Candidate Buhari Weeps Profusely Over Nigeria's Uncertain Future

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SAN FRANCISCO, April 13, (THEWILL) – The Presidential candidate of the Congress for Progressive Change (CPC), General Muhammadu Buhari wept profusely and wiped tears from his cheeks intermittently, as he delivered an emotion-filled speech centred on Nigeria’s bleak and uncertain future, in an address he said would be his last as a Presidential candidate.

The venue was the International Conference Centre in Abuja where the former Military Head of State and Presidential candidate, members of the CPC and its supporters had gathered to bring to a formal closure the Presidential campaign of the party.

Supported by his Vice presidential candidate, Pastor Tunde Bakare, former Minister of the Federal Capital Territory, Mallam Nasir El-Rufai, former Secretary of the Arewa Consultative Forum, ACF, Colonel Hameed Ali (rtd.) amongst other, the 69 years old Buhari struggled for words amidst emotions as he spoke on poverty, the hopelessness of the Nigerian citizen and her future, plus the poor state of the nation.

In his address titled; “Creating Hope for the Future”, the emotion-filled audience listened as Buhari blamed the ruling Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) for its failure in solving Nigeria’s fundamental problems after occupying the seat of power at the centre for 12 years.

“Our tour across the country, though not the first in my military and political career of service to the nation has further shown me the enormity of the problems facing our people that need urgent and clinical solution if the country is not to collapse before our very eyes. There are social, infrastructural and environmental ills that have combined to inflict intolerable hardship on our people. Any government which cannot solve the fundamental problem for the citizens is a failure, and with all due respect, the PDP in the last 12 years has aggravated the problem,” Buhari stated.

THEWILL reproduces General Muhammadu Buhari’s speech unedited below:

“Creating Hope for the Future
It is my pleasure to welcome all of you to this rally to conclude and round up the tours and activities of the presidential campaign of the Congress for Progressive Change, CPC. Today is exactly 18 weeks since I declared my intention to contest the presidential election; and I must say it has been a very memorable period of time for me. As always, being on the campaign trail has been for all of us a most educating experience.

For me this campaign is doubly significant. First, because it is an election in which more clearly and more unambiguously than the previous two in 2003 and 2007, our victory is assured, as evidenced by the unprecedented turnout by the people and spontaneous popular acclaim all over the country.

And, second, because this campaign is the third and last one for me; since, after it, I will not present myself again for election into the office of the president.

It has been hectic and tiring but it has been quite rewarding. We have gone and toured and seen the country at close quarters again, and met people in all the nooks and corners of Nigeria, and have had time to appreciate the multiplicity of problems that have arisen to compound the litany of problems created or made worse by the incompetence of the People’s Democratic Party, PDP, government.

During these tours across the country, I have met parents and husbands who have watched helplessly as their children and wives die prematurely simply because of a poor health care delivery system.

As a Nigerian, I already know as of fact that for a vast majority of our people electricity and portable water remain unavailable and unaffordable.

I have been told of how uncountable numbers of children drop out of schools because their parents cannot afford to pay their school fees and how many more go without school all together.

I have met university graduates and other school leavers roaming the streets without jobs. I have seen a large number of our youths who have gone wayward, left their homes, turned to thuggery, crime and drugs. I have been told heart-breaking stories of how so many of our daughters and sisters are forced by social difficulties to stray just to earn the extra kobo to help in the upkeep of their households, and parents and relatives are forced by the circumstances to look the other way.

I have met many victims of crimes and criminals who carry their burdens without hope of ever getting justice from the system. I have met and sympathized with many people grieving over the death or deformity of their loved ones in avoidable road accidents simply because of the dilapidated state of the nation’s infrastructures.

I have seen the painful and unforgettable look of dejection and despondency on the faces of Nigerians who live practically from hand to mouth without hope of respite in the near and foreseeable future. I have also seen contempt on the faces of a large number of civil servants, teachers, journalists, nurses, judges, judicial staff, soldiers, policemen, company laborers, and others who served the nation creditably and honestly yet cannot afford decent and respectable lives before or after retirement.

We have seen how the systematic raping and pillaging of Nigeria’s economy without so much as a thought for due process or care for tomorrow has turned a potentially rich and great nation into an international basket case; and how all its golden opportunities have been turned into intractable problems; and how its resilient people have been turned into beggars, criminals and human traffickers. And in all this you have been the long-suffering victims.

Gratitude to the Nation
That is why I wish to seize this opportunity to express my gratitude to you, the people of this country for your constancy in keeping faith with the nation despite all these problems; and I must, especially, thank you most warmly for your unprecedented, massive show of support to our cause, as expressed by your constant presence on the scene.

This demonstration of support and your determination to midwife and support change are a cause of concern for the enemies of democracy, progress and national unity. And I must also thank you for answering our call to you to register enmasse for the election. I am very glad to say that you have done this. Now, you must take matters to their logical conclusion.

You have persevered during the accreditation process and you have waited patiently to cast your votes. That is good but, for our circumstance, it is not good enough. You must maintain your presence during the counting and collating of the votes and the announcement of the results. Because you haven’t done this in all cases, they have already started turning your victories into defeats. The massive rigging that took place last Saturday is unacceptable; and you must not allow a repeat performance next Saturday.

Don’t slacken on your vigilance, because the price of freedom is still eternal vigilance, and nowhere is this true more than in the attempt to entrench a democratic culture and protect democratic institutions. Now, you must first accept that this is a battle for your freedom, and only you can fight it.

We can only give you the leadership but you must be ready to fight it. We are ready if you are. In the end we must all in unison send the PDP government packing by giving it a punch on the mouth.

L-R: Pastor Tunde Bakare, General Muhammadu Buhari and Mallam Nasir El-rufai.

Litany of Problems
Since December 9, 2010, when I declared my intention to run for the presidency, I have been involved in a series of consultations, the establishment of party structures and offices, and a nationwide campaign tour. My tour across the country, though not the first in my military and political carrier of service to the nation, has further showed me the enormity of the problems facing our people that need urgent and clinical solution if the country is not to collapse before our very eyes. These are social, infrastructural and environmental ills that have combined to inflict intolerable hardship on our people.

We saw these problems in 2003 and 2007; not only are they still very much around, they are, in fact, getting worse by the day.

From the desert encroachment in Katsina, my home state in the North, the soil erosion in Enugu in the East, the environmental pollution in Bayelsa, the home state of the president in the Niger Delta, to the incursion on the Lagos landscape by the ocean in the South, the ecological challenges across the country remain a source of fear for our people.

My fellow citizens, this is the horrific reality of life in our country today. And these are a mere fraction of the numerous difficulties, agonies and frustrations being daily faced by the vast majority of our people. These are fundamental problems of survival; their fangs have absolutely no regard for ethnicity, religion or region.

They are problems that we face daily as individual human beings and they are not the problems of the North or the South, Muslims or Christians—they are Nigeria’s problems.

Solving these problems is the main responsibility of government. Any government that cannot solve these problems for its citizens is a worthless government.

With all due respect, the PDP government in the country has not just failed to solve these problems but over the past 12 years it has just aggravated them. If we do not tackle these issues squarely and urgently, then we ran the risk of becoming a failed state.

General Buhari is awarded 'Noble Father of Nigerian Youth' by the Nigerian Youth Organisation (NYO). NYO Chairman, Ebenezer Oyetakin presents the award to the candidate.

Mission in Government
My primary mission in the service of Nigeria as president is to provide the requisite leadership for the actualization of our collective vision—by example, by action and by sacrifice. These for me shall remain articles of faith in my conduct as a public servant. To actualize this vision and achieve the mission, I will be guided by the following three principles: creating opportunity for all Nigerians, demanding responsibility from all Nigerians, and forging a strong and virile communal spirit among all Nigerians.

This is a vision that should draw us together as a people and not pull us apart as enemies; a vision that will improve leadership and not seek to deify leaders; a vision that will enrich the system and not steal from the country and impoverish it; a vision that will develop our potentials and not destroy us as a people. This is my vision for Nigeria. I believe it is a vision whose time has come. We must, therefore, as a people, work hard to create this new Nigeria of our dream.

Fellow patriots, the seed of our future is in our today. As we prepare to enter into the second decade of the new millennium, more and more of our people will be looking up to the leadership for solutions to the problems of their daily lives. These are demands we must strive hard to meet. I joined politics and particularly this presidential race to respond to this need.

I am armed with a clear vision, firm beliefs and principles, and with appropriate policy options that will appraise and tackle issues, point the way forward, mobilize the people to attain economic growth for our country. With all due humility, I believe I have something to offer our people.

There is no doubt that every one of us has a future ahead of him; yet only a precious few are doing everything to make it great. At the same time, the nation has a great future but many are doing everything to mar that future and bring the nation to its knees. Greatness for a nation will never be achieved by creating and coining platitudes and singing them, or by constant, uncreative references to its past, or by telling lies about its future, or by doing nothing about its present situation.

Greatness will only be achieved by the vision that brings conscious planning and unrelenting hard work together.

Of course, we cannot achieve these goals without clear transparency and full accountability on the part of all government functionaries. We shall endeavour to be transparent and run the affairs of government with demonstrable openness. We shall also strengthen the financial regulatory mechanism and strictly comply with all laid down procedures and processes in the execution of all government business.

While we will strive to work closely with all anti-corruption agencies, we are however going to lead by example. We will endeavor to build and promote honesty in our polity, so that public property is treated as a sacred trust in our care for which we will be held accountable.

Focus of Governance
The emphasis of our government will be on the following five areas: ensuring security of life and property, in which a CPC government will seek the disarmament of all criminal gangs in the nation and securing the entire polity; raising the standard of education and investing in human capital development and providing quality services at all levels of education; the aggressive pursuit after youth development and youth employment generation and wealth creation; rehabilitating dilapidated physical infrastructure and enhancing the quality and delivery of social services; and the total disarming of the Niger Delta, as well as finding solutions to all its social problems and laying down a comprehensive blueprint for the development of the area.

There is really nothing extraordinary in being honest or in being a man of integrity per se; it is only because many of the people given trusts have tended to betray them, while many of those given responsibilities have tended to abuse them that the few who keep theirs appear extraordinary. The battle against corruption—embezzlement in government, rigging in politics or fraud in everyday life—presents us with the greatest moral test of our generation. A leader may help you approach and meet the test with greater confidence but only you can pass it. The leader is just but a guide—and a man can only do what he can. It remains for us as a society to come together and say ‘Énough is enough’ to corruption, and rise up to wipe it out. Or else, it will wipe us out.

We are seeking to replace a government that has done so much havoc to its people and their reputation; and we are determined, with your help, to uproot them completely. By the grace of God, Nigeria is going through its last few weeks of arbitrary non-accountable, corrupt governance—the type that has turned it into a republic of thieves.

Never again should the people of this nation have to tolerate the rape of their nation, the pillage of their resources and the consequent destruction of their nation.

In order to succeed in this, as in all other national endeavors, we need unity to end the destructive divisiveness among the people of our dear country. I would therefore like to call upon you to close your ranks and stand proudly as Nigerians, because there is pretty little that can be achieved without unity.

Unity is needed within the party, between our party and other parties; it is in fact needed among all the political parties within the country, and it is needed between political friends and foes. We need unity of purpose to defeat the enemies of the people, to be able to successfully attack problems and to be able to deepen the roots of our nascent democratic culture.

My Credentials
As I said at the presentation of our election manifesto in Lagos last week, I can only bring the credentials that this nation has given me the chance to cultivate. My best credentials are not the schools I attended or the jobs I have held, but the battles I have fought. As I said then, I quote: ‘Ladies and gentlemen, I am Muhammadu Buhari, and today I am 69 years old; and I am sure I don’t have to remind you that I have fought many battles in my life.

I have fought drift and purposelessness in this nation. I have fought corruption and indiscipline. I have fought indolence and the betrayal of trusts. I have fought the Nigerian civil war and struggled for the unity of this country in many other ways.

I have had the fortune and privilege of managing national resources in various capacities—as a military commander, as a state governor, as a minister, as head of the Petroleum Trust Fund, and as the head of state of this great country. And in all that I have been and done, I have never touched a kobo of public funds.

I say this without pride and with all sense of responsibility and humility; but I challenge anyone in the race for the leadership of this country then or now to dare make the same claim.

‘After being head of state, I am sure I could easily have retired into a life of comfort and ease as an elder statesman, as a contractor or as a beneficiary of any one of the nation’s many generous prebendal offerings. But that is not what I wish to do with my life. And so, if I don’t take any of these alternative courses of action, it should be clear that I am not in this for the love of office or for pursuit after personal glory or in order to achieve some personal goal. Far be it from me that this should be. I need nothing and I have nothing more to prove. I am in this solely for the love of my country and concern for its destiny and the fate of its people. And that is why, despite the many disappointments along the way, I am still in the struggle and will remain in it to the end. I have decided to dedicate the remainder of my life to fighting for the people of this country—until their right is restored to them.’

Ladies and gentlemen, in the life of any nation there comes a time when some people have to stand up and point out when things are moving off track, explain why they are going wrongly, demonstrate how they can be set aright, and work towards making a difference. For Nigeria, that time has come and it is now; and the people to stand up are you and me! Second, let me state categorically that I am not in this race to advance or protect any vested interest or group.

As I said, I joined the race out of personal conviction and love for my country and concern for the welfare of its people. I therefore ask for the support of everybody and every interest group interested in advancing the cause of the nation. To our sons and daughters in the Diaspora, we say a big Thank You and hope that you will return home and give your contributions to the new effort at nation-building.

Before I end this address, I would like to thank all those who assisted me in working tirelessly to make our campaign a huge success that it has been. Specifically, I thank the chairman, director-general and all officers and members of the CPC campaign council for their tireless, selfless service to the cause of this campaign. I thank the chairman and all members of the CPC and especially members of its Executive Committees at all levels for their dedication to the ideals of the party.

And, more importantly, I thank you the good people of Nigeria who have reposed such trust and confidence in us. Your support for our cause is what encouraged me to venture into and remain in the struggle since 2003. I urge you to continue to give this support till we attain complete victory at the polls. My pledge to you all is that you shall not be disappointed, by the grace of God.

Finally, I call upon the governments in power at all levels, the Independent National Electoral Commission, and the security agencies at all levels to be fair and just to all parties and candidates in all elections for all offices.

This is the only way to ensure that our democracy survives and partisan politics retains the confidence and support of our people into the future.

Thank you very much for your patience and attention.”