Remember him, Daniel Kanu of the Youths Earnestly Ask Abacha (YEAA) in the regime of late General Sani Abacha. He is in the news again. This time around on how to mobilize the Nigerian youths against domestic crimes and violent crimes. In this encounter with Chuks Okocha, he laid bare his dreams and objective of his new pet project; PACT
What is PACT?
Parents Against Crime Together (P.A.C.T.) is a programme propelled by New Deal Organization under the New Deal Renaissance project that is designed to reform our society from the bottom up approach. The organization is composed of highly motivated and extremely patriotic parents that want a reform and reorientation of our children, by inculcating good family values in them. Charity begins at home and taking into cognizance of the vibrant nature of Nigeria youths, it is better to commence the protection of crimes from parenthood.
What informed the formation of P.A.C.T.?
After graduating from University in the United States, I decided to relocate to Nigeria in 1992. Upon arrival in Aba, Abia State I observed a trend of unemployment and poverty levels that was unacceptable by International standard. There was a downward spiral of events which I felt was not being attended to, for example the education system was neglected, family value was whining, advanced fee fraud (419) was increasing and fraudsters were being hailed as heroes by their kinsmen, roads were dilapidated, banks were on the verge of collapse and couldn’t support entrepreneurs with loans, corruption was instituted, high unemployment and general helplessness for the youth. Then I decided to embark on a research to determine the root causes of the problems and proffer solutions. My research at that point in 1994 revealed that there was a drought in youth education, business startups, lack of motivation, lack of creativity, negative mindset, lack of patriotism, ethnic and religious disharmony, corruption, unemployment and etc. Thereafter the emergence of the Abacha Administration, National Constitutional Conference was convened to proffer solutions to the nation’s challenges. Vision 2010 Committee in November 1996 fashion out a long-term “strategic” plan for Nigeria which was referred to as “a blueprint that would transform the country by year 2010”. The 248-member Committee was headed by the ex-Chairman/Head of the Interim National Government, Chief Ernest Shonekan, even though the Committee submitted its report to Gen. Abacha. However, his successor, Gen. Abdulsalami Abubakar, endorsed the “Vision 2010” Strategic Plan (1999 – 2010) but his focused was more on political transition to a civilian democracy, so he hardly implemented the strategies of Vision 2010 before handing over power to Chief Olusegun Obasanjo on May 29, 1999.
As soon as he assumed office, President Obasanjo jettisoned and killed the Vision 2010 Plan. The National Constitutional Conference was composed of some of the best brains that Nigeria had at that time. I felt that since The Abacha Administration had produced a strategic roadmap for the success of the nation, and had some laudable programmes such as Petroleum Trust Fund (P.T.F), the failed bank tribunal, Family Support Progamme and etc. there was a need for us at that time to ensure that we implemented the vision 2010. That plan if fully implemented would have been the first in the history of Nigeria. That Vision 2010 was comparable to the plans that made Malaysia, Indonesia, Japan and other countries first and second world economies today. Hence, that informed my formation of Youth Earnestly Ask for Abacha (YEAA) to ensure that the strategic plan that would have empowered the Nigerian Youth by creating millions of jobs, energizing the economy and promoting self-reliance. Unfortunately, due to personal dislike of the Late Head of State by some influential Nigerians, the Vision 2010 was discarded not minding the positive impact that the programme would have made.
And look at where we are today! Although the country has made some strides in some areas, the impact has not been enough to employ the growing teeming population of our hungry and unemployed youths and parents alike. The failure to recognize that we need a long term strategic approach to nation building informed the formation of the New Deal Organization and its various projects such as Parents Against Crime Together (PACT) and Youths Against Crime. We have decided to take a bottom up approach, by rededicating ourselves to rebuilding the severely eroded family values, and recommitment to our dear nation.
How do Nigerians get involved?
Every Nigerian is invited to recommit to rebuilding good family values. The nation is made up of individuals and each individual belongs to some family structure, either a traditional family with mother, father, children and extended family members or non-traditional family. Each parent is reminded to practice their responsibilities such as follows:
• Protect our children, Educate our children, Discipline our children, Plan our children’s future, Love and care for our children, Teach them good moral values, Pass our own strengths to our children, Give them strength where we have weakness, Assist them in exploring and learning new things, Teach them honesty, honour, integrity, patriotism and etc.
If we collectively do these we would have succeeded to a large extent in extricating our youngsters out of the deadly claws of crime and rebuild our country from bottom up.
As parents we believe in integrating thematic words such as honesty, honor, patriotism, integrity, hard-work, and entrenching their importance and values in our children.
It is not enough to sit down in our homes, offices, recreational, social and other settings and criticize our leaders, when ultimately our leaders are products of our society. If a leader is corrupt or incompetent, it is a reflection of society itself. The children that we raise today are the leaders of tomorrow, so PACT will endeavor remind parents that we reap what we sow. So lets’ sow good seeds in our children today so that we can have good leaders tomorrow. It is that simple, but yet perplexing that we have not recognized our failure to perform as parents which has led to failure as society. We therefore urge every parent to register with the organization at their ward level and participate in the various activities that will truly and honestly transform our country from bottom up.
What is the message?
Our message is that crime or offences are what are killing our society. Unfortunately, when we say crime most people perceive crime as armed robbers or thieves. However we intend to highlight the most common crimes or offences that lead to failure of a state, such as corruption, traffic offences, drug or alcohol abuse, indiscipline, prostitution, extortion, terrorism, and etc.
Remember “War Against Indiscipline”?; and how effective it was, Nigerians actually changed briefly by not littering, people actually joined cues and etc., but due to lack of continuity of that programme we immediately relapsed into old indiscipline ways. We want to reorient our youths and parents to be discipline and inculcate good family values and virtues in the hope of our future generation, the youths! Please join us to build a greater tomorrow and not just talk about it but do it, for “Faith without work is dead”