Sunday, 12 May 2013

Once again, Nigeria is at the cusp of change -- Ribadu




By Nuhu Ribadu 
Nuhu Ribadu
ACN’s solidarity speech at the National Convention of the All Nigeria Peoples Party (ANPP)

I am happy to be with you today at this moment of your National Convention.

Once again, Nigeria is at the cusp of change. We stand at the threshold of history, willing and determined to keep the promise of building a new nation. I am thus happy to be with you today at this momentous occasion of your National Convention.

A similar momentous event is taking place in Abuja about now. That the ANPP and CPC are holding their National Conventions the same day though in different locations to, among other things, endorse the on-going merger process barely three weeks after the Action Congress of Nigeria had done its own in Lagos, underscores the unquestionable commitments of the Progressive Nigerian leaders to re-direct and reposition Politics and Governance in this country.

Before I delve into the details of my goodwill message, let me publicly acknowledge that my party ACN, and your own the ANPP, have been in working alliance in Zamfara State since the 2011 Gubernatorial elections. Arising from that electoral alliance, members of both Parties have since enjoyed harmonious relationship as members of Zamfara State Executive Council and have diligently been providing excellent services for our people here in Zamfara State.

Distinguished Party leaders, ladies and gentlemen, we have embarked on this historic journey, the first of its kind in Nigeria's political history, because we want to be recorded positively on the side of history. We are, however, not unaware of the huge challenges we would face in this endeavour, and the series of minefields we are to cross in our common resolve to rescue this country from total collapse. 

It is against this backdrop, that we are gathered here today as we did in Lagos to fulfil one of the requirements under the law to actualize our coming together under a single political platform - All Progressives Congress, APC.

We have heard the Macedonian call of our people and we have set sail on an irreversible course to contest and assume power at the centre. Our undying quest to refocus and, possibly, to re-fix this massively endowed but hugely debased country has made us to set aside our individual interests for a larger national one.

For every PDP’s years of the locust, we are offering, in exchange, a new regime of prosperity, fiscal discipline, security and a more emancipated society.

"The most pathetic person in the world is someone who has sight but has no vision"- Helen Keller

For about a decade and a half, since the People’s Democratic Party came to power, the development of this country has been arrested and almost stalled. Their strange institutionalized style of governance has engendered a general sense of hopelessness, despondency and inertia among the citizenry. 

Since the coming of this government in 2011, all we have seen are tales of woes, gnashing of teeth and the crimsoning of our street with the blood of fellow citizens. Perhaps, aside the civil war period, the unity of this country has never been as threatened as it is presently. All of our national fault lines are growing deeper and the continuous existence of the country as indivisible entity is increasingly in doubt.

In just the same way as the entire democratic space has been fouled with fraud, leadership failure and high level insecurity, our social and economic management has been constricted through unbridled corruption and widespread poverty in the face of enhanced revenue earnings to such an extent that the strata of the Nigerian society too has been engulfed in mutual suspicion and fractured with national disunity.

This coalition of progressively minded leaders represents a major shift in Nigeria’s political paradigm. As leaders, and indeed, as political parties, we are convinced, beyond any shadow of doubts, that Nigerians deserve a better country. Nigerians deserve better leadership.

We wave or hold no magic wand but we signpost the fact that a new country and better leadership is possible. What we are now offering is our commitment to changing the past ways that have set us back through progressive thinking, sound and people oriented policies, and dedicated leadership. Through sacrifice and renewed patriotic zeal, we hope to unseat the current incompetent and corrupt leadership.

With renewed commitment, we must make sure that our electoral system is open, credible and transparent. The cardinal points that define true democracy are the rule of law and free choice of leaders.

It is our expectation that Nigerians would side with us by voting right when elections come. Nigerians must reject the kind of presidential election results foisted upon us from 1999 to 2011. 

The continued  polarization and division of Nigeria between the North and the South and between the Christians and the Muslims which has been escalating sectarian violence, intensifying bloodletting, and destroying properties flowed from these flawed elections.

This unfortunate state of affairs foisted on us by an inept and clueless regime must be halted before the entire country conflagrates.

Embarrassingly, however, the 2011 presidential election has witnessed the most violent reaction in the history of Nigeria; and, apart from the Biafran war, the consequential human carnage of its aftermath has been unprecedented in our history. This time around, Nigerians must rally in support for One Man, One Vote based on fraud free and accurate voters’ register. 

Biometric voting system has become a clear option for free and fair elections in the other emerging democracies like Ghana. Nigeria must move in that inevitable direction.

I am convinced that this bold and historical step by ACN, ANPP and CPC to merge into one formidable electoral machine against PDP, would serve as a major antidote against the seeming total disintegration of Nigeria. 

The merger process therefore affords us the singular strength of ensuring fraud free and credible voters register by biometric evaluation and thereby democratically dislodge the PDP from power with a view to bringing to end frequent incidences of blood shedding and destruction to property which have become the defining nature of the Jonathan's administration.

Our streets continue to flow with the blood of fellow citizens who are innocent of any crime. Perhaps, aside the civil war period, the unity of Nigeria has never been as threatened as it is presently.

The events we are witnessing in Gusau and Abuja today, just as we did in Lagos on April 18th, beyond their partisan import, therefore, are but a demonstration of the courageous efforts of the people towards saving Nigeria from descending further into hopelessness, poverty and insecurity. 

We can therefore not rest on our oars because the need to rescue Nigeria from the hands of its detractors, rent seekers and seeming irredentists has never been as compelling as now.

On this note, I salute you all on this auspicious occasion and bring to your attention that the greatest numbers of the Nigerian people have now invested their hopes in a future with APC.

I thank you for listening.

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