Eternal Vigilance is the Price of Liberty ; By Tunde Bakare
Saints and strangers, Gentlemen of the Press. It gives me great pleasure once again to stand before you and sound the alarm as we have always done when we foresee danger. It was Thomas Jefferson , the 3 rd American President, who spoke the immortal words: 'Eternal Vigilance Is The Price Of Liberty.' When we spearheaded
the March to Save Nigeria on the 12 th of January, 2010, we set a clear agenda for the Save Nigeria Group for which, by the Grace of God, I am the Convener. The agenda includes:
i. De-freezing social mobility in our nation;
ii. Returning the voices of voiceless;
iii. Unblocking the minds of our people;
iv. Restoring sovereignty to the people of our land.
The main objective of this agenda is to ensure that the worst of us will not continue to ruin our country under the pretext of ruling and running it, while the best, the brightest, the fittest, and the most competent are side tracked so that the rest of us will remain marginalized. We knew from the onset that only an awakened citizenry can make this happen.
Today, some seven (7) months after our first March and subsequent Marches, Rallies and Summits, our people have embraced the Save Nigeria Group Agenda.
My assignment this morning is to alert the nation that the enemies of our national progress are at work again. From time to time they come up with new evil schemes that would make even the shameless blush:
1. First it was a power vacuum which we rightly labeled 'Power Hijack'. During this period, the Sixty-four Billion Naira (N64bn) contract for a four (4) kilometer runway was awarded, and it would have been executed if Nigerians had remained silent;
2. Then came the supremacy contest between the Senate and the House of Representatives during the constitutional amendment review exercise at the cost of Five Billion Naira (N5bn) to the nation;
3. The current diversion is the orchestrated disagreement over Presidential Assent to the amended constitution.
You may be wondering where the danger is in this new scheme (a new trick from the same old bag), and this is it: The INEC has cited this stalemate as the basis for not releasing the guidelines for the 2011 polls .
1. The Nigerian Bar Association has promised to challenge this in court, but we call on the Attorney General of the Federation to immediately carry out his statutory duty by approaching the Supreme Court for the interpretation of the Constitution so as to allow INEC do its work;
2. With the necessary funds approved, INEC must swing into action to provide a credible Voters' Register essential for free, fair, and credible elections;
3. Beyond the Electoral Register, INEC must ensure that it adopts the Modified Open-Secret Ballot for the 2011 Elections and beyond. This system involves:
i. Accreditation of all registered voters at a designated time nationwide;
ii. All accredited voters must then return simultaneously at a fixed time to all the 1,200 polling booths to line up and take their ballot paper which they will cast in secret but dump in the box in the open;
iii. At the close of ballots, counting is done on the spot and results announced on the spot.
This voting system eliminates multiple voting as no voter can be at two polling booths at the same time. This voting system also wipes out unnecessary litigations as the outcome is transparent. Nigerians from all walks of life must rise and demand this as the very irreducible minimum for free, fair, credible, and peaceful elections.
Let me reiterate our watchword for this year of High Visibility and Maximum Impact : 'A goldfish has no hiding place'. Under normal circumstances, I would not have responded to an alleged suspension of myself and two others by non-members of the Save Nigeria Group. But because I am answerable to God and to my constituency as well as to all the Forces of Positive Change in our nation, I will in the tradition of Scriptures give my answer to the lying propaganda going on. Out of the mouth of two or three witnesses a truth is established':
· Proverbs 26:4-5 (NKJV):
4 Do not answer a fool according to his folly, Lest you also be like him.
5 Answer a fool according to his folly, Lest he be wise in his own eyes.
· Proverbs 27:22 (NKJV):
Though you grind a fool in a mortar with a pestle along with crushed grain, Yet his foolishness will not depart from him.
· Job 11:12 (NKJV):
For an empty-headed man will be wise, When a wild donkey's colt is born a man.
1. Save Nigeria Group is not a civil society. It is a political organization galvanizing our citizens for the purpose of good governance in our land;
2. As a result of the aforementioned, we are bound to engage in interface with all political parties and politicians of repute with a view to finding lasting solutions to our problems by re-engineering the socio-economic and political landscape of our nation;
3. This we have done with absolute integrity and credibility: we have never solicited money from any political party or politician for our activities, talk less of being running mates to any presidential aspirant as there are no candidates before Party Primaries;
4. a) SNG is not a political party but members are free to engage in partisan politics outside of SNG;
b) The account for the organization was formally opened on April 10, 2010 with WEMA Bank, Ikeja as we commissioned our Secretariat, and up till date, not a penny has been withdrawn from that account;
5. On the 3 rd of May, 2010, we set out the procedure for the Membership of SNG:
- Individuals to fill membership form.
- Corporate Bodies to write to the SNG Secretariat signifying their intention to be members.
6. Until now, none of the people you read about in the papers have joined the organization though they claimed to be members and though they were present and fully participated in the meeting of 3 rd of May, 2010.
In closing, I will read to you a Compass Newspaper employees' text to me and my reply which I sent promptly to them and forwarded to key people including the perpetrators of this evil campaign:
Compass : Sir, I want your reaction to the allegation that you have been suspended alongside Mr. Odumakin for using the SNG for pecuniary gains. Your reaction. Regards. Victor Oriola. Compass.
Tunde Bakare : Thanks a million for getting in touch to know our side of the story. It is a lie from the pit of hell fabricated and fed to the public by the attack dogs of men without conscience pretending to have one. Please ask them to substantiate their falsehood. Not a single person of these charlatans are members of the SNG, though they claimed to be. No one in the SNG had at anytime solicited any dime from any political party or politician within or outside of Nigeria. SNG is not a political party but a seriously focused political organisation with a clear vision and mandate that are beyond the reach of political jobbers who fight imaginary battles with weapons of suspicion and character assassination of credible men and women, young and old behind the SNG Vision. We will not dignify these uncultured low-life opportunists with a comment. Many thanks. Tunde Bakare. Convener, SNG.
I was also greatly encouraged by a text I received from one of the SNG's employees:
The Comical Suspension by 'SNG' seems to me like attendees of a naming ceremony suspending the parents of the Child for not carrying them along in raising the child. Don't be distracted, Sir!
In conclusion, there is no cause for alarm. Integrity remains our body guard. That is the reason people embrace the SNG brand and none of those who believe in our cause will be disappointed.
God bless you, God bless the SNG and God bless the Federal Republic of Nigeria.