The National Leader of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, on Saturday addressed delegates at the party’s National Covention in Abuja.
Tinubu recounted how the APC was formed from a merger of parties and how the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) fought relentlessly to end their ambition.
The former Governor of Lagos State, however admitted that although progress has been made since they came into power in 2015, a lot still needs to be done.
Read Tinubu’s full statement below:
Joined in goodwill by common purpose and noble endeavor, we assemble this day. The doubters who gave APC no chance of existence or of continued survival have gotten their reply in full. Their envious prayers and complaints have been answered in reverse.
They wanted to see the end of us and our pursuit of good governance for Nigeria. You should not forget, as I shall never forget, the strong efforts they made to stop us in the courts.
There were twelve cases brought trying to stop us from merging, from registering the new party, then attempting to bar our candidate from the election.
Lacking the courage to face the democratic will of the people, they tried to misuse the courts as a weapon against democracy. We thank the judiciary for following the letter and spirit of the constitution by dismissing this dirty dozen of malicious cases filed against us.
With their schemes foiled, those who tried to destroy us must bear witness to the destruction of their edifice of corrupt governance and their dreams of unjust domination of our nation.
While they planned a lifetime of greedy enrichment by looting the people’s resources and the public treasury for 60 years, we moved to reform the economy to bring development and aid to the poor.
When they called for hate and division, we strove for compassion and unity. When they hoisted the standard of bias, we raised the flag of justice and the chevron of fairness.
When they sought to make Nigeria a monument to corrupt government, we sought to remake Nigeria into a place of transparency and honest opportunity for all.
The APC’s formation is the most important political development in our recent history. This is not due to the names of those who founded the party. It is because of the ideals upon which the party was established.
The APC was not brought into existence to compel the majority to serve the few. For 16 consecutive years, the PDP had already assumed that mean role.
The APC came into being to reverse this unjust equation.
Under the PDP, the people were made to let the beast ride them. The APC came to stop this travesty. By right, it is the people who are to ride the beast not the other way around.
As we go through today’s deliberations, we must keep in remembrance and put into action the purposes for which this party was formed.
Yes, human nature is partly composed of personal ambitions. Life would be incomplete without such goals and dreams. Yet, we must be motivated by other things more sublime than our personal benefit.
As good citizens of Nigeria and members of the party, we must seek to prosper with society more that we seek to prosper from society.
In the APC, we are many but we are also one.
Thus, we must stand together for democratic good governance or stand not at all.
We have experienced much since our inception. Unexpected events and harsh realities emerged to block our way. Those who detest progress fought severely against us. And they are still fighting.
Yet, we remain true to our beliefs.
In a few short years, we have done more than the other party did in 16 long years.
During their years, oil prices and government revenues were high. They had more money but less moral commitment to the common welfare.
They neither established school-feeding programs nor created a safety net for the poorest among us. We had less but did these things because we cared more.
Under the PDP, terrorists planted their wicked flag on our soil, controlled territory, and spread mayhem as they willed.
Now, that evil flag of Boko Haram no longer flies over any of our land.
Their fantasy of establishing an empire has forever been dashed. They are retreating and being beaten by the day. The APC government accomplished this while the PDP spent money with no result except increasing misery.
Where did the money go? When the PDP holds their convention and presents their candidates, the public should ask them. If the question is asked, theirs will be the quietest convention ever held. They dare not answer the question with honesty for an honest answer will destroy them.
Our party has made progress but much work remains. We have overcome recession but that is an insufficient cure to many. We must accelerate economic growth and bring prosperity to all.
We must create jobs wherever we find the jobless. We must help bring food to the tables of the hungry. We must bring light where darkness now resides.
We must continue to squash corruption where it stands.
People continue to suffer violence in several places. We must end the violence and untangle the root causes of such conflict.
We must reclaim Nigeria’s place in the world as the leader of the African cause and black race.
These things will be challenging. This is why we must band together as one party, one family, one purpose, one people.
As a very old and wise woman recently told me. “Don’t worry son. You are doing well but you mustn’t get tired. Your broom is good but it takes more than one stroke to clean a filthy house.”
Well, the PDP left us a dirty house. As we complete this four-year term, we complete but one stroke of that broom in cleaning that house.
We are here today to prepare our way so that we may continue to right the wrongs that have been left by others for us to correct.
You are here to build a better Nigeria.
This means we must join hands even more tightly than before. Over the past few months, there has been jockeying and competition for the various positions in the party.
Today, we conduct the elections to fill these vital posts. Those who sought posts were all qualified and good people. While only one person can win, the party needs you all.
You all have competed as is your right in a democratic setting. Now, competition must end. Reconciliation for the great battle ahead – the general elections – must commence.
We must show the people that we conduct our internal affairs differently than other parties just as we adhere to different ideas and policies than these other parties do. They are backward. We are progressive. They are despotic. We are democratic. Now, we must walk the same as we talk.
Today I appeal to you to accommodate each other by giving greater emphasis to the progressive bond that unites us so that we attain victory in the electoral battles to come.
The success of the APC convention today is such that it sets our eyes at the edge of the spear.
Under President Buhari, Nigeria has found its rightful course. Discipline and collective purpose are taking root. Government has become accountable. Bleakness turns to hope.
President Buhari has done significant work clearing away yesterday’s mess so that we may reach a better future.
When his critics grossly falsify by saying he has not achieved enough, remember what the old woman told me “Your broom is good but it takes more than one stroke to clean a dirty house.”
The old malpractices of the PDP that have soiled what should be our beautiful national home. We now must continue cleaning it for the benefit of all Nigerians, even for the members of the PDP who have done so much harm because we are a party of compassion and togetherness not one of malice and intolerance.
Be proud to be of the APC. We are on a mission to save our nation. When you return home, speak not only of what we accomplished today.
But enlighten your people about the policies and ideals of this party so that they will know which party is day and which is night, which party seeks to be their servant and which again schemes to be their master.
To the APC governors. Excellencies. You are the wheels on which the party moves. You have found ways to close ranks and wisely resolve issues in the overall interests of the party.
You have rallied behind President Buhari and refused to be moved by anything other than the good of this collective enterprise. Your comportment has been inspiring.
To our lawmakers, your efforts are recognized. Without your contributions, providing responsible and good governance would be impossible.
We ask you to do even more to advance our party’s policy agenda and help the president enact laws that ensure prosperity and justice reign throughout the land.
APC Women, you are the heart and conscience of the nation and our party. You must always raise your voice to ensure that we remain true to our goal of improving the lot of the average family.
We count on you to run for elective office and to galvanize support for the party throughout the land.
Great APC youth (pause and repeat). Your intelligence, skills and patriotism tell us you are ready to serve. That we believe in you is evident by Mr. President signing the “Not too young to Run” bill into law.
If you seek progressive governance that gives every Nigerian a fair chance, the APC is the home for you. We welcome you home.
Before closing, I must mention something of high concern. Our progressive agenda has been hampered because elements of the PDP remain embedded in the many agencies and ministries so crucial to daily governance.
They have been as a fifth column, undermining our policies at every turn. While impeding reform, they also plot the comeback of their reactionary brethren to power.
This is something we should no longer abide. Our party teems with competent, reform-minded people who would perform admirably in these positions.
It is time to sweep out the PDP remnants and put in position people, who actually care about the people.
Some among us feared that today we would be joined by the presence of rain. Don’t fret. Let the rain fall if it must. For it is a sign of a great washing.
We, the party of the broom, should understand more than anyone else what this represents. The rain symbolizes that we are to wash away the remaining shards of the old, unjust politics so that we can set forth a better path for Nigeria.
Thus, let us be equal to the historic moment before us. Let us dedicate ourselves to uplifting the average man, woman and child. Let us dedicate this day to the establishment of a compassionate political culture and social consciousness.
May this mighty broom that we have become sweep aside that which needs to be swept aside so that all Nigerians may enter into their finest destiny with national pride and utmost dignity.
We are ready. We are the APC. We are Nigeria.
May God bless you all and bless our beloved republic.