A New Nigeria
Being a Speech Delivered by Femi Gbajabiamila, (Leader of Opposition, House of Representatives) at the APC National Summit on March 6 th , 2014 at Transcorp Hilton Hotel, Abuja
Ladies and Gentlemen, in speaking of 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 MallamElRufai 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.
Leader of the Opposition
House of Representatives