National Chairman of the All Progressives Congress Chief John Odigie Oyegun has decried the rate of corruption in the country, saying Nigeria had never had it this bad. He said the ruling party has institutionalize graft in Nigeria.
Addressing the party’s extraordinary national convention, Oyegun, who stressed the need for the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) to be voted out in 2015 said the government condones corruption so much that organized stealing of crude oil has become a thriving business.
The APC national president said as Nigeria is today free of Ebola, the country will be free of PDP by February 14, 2015.
“We in the APC believe that Nigeria can be great again, if competent leadership and a determined followership work together,” he said.
Read full address below:
My dear compatriots, I welcome you to this Extraordinary National Convention of our great party the main purpose of which is to approve proposed amendments to our party’s constitution. We had wanted to present and adopt our 2015 Election Manifesto today, however after very careful deliberation it was agreed that we choose the occasion of our mega rally in the South East for the presentation and adoption.
But first, let me say unequivocally that these are very trying times for our country. The times become even more challenging as the 2015 elections approach. Therefore, we all owe it a duty to our country, a duty to ourselves and a duty to the generations of Nigerians yet unborn to put our country first, and put it back on the path of development and the path of greatness.
Let me encapsulate what I have said in a quote by Theodore Roosevelt, the 26th President of the United States: “This country will not be a good place for any of us to live in, unless we make it a good place for all of us to live in.”
But how can we make our dear country, Nigeria, a good place for all of us to live in when a few desperate politicians are exploiting all the nation’s fault lines? Today, our people are more divided along ethnic and religious lines than at any other time in her history. Just because they want to win elections at all cost, they have pitched Christians against Muslims, Southerners against Northerners, and one ethnic group against the other.
In particular, the use of religion to divide our people portends great danger. No nation has ever developed using religion as a divisive or campaign tool. And ours will not be different. The problems we face, be it insecurity, corruption, poverty, lack of infrastructure or economic growth without development, will not be solved by a religionist but by patriotic and competent leadership.
What our long-suffering people want to know is who will provide them with security, improved welfare, uninterrupted power supply, jobs, modern health care, world class education and modern infrastructure, just to name a few.
Now, the only reason the PDP has resorted to dangerous, divisive politics is because they have nothing to showcase to Nigerians to convince them to return the PDP to power at the centre come next year.
In all spheres of life, Nigeria is worse off today than it was in 1999, when the PDP first assumed office. In the area of security and welfare of the citizenry, the main reason for the existence of any government, the scorecard of the PDP-controlled Federal Government is zero. More Nigerians have died needlessly between 1999 and now than at any other time in the country’s history, minus during the unfortunate civil war of 1967 to 1970. By President Jonathan’s own admission, over 12,000 people have been killed by Boko Haram alone! Yet the government has no clue as to how to end the killings, not minding that the sponsors of terrorists called Boko Haram are known to the President and he is known to them.
In the area of corruption, Nigeria has never had it so bad! Organized stealing of our crude oil has become a thriving business, and corruption has never been so institutionalized. Where do we start?
There is also impunity, unprecedented impunity, which has in turn fuelled unparalleled lawlessness. Now, they simply deploy security personnel to lock up the courts just to prevent justice from being served. They organize to beat up judges just to have their way. Litigants and lawyers are fair game in their misplaced strategy to pervert the course of justice. To them, the doctrine of the separation of powers is a mere fancy. They don’t give a damn. In their perverted reasoning, might is right! Their violation of this doctrine flies in the face of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. This undemocratic encroachment and erosion portend great danger for our nation and constitute a threat to our democracy. But they don’t really give a damn.
Neither do they give a damn about the future of our youths. In December 2013, the National Bureau of Statistics said 54% of Nigerian youths were unemployed in 2012. There is no doubt that, based on what we see daily, that number has risen to as high as 70 per cent. Yet, this government claims to have created 1.7 million jobs in 2013 alone, and 500,000 jobs in the first half of this year. These are phantom jobs, created only in the fertile imagination of a non-performing and clueless government. There is no better evidence of these phantom jobs than the unfortunate case of our youths dying in job stampedes, after they have been extorted by the same government that failed them. But they don’t give a damn.
The federal government said the GDP growth in the first three quarters of 2013 stood at 6.56 per cent, 6.18 per cent and 6.81 per cent respectively. GDP is one of the indicators used for measuring the health of the economy, meaning that its growth indicates a healthy economy. Except that this healthy economy of the PDP’s imagination never creates jobs, never brings food to the table, never makes life more abundant for the citizenry and never gets the country out of the woods. This government has redefined economic growth to mean lack of development, lack of jobs, decaying infrastructure and a pauperized nation. But they don’t really give a damn.
Now, our party, the APC, truly cares, we care about our citizens. We care about our youths. We care about our elderly. We are ready to restore hope to our traumatized people. We are programmed to return Nigeria to the path of growth and development, create jobs, modernize infrastructure and make life more abundant for our people.
For those who say there is no difference between us the the other party simply tell them that wherever APC is in government, services run efficiently and lives are saved. Take for instance the success stories of the governments of Lagos and Rivers states that successfully halted the outbreak of Ebola that could have devastated the entire country.
Through strong management and coordination of services from the tracking and quarantining of those who had come in contact with Ebola victims to the sealing of medical facilities, the Ebola epidemic was contained and the many lives that would have been lost without such firm, timely and decisive actions were saved.
The secret of the success of the two APC states in handling of the Ebola crisis was majorly because the two governments had learnt lessons from the outbreak of the virus in other countries and had already put in place emergency planning and preventive measures to tackle the outbreak. This involved but was not limited to stockpiling of medical equipment such as Personal Preventive Equipment (PPEs) training doctors and nurses and setting up treatment centers to test and isolate patients.
Therefore with the first reported case of Ebola outbreaks these two APC governments swung into action quickly identifying people who had had contacts with Ebola victims – including door-to-door searches, isolating, testing and treating any such suspects.
However the real heroes of the Ebola crisis are the brave medical personnel who were on the frontline who risked and in some cases gave their lives to protect others. We salute them. meanwhile we must not forget that the success recorded in the two APC states was only possible because both state governments had previously in their visionary manners invested in local health infrastructure including building networks of clinics and hospitals, recruiting and training medical personnel.
Nigeria is today free of Ebola and by God’s grace it will be free of PDP by February 14, 2015.
We in the APC believe that Nigeria can be great again, if competent leadership and a determined followership work together. Adapting what former US President Bill Clinton said about his country, we say there is nothing wrong with Nigeria that cannot be cured by what is right with Nigeria. Indeed, our country, Nigeria, can be great again.
I thank you for listening.
Chief John Odigie Oyegun
All Progressives Congress (APC)
Abuja. Oct 29, 2014.