LET US RESCUE AND REBUILD NIGERIA
The Inaugural Speech of the National Chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), His Excellency Sen. (Dr.) Iyorchia Ayu, at the International Conference Centre (ICC) Abuja…Friday 10th December 2021.
Let me start by expressing my sincere gratitude to God for the honour and privilege to lead this great Party, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP). I am, indeed, most humbled.
Before going further, I wish to pay special tribute to our founding-leaders, to wit: Dr. Alex Ifeanyichukwu Ekwueme, Chief Solomon Daushep Lar, Mallam Adamu Ciroma, Alh. Abubakar Rimi, Sen. Francis Ellah and others who have transited to the great beyond.
Although they are now gone, their legacy of patriotism, visionary ideas and uncommon courage continue to inspire the great PDP Family to keep serving the people and defending democracy.
May I also warmly appreciate all members of the PDP across Nigeria for their prayers, support and commitment in ensuring the emergence of this new National Working Committee under my leadership at the remarkably successful Convention of our beloved Party. We are, indeed, one great and united PDP family.
In no particular order, kindly allow me to acknowledge the steadfastness of the outgone National Working Committee in ensuring a hitch-free National Convention; Members of National Executive Committee; the Board of Trustees; State, Local Government and Ward Chapters of our Party; Delegates to the National Convention and indeed entire PDP family. I am most grateful.
Furthermore, may I specially acknowledge the PDP’s Governors Forum, the PDP National Assembly Caucus and the PDP Elders Committee for their dedication, diligence and strategic role in stabilizing the Party, providing direction and funding intervention. Permit me to, on behalf of millions of PDP members nationwide, say thank you.
All politics, they say, is local, so bear with me as I specially appreciate the PDP Northern Caucus, the PDP North-Central Caucus and very uniquely, my dear Governor, His Excellency, Dr. Samuel Ortom. I am truly grateful.
2. Today marks a new journey and a new direction for the PDP. As one who was part of those that founded the Party in 1998, I am well aware of its core values and vision which are centred around the people and their well-being.
Our task at this auspicious moment is to return the Party to the people. But to do that, the Party needs to be reinvigorated, reinvented and repositioned. We are not unmindful of our missed steps and actions in the past, but we have learnt our lessons, both in government and in opposition. Today, we stand tall, and with a firm resolve to rebuild our great party and rescue our nation.
3. The PDP is the only organic political party in Nigeria that has remained a credible, tested, tasted and trusted mass movement since the return of democracy in 1999. Other political parties have either fizzled away or merged with others.
Some have mutated into a contraption like the ruling All Progressive Congress (APC), without any clear ideology or a coherent programme of action. This contraption seduced Nigerians with propaganda in 2015. Today, Nigerians have seen the limit of propaganda and demagoguery. The only thing the APC is doing successfully is irresponsible borrowing.
4. The PDP, on the other hand, has a history of performance and legacy achievements. In our 16 years in power, we not only gave Nigerians good governance, we also strengthened democratic institutions so as to add value to the people. In an unprecedented move, we stabilized our democracy by sanitizing the armed forces of politically exposed officers.
We gave Nigeria her first-ever successful transition from one civilian administration to another in 2007. To the disbelief of all watchers of African politics, we willingly conceded defeat in 2015, and handed over power to an opposition party in 2015.
It was the PDP-Federal Government that created value-adding public institutions like the EFCC, ICPC, NAFDAC, the Debt Management Office (DMO), the Bureau for Public Procurement (BPP) among many others.
5. The PDP administration also strengthened the governance process by enacting laws to effectively drive public administration in Nigeria, namely: the Fiscal Responsibility Act, the Mid-Term Expenditure Frame-Work, the Treasury Single Account (TSA), Integrated Personal and Payroll Information Systems (IPPIS) just to mention a few.
6. We negotiated and obtained forgiveness of over $30 Billion of debt, making Nigeria almost a debt-free country. Foreign direct investments flowed in. Cumulatively, the foregoing made Nigeria, not only the fastest growing economy in Africa, but also the biggest economy on the continent.
7. From the biggest economy in 2015, the APC has given the country two recessions and turned Nigeria into the Poverty Capital of the world. Today, close to 40 million Nigerians have no jobs.
8.In the last six years, the APC-led government has mismanaged our diversity; divided the country along regional and religious lines. It has exacerbated religious tensions in the country.
And through its marriage to nepotism, the incompetent APC- Federal Government is fueling secessionist agitations in the East and West of Nigeria.
9. Your Excellencies, party faithful, very distinguished ladies and gentlemen, our dear Nigeria is drifting dangerously towards a failed state. Terrorists are now sharing sovereignty with Nigeria. Nigeria is simply ungoverned. Nigeria is collapsing under the leadership of a retired general!
10. The APC used both the mainstream media and the social media to access power. Today, it coordinates a systematic assault on the media, civic freedoms and freedom of speech.
11. Let me give you the grim legacy of the APC: Two economic recessions in six years. A sluggish GDP growth rate of below two percent.
About 40 million Nigerians have been pushed into extreme poverty in six years.
Inflation is at an all-time high at 18%.
A weak and devalued Naira; devalued by over 300% since 2015, has made our currency the worst in Africa.
Unemployment now stands at 33%. Meaning: Close to 40 million Nigerians, willing and able to work, can’t find jobs.
A total debt stock of over $90 billion now hangs over Nigeria. An erratic exchange rate regime has depleted N324 against the US Dollar in the last six years.
Kidnapping for ransom is now big business. We share sovereignty with terrorists who kidnap and rape our women, including our mothers and under-aged children.
The terrorists even kill them when ransom is delayed.
These are not political alarms, but statements of facts.
12. But I stand here today, not to merely recount APC’s spectacular failures. I stand here to assure you that PDP is back to Rescue and Rebuild Nigeria. Under the new NWC, PDP will strengthen its internal democratic processes. We shall endeavour to reach out to all party members, young and old, male and female.
13. This National Working Committee will create alternate platforms within the Party to actively engage the young people and our women, not only for mobilizing and winning elections, but for advocacy, policy formulation and the design of a new development agenda for the Party.
14. We shall return the party to vigorous discussions; pay serious attention to new thinking and the implementation of policies and programmes that will secure and improve the quality of life of all Nigerians.
The Peoples Democratic Institute (PDI) will be revived and strengthened to drive this process. Before the next election cycle, we shall present a PDP manifesto that will bring back Hope to our people.
15. My dear compatriots, KEEP HOPE ALIVE. Do not allow a small and rapacious cabal to destroy your faith in one, united Nigeria.
16. A PDP administration will change the narrative.
We will unite the people.
We will deepen the content of our democracy.
We will rebuild our collapsed economy.
We will make Nigerians the focus of development.
We will expand our international vision beyond Niger Republic.
We will check the rampaging insecurity.
We will restore Nigeria’s lost glory.
And we will reclaim our dignity, destiny and pride as the Giant of Africa.
17. To our faithful, I, on behalf of the new NWC, pledge to be guided by consultation, team-work, internal democracy and national interest. To all non-PDP members, we say our umbrella can accommodate all of us. And to our members who left, I urge you to come back home; our doors are still open.
18. To the APC, we, once again, renew our quit notice on you. Begin to prepare your handover notes.
19. To Africa and the international community – we know you are worried about Nigeria. But we assure you that PDP will pull back Nigeria from the brink. PDP will not allow Nigeria to fulfil those doomsday predictions.
20. We acknowledge the historic role of the media in the fight for our independence and the return of Nigeria to democratic rule. It is in recognition of these that we ask for the support and cooperation of the media in the historic task of Rescuing and Rebuilding Nigeria, Come 2023.
21. Join hands with us. Together, we shall reclaim and rebuild our country to be one of the greatest countries in the world.
22. Long Live, the Peoples Democratic Party! Long live, the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
Thank you all.