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Saturday, 8 March 2014

APC Road Map: Buhari, Tinubu, Others Predict New Dawn

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Onyebuchi Ezigbo 
Prominent leaders of the All Progressives Congress (APC) including former Head of State,  Gen. Muhammadu Buhari, and Senator Bola Tinubu have expressed hope that the party will emerge victorious in the 2015 elections to give Nigeria a new lease of life.
As part of the major high points of the party’s road map launched yesterday, APC promised to create 20,000 jobs per state for those with minimum qualification of secondary school leaving certificate, payment of N5,000 to 25 million poorest and most vulnerable citizens as well as offer free primary and secondary education to Nigerians.
On corruption, the road map commits the party to ensuring zero tolerance for the scourge and insists that those with inexplicable wealth are made to face criminal prosecution.
A new entrant into the opposition fold and former Vice-President Atiku Abubakar warned that Nigerians might be unwittingly preparing grounds for the emergence of a civilian dictator if they elect President Goodluck Jonathan for another term in 2015.
Atiku, who said he was a committed believer in a two-party system, accused his former party, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), of frustrating attempts to have strong opposition parties.
“I am scared of a civilian dictator, if we should allow this administration (Jonathan) go beyond 2015, Nigeria will be in for a civilian dictatorship, “ he said.
The former vice-president urged APC leaders not to lose sight of the political evolution of the country which gave rise to the emergence of the party, adding that they  must be ready to address the yearnings of Nigerians in order to assuage people’s feelings.
Buhari, who spoke on the APC initiative, said the reason the legacy parties agreed to come together was to make sure that the impunity with which the country was being administered is terminated.
“We found out that if we do not come together, the ruling party will ruthlessly eliminate the opposition and there will be no more dissenting voices of reason. As leaders, we decided it was time we made sacrifices to rescue our country from the brink of collapse,” he said.
The former presidential candidate of the defunct Congress for Progressive Change (CPC) said it was becoming increasingly challenging to manage the fallouts of bad governance in the country hence the dire need for an alternative platform, APC.
Buhari said apart from repositioning the nation’s economy, the party’s road map intends to tackle insecurity to enable Nigerians sleep with their eyes closed.
Tinubu on his part said APC was determined to deliver to Nigerians the change they desire if voted into office in 2015.
He said Nigeria is a nation of great potential but in order to harness it properly, there was need for a progressive leadership which is focused and selfless.

“The youths are the owners of APC agenda  because it is their interest that the party is fighting to protect through creation of  employment, sound economic development and prudent management of resources. A new Nigeria means having a government that will tackle poverty and underdevelopment, “ he said.
Continuing, he said the party would within four years in office build four refineries so as to drastically change the current of overdependence on the importation of petroleum products.
“Shame to a nation with the enormous oil resource potential but has no refineries. In four years, APC will build four refineries to put a stop to the circle of product scarcity and subsidy scams in the country, “ he said.
On his part,  the former National Chairman of the defunct All Nigeria Peoples Party (ANPP), Dr. Ogbonnaya Onu, said APC would leave up to its objective to serve the interest of the Nigerian people by doing something urgently  to address the failings of governance in the last 13 years.
He said a new Nigeria envisioned by the opposition party is a country where there is justice and equity, where no Nigerian would be marginalised anywhere in the country no matter his tribe or religion.
The former Minister of the Federal Capital Teritory (FCT), Mallam Nasir el-Rufai, said when APC talks about fighting corruption, there are evidences of commitment by the party to lead by example, adding that the performances of its governors in the states under the party’s control should serve as a pointer to what change it intends to bring on board in governance.
The Governor of Lagos State, Mr. Babatunde Fashola, who set the ball rolling on the launching of the party’s road map, described APC as something completely new in Nigerian politics.
He said the party was determined to do things differently from how they have ever been done before.
He said: “We are just not going to talk about change; we’re going to embody change.
“No party in more than 15 years has done what we’ll do today. Publicly, and most importantly, together as a party, we tell Nigeria what we believe in a meeting, not in a rally, not in the middle of a political campaign.
“We can’t accept a government that cannot account to us or we can change it and build a new Nigeria."
According to Fashola, what stands APC out from other parties is that the party has got a road map for development of Nigeria and code of ethics for our members which will regulate the activities of party members whether in government or out of it.
He said the party was committed to doing things differently by resolving to fight corruption while striving to provide employment for the youths.
While delivering a lecture,  former Vice-President of the World Bank, Mrs. Obiageli Ezekwesili, who was invited by the APC to unveil its road map, urged members of the party  to be ready to accept the challenges inherent in seeking to tackle the ills of our country’s governance.
The former Minister of Education and Chairman of the Nigeria Extractive Industry Transparency Initiative (NEITI) reminded everyone that inasmuc has the need to get things is a highly desired one, the application of requisite corrective measures might indeed unsettle even some who are now initiating the process.
Ezekwesili told the gathering that she had accepted to deliver the lecture not as a politician with any interest except for the superior interest to help build a better Nigeria.
She cautioned the APC against focussing on just pushing PDP out of office by all means, adding that the party must realise that Nigerians whom it intends to govern must be alive to witness the promises of good tidings.
While welcoming party leaders, the interim National Chairman, Chief Bisi Akande, said the party would do all it could to attend to the needs of the youths and to provide them with jobs.
Another key stakeholder in APC and former governor of the crisis-ridden Borno, Senator Modu Sheriff, drew the attention of the party leaders to the need to recognise the contributions of the founding members of the party and carry them along in running the affairs of the party.
“Today we are sitting as APC trying to chart the course of moving Nigeria forward. We are here today talking about how PDP is bad and how to change things but we must try to do things properly. Today, if we go to elections, APC might score 80 per cent but if care is not taken what happened to PDP may probably happen to APC,” he said.
Kano State Governor, Rabiu Kwakwanso, said APC  was a blessing to him and Nigeria, adding that without the formation of the party, he would not have known where to go after PDP.
Zamfara Governor, Abdul Aziz Yari, said if independent rating agencies were to be allowed to rate PDP’s performance in the last 13 years, the resounding verdict would be a highest rating on corruption.
Imo State Governor, Chief Rochas Okorocha, said the new mantra should be for everyone to de-emphasise  tribe and ethnicity in the conduct of affairs in the country.
Edo State Governor, Adams Oshiomhole, said while the statistics being bandied around portrayed the country’s economy as doing well, there was a mounting unemployment and poverty in the land.
Attacking claims by the federal government of having generated employment, he said giving SURE-P jobs to party thugs could not translate into providing employment to jobless Nigerians.
Other leaders who spoke at the event,  Audu Ogbeh, Segun Osoba, Tom Ikimi, Senator Chris Ngige and Senator Bukola Saraki,  all agreed that a major challenge facing the country is how to rescue the economy and provide employment for the youths.
However, the PDP dismissed the manifesto  as a road map to anarchy and a product of janjaweed ideology.
According to the PDP spokesman, Olisah Metuh,  who issued a statement, “The manifesto lacks character, depth and completely addressed no issue.”
He said: “The manifesto which ranked security of lives and  property low and  gave no clue as to its preparedness to tackle  terrorism was a tacit acknowledgment that the APC may be benefiting
from the mayhem and knows more than meets the eyes about the spate of terror attacks in the country."


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