Observance of Protocol by the Chairman….
I want to say in very unambiguous terms that I, John Odigie Oyegun, am highly gratified, honoured, to be standing before you this day as the newly elected; not just newly elected, the first duely elected chairman of our great party, the APC. I am humbled by the great honour you have conferred on me and the sacred trust you have bestowed on me; and with extreme humility, “I accept this responsibility.” On behalf of myself, and on behalf of my colleagues, who are surrounding me here right now. We have undertaken to lead this party into the next phase of its evolution and onward, thereafter, to the fulfillment of the destined mission as the liberator of the Nigerian people. This is a heavy responsibility but I assure you, it is a responsibility we are not taking likely. I pledge to do my utmost, God being on my side, to justify the faith and the confidence that you have imposed on me and all the new members of the national executive.
Before I go any further, I will like to take a few seconds, to express my deepest sympathies to the Borno state delegation, and the families of those who lose their lives in the unfortunate accident on their way to this very convention. May God in his infinite mercy rest their souls in perfect peace.
I want to assure you all, I want to assure the Borno state delegation, I want to assure the governor and government of Borno state and all of you who are here today and the nation generally by the blood they have shield, will not be in vain.
I congratulate and thank my fellow party men and women for your maturity and orderliness at our historic national convention. And for the personal sacrifices you have all made to ensure its success. It is a signal lesson that in spite of the thunderstorm that afflicted this convention, members were so committed that they all stayed back, wet as they are, they continued to vote even in the rain. That is the commitment of the APC. THAT IS THE SPIRIT THAT IS going to propel us to Aso-rock. I thank especially my co-aspirants, Chief Tom Ikimi, Chief Sam Jaja and his excellency, Timipre Sylver, former governor of Bayeelsa state. I congratulate those who have been elected as the governing council, and on their behalf, I extend the hand of fellowship to all our co aspirants that contested for all the offices today. That we will need them to rally round and continue to commit with passion, the talent that God has given them to our common course. I must thank the visionary architect of our party; those who work diligently to bring this great national party into being – as we have today; through personal sacrifices, patriotic vision, our party leaders have assembled an impressive alley of patriotic Nigerians and wedded them into this great political fighting force called the APC.
I will pay particular tribute to Chief Tom Ikimi who for six months, midwife the negotiations that led to what we are consummating, the first phase today. I want to assure him that his name has gone into history as somebody who has done what has been tried several times. But he is the only one who has managed to bring it to vision. I will like also specially, very specially to thank our interim national executive that undertook the extremely difficult task on getting our party up record, and giving it on exit to a delegate million of infancy even as our opponent tried every trick in the hook to abort its growth. It is a testimony to the faithfulness of our members and the doggedness of our interim national executive at both national, state and even ward level that our party has overcome all the hurdles that were placed on its part. Chief Bisi Akande, matured, solid, intelligent, extremely patient, extremely forbearing, extremely visionary and extremely committed, I want to thank you specially for bringing the first phase of the growth of this party to a very, very successful end. I want to assure you that the foundation that you have laid, will be built upon and when you look at this party, when you look behind you, you will be very glad at the men and women who have been elected to continue the good work that you have started.
Ladies and Jentlemen, in everything, our party has a lot of work to do. The state of our nation is highly disturbing. It could be said with some justification that our great country Nigeria is very much at versifies. The nation blessed by the Almighty with all the key endowments to make any nation great and proud has been virtually brought to its kneels by corruption that is unbridled and will qualify for the Guinness book of record; by abject resource mismanagement, directionlessness, and what some have described as cluelessness. As if these woes were not enough, our situations have been compounded by the amasingly visionless national leadership that has been inflicted on Nigerian by the Peoples Democratic Party since the dawn of our latest democratic dispensation. In this past decade, and on behalf of the suffering masses of this nation, Nigerians have been frustrated by the fact that there was no alternative national party comparable in strength to rescue them from the crunches of the PDP.
Today, I want to say to Nigerians, “your weight is over. Your prayers have been answered. Help is on the way. The APC, has arrived.
In 2015, Nigerians will finally have the opportunity to pick out the long ruling party that has amongst other things failed to provide them with stable power; failed to provide them the security that will enable them have a good night sleep in their own beds; failed to provide employment for millions of youths roaming our streets; failed to stem the tide of corruption that is robbing Nigeria’s children of their future. In 2015, the all Progressives Congress will provide Nigerians with visionary, dedicated and people oriented leadership that will liberate the nation from the crutches of the PDP’s rule of poverty and oppression.
Under the stewardship of the APC, Nigeria will progress. This is our sacred pledge to all Nigerians.
We must not however be under any elusion. The challenges facing us are multifarious and will not be easy. The very task of salvaging Nigerian will on its own be hard because the rot has become very deep. It has to be even now that by the fact we have as opponent, a political party that will stop at nothing to frustrate our mission. We know their makeup; we know their habits; we know their philosophy and we know the mindset of our opponent. We know the extent to which they will go to cling on-to- power. And we know the immensity of the resources at their disposal; but because the resources they misuse are resources that largely belong to the Nigerian people, these resources will not be effective in frustrating the people’s hope for liberation.
But, for us to succeed, my dear party leaders, my dear fellow party men and women, we must work as a team. We must embrace the ideals of unity, ones and harmony and the spirit of ‘give and take’. We must learn to let go our past grudges and previous grievances and move forward together as members of one, single family. And so today, I appeal, I call for the healing of brists; the smoothing of brats; I call for the forgiveness of offenses and perceived injuries. I call for the unity of our great party. I call for the collective embrace of a common vision; I call for a commitment to work hard, hand-in-hand to accomplish the task before us. If we fail, and God forbid we will know that we fail. In an attempt into disunity or acrimony or the inability to let go of personal ambitions for common goal, then, we will be betrayed; and I emphasis the word “betray” the hopes and aspirations of the Nigerian people. They look up to us. Today we have reached a milestone. Today we have demonstrated the meaning of the word “change!” We have heard like the chairman of the convention committee said, ‘a world class convention’ and to the best of my knowledge and I know at least, half before now, of the members of this executive; they are people this party, this nation have every reason to be proud of. So, we must never lose sight of this fact and the collective destiny of the Nigerian people, is far more important than our individual or group interest, ambitions or grievances. Because the road ahead of us is long and hard, we must heed the wise advice of our extinct Nobel Leaurent, Professor Wole Soyinka that we must set fought at dawn. And so, whereas this morning we, the party have reason to celebrate the successful completion of our national convention, we must rise at dawn and set forth on our patriotic mission to set Nigerians free and usher in the ‘new Nigeria’ of our collective dreams.
Once again, I thank you all.
May God in his infinite mercy, bless you all.
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