Last Thursday, All Progressives Congress, APC, held its inaugural National Summit in Abuja. The day heralded the beginning of journey to a new agenda with esteemed speakers and panelists as well as a long list of skilled, capable contributors who attended the event.
Among personalities and national leaders at the event were: National leaders, Major General Mohammadu Buhari, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, Ogbonnaya Onu and Chief Bisi Akande; members of the Interim National Executive Committee; Governors and members of the Partyâ€™s Strategy Committee which includes : Chief John Odigie-Oyegun, Garba MuhammedGadi, AbdulazeezAbubakar Yari, Senator Osita Izunaso, MallamNasir El-Rufai, Senator BunmiAdetunmbi, Hon. Pally Iriase, HajiaHadizaBala-Usman, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, Mr. Jimi Lawal, AlhajiNasirAlikoki and the young man who manages the committeeâ€™s secretariat, Mr. Terfa Tilley-Gyado.
â€œOur party owes them a huge debt of gratitude for their incredible work on both the Code of Ethics and the Roadmap to a New Nigeria,â€ Governor Babatunde Fashola stated in his address.The governor explained why APC is the next party for the rein of nationâ€™s administration come 2015.
Fasholaâ€™s speech read:
â€œThis is a historic day not only for the APC but also for our nation. The work we begin today is the work that will build a New Nigeria; a future when there are jobs for everyone who wants to work; a future without leaders who deprive the very families they are supposed to protect; A future of peace and stability; a future when Nigeria can feed its families; a future when a Nigerian education is as good as any education in the world; a future when the high prices of food and fuel donâ€™t undermine every familyâ€™s quality of life.
â€œThis is the future that we start to build here, today. This is why we have come from all parts of the nation.
From the Northwest and Southeast; from the North Central and the South South; from the Northeast and Southwest. We have come from all regions of our great nation to show our unity; to show our love for our country; to show our commitment to each other and to building a New Nigeria.
â€œAnd while we come together today as APC members to support the mission, principles and work of the APC, we come together first and foremost as Nigerians.
â€œThe future we envision, the future we will build together, is not just for one political party; it is not just for one region; it is not just for one community, it is for all Nigerians. And that future is a future of change.
â€œOur nation longs for change and the APC is committed to leading a movement for change. Look no further than how the party was formed; we in this room are the products of the first ever merger of political parties in Nigerian history and many of those who devised and directed that merger will talk with us today, telling us how it happened and what it will mean for the nation.Today,weâ€™re just not going to talk about change; weâ€™re going to embody change. So today, not only will we get a look at our â€œRoadmap to a New Nigeriaâ€ in the afternoon, but this morning, we will start something maybe no other political party has ever done for a long time â€“ weâ€™ll present a Code of Ethics â€“ a set of guiding principles that will be our common bond together and to the nation; a set of values that will direct our activities and actions.
â€œIf our values and our principles are shared, it will be easy to work together to implement our roadmap for Change and a New Nigeria.
The APC is a home for all Nigerians
â€œItâ€™s already happening. The turnout for membership registration exceeded even the largest projections. It was a turnout of Nigerians of diverse backgrounds all across the country who shared a belief in the need for change. It was a turnout of Nigerians who shared a belief that together we can build a New Nigeria.It was a turnout of people who have had enough of division in our country; people tired of the politicians who turn one group against another for their own political gain. Weâ€™ve all seen it. We all know how it works. We all know how demeaning it is to our nation.
â€œLook around our country, what has division brought us? Has it brought us peace? Has it brought us prosperity? Has it brought the future weâ€™ve wanted for our family, for our children.No, it hasnâ€™t. We must come together. We must work together. We must live in peace together. We must choose unity.
â€œAnd today, we declare that we make it clear to the nation. The APC chooses unity.This room is a living testament to that choice and that commitment.This room is a celebration of the cultural diversity that gives our nation such great promise.
â€œAnd while we embrace and honor those differences, what brings us together today is what we all hold in common. We are tied together by what we believe: we believe our nation must be economically and socially vibrant. We believe our nation must be peaceful, just and secure. We believe that corruption must no longer be tolerated in any corner of our nation, not in political life and not in our business or civic affairs. We believe in investing in our people, because they are the most important assets of our nation. We believe every person deserves work that enables them to provide for their families, to contribute to the community and to have a favorable, quality of life.
â€œThis is what we believe.This is what brings us together.This is our mission, the mission of our party; the mission of our nation.No party in more than fifteen years has done what weâ€™ll do today; publicly, and most importantly, together as a party, tell Nigeria what we believe in a meeting, not in a rally, not in the middle of a political campaign.
But systematically and transparently â€“ we want people to know what we stand for, we want people to know about the change we are offering; we want people to join us in building a New Nigeria: A nation of progress, a nation of hope, a nation of opportunity. A nation together.
One Nigeria.36 States but one Nigeria;290 ethnic groups but one Nigeria;521 languages but one Nigeria. The new nation we want, the new Nigeria of our dreams. It is only possible through unity. It is only possible if we value each and every person and hold tight every child as our greatest asset. It is only possible if we respect every personâ€™s choice of faith.
It is only possible if we commit ourselves to one rule of law for everyone, if we commit ourselves to fairness and opportunity for all; if we commit ourselves to a strong system of government at the federal, state and local levels. It is only possible if we bridge our inequalities and if we put our nation back to work.
â€œThere cannot be true freedom when there are not enough jobs.There cannot be shared opportunity when there are not enough jobs.There cannot be peace and justice when there are not enough jobs.These are the promises we must make to each other, the promises we must make to our brothers and sisters across our nation from Sokoto to Rivers, from Borno to Oyo, from Adamawa to Lagos.
These are the commitments that forge our mutual bond; these are our code of ethics.When times are tough, when our pathway becomes hard to navigate, when forces block our way forward, when challenges stand in the way of our vision, when hope seems just outside our grip, this set of principles must guide our path.
â€œWhen people ask us, who we are,when people ask us, what we believe,when people ask us, what makes the APC different,we will tell them, we have a code of ethics.We will tell them we have a roadmap to the future.We will tell them that Nigeria is a great nation that has been misdirected.We will tell them that no nation, no people are more hardworking but that we need jobs.
We will tell them that our youth are ready to do great things, to make history, to lead our nation, to lead Africa, but they need opportunity.We will tell them that when we come together, celebrate our diversity, accept each other and stand together as one Nigeria, there is nothing we cannot achieve. We will tell them the APC is ready to build a new Nigeria.What weâ€™re talking about today is our future.We can accept the Nigeria we have or we can build a new Nigeriaâ€.
We can accept a stagnant, jobless economy or we can build a new Nigeria.We can accept a Government that cannot account to us or we can change it and build a new Nigeria.
And let there be no doubt about the link between corruption and jobs. If we had a government that is serious about fighting corruption, there would be financial resources to create jobs. Instead of stopping this corruption, this government pardons those convicted of corruption and removes those who point out corruption.
Corruption has drained our national strength and we need change.
Weâ€™re here today because weâ€™ve all made our choice. Weâ€™ve chosen a new Nigeria. Over the next year, letâ€™s make sure the nation joins us and makes the same choice. The whole of Africa is waiting for us to play our leadership role and the rest of the world is watching.
The APC is not going to abdicate that responsibility. This is going to be an exciting and illuminating day together.
My fellow delegates, together, we will build a New Nigeria. God Bless you all, Long live the APC, And long live the Federal Republic of Nigeria.â€