Text of a press briefing by Chief John Odigie-Oyegun, National Chairman, All Progressives Congress (APC), on Thursday, November 13, 2014.
Gentlemen of the Press,
1. In the increasing atmosphere of rot and uncertainty being foisted on our nation by the PDP, I address you as the National Chairman of the Party that is preparing itself to assume the awesome responsibility of governing our long suffering nation next year. Our party, the All Progressives Congress (APC),was formed as a result of the yearnings of the overwhelming majority of Nigerians for an alternative platform to change the trajectory of our beloved country.
Many well-meaning Nigerians have asked me who we are; beginning from today we are going to have a weekly conversation with the Nigerian People to say who we are. All Nigerians, irrespective of their current party affiliation, who are dissatisfied with their personal circumstances and the national drift,and desire a change are welcome to join this movement led by the APC. Our movement is programmed to create a new Nigeria of which we will all, without exception, be proud.
With your overwhelming support and the free expression of your will, represented by your votes, the All Progressives’ Congress will by the grace of God next year commence the challenging but necessary process of charting a more secure and more prosperous future for us all.
Armed with your mandate, we will raise the standards of governance and condition of living of all citizens to levels which all Nigerians deserve as of right. We will stop the rot and the descent to uncertainty and disaster which the sixteen years of PDP misrule hasplunged us to as a nation. We will restore to Nigerians the hope and assurance that our nation can be made whole again, and that our leaders will submit themselves to the will and needs of our people.
2. In the next few weeks, our candidates for all elective positions in the February 2015 elections will emerge. Our party will conduct all processes for the selection of these candidates in strict and transparent compliance with our rules, and we will put forward candidates who will truly represent the people and work for a future full of hope, confidence, progress and peace.
We have no doubt that Nigerians will vote for these candidates we will put up, because they will be agents of change, and they will be standing against agents of the status quo, who want to perpetuate this culture of deceit, divisiveness, incompetence and impunity that has continued to hold Nigeria back. We will ask Nigerians to vote for genuine and enduring change; change in the manner young Nigerians see their future; change in the attitude of leaders, from oppressive and arrogant leadership, to leadership anchored on respect for rule of law, fear of God and deep commitment to the service of the people; and change from a life of insecurity and daily threats to our lives and property to a life of maximum security and peace.
3. We are under no illusions about the magnitude of the task our party will be called to embark upon. It will be a massive challenge. But we draw strength and inspiration from the knowledge that the overwhelming majority of Nigerians recognize that a continuing PDP administration cannot guarantee Nigerians a future of prosperity, dignity and peace.
We, in the APC, are in touch with the sentiments, aspirations and concerns of our people. To those who are now living and dying in occupied parts of our nation; to those who are displaced and living in refugee camps because their homeland is occupied by terrorists, to those who are in fear of the imminent occupation of their homeland by savage elements, we say help is on the way and positive change is near.
4. Our party will chart a new course of recovery and regeneration for our nation. We will set very high standards of respect for the rule of law, such that our nation will never again experience the unprecedented scale of impunity that has been the central feature of this PDP led administration. We see this impunity on display in the administration’s tyrannical reaction to the exercise of the right of the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Rt. Hon. AminuWaziriTambuwal to change his party.
The Police arrogated to itself the power of the judiciary to interpret the Constitution and withdrew the security details of the Speaker. The illegal and high-handed action by the Police in removing the security details of a sitting Speaker of the House of Representatives has attracted strong and widespread condemnation from within and outside Nigeria. The Department of Security Services, a service which washitherto insulated from partisan politics have also been directed and has similarly withdrawn its operatives from the Speaker.
5. We see another manifestation of the PDP administration’s fondness for impunity and its disturbing tendency to cuddle corruption, in the recent release to Capital Oil Ltd all its assets hitherto lawfully acquired by AMCON as a result of its said involvement in the fuel subsidy scam. It is not a secret that the proprietor of Capital Oil is the coordinator or convener of the widely derided Transformation Ambassadors of Nigeria (TAN) that is at the forefront of the obscene and doomed campaign for the reelection of President GoodluckJonathan. A great nation like Nigeria should not be run with such crass disdain for decency, common sense and the rule of law.
6. Once in office, our party will govern with openness and transparency, and every kobo belonging to the public will be judiciously utilized and meticulously accounted for. We will call corruption by its name and fight it with the vehemence it deserves. We will restore the faith of the public in the necessity for leaders to live honestly and lead with vision, competence and compassion.
Our Party will collaborate and cooperate with the states in the true practice of a Federal relationship. We shall run an all-inclusive government and seek the views of all segments including the positive ideas of opposition parties in the formulation and execution of governmentpolicies.
7. An APC administration will rebuild and expand infrastructure; invest in human capital, particularly the Youth; deploy resources to provide jobs and employment opportunities and get our economy working again for all Nigerians. We shall work for the inclusive growth and development of our economy through massive job creation programs to ensure the reduction of poverty and the protection of the weak.
8. An APC Federal administration will unite all Nigerians by eliminating policies and sentiments such as religion and ethnicity which the PDP has deliberatelyexploited to divide the nation. We will restore the faith and confidence of Nigerians in each other, and ensure that no Nigerian anywhere suffers any disadvantage on account of his or her religious affiliation or ethnic origin. We will uphold the rule of law and protect the human rights of all our citizens.
9. The defense of the territorial integrity of our fatherland and the protection of the lives and property of all who live within our bordersshall be a non-negotiable priority of an APC Federal Government. We will reclaim every inch of Nigerian territory, and liberate fellow citizens who, under the current dispensation, are resigned to life as captured and conquered citizens.
Our armed forces will be massively motivated and given the necessary manpower and materials to enable them perform their sacred duty of protecting our country. Our people will be mobilized to support and honour our men and women in uniform who put their lives on the line to ensure that we are all protected.
10. To all Nigerians, I say, our party, the APC, will change Nigeria for good. We have the men and women who can do this because they passionately believe in Nigeria and are aggrieved by the 16 years of wasted opportunities under the PDP. We have developed the ideas and strategies to achieve this. We have the faith and confidence that this can be donein short order.
We are resolved never to give up on Nigeria, or to abandon the imperatives of ensuring that the democratic process translates into better lives and opportunities for the present generation and a solid foundation to build an even better life for future generations. The only people who will fear, or resist, the type of change we represent and promise, are the tiny blood suckingminority who benefit from Nigeria’s current social and economic degradation.
11. Two days ago, you heard President Goodluck Jonathan announce himself as the candidate of the PDP and asked Nigerians for another four years as President. You heard a lot of claims, misrepresentations and voodoo statistics, none of which can stand the barest scrutiny. Disregard them! You heard excuses for failure to fix basic infrastructure, arrest unprecedented levels of corruption and halt the march of terrorists daily inching nearer all of us.
You heard promises that sound familiar because you have heard them all before since his six (6) years as President. Do not give the party that has savaged Nigeria in the last 16 years an opportunity to finally finish off our dear nation. The PDP cannot deliver on any of the same promises it has failed to honourin over a decade and a half in power.
The 2015 election will be decided on the character and leadership qualities of the Nigerian President. The Commander-in-Chief should also be “Consoler-in-Chief” bringing comfort and succor to our people in time of grief and distress. You heard two days ago President Jonathan saying that good leaders do not walk away from the people, sadly though the statement is true, our President who wants another four years does not show evidence of sympathy for hundreds of thousands of our fellow citizens who are now Internally Displaced Persons(IDP) as a result of the occupation of their land by Boko Haram. He brings no relief or comfort to those living under the reign of terror.
About 50 young Nigerian School Children were killed and several others injured in Potiskumjust a few days before the extravaganza show of his declaration. Yet we do not hear of a Presidential visit to the families of the victims, a pattern that has become usual. Our President lives in his comfort zone, content to utter words, and ‘minutes of silence’ that have no meaning to the victims.
The President has abandoned the Nigerian people. We should end the journey with President GoodluckJonathan in 2015 and aelect leader who will be part of our lives and lead with courage and empathy.
12. I therefore appeal to all Nigerians to endeavour to collect their Permanent Voters Cards, and use them to vote out the PDP and vote in the brighter, safer and more prosperous future, which the APC represents. I call on INEC, the security agencies and other institutions of government to discharge their responsibilities courageously, fairly and firmly.
Their prime responsibility is to the nation. I appeal to the international community to remain vigilant and continue to work with all Nigerians to ensure that the 2015 elections are credible. On our part, we remain committed to respecting the integrity of the electoral process, and we will discourage its subversion and will resist vigorously the use of violence, official or otherwise, to prevent the triumph of the will of the people.
13. It is with a sense of deep patriotism that we in the APC appeal to Nigerians to join us, because we need to work together to make Nigeria the great country it should be. I want to call on all Nigerians to work with us, support us and vote for our candidates in the forthcoming elections. APC governments at all levels will be your governments, and we assure you that you will feel the difference in the very first few months of our administration at all levels.
We assure our brother African nations who agonize over the decline in Nigeria’s leadership that our nation will rise again and give Africa the exemplary leadership it deserves. We assure the International Communityparticularly, our friends, that the APC treasures their friendship and treasures their concern for our nation. We assure them all that we will rebuild our capacities to operate at the global level as a responsible and responsive pillar of global governance, a beacon of hope for all mankind.
14. In a few months, our great party will make history. It will defeat an incumbent administration at the federal level, and secure most of the governorships and federal and state legislatures. It will then proceed to change the way our nation is governed, by restoring the valued requirements of governance, which are rooted in supremacy of the law, integrity and competence of leaders, and compassion and fairness in the treatment of the people.
15. Our party stands united and confident in its ability to lead Nigeria to a new beginning. I call on all Nigerians both at home and in the Diaspora to embrace our vision of a great nation that works for all of its citizens; a nation that guarantees security for all its people; and a nation able to generate and allocate its resources in the just and equitable manner intended by God who so graciously blessed us with so much.
16. I invite all Nigerians to join us in this movement to rebuild a new and great Nigerian nation.
God bless you all
God bless the APC
God bless Nigeria
Chief John Odigie-Oyegun
All Progressives Congress (APC)
13th November 2014