The Generational Change to Renew Nigeria
Protocols: I want to begin, in gratitude, to the Almighty God. May his blessings continue to be with our members, the delegates here and their families and with all Nigerians.
I am excited to be back in Lagos, the wonderful city where I started my public service career that spanned about 26 years today. This is also the city where I served the nation as a young university graduate for my national youth service programme. It is a joyful experience for me therefore that, it is in this welcoming city, that this great party has asked me to fly its presidential banner. Thank you Lagos.
Brothers and sisters, we have been offered the extraordinary civic opportunity to determine the future of our country; and today, we have publicly and democratically adopted the presidential candidate of our party, the Action Congress of Nigeria, and by the grace of the Almighty, the next president of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
I humbly accept this challenge with an enormous sense of responsibility, knowing full well that the coming elections in April are perhaps the most important in the half-century history of our nation. The elections will determine whether Nigeria settles into the high road of progress or race dangerously towards economic decay and failure.
The People’s Democratic Party [PDP] has been in government for a little over a decade, but our people have gained nothing for it. Naturally, Nigerians feel angry and cheated. Our people are justifiably disappointed, especially when you realize that the PDP administration has earned far more money than any administration in the history of our country. Understandably, the question majority of Nigerians are asking is: what positive value has this PDP legacy brought to our lives? Of course, the answer is none!
Dear members of our great party, it all boils down to the values that shape growth and development in a community. Though the three transformative values of competence, integrity, and vision, always help to define true leadership, and as we all know, they are also the bedrock upon which we can make progress as a nation, but the truth is that these values are painfully in short supply today.
Happily these are the values we bring to the table; to restore the faith of ordinary Nigerians in our country; in a government that truly cares for their welfare; that exerts itself to meet their daily needs; and one that is ready to end PDP’s history of failed governance.
A lot has been said about change, and while change is the template for the movement into the future, my brothers and sisters, the valid password for that change must be a generational one. Therefore, the change we speak about is one that accurately interprets where we currently find ourselves in the global scheme of things, and how we locate the great future ahead of us. That change, to be meaningful, must be total and far reaching at all levels of governance. But the change must also come in how we grapple with the burning question of the day, because history has shown that, in the abundance of our spirit, Nigerians can rally round purposeful goals and visions to defeat apathy and failure.
Brothers and sisters, let us look back a little, in appreciation to see how far we have come: in that cold moment of our national discord, during the civil war, we came together to forge a new beginning; the same spirit was evident when we mustered the will and sacrifice to defeat military dictatorship, and restore democracy. Any time we come together, no force, negative and retrogressive as they come, can defeat Nigeria. We can do it again.
Fellow compatriots, , and a credible anti-corruption programme as state priorities.
Our party and my team have thought carefully about how to overcome the nation’s present challenges, and we have worked out properly reflected policies to speak to these daunting problems. We will urgently tackle the growing feeling of insecurity all over the country. We will create new paying jobs. The power sector will be overhauled to generate regular and affordable electricity. The health and education sectors will be given a new lease of life. Housing and healthcare will be honestly and vigorously addressed. But above all, yes, above all, we will wage an unrelenting war against poverty in this country. The welfare of the ordinary people of Nigeria will be at the heart of all our efforts as a government.
To the youths who constitute the majority of our nation, today I call on you to defeat the negative value of apathy that has kept you down. Let us grab this wonderful opportunity of a new beginning. I say to you, with all sense of seriousness, that greatness is within reach, let us go for it, let us march together. A new Nigeria is possible, and the time is now! Our fathers, like the generation before them, have done their best. We thank them for their sacrifices and their contributions to the making of our nation. Young men and women across our nation, and in the Diaspora, the ball is now in our court; it is a challenge to us, and we dare not fail.
Our party is the party of progress, and undoubtedly, Nigeria’s only party of social transformation. No wonder we have become the fountain from which those that thirst for a pathway to the future are finding nourishment. If you like what is happening in Lagos, Ekiti, Edo, and Osun States, imagine what an A.C.N federal administration will even deliver to us.
But we cannot build castles in the air. It will not be easy, we will have to roll our sleeves and work hard. Today, as we leave this historic sports centre of Onikan, I ask for your support, sacrifice and understanding. This time, it will be different because we will be sincere, direct, prudent, truthful, and most especially, we will be accountable.
In the silent cries of the poor and the aged; the muted pains of our widows; for the teeming army of the under-privileged and the voiceless; for the endless dry days of the toiling man and woman; and for the majority of honest and proud Nigerians, the hunger is real that we need a leader that will help create the Nigeria of our great dreams. We can no longer leave the destiny of our land in the hands of those who have failed us time and again.
On behalf of the hundreds of thousands of young, committed, energetic, and selfless volunteers under the banner of Team Ribadu, I earnestly thank everyone who supported this process for their faith in this historic mission of a generational change. We come from a great tradition of values and character. We make the hallowed pledge today that we shall work diligently never to betray your trust, and your confidence.
As I thank you all, please let us also understand that by making this choice today, we have voted against the scourge of corruption, against disunity, against religious and ethnic conflicts, and against bad governance.
I congratulate our great party and the government of Lagos State for a successful convention. I thank my fellow contestants in this race for their magnanimity and urge them, as true party faithfuls, to lend their support as we seek to dislodge the PDP from power in April, in the interest of the masses of our nation.
My brothers and sisters, great members of the A.C.N., the very important work to make Nigeria work has begun; fellow compatriots, a New Nigeria is Possible.
Thank you all, God Bless our great Nation.