29th, will usher in a new and glorious dawn for our country. A new generation of Nigerian leaders will take over the great responsibility of running this great and diverse nation.

“In the past eight years you, by which I mean Nigerians, have worked together with me to revive our national image, our economy and to place us firmly on the path of sanity and progress.
“For the eight years that I have enjoyed your mandate and support, we changed not only the image of our country in the eyes of fair-minded, honest and objective observers both at home and around the world.

“We have run the longest democratic dispensation and eliminated the risk of violent changes of government through coups and counter-coups in our political culture.

“We have made clear to the world that the idea of Interim National Government does not have a place in our political culture and practice. It is something we must continue to detest. “We have widened, deepened and strengthened democracy. But democracy is not a destination, it is a journey. We must remain firmly, committedly and undivertedly on the journey.

“Tomorrow morning (today), we will, for the first time in our history, witness a peaceful transition of political leadership from one democratically-elected government and personality to a new set of elected President, Governors and Legislators.

As we usher in our new President and new Government tomorrow, let us take a moment and reflect on our journey so far. When we started on this journey on 29th May 1999, Nigeria was at its lowest ebb and shunned not only in the international arena but even here at home.

“Many Nigerians had lost hope for the future of the country. Our citizens were leaving our shores in droves in search of better conditions in more advanced countries of Europe, the United States of America and the Middle East.

“We thank God that many of these people are now returning home and are beginning to actively participate in the country’s development.

“On the Economic Front, we have reformed the economy and are beginning to notice the benefits of the reforms on our development and progress.

“We are poised to witness positive changes for the benefit of our people. We have ceased to be one of the most heavily indebted nations of the world and can now be truly independent in all that we do for our country.

Infrastructural facilities, like telephones, which were once regarded as the preserve of a privileged few, are now commonly accessible to all. These are solid foundations upon which future governments can build.

“In Science and Technology, in Agriculture and Food Security, our nation has made tremendous and noticeable progress. Nigeria is not only becoming a food sufficient nation but also a food-exporting nation.

“Our industrial take-off is today more assured than at any other time in the past years. There still remains a lot that we must do. I have confidence that we are well on our way to a glorious destination.
“With determination, with tenacity and with the courage of our conviction, we can continue to face the future with confidence. We have set for ourselves ambitious targets that will make us one of the largest economies in the world by the year 2020.

“It is attainable and achievable but if we divert from the path of economic prudence, reform and realities, we can miss the road.

Then, the year 2020 will be a mirage. God forbid!

“We have waged relentless battles to correct many of the ills in our society. We have demonstrated our determination to bring about a more moral society. We see a bright and prosperous future for our country.

“I am particularly gratified to note how united our country is today, better than any other time in the past. In the past few months, Nigerians, from every corner of the country have amply demonstrated their yearnings for national unity, for harmony and for progress.

“The recent events have indicated that we are no longer divided along ethnic, tribal, religious lines or north-south divide. We have become simply Nigerians interested in the development and progress of our country. This is a great gain. Let us respect this spirit of oneness and unity in all that we do from now on.

“Tomorrow (today), I will hand over the instruments of governance to Alhaji Umaru Musa Yar’Adua, our newly-elected President. He is a man in whom I have great confidence.

“I have worked with him and observed him at very close quarters. I know his track record and his pedigree. I have confidence that he will discharge his mandate to the satisfaction of all Nigerians. I pledge my continued support for him and his Government.

“Nigeria is in a better shape today than any time since 1979. We have started to move to the glory that God has ordained for us.

“Let me end this farewell address by thanking all Nigerians for eight years of working together for our fatherland. I am particularly grateful to my critics for keeping me constantly on my toes.
“Let us continue in the same spirit of what is best for our country motivated by patriotism and fear of God. I bid you good night and good-bye. God bless you. God bless Nigeria.”

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