Kano State Governor, Rabiu Kwankwaso Thursday expressed the hope that more governors will join the All Progressives Congress,APC.
Speaking at the National Summit of APC to unveil the party’s manifesto ,Kwankwaso said the emergency party was a blessing to him .The Kano state governor also said he was delighted to be associated with the leaders of the party and said hopefully “very soon many governors are going to join us”
Fifteen governors of APC also addressed the gathering while Borno State Governor Kashim Shettima was represented by his deputy who also spoke.GovernorAliyu Wamakko of Sokoto urged the party to borrow a leaf from Sokoto State where every child irrespective of state o origin goes to school without paying fees.Murtala Nyako lambasted PDP as a party where 16 is greater than 19 ;and where 5 is greater than 25.Amaechi among others debunked PDP’s attempt to label APC as a Muslim party.
The party’s manifesto places emphasis on the future of the youth and the need to provide gainful employment among others.
But the Keynote Speaker, Dr Oby Ezekwesili urged the leaders of the party not to get carried away by the change in acronym.She cautioned that the elites are clearly out of sync with the masses .She slammed the recent celebration of centenary awards while the nation ought to be mourning the killing of students by Boko Haram.
Former Vice President Atiku Abubakar cautioned Nigerians about the possibility of a civilian dictatorship if nothing was done to defeat PDP at the 2015 polls.
Lagos State Governor Batunde Fashola who set the tone for the discussion in his opening address said “This is a historic day not only for the APC but also for our nation.
The work we begin today is the work that will build a New Nigeria.
“A future when there are jobs for everyone who wants to work;
“A future without leaders who deprive the very families they are supposed to protect;
“A future of peace and stability;
“A future when Nigeria can feed its families;
“A future when a Nigerian education is as good as any education in the world:
“A future when the high prices of food and fuel don’t undermine every family’s quality of life –
This is the future that we start to build here, today.
This is why we have come from all parts of the nation.
From the Northwest and Southeast, from the North Central and the South South, from the Northeast and Southwest…
We have come from all regions of our great nation to show our unity, to show our love for our country, to show our commitment to each other and to building A New Nigeria.
And while we come together today as APC Members, to support the Mission, Principles and Work of the APC, we come together first and foremost as Nigerians.
The future we envision, the future we will build together, it is not just for one political party; it is not just for one region; it is not just for one community, it is for all Nigerians.
And that future is a future of change.
Our nation longs for change and the APC is committed to leading a Movement for Change.
Look no further than how the Party was formed; we in this room are the products of the first ever merger of political parties in Nigerian history and many of those who devised and directed that merger will talk with us today. Telling us how it happened and what it will mean for the nation.
Today we will hear what brought our party together.
Have no doubt, the APC is something completely new in Nigerian Politics and we will do things differently than they’ve ever been done before.
We’re just not going to talk about change; we’re going to embody change.
So today, not only will we get a look at our “Roadmap to a New Nigeria” in the afternoon, but this morning, we will start something maybe no other political party has ever done for a long time – we’ll present a Code of Ethics – a set of guiding principles that will be our common bond together and to the nation; a set of values that will direct our activities and actions.
If our values and our principles are shared it will be easy to work together to implement our roadmap for Change and a New Nigeria.
The APC is a home for all Nigerians.
It’s already happening. The turnout for membership registration exceeded even the largest projections. It was a turnout of Nigerians of diverse backgrounds all across the country who shared a belief in the need for change…
It was a turnout of Nigerians who shared a belief that together we can build a New Nigeria.
It was a turnout of people who have had enough of division in our country. People tired of the politicians who turn one group against another for their own political gain. We’ve all seen it. We all know how it works. We all know how demeaning it is to our nation.
Look around our country, what has division brought us? Has it brought us peace? Has it brought us prosperity? Has it brought the future we’ve wanted for our family, for our children.
No, it hasn’t.
We must come together. We must work together. We must live in peace together. We must choose unity.
And today, we declare that, we make it clear to the nation.
The APC chooses Unity.
This room is a living testament to that choice and that commitment.
This room is a celebration of the cultural diversity that gives our nation such great promise.
And while we embrace and honor those differences, what brings us together today is what we all hold in common…
We are tied together by what we believe:
“We believe our nation must be economically and socially vibrant
“We believe our nation must be peaceful, just and secure
“We believe that corruption must no longer be tolerated in any corner of our nation, not in political life and not in our business or civic affairs
“We believe in investing in our people, because they are the most important assets of our Nation
“We believe every person deserves work that enables them to provide for their families, to contribute to the community and to have a favorable, quality of life.
This is what we believe.
This is what brings us together.
This is our mission, the mission of our party; the mission of our nation.
No party in more than fifteen years has done what we’ll do today. Publicly, and most importantly, together as a party, tell Nigeria what we believe in a meeting, not in a rally, not in the middle of a political campaign.
But systematically and transparently – we want people to know what we stand for, we want people to know about the change we are offering; we want people to join us in building a New Nigeria.
A nation of progress, a nation of hope, a nation of opportunity.
“A nation together.
“36 States but One Nigeria;
“290 Ethnic Groups but One Nigeria;
521 Languages but One Nigeria.
“The new nation we want, the New Nigeria of our dreams. It is only possible through unity.
“It is only possible if we value each and every person and hold tight every child as our greatest asset.
“It is only possible if we respect every person’s choice of faith.
“It is only possible if we commit ourselves to one rule of law for everyone, if we commit ourselves to fairness and opportunity for all, if we commit ourselves to a strong system of government at the federal, state and local levels.
It is only possible if we bridge our inequalities and if we put our nation back to work.
There cannot be true freedom when there are not enough jobs.
There cannot be shared opportunity when there are not enough jobs.
There cannot be peace and justice when there are not enough jobs.
These are the promises we must make to each other, the promises we must make to our brothers and sisters across our nation from Sokoto to Rivers, from Borno to Oyo, from Adamawa to Lagos.
These are the commitments that forge our mutual bond; these are our code of ethics.
When times are tough, when our pathway becomes hard to navigate, when forces block our way forward, when challenges stand in the way of our vision, when hope seems just outside our grip, this set of principles must guide our path.
When people ask us, who we are.
When people ask us, what we believe.
When people ask us, what makes the APC different.
We will tell them. We have a Code of Ethics.
We will tell them we have a Roadmap to the Future.
We will tell them that Nigeria is a great nation that has been misdirected.
We will tell them that no nation, no people are more hardworking but that we need jobs.
We will tell them that our youth are ready to do great things, to make history, to lead our nation, to lead Africa, but they need opportunity.
We will tell them that when we come together, celebrate our diversity, accept each other and stand together as One Nigeria, there is nothing we cannot achieve.
We will tell them the APC is ready to build a New Nigeria.
What we’re talking about today is our future.
We can accept the Nigeria we have or we can build a new Nigeria.
We can accept a stagnant, jobless economy or we can build a new Nigeria.
We can accept a Government that cannot account to us or we can change it and build a new Nigeria.
And let there be no doubt about the link between corruption and jobs. If we had a Government that is serious about fighting corruption, there would be financial resources to create jobs. Instead of stopping this corruption, this government pardons those convicted of corruption and removes those who point out corruption.
Corruption has drained our national strength and we need change.
We’re here today because we’ve all made our choice.
We’ve chosen a new Nigeria.
Over the next year, let’s make sure the nation joins us and makes the same choice.
The whole of Africa is waiting for us to play our leadership role and the rest of the world is watching.
The APC is not going to abdicate that responsibility.
This is going to be an exciting and illuminating day together.
It is the day that heralds the beginning of our journey to a new agenda.
And let me thank in advance our esteemed speakers and panelists as well as the long list of skilled, capable contributors whose time and effort made this day possible.
Also, allow me to also acknowledge our National leaders who are with us today – Major General MohammaduBuhari, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, OgbonnayaOnu and Chief BisiAkande; members of the Interim National Executive Committee; our Governors and especially our members of the Party’s Strategy Committee: HE Chief John Odigie-Oyegun, HE GarbaMuhammedGadi, HE AbdulazeezAbubakarYari, Senator OsitaIzunaso, Mallam Nasir El-Rufai, Senator BunmiAdetunmbi, Hon. Pally Iriase, HajiaHadizaBala-Usman, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, Mr. Jimi Lawal, Alhaji Nasir Alikoki and the young man who managed our committee’s secretariat, Mr. Terfa Tilley-Gyado.
Our party owes them a huge debt of gratitude for their incredible work on both the Code of Ethics and the Roadmap to a New Nigeria.
“My fellow delegates, together, we will build a New Nigeria.
Femi Gbajabiamila,who spoke on a new Nigeria said in seeking a “New Nigeria we must understand that we do not speak of an idea, we speak of an ideal.
“An ideal that secures for Nigerians a life more abundant.
“But for us to reach that ideal, we must first of all take back the old to create a new. We must first embrace change and then go out and effect it through the ballot box. This process of newness is found not just in politics but is grounded in the spiritual. It is embedded in all religions and is quranic as it is biblical.
It is only after effecting this change, that we can all go to the mountain top and declare with one voice to the little child in the inner city of Lagos whose future seems bleak, or the father in Auchi who ponders everyday on where he will get the next meal for his family, or the policeman who because of the cost of living and a poor salary lays ambush on an unsuspecting motorist for a 20 naira bribe, or the frail old woman in Yobe petrified in anticipation of the next bomb blast that may wipe out her whole family, or the oppressed and restless youth of the Niger Delta who feels cheated of his natural resource by the system, or the young boy from Abeokuta who wastes away in a foreign land in search of pastures greener and because his country cannot provide him with good education or employment. Or the poor student whose eyes have been imperiled because he is forced to study under dim candle lights due to lack of electricity. It is only after effecting this change and creating a New Nigeria that we can say to these people and cry out from the mountain top OLD THINGS HAVE PASSED AWAY, ALL THINGS HAVE BECOME NEW.
In APC, we speak of a New Nigeria where our God given human and natural resources are fully harnessed for the greater good.Everytime 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”.
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.
We propose a New Nigeria where whistleblowers will be protected as is done world over and corrupt officials will be served their just dessert.
Ladies and gentlemen we speak of a New Nigeria where no one is a second class citizen and where we will all be our brother’s keepers and though tribe and tongue may differ, in brotherhood we will stand.
Again to do this we must take the old and almost destroyed Nigeria from those who for 16years have ravaged and scavenged our country.
We must take our country back from rent seekers and extortionists.Apologies to Mallam ElRufai for this seeming surreptitious plagiarism, but we must take our country back from accidental public servants who do not give a damn and hand it over to those who care and are prepared and ready for the job.
We must rescue our country from leaches and parasites, from vagabonds in power and from barbarians at the gate.
Let us be clear this roadmap that seeks to birth a New Nigeria is beyond the roadmap of a political Party because APC is more than a political Party as its recent registration exercise attests to. It is a movement, a mass movement and a rainbow coalition of the North, South, East and West. Of Christians and Moslems, of the young and the old, men and women, able and disabled. A pan-Nigeria movement whose time has come. This roadmap therefore belongs to all Nigerians and I encourage you take ownership of it for embedded in it is the true Nigerian spirit, long suppressed.
This movement for a New Nigeria crosses ethnic barriers, a cross border movement from the sleepy mountains of Plateau to the creeks of the Niger Delta. It is a movement for A Permanent Cure, which is my own definition for the acronym APC.
The New Nigeria that we seek by way of this roadmap should be taken as our contract with Nigeria. We have no intention of breaching that contract.
It was John F Kennedy who said “ask not what your country can do for you but what you can do for your country”. When he said that, it was with the historical knowledge that America had already done so much for its people and it was now the turn of the people to do for their country.
Sadly in today’s Nigeria the reverse is the case and most feel and rightly so that the country has done little or nothing for them. We seek a New Nigeria where in the not too distant future we can in good conscience give the same injunction as John F Kennedy did, to the people of our own country.
Like our revered Chinua Achebe said once upon a time “there was a country”, we agree but now we say in 2015, “there will again be a country”
“Ladies and Gentlemen, we must reach for the skies this is our time, this is our moment, Let us seize it.
The occasion was attended by leaders of the party including Bola Tinubu,Muhammadu Buhari,Nasir el Rufai,Atiku Abubakar,chief Audu Ogbeh among others who also addressed the audience.