Text of the address by the National Chairman of the All Progressives Congress, Chief Odigie-Oyegun at the Salvation Rally of the party on Wednesday the 19th of November 2014 at Eagle’s Square Abuja.
Why we are here:
We are here today as a practical demonstration of our lack of confidence in the ability or willingness of President Goodluck Jonathan to organize a free and fair election come February 2015.
President Goodluck Jonathan is so desperate to win re-election that it will now appear that there is a secret understanding that our security forces should turn a blind eye to the Boko Haram Insurgency so that the insurgents can occupy as much territory as possible and make elections impossible in these areas, knowing full well these are APC strongholds.
Otherwise, how does one explain that local hunters carrying Dane guns and amulets are capable of dislodging the dreaded Boko Haram while our once proud army, which has distinguished itself in and out of the country, has failed?
We daily hear idle talks that the President needs to declare total war on Boko Haram. Pray, what has the Jonathan government been doing since the moment the state of emergency was declared the very first time? Or is the President saying that he declared and renewed the state of emergency several times only to cage the civil populace so that the insurgents can have a free rein.
Without doubt, the war against Boko Haram has become a tool for self enrichment and a tool to disenfranchise Nigerians who are perceived not likely to vote for President Jonathan’s re-election. Everything points to the fact that President Jonathan’s handling of the Boko Haram insurgency is aimed at one thing and one thing only: disenfranchisement of persons who are perceived not to be in support of his re-election, especially in the North-Eastern part of the country.
Is it not curious that Mubi was captured without one shot being fired by the insurgents or one single casualty on the part of Federal troops? As a matter of fact, we have it on good authority that as soon as President Goodluck Jonathan obtains the green light from the National Assembly, there will be no elections in the North-Eastern states of Adamawa, Borno and Yobe. By this singular act, some five million Nigerians will be disenfranchised, making Jonathan’s re-election a foregone conclusion.
There is no limit to the length Jonathan has not gone in his obsession for re-election, using the kidnapped Chibok girls as pawns on his political chessboard. On the 17th of October, he cruelly played on the emotions and sensibilities of all Nigerians, especially the families, relations and associates of the kidnapped girls, when he asked his Chief of Defence staff to falsely announce that Boko Haram has agreed to a ceasefire and that the release of the kidnapped Chibok girls was just a matter of days. Of course, President Jonathan and his cohorts knew this to be false but he needed to deceive Nigerians so as to prepare their minds for his eventual declaration for re-election.
As you must all be aware, the recent exercise by INEC of collection of Permanent Voters Cards and continuous registration in 12 states of the Federation was a fiasco. The official explanation from the Independent National Electoral Commission is to blame it all on computer error.
But we know this is a lie. The truth of the matter is that the ICT unit of INEC, which is working hands in gloves with the Presidential villa, deliberately corrupted the system in order to disenfranchise voters in APC controlled states. How else do you explain the fact this same exercise, which had gone fairly well in 24 other states – mostly PDP states – is now a fiasco in Lagos, Kano Rivers, Niger, Ogun, Katsina, Kaduna, Zamfara all APC strongholds and with the highest number of registered voters? In the aforementioned states, millions of voters have been disenfranchised because the system was deliberately corrupted to wipe out their names from the voters register. Even those who were able to vote in 2011 could no longer find their names on the register.
Zero units are now to be found more in APC-controlled states or strongholds. The PDP, realizing the overwhelming support and followership which APC enjoys in the above mentioned states, has deliberately decided to use the ICT department of INEC to rig the 2015 general elections at source by disenfranchising millions of the opposition party’s supporters.
President Goodluck Jonathan, embarrassed by the runaway success of APC-controlled states, has in the last two years embarked on a wicked scheme to create disaffection among the electorates in APC-controlled states by not funding the Federation Account adequately.
While this may appear a general problem affecting all states, he has secretly and unconstitutionally being funding PDP controlled states. Not too long ago he dashed all PDP controlled states N2 billion each. Not only does this affect the letter and spirit of our constitution, it also portrays him as the President of the PDP and not that of Nigeria.
Although oil has been selling at well over USD108 against the benchmark of USD78, President Jonathan had been funding the Federation Account only between 60-70%. What is his official explanation for this? He claims it is as a result of massive crude oil theft that he has been unable to fund the Federation Account adequately!
The truth of the matter is that since the countrywide protest on the subsidy oil cam of 2012 and the embarrassing revelations by the House of Representatives panel, this government has now resorted to stealing from source. How can we be losing steadily on daily basis over months the same quantity, 700,000 barrels of crude? It is this stealing of crude at source that has made it impossible for the government to adequately fund the Federation Account, and which has led to poverty and unemployment.
Is it not baffling that up till today no serious individual or significant organisation has been apprehended for stealing 700,000barrels of crude everyday! It is nothing but authority stealing – apologies to Fela Anikulapo-Kuti.
Only a few days ago, President Jonathan’s administration declared austerity measures. Given the difference between the selling price of our crude in the international market of an average of 108 dollars and the bench mark price of 78 dollars in the last three years, the government should today have close to fifty billion dollars (US$50billion) in Excess Crude Account.
But as a result of corruption and arbitrary manipulation of the account, today the government has declared that there is just three billion dollars (US$3 billion) in this account.
Another pointer that President Jonathan will not allow a free and fair election in 2015 is the reckless use of the police and the military in past elections in Ekiti and Osun states. The extensive use of firearms by PDP thugs in Edo state in collusion with the police to vandalize the Edo State House of Assembly residential quarters, and the Police humiliating treatment of the Rivers State Governor Rotimi Amaechi, are a few examples of acts of impunity of this government.
In Edo state the police continue to disobey the orders of both the High Court and the Court of Appeal. In Ekiti state the police looked the other way when judges were being beaten and only two days ago in the same Ekiti under the protection of the police, democratically-elected principal officers of the state house of assembly were sacked by six out of the twenty-six elected members.
The Nigeria police has today become the armed wing of the PDP and they cannot be trusted under President Jonathan to be unbiased umpire in the February 2015 elections.
Now, let us be clear. What exactly are we asking for?
- An end to the raging insurgency that is daily killing and maiming our compatriots
- An end to the impunity that permeates the Jonathan Administration
- An end to the massive corruption that has left our compatriots impoverished in the midst of plenty
- An unambiguous effort to ensure that that 2015 elections will be free and fair. What you are seeing here today, which is the first stage of the occupation of Abuja, is just a warning shot.
If we do not see any discernible change of attitude on the part of the government, then we will move to the next stage on the list of actions that our party intends to take to stop the rot being perpetuated by the PDP-led Federal Government.
We are therefore using this opportunity to alert Nigerians and the international community to what is undoubtedly a set of carefully-set booby traps on the path to free and fair elections next year.
To Nigerians who are desirous of a positive change, we say eternal vigilance is the price of freedom, and we call on them to join us to say NO to impunity, NO to corruption, NO to scorched-earth politics and NO to do or die politics.
To the international community, we say it is not just enough to rush to declare any election free and fair on election day. We say election is a process, hence they must show interest in all the pre-election events leading up to the election day.
In the end, everyone must work together to ensure that the will of the people prevails, that no one who is eligible to vote is disenfranchised, and that every vote must not just be counted, it must count!
Chief John Odigie-Oyegun
All Progressives Congress (APC)
Abuja, Wed. Nov 19th 2014