Saturday 9th December, 2017.
“I believe in Nigeria.
I believe in one Nigeria where all our people have equal opportunity
I believe in one Nigeria where we all share a common good.
This belief inspired me and other compatriots to establish The Peoples Democratic Party on the ideals of one united nation, built on the principles of Justice, Equity and Equal Opportunity.
For the past 19 years, I have fought for these principles, even when some in the party have not:
• I fought against factionalism
• I fought for our Nation’s constitution and to prevent tenure elongation
• I fought for our party’s constitution – even at the expense of being forced out of the very party that I helped found.
For this is the price one must sometimes pay for democracy.
However, I never abandoned our founding principles.
I stayed true to them as I did on Monday the 17th August, 1998 when the late Alex Ekwueme, the late Solomon Lar and the late Abubakar Rimi and our other founders gathered to announce the birth of the PDP.
And, today, I am proud to say that I have returned home – home to our party.
• I am proud that the PDP is the party that successfully took over power from the military in 1999
• I am proud that the PDP gave Nigeria her first transition from a ruling party to an opposition party – a transition that is now a model for all of Africa
• I am proud that the PDP has an unequalled record of growing our economy for the benefit of all
However, in 2015 the PDP was no longer united and Nigerians voted for change.
Now we must unite as a party to secure the trust of the Nigerian people again because under the APC Nigeria is not working and our people are not working.
Let us consider what the APC has achieved versus what they promised at election time:
• The APC promised us three million new jobs a year.
In Government the APC has lost us three million jobs a year
• The APC promised us peace and unity.
Under the APC Nigeria is now more divided and acrimonious than at any time since the civil war
• The APC promised us restructuring. In office the APC denied restructuring.
The APC promised a war on corruption but all they have delivered is a war on the opposition, with handouts for their cronies and handcuffs for their opponents.
Compare the record of the APC in Government to the record of the PDP in Government:
• We, the PDP, achieved a 10-year increase in the life expectancy of our people
• We, the PDP, enabled 99 million more of our people to have a mobile phone
• We, the PDP helped Nigeria become the largest economy in Africa
As members of the PDP, we all have a lot to be proud of.
In the 16 years that we governed this nation we kept it united, peaceful and prosperous.
We made mistakes, but we put our nation first.
We did not favour only states that voted for us and punish those that did not. We favoured all.
And we also know that 5% and 97% do not add up to 100%.
We now have an APC government, which continues to blame previous governments and scapegoat people rather than solve problems it was elected to solve.
The PDP is the party that will restructure Nigeria into a modern nation with working institutions and a system that gives back power to the people by promoting:
• Free enterprise – because it is businesses that create sustainable jobs, not government
• Property rights – that encourage people to invest in job creation
• A smaller, more effective government that does not consume 75% of the federal budget just on paying salaries
We the PDP are Nigeria’s only truly national party.
We must work to earn the trust of Nigerians again and, if given another chance in Government use it to continue to work to improve the lives of our citizens.
So my message to you today is plain and simple:
The PDP is stronger together and Nigeria is stronger together.
• We, the PDP, must be the party that is the hope of the common man for the common good of the commonwealth of Nigeria
• We, the PDP, must be the party that takes power from the centre and puts it firmly in the hands of the Nigerian people
• We, the PDP, must be the party that embodies the Nigerian vision, and ensures that the Nigeria of divisions never, ever happens again
So at this very important Convention let us elect the very best leaders….
• LEADERS who truly understand what it means to position the PDP as a viable and preferred alternative to the mis-governing APC!
• LEADERS who understand the urgency of restructuring to devolve more power to the states and to our people
• LEADERS who truly understand what it means to create the right environment to create jobs – especially for our youths
So let’s get the PDP winning again so we can get Nigeria working again”.