Former Vice President and chieftain of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Atiku Abubakar has declared 2017 as a year of new hope for Nigeria and Nigerians.

In a statement released to mark the New Year celebrations, Atiku described the outgoing 2016 as a year in which our nation faced a multitude of challenges, but which ended on a high note, giving us hope and confidence in what we as a nation can achieve when we stand to work together.

“Our military has recorded an important victory over Boko Haram and we should be grateful for the sacrifice our men and women in uniform are prepared to make to keep us safe. To honour them, we should also remember that it is our collective responsibility to make peace, and not just in the North East.

“I believe we can and will work around our differences, because we know that our strength lies in our diversity. And when we make our New Year’s resolutions, I hope my countrymen and countrywomen will join me in aspiring to be tolerant and to listen with an open mind and heart to those who do not share our views. We should respect each other’s views and traditions, and we should remember that our humanity shows in how we treat the most vulnerable.”

The former vice president also addressed the economic challenges Nigeria is facing.

“On the economic front, the federal government has given assurances of a speedy recovery. I am confident that we will see investments in key sectors, and that steps will be taken to restore business confidence. We’ve been dealt a cruel hand, but things are looking up, and I’m confident we will emerge stronger: we’re learning to be more efficient and effective, and we’re learning to evaluate what we really need and what we can afford. We’re suffering, but we’ll become more innovative and competitive.”

Atiku said hope was important to all we aim to achieve in 2017, as that hope and perseverance will guide us through the darkness that announces the break of dawn.

“Hope must be our starting point,” he said. “We must never stop aspiring for a better future and a better life – for us and for future generations. And we must persevere, changing the small things we can influence without losing sight of the bigger picture.”

He thanked God for seeing Nigeria through a tough year, noting that the rest of Nigeria’s journey could only be made possible with God’s help.

“All our hope, our confidence, continues to rest in God,” he said.

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