The All Progressives Congress (APC) has assured Nigerians that the party is ready, willing and determined to make all the necessary sacrifices to reverse the prevailing gloomy situation in the country and bring about the much-needed change for the better in the interest of the long-suffering citizens.
In a statement issued in Lagos on Tuesday by its Interim National Publicity Secretary, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, the party said Nigerians should go into the New Year with an unyielding commitment to be part of ongoing efforts to set the country on the path of growth and development, rather than get into a state of funk on the basis of the cumulative mis-governance of the past 14 years by the PDP-led Federal Government.
”While wishing all Nigerians a great 2014, we hereby solicit their unalloyed support for our efforts to reshape the country’s political landscape, shake off the heavy yoke imposed on them by their selfish, self-serving and clueless leaders and make the country a source of pride not only to its citizens but to all black people in the world,” it said.
APC said the first step in what will be a tough but final battle to rescue Nigeria from the clutches of rapacious leaders will be to bring the citizenry on board the train of change that is barrelling through the country, and to ensure that elections in the country are free, fair and credible.
”As we wrote in the preamble to our manifesto, ‘democracy, to be stable and meaningful, must be anchored on the principle that government derives its powers from the consent of the governed….This means that governments are instituted on the basis of free, fair and credible elections, and are maintained through responsiveness to public opinion.
”’In addition, the exercise of political authority is rooted in the rule of law. APC believes in the doctrine of social contract between the leaders and the led; which means that the public office holder is a trustee of the people and that power must be used in the interest of the people rather than in the interest of the public office holder’,” the party said.
It said in order to ensure that as many Nigerians as possible are brought aboard the APC train of change, the party will kick-start its membership registration drive early in the year, targeting in particular the youth who are indispensable in any effort to bring about change.
”We ask all those who are yearning for genuine change to seize the moment and embrace the engine of change, which the APC represents! Our compatriots who have lost faith in our dear country because of inefficient and corrupt leadership can count on us, because we represent committed, transparent and focused leadership,” APC said.
The party pledged to halt the country’s drift towards a failed state with a conscious plan for a post-oil economy in Nigeria, details of which will be outlined in the weeks and months ahead; and to make the welfare and security of the citizenry, which is the raison d’etre of any government, its top priority;
APC said that in order to extricate Nigeria from the dire straits in which it has been plunged by the successive PDP governments, the party has decided to make as its priority the War Against Corruption; Food security; Accelerated Power Supply; Integrated Transport Network; Free Education; Devolution of Power; Accelerated Economic Growth and Affordable Health Care.
”We know skeptics will sneer at these and deride them as mere sloganeering. After all, Nigerians have been taken for a ride for the past 14 years by those who have mistaken transmogrification for transformation, and those who have relentless pursued power for the sake of power, rather than to use it to harness the country’s abundant human resources.
”But most things look impossible until they have been achieved, and the impressive record of performance in the states under our control, from Kano to Imo states and from Lagos to Edo, testifies to our ability, determination and willingness to make things happen for the benefit of our people,” the party said.
Meanwhile, the party has said the year 2013 is among the worst, if not the worst, for the citizenry, who have been pauperized and dehumanized by a government that keeps touting favourable economic statistics in the face of an unprecedented fall in the standard of living of its people.
”They say President Jonathan’s achievement in 2013 is unprecedented, yet Nigerians celebrated the Christmas and New Year holidays in unprecedented pitch darkness and an unprecedented number of our youths are unemployed; They say they are winning the war against corruption, yet key government officials, including the so-called Coordinating Minister of the Economy, do not even know how much Nigeria earns from crude oil and gas sales, and what happened to 12 billion dollars earned from domestic crude lifting; They are so eager to cling to any straw of ‘achievement’ that they are celebrating the revival of the locomotive engine in the 21st century!
”Such is their insensitivity and total lack of compassion for human beings that the Jonathan administration will rather spend the nation’s scarce resources on importing animals for the villa zoo and on purchasing presidential jets that they do not need.
”Because this government has become numb to reason, because this government has deteriorated from cluelessness to hopelessness and because this government has totally lost any sense of direction, we say it is time for Nigerians to gird their loins and join hands with all those who are seeking genuine change. To adapt Mahatma Gandhi’s timeless quote, Nigerians must be the change they wish to see in their country, and the year 2014 must be our Year of Change!” APC said.
Meanwhile, Lagos State Governor, Mr. Babatunde Fashola (SAN), has advocated unity of purpose among the citizens as a means to solve the nation’s problems.
In a Goodwill Message to Lagosians, Governor Fashola said the problems currently bedeviling the country were mainly man-made and as such would only take an agreement among the people to resolve to remove the things they find unacceptable in the society.
The Governor, who noted that the country’s problems, whether economic, social or political, were rooted in ethnic and religious intolerance, said the panacea lay in the belief by citizens in the Nigerian Project and the resolution to determine the kind of country of our collective dreams.
“Looking back at all that we went through in the past year, perhaps, the time has come for us all to take an introspective look at ourselves in an attempt to get to the root of our problems and challenges. The truth of the matter is that, whether it is the downturn in the economy or our worsening security situation, the challenges are traceable to ourselves”, the Governor said
Governor Fashola recalled, with nostalgia, the situation in the country in the early sixties when the citizens saw themselves as just Nigerians irrespective of tribe tongue or religion, and declared, “We have, as a result of myopic self and group interests, created an octopus that is threatening to devour our collective heritage. That Octopus is embedded in the twin evils of ethnic and religious intolerance”.
“Recently, I had the privilege of attending the Command Performance of “Kakadu, the Musical”, and it reminded me of the Nigeria of the early post-Independence era when it did not matter where you came from. It is a story that we all must imbibe in order to recreate that glorious era when we were all Nigerians, though tribe and tongue and religion may differ. It is set against the background of a newly Independent Nigeria brimming with hope, dreams and expectations. So we have a reference base”.
He pleaded, “That hope, dreams and expectations must not be lost, we must resolve this New Year to return to ourselves and give impetus to them. To do this successfully, we must begin to believe in Nigeria and the Nigerian Project once more. We must start by defining for ourselves the kind of future that we want. It is only when we agree on this that we can unite our efforts towards recreating the Nigeria of our collective dreams and make it come true”.
The Governor expressed his delight that the situation in Lagos has been that of religious harmony even in the midst of the challenges and difficulties that have bedeviled the country in recent times, adding that almost every family in Lagos has members of different Faith living together in harmony.
“In spite of the growing population of Nigerians of all Faith and ethnicity in this city, Lagosians have been able to define themselves and each other not by how they worship but who they are, how godly they are, how humane they are, how warm and friendly they are. It is a harmony that we do not intend to keep to ourselves alone but to share the essence with other states”, the Governor said.
He thanked all Lagosians “for achieving this feat even in the midst of manifest intolerance and sometimes provocation”, urging them, however, not to rest on their oars. “We must work very hard not only to keep it that way but to improve on it continually. Our modest success in the past years in transforming our dear State into a model mega-city in Africa has had its foundation on this peaceful and harmonious co-existence”, he said.
He promised that his administration would continue to make the people its focus by putting in place policies from which enormous advantages could be drawn for the people’s benefit adding, “The policies and programmes such as the massive infrastructural renewal, Greening and Beautification as well as our investment in security and street lighting which we embarked on in the last six years have created thousands of jobs, both directly and indirectly, for our people”.
“From these people-oriented programmes and many others, we have created new economies which were hardly there at the beginning. Night life and night economy, which had hitherto disappeared from our lives have been brought back”, the Governor said pledging that the administration would continue on this trend till the end of its lifespan.
Wishing all Lagosians a prosperous New Year 2014, Governor Fashola, however, advised, “I will only enjoin you to continue to play your parts as good and law- abiding citizens. Be vigilant and resist all attempts by detractors to distract us from our set goals. Our development plan encompasses the whole State and we will reach all parts with the quality service which we believe that you deserve”.
“In this brand New Year 2014, therefore, please let us continue to work together and pray for both our country and our dear State for peace, stability and let us continue to lead from the front in all that is right and worthy in this country and Continent”, he added.
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