Nigeria badly brutalised, needs rescuing, rebuilding ― PDP

The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) Tuesday began a two-day retreat for newly elected members of its National Working Committee (NWC) with the national chairman-elect, Professor Iyorchia Ayu, asserting that Nigeria needs to be rescued and rebuilt now from the maladministration of the ruling party.

In his welcome address to participants and party chieftains in Abuja, he said the main opposition party must therefore set a clear road map on how best to help tackle the problems of the people and country.

According to him, Nigeria has become a country badly brutalized, robbed and traumatized in the past six years plus.

“Our country is in very deep trouble so we have a duty, and Nigerians expect us, to rescue and rebuild the country,” he said.

Explaining the essence of the retreat with the theme: “Rescue and Rebuild Nigeria,” the incoming party boss said it is to recommit party leaders to the sacrifices they need to make to rescue and rebuild the country.

He pointed out that the party had allowed itself to be defined by the All Progressive Congress (APC) massive propaganda, saying that PDP must take stock and go beyond just reacting to what the ruling party says about it.

Ayu added: “And talking about stock-taking, this retreat is an opportunity for us to also do that: take stock of where we are as a party, how we got there, what went well and what went wrong, and then collectively think of how we can do better for our party and, more importantly, for our country.

“You may agree with me that in the last two election cycles we allowed ourselves to be defined by the APC with its massive. propaganda machine. Are we going to allow that to happen again or would this retreat help to give us the tools and ideas to enable us define ourselves before an opponent does?”

“In my view, we can no longer be a party that just reacts to what the APC government does. No, we can’t be that any more. We must be a party that thoughtfully articulates and designs a clear programme of where we want to take Nigeria as well as how we hold the rudderless APC government to account.

“We must be more than a party that just issues the occasional press statement condemning the APC government. We must demonstrate to Nigerians that years in opposition have not dented our will and desire to win and to govern for the benefit of our country.
“Nigerians look up to us to reunite this country which has been badly divided over the past 6 years. Nigerians want to see that we are united and ready to govern,” he said.
Why noting that the theme of the retreat is apt, the former Senate president stated: “Surely Nigeria needs rescuing and rebuilding. The damage done by the APC is pretty obvious – insecurity everywhere, including shared sovereignty with criminal and terrorist gangs, a collapsed economy with a comatose manufacturing sector, soaring prices, naira near worthless, interest rates very high, with the Central Bank of Nigeria picking and choosing winners and losers and virtually running a parallel government, (which even leaves the Vice President confused), collapsed infrastructure, terrorist sympathizers in government, and confusion everywhere, as Fela would say.

“We must offer a clear, workable alternative to rebuild our country.”

“Just recently the US Council on Foreign Relations published a study by two experts which said Nigeria is, already a failed state that has reached a point of no return and would collapse.

“That is where the APC government has brought us to. We need not waste our energy arguing whether the American researchers are right or not. Rather, we should focus our energies, imagination and creativity towards ensuring that their prognosis does not come to pass. We must work to reverse that march towards collapse.

“Think about this for a moment: at no point did the elites or leaders of the countries that collapsed come together and agree to collapse their countries. No, they never did. Rather it is a combination and cumulation of words and actions by individuals and groups that led to their collapse.

“No other party in this country is better equipped and placed to rescue and rebuild this country than the PDP. We did it before. While memories may be short sometimes, most of us still remember the last years of military rule in Nigeria and the unstable, crisis-ridden and debt-ridden country that PDP inherited; a country shunned by the rest of the civilized world, a pariah state.

“However, within a few short years the PDP government led by Chief Olusegun Obasanjo reversed the economic collapse, stabilized the exchange and interest rates, made strides in the provision of infrastructure, secured us relief from foreign creditors, and restored faith in our country both by its citizens and foreign investors.

“Many of our citizens in the diaspora returned and set up businesses here or contributed in other ways. Foreign investors trooped in. Abuja and other cities transformed from sites of abandoned projects to thriving construction sites and livable cities.

“Do we remember what our telephone system was like before the PDP government gave us GSM? From the biggest economy on the continent, the APC administration destroyed the country and turned Nigeria into the headquarters of Poverty in the world.

“My friends, we can do this again. However, we have to do the first things first. Nigerians are not going to vote for us just because we had done well before. People do not vote for the past but for the present and the future. We have to demonstrate that we can do better than the current APC government.”

Ayu advised that the PDP must put its house in order for the overriding interest of the country.

He further said: “We have to rebuild Nigeria to provide education for all its citizens.

“We have to rebuild a Nigeria that secures its borders and protects its law-abiding citizens wherever in the country they may live, whatever their occupation and whatever their language, religion or ethnicity.

“We have to rebuild a Nigeria with roads, bridges, and railways that crisscross and connect different parts of this country to facilitate and promote the movement of people and goods to grow our economy.

“We have to rebuild a Nigeria that pays decent wages to workers so that we actually have a real economy driven by higher productivity and My driven by

“We have to rebuild Nigeria to become a fertile ground for our young people and other entrepreneurs to unleash their creativity and innovativeness consumer spending.

“Let us rebuild Nigeria as a country that does not treat any of its peoples as second-class citizens.

“We have to rebuild our party so we can rebuild Nigeria. We have to enthrone internal democracy in our party and get accustomed to it. Let us collectively rebuild PDP as a peoples’ democratic party, as our name says, a party that truly belongs to the grassroots.

“Let us put behind us the quarrels of yesteryears.

“Let us not fight yesterday’s wars but instead recognize the APC as the real obstacle and danger to Nigeria’s progress as a developed, united and forward-looking country. Let us, therefore, direct our energies towards defeating that party and implementing a programme of rebirth, growth and opportunity for our country.

“My friends, our task is not going to be easy but with commitment, dedication, laser-focus and your cooperation with the national leadership of our party and of the governments that we shall put in place at the federal level and across the country, we shall succeed.”

In his remark at the occasion, the chairman of PDP Governors Forum and governor of Sokoto state, Aminu Tambuwal, noted that the successful conduct of its last national convention shows that the PDP is back and poised to write a new chapter for Nigeria.

He observed that the retreat will enable the PDP to provide workable solutions and clear policy alternatives to Nigerians as opposed to “the ruling incompetent and rudderless APC administration.”

According to the Sokoto governor, the PDP has shown that it has learnt its lessons and it is ready for power in 2023, “to provide hope where ineptitude currently exists.”

He added: “Where APC thrives in excuses, PDP will take responsibility. Where APC thrives in propaganda and deceit, PDP will be transparent with Nigerians. Whereas APC Government thrives in insecurity, PDP will secure Nigeria. Whereas APC presides over Nigeria as the poverty capital of the world, PDP will make Nigeria prosperous. APC has wrecked our economy, but PDP will salvage it. Where APC focuses on selective anti-corruption fight, PDP will fight corruption with appropriate institutional reforms.”

Tambuwal noted that Nigeria is in an urgent need for a surgical operation as according to him, the country is in a permanent emergency.

He observed: “We all know what the problems are. They are man-made. And is therefore resolvable. It requires a focused, determined, knowledgeable and patriotic organisation of like minds to build the critical mass necessary for a great leap forward. Yes, it requires leadership, with vision and discipline.

“We suffer from a crisis of Governance. The unity of Nigeria is facing unprecedented challenges. Life in Nigeria is increasingly becoming brutish and short as insecurity ravages the land. Poverty is the forte of the ordinary Nigerian. The health and education of our people has not improved.

“Our people are in want. The economy is in dire straits with the exchange rate now about N540 to a Dollar from the N150 to a Dollar when PDP left office. Prices of food stuff and essential commodities are unsustainable. Clearly beyond the reach of the average Nigerian.

“Between 35 to 40% of Nigerians are unemployed. And women and Youths bear the main brunt. Bandits, kidnappers, terrorists are having a field day. Almost unchallenged. Our children are not safe even in their schools.

“Corruption still stalk the land. Nepotism, ethnic and religious bigotry reign supreme in today’s APC’s Nigeria. Our infrastructure is still comatose.

“Trust and hope in Nigeria is at its lowest. Our lamentations can go on, ad infinitum. But the test of leadership is the ability to solve problems. What solutions will PDP offer? What is the way forward?”

He reiterated that Nigeria must embrace restructuring to survive, saying: “It must restructure its polity, economy, security and ways of doing things. It must embrace relative autonomy and decentralisation of power. This will unleash the energies of our people, especially, the young. It is time to allow Nigeria blossom. It is doable with all hands on deck.

“Secondly, we must embrace innovation and technology as a way of life. Technology will solve the youth unemployment time tomb. Technology will improve our agriculture, health, industralisation, education and indeed, it has implications and impacts on all facets of our lives. It is in this respect that we continue to condemn the Twitter ban as a retrogressive action that should never have happened.

“Can Nigeria survive another 4 years of APC? The answer is a resounding No. It is too frightening to contemplate.

“PDP remains the only credible alternative to APC and we cannot afford to fail Nigerians. We must keep hope alive. We can do it. Yes, we can, as Obama would say.”

“The revitalised PDP shall be true to the words of our national anthem, ‘To build a nation where peace and justice shall reign.’”

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