The All Progressive’s Congress, APC, held their National Summit yesterday in Abuja.

The party, a merger of some leading political parties in the country registered on July 31, 2013, has become the greatest threat to the PDP domination of the political theatre.

The parties that merged included the Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN), the Congress for Progressive Change (CPC), the All Nigeria Peoples Party (ANPP), a faction of the Democratic People’s Party (DPP), and a faction of the All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA). A faction of the PDP later joined the party.

The APC promised A New Nigeria as they gear up for the 2015 general elections, they made this known as they presented the mission, commitment, the history of the party and the Code of Ethics to the public with a view to presenting a platform better than the ruling PDP.

The APC assured Nigerians that it will do everything to protect and preserve human life and dignity in a nation bound by the principle of freedom, justice, peace, unity and the rule of law.

The summit was attended by state governors of the 16 APC states, former governors and lawmakers from around the country.

Below are excerpts from some of the speeches:

Gov. Babatunde Fashola (with the opening speech): This is a historic day not just for the APC but for Nigeria. We come together first and foremost as Nigerians… The APC is committed to leading a movement of change. This morning we will present a code of ethics, a set of values that will direct our actions… This government pardons those convicted of corruption and removes those who point it out.

Asiwaju Bola Ahmed TinubuAPC is not just a party; it is a contract with Nigerians… The PDP should be voted out of power come 2015 and there will be a new Nigeria when APC comes to power.

General Muhammadu Buhrari: There is no future for Nigeria without addressing the problem of insecurity. Nigeria must be secured. Nigeria must be efficiently managed. The No. 1 problem of Nigeria is insecurity.

Chief Bisi Akande: The future of Nigeria with APC is the future for the Nigerian youths. We will give good education that will make the youth employable.

Honourable Femi Gbajabiamila: We speak of a new Nigeria that can truly be called a federal republic practising a federal system and not a unitary system. We speak of a new Nigeria where other arms of government are truly independent and where the rule of law reigns supreme. We speak very expectantly of a new Nigeria where no child will be left behind and education will be a right and not a privilege and where being shoeless will no longer mean being clueless. A new Nigeria where the word impunity will become a thing of the past and 16 will no longer be greater than 19.

Senator Bukola Saraki: This is not change for the sake of change. We have no other option but to make it work.

Gov. Adams Oshiomole: We are committed to build a Nigeria that is economically strong and provides security for the rich and poor. If it is true that we’ve sustained growth over the years; how do we explain the number of the poor? The challenge we face is that we are being fed with the statistics that this country is one of the fastest-growing economies, yet there is nothing to show on ground. APC believes that we must reinvent the industrial base of Ikeja, Apapa, Port Harcourt, and Kano textile industry. There are no miracles in the lives of nations. Nations are built by meticulous planning.

Gov. Rabiu Kwankwaso: We need to train and retrain our security, stop corruption. I don’t know where I would be today without APC, but definitely not in PDP… Nigeria has the potential to stop insurgency but lacks the leadership to effect it. The APC government will put an end to the Boko Haram insurgency.

Senator Chris Ngige: Bad judiciary, bad education and so on are the bane of Nigeria. The PDP has nothing for Ndigbo. It is only in the APC there is hope for us.

Atiku Abubakar: I have always been a firm believer in a two-party system… If Ghana and Senegal can alternate between 2 parties, there’s no reason why Nigeria shouldn’t. All our efforts to establish a two-party system had been undermined. This is a dream come true. We must get this experiment to work… The PDP government in the last 15 years has failed Nigeria.

Gov. Ibikunle Amosun: What PDP says is not possible, we APC will make it possible.

Gov. Rochas Okorocha: The PDP has written us a cheque that can’t be cashed in any bank of progress.

Senator Ali Modu Sheriff: When APC say that the PDP is bad, then APC has to do well; otherwise what happened to PDP would happen to APC. It is dictatorship that kills PDP; we should avoid dictatorship if we don’t want what happened to PDP to happen to APC.In APC, we speak of a new Nigeria where our God-given human and natural resources are fully harnessed for the greater good. Every time I remember the words of the great Bob Marley, I wonder if he had Nigeria in mind when he sang, “In the abundance of water, the fool is thirsty.”

Tony Momoh: Freedom is the dividend of democracy. Hospital, good roads and water are expected from any government.

Tom Ikimi: Obasanjo weakened the opposition during his time. He was a dictator who declared in 1999 that he won’t tolerate any opposition party in Nigeria as long as he was president.

Governor State of Osun, Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola(right) Ekiti State Governor, Dr. Kayode Fayemi(2nd right), Imo State Governor, Rochas Okorocha(4thleft)Kano State Governor, Mohammed Kwankwaso(3 rd left)Kwara State Governor,Abdulfatah Ahmedq(2nd left) and Senator Bukola Saraki (left)
Governor State of Osun, Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola(right) Ekiti State Governor,
Dr. Kayode Fayemi(2nd right), Imo State Governor, Rochas
Okorocha(4thleft)Kano State Governor, Mohammed Kwankwaso(3
rd left)Kwara State Governor,Abdulfatah Ahmedq(2nd left) and Senator Bukola
Saraki (left)

 

 

Governor State of Osun, Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola (2nd left); Imo State Governor, Rochas Okorocha(left), Chairman All Progressive Congress (APC), Adebisi Akande (3nd right), Former Head of State, Federal Republic of Nigeria, General Muhammadu Buhari(2nd right) and Former Governor of Lagos State, Senator Bola Tinubu (right)
Governor State of Osun, Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola (2nd left); Imo State
Governor, Rochas Okorocha(left), Chairman All Progressive Congress (APC),
Adebisi Akande (3nd right), Former Head of State, Federal Republic of
Nigeria, General Muhammadu Buhari(2nd right) and Former Governor of Lagos
State, Senator Bola Tinubu (right)

 

From Left: Governors Adams Oshiomole of Edo, Tanko Al Makura of Nasarawa, Abdulfatai Ahmed of Kwara, Rabiu Kwankwaso of Kano & Rochas Okorocha of Imo .
From Left: Governors Adams Oshiomole of Edo, Tanko Al Makura of Nasarawa, Abdulfatai Ahmed of Kwara, Rabiu Kwankwaso of Kano & Rochas Okorocha of Imo .

 

Lay out and High table at the APC National Summit.
Governors on the high table, Governor Rochas Okorocha of Imo state speaking.

 

Poverty, Corruption Rob Nigeria Of Integrity, Greatness – Ezekwesili

Former minister of education Oby Ezekwesili has said corruption and poverty are two factors that have robbed Nigeria of its dignity, integrity and greatness, despite its huge potential at independence.

Speaking in Abuja during the All Progressives Congress (APC) national summit, Ezekwesili blamed corruption for Nigeria’s inability to achieve its potential despite its 100 years of existence.

She said Nigeria is nowhere celebrating centenary because Nigerians feel a sense of disappointment.

She said as a result of corruption, despite large revenue accruing to the federal government from the oil sector, Nigeria’s human development index is at the same level with Chad Republic, while its maternal mortality rate is the same with Afghanistan.

She said: “Some people say poverty and corruption are not really a big problem; after all, other countries had corruption and they still developed. I don’t know what script they are reading from. But the script that I read from has clearly shown that poverty and corruption are the two things that rob Nigerians of their dignity.

“Poverty deprives one of the basic necessity and basic services that they need in order to preserve their self-dignity. Poor governance on the hand is what poverty helps to breed.”

She said Nigeria has in the last 50 years earned more than $600 billion from oil revenue, yet more than 60 per cent of its citizens live below poverty line.

She said: “What are the greatest indicators of failure? For 69 per cent of our people in our land to be in the class of poverty is the greatest failure of a country that has inconsiderable revenue from natural resource endowment with its attendant cancerous wasting away on what would have legendarily been the best potential realized economic development.

“The truth is that our country is engulfed in systemic and endemic corruption.”

She blamed the political class for some of Nigeria’s problems, saying the country has been short of leaders who will render selfless service to the country.

She however expressed optimism for the future, saying the level of failure being expressed is not sustainable.

“We shall stop failure at some point. Why am I optimistic? There is a rising crescendo of dissatisfaction with failures among the youth of this country and that gives me some sense of optimism,” she said.

Ezekwesili blamed neglect of governance at the local government level bevause of the eagerness of everyone to come to the centre.

 

Jonathan has institutionalized corruption in Nigeria – Governor Rotimi Amaechi

The Rivers State Governor, Chibuike Amaechi, on Thursday came down heavily on the Goodluck Jonathan administration, alleging that it has institutionalized corruption in Nigeria.

Mr. Amaechi also warned that there would be anarchy if the 2015 general elections were not free, fair and credible because Nigerians had made up their mind to embrace change.

In a lecture he delivered at the 2nd Peoples Media Limited Conference in Abuja, the governor lamented that rather than fighting corruption, the Jonathan administration punished those who do.

The lecture titled, The Metaphor of Change and the Politics of 2015, was delivered on behalf of Mr. Amaechi by the Rivers State Information Commissioner, Ibim Semenitari, who said the governor was attending the National Summit of the All Progressives Congress, APC, which also held in Abuja.

The governor, who assessed the various regimes in the country from that of Tafawa Balewa in the First Republic to the current one, said corruption was not a repository of the military alone, stating that the politicians were also experts at it.

He singled out the administration of former President Olusegun Obasanjo for institutionalizing the fight against corruption for the first time in the history of Nigeria through the creation of a state agency, Economic and Financial Crimes Corruption, EFCC.

The governor, however, said the degree of progress that was made might be open for debate especially as it was alleged that Mr. Obasanjo used the same agency to go after his political opponents.

“The progress made in fighting corruption began to erode under President (Umaru) Yar’Adua. His short-lived regime cannot be assessed in this wise. Currently in the present regime of President Goodluck Jonathan corruption appears to have been institutionalized.” Mr. Amaechi said. “A whopping sum of $20 billion (N3.2 trillion) is alleged to be missing. The stories of both fuel and kerosene subsidy are nothing to behold; it reeks of corruption and rottenness. The aviation bullet-proof saga remains unresolved. The Shell-Malabu story is a macabre dance. The response of the regime to corruption is to imprison those exposing corruption.”

The governor stated that the suspension of the Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria, Lamido Sanusi, was unconstitutional.

“Constitution means nothing to the current government,” he said. “What we see is the re-emergence of civilian dictatorship.”

Mr. Amaechi noted that statistics emanating from both the World Bank and National Bureau of Statistics, NBS, indicated that unemployment rate was now 23 per cent in Nigeria, adding that it was far lower before the enthronement of the government of Mr. Jonathan.

He added, “Unemployment rate averaged at 14.6 per cent, reaching an all-time high of 23.9 per cent in 2011. It had an all-time high record low of 5.3 per cent in 2006. Nigerians live in want, hunger and penury. Unemployment and poverty may differ in regions to varying degrees, but it knows no faith or religion, knows no tribe or nation. It brews violence and has led to the annihilation of families in the North East and South-south of Nigeria. Death on the streets of Borno, Yobe, Adamawa, Kano, and Bauchi are no longer lessons for discussions; they are a daily occurrence.”

He noted that the current violence in the country had overwhelmed the government.

“Kidnapping is an everyday affair in the Niger Delta. It becomes strange, any day it does not occur. Political assassination is also on the rise. Violence is the order of the day,” the governor pointed out.

Mr. Amaechi said under the Jonathan administration, Nigeria had become famous for out of school children, saying, “We top the list with a figure of 8.6 million -10 million out of school children. Education is not affordable and accessible. Education infrastructures are deteriorating or non-existent. Beyond the education infrastructure are the softer issues, insufficient, poorly trained and ill-motivated teachers, a static curriculum, a lack of monitoring and quality control to ensure that education is not only available but is fit for purpose, competitive and qualitative. The result is that our children leave school, half baked at best and uneducated at worst.”

He recounted that the Jonathan administration had spoken variously about its commitment to infrastructure development on a broader scale. He added that though the administration’s efforts in resuscitating the railways and its sale of the power infrastructure were commendable initiatives that should be followed through, complaints by the different buyers of the generation and distribution companies pointed to debilitating challenges in the roll out that might affect the government’s power delivery promises.

He pointed out that in the roads and maritime sector, much remained to be done while water and sanitation should have received better attention especially with donor agencies anxious to support investments in that sector.

Mr. Amaechi said it was evident that the failure by government to provide the appropriate environment for the people to thrive, and a failure to guarantee the people’s right could lead to a breakdown of society.

He stressed that democracy required more than just the right to vote and that democratic country had to guarantee basic human rights to every person.

“Although these rights are enshrined in the country’s Constitution, it is crucial that the rights are ensured and protected by government as well as the citizens themselves,” he said.

The governor stated that good governance was the responsibility of every democratic government working in the interest of the public, as was the smooth handing over of batons from one administration to another.

According to him, Nigeria was at the threshold of history with yet again another election, stressing that the electorate was already demanding a better deal.

He said, “The Electorate is already demanding a better deal. The poll commissioned by the All Progressive Congress being unveiled today has shown that more than half of those polled insist that they are dissatisfied with the status quo and want change. The message is clear: the people want to be allowed a chance to freely make up their mind about who should lead them.”

He however said in political circles, the drums of war and voices of intolerance was a source of worry because of the determination of the Federal Government controlled People’s Democratic Party, PDP, to guarantee free, fair and transparent elections in 2015.

“In political circles the drums of war and voices of intolerance gives cause for worry about the determination of the Federal Government controlled People’s Democratic Party to guarantee free, fair and transparent elections in 2015. It is crucial that the elite and those of us in government understand that disallowing free elections would not just be an albatross but could be an invitation to anarchy,” he said.

 

APC’s Manifesto Lacks Character, Depth – PDP

The ruling Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) yesterday described the manifesto of the All Progressives Congress (APC) as empty and a product of “Janjaweed” ideology.

Janjaweed, according to Google, is “formed from the Arabic words for man, gun and horse; also they are a militia that operate in Darfur, western Sudan, and eastern Chad”.

PDP added that the manifesto of the opposition party is a road map to anarchy which is typical of all anti-democratic coalitions, stressing that “the manifesto lacks character, depth and completely addressed no issue”.

Briefing the press on the unveiling of the APC manifesto, the national publicity secretary of the PDP, Chief Olisa Metuh, lambasted the APC for lying that it was the first party to have a code of conduct, noting that the PDP had in 2006 drafted a code of conduct.

Picking holes in the manifesto, Metuh said it “ranked security of lives and property low and  gave no clue as to its  preparedness to tackle  terrorism”. This, he said, was a tacit acknowledgment that the APC may be benefiting from the mayhem and knows more than meets the eye about the spate of terror attacks in the country .

“When last year, in its first official outing, the leaders of the APC

said terrorism in Nigeria would disappear within 100 days of APC

leadership, Nigerians did ask if they knew the characters in crime and their sponsors . APC gave silence as an answer while Nigerians kept wondering. Today, the party has released its manifesto with loud silence on the matter so that Nigerians would not raise further questions on the face behind the terrorism mask.”

Taking the APC to task on job creation and war on corruption which the party projected as cardinal on its manifesto, the PDP said the APC has no credible recipe for job creation nor has it shown the strength of character to  fight corruption more than the PDP does at the moment.

“The PDP created anti corruption agencies – the ICPC, the EFCC – and established the Freedom of Information Act to further give teeth to the war on graft.  The PDP-led federal government has also shown no  preferences in its battle on corruption as senior party leaders as well as relations have at one time or another been made to face the law on charges of corruption.

“ On the contrary, the leaders of the APC are the grand patrons of

corruption as could be seen from the South-West APC states where a kilometer of road is awarded at N1 billion in a topography that compares nowhere to the  marshy South-South and where the self-styled leader imperially superintendents  the finances of six states with mind-boggling cases of corruption.

“ The spirited defence of the suspended Central Bank governor mounted by the APC was because the leaders of the party benefited immensely from the regime of sleaze that took place under Sanusi. A fraudulent N84 billion contract was awarded to a leader of the party while another N5billion was paid to another stalwart of the party as consultancy fee.”

According to the PDP, nothing showcases the anti-democratic ambience of the APC more than its inability to conduct properly constituted congresses and convention to elect its substantive officers almost a year after formation. It stated that “the strange bedfellows have merged but the structures are refusing to integrate, hence crisis and disagreements in its ranks”.

“ This disagreements played out on the high table today at the party’s summit as  one of its leaders, Sen. Modu Sherif, pointedly accused the leadership and the organizers of  excluding and marginalizing a section of its founders. With persistent in-fighting at this  cradle, how does APC hope to unify Nigerians and guarantee the survival of democracy?” the PDP asked.

On the claim by the APC that it was the first  party to launch a code of conduct, PDP said: “In 2006, the PDP launched a comprehensive code of conduct  under an  ominibus entitled ‘Survival Kit’. This kit contained documents such as  Desirable Qualities of a Member and Code of Conduct for PDP  aspirants and candidates.

“ We also have the Peoples Democratic Institute, an intellectual arm of the party whose major work is the systemic research, inculcation and internalization of democratic ethos.”

The PDP further said the recent opinion poll from which the APC said it derived its manifesto  is a familiar product from a political party that subsists in lies and deception.

“They sponsored same  in Anambra and their governorship candidate, Chris Ngige, came a distant third. This is after they sponsored same in Ondo where its candidate in the governorship election, Rotimi

Akeredolu, also came third.”