Last October I picked up membership of the Action Congress of Nigeria, and with that move, started an important journey, along with fellow compatriots, to help renew our dreams and our country. It was a journey and a challenge to correct what we diagnosed to be wrong and ill about governance in our country.
The moral dimension of governance in the country today remains indisputably negative, and this is not a construction in anyone’s head. The evidence speaks starkly of levels of poverty that is simply beyond belief; of a crumbled educational sector; a health sector that posts a terribly disgraceful score card; as well as an infrastructure and power sector that bear the vivid meaning of the word failure. Indeed, the picture in every sector remains one of shock, shame, and stoppage.
For the multitude of our youth that constitute 70 per cent of the population, their situation depicts a frightening reality of unemployment, and a furiously escalating surge of hopelessness, frustration, and anger.
Using the vehicle of our party, the Action Congress of Nigeria, A.C.N. we traversed the broad stretch of our land retailing the message of hope, of social rebirth, and of generation change.
The elections have come and gone, and at moments like this when the results appear not to match up our expectations, the tendency is high to lapse into self-blame, and hasty but untested judgments about how we had invested in a failed project; and about how politics is too dirty and too evil.
We need to focus more on the goals of a better society and the vision of creating a community of opportunity in our country. Invariably, in that journey, disappointments and reversals will accompany us but with it will also come critical lessons, better clarity about means and ends. Ultimately we must remember that the conclusion of elections always raises the expectations of the people that things will change for the better and this election will not be different.
The truth is that the elections offered us lifetime and wonderful opportunities to encounter the vivid living realities of our people. It fundamentally challenged our received notions of development regarding one of the richest nations on the face of the earth but which nonetheless still ranks in the bottom file on all the human development indices. The election also built our resolve to be more committed to the challenge of constructing a modern, united, tolerant, just, and equitable nation on the best traditions of democracy.
Above all, however, the election also offered great opportunities for our young compatriots to partake in the civic service of helping to consolidate democracy in our nation. Some of the youngsters projected this faith by offering to serve as the brave and heroic NYSC election managers, but many more simply as voters seeking to use their thumbs to change the world.
I personally feel humbled by their role in my campaign and would like to specifically mention Team Ribadu and express my appreciation for the efforts and incredible sacrifices of these very special young men and women. I ask them to keep their vision, their hope of a new Nigeria alive, because the future belongs to them.
To those who contributed in one way or the other to the campaign, I want them to know that they earn my boundless gratitude. Many people worked tirelessly to ensure the success of our campaign; many donated their money, their precious time, family time and resources, election materials, and other items too many to be listed. I am truly grateful.
To our Diaspora support community who flew our flag in those distant shores from the US to Canada, Spain, the UK, China, South Africa, Ghana, and the Gambia. I salute and thank them for their tremendous demonstration of support in ideas, money, and valuable time. They have taught us the noble lesson that distance and a presumed comfort of exile need not inhibit the patriotic commitment to the remaking of their distress homeland.
From the very beginning, through the rough and tumbles of the campaign, the media offered us great support. I want to register my gratitude to them, but also urge them not to drop the ball in ensuring a keen audit of the governance process in the next four years.
By far, however, the lead heroes and champions of this process are the near three million voters who trooped out to cast a noble vote of support to our vision. Those votes were a testimony that a new Nigeria is possible.
I thank them earnestly; but I also urge them to continue to show keen interest and greater awareness of the importance of their votes by demanding accountability from those to whom they have bestowed the authority of leadership from local to federal institutions.
Yet we cannot lose sight of the fact that this opportunity to serve is made possible through the depth of faith, the vision, and generosity of spirit exhibited by our great party–the Action Congress of Nigeria.
In thanking the party for granting me the privilege of being their flag-bearer for this election, I also show gratitude to its leadership and members who toil for a great Nigeria knowing fully that their hopes for a better fatherland will be best served if we do not lose sight of the future.
In this journey, my good friend, Fola Adeola, cheerfully consented to be my running mate bringing in lasting values of companionship, trust, loyalty, and organisation. I thank him and his wonderful family and wish them well in the days ahead.
Finally, I wish to express my profound appreciation to my wife Zara, my children and other members of my family for their support and encouragement throughout this campaign.
Our nation is a great land, her promises are still unfolding, but with the persistence of love, unity, justice and equality, we shall conquer the stiffest challenges. God has a purpose of change and progress for Nigeria, and we shall certainly get to that promise land. Thank you, Nigeria, God Bless our nation.
A.C.N Presidential Candidate