*Says FG focused on improving lives of ordinary Nigerians
“The common man, those that are at the bottom of the pyramid, the millions who had been left behind, have remained the reason and rationale for our aspiration to the leadership of our nation.
“We have worked hard in the past three years, despite the challenging circumstances that we inherited, and the absolute blight of the last five years, to resolve the issues in these areas. Now on every front, the light is appearing at the end of the tunnel.”
First, let me express my sincere congratulations to our new Chairman, Comrade Adams Oshiomole. He is a very special friend of mine, he belongs to an important society which I have the privilege of chairing within the APC. This is a special society comprising the following very distinguished members; Mallam Nasir El-Rufai, Governor of Kaduna State, Dr. Chris Ngige, Honourable Minister of Labour, and Professor Isaac Adewole, Honourable Minister of Health, who are vertically humble, gentlemen who have refused to show off by ensuring that they maintain modesty in their heights. By succeeding the much taller Chief John Odigie Oyegun, I think the APC has finally achieved the long and short of the matter.
I think we must congratulate Chief John Odigie Oyegun, the outgoing Chairman, who as has been said repeatedly, achieved a historical occurrence, of being the one who led the party to take over from a 16 year incumbency of the PDP.
Chief Odigie Oyegun, we want to thank you very much for your great service to our party, and we wish you well for the future, because you are going to be very much a part of the future of our party, and the great victories that lies ahead of us.
The destinies of nations is often shaped by the actions or inactions of its men and women. God has given us the freewill to act or refrain from acting, to better the lot and fortunes of our people.
Our great party, the APC, was given the unequivocal mandate of the Nigerian people, to govern along the lines of the social democratic principles espoused in our manifesto. We have been resolutely faithful to that mandate. The difference between us and the other parties, is our firm commitment to integrity and fighting grand corruption, the looting of the treasury with impunity, and also, the adoption of a bottom-up approach to the development of our country.
The common man, those that are at the bottom of the pyramid, the millions who had been left behind, have remained the reason and rationale for our aspiration to the leadership of our nation. This is why for the first time in the history of our country, we have embarked on a graduate and non-graduate employment programme called N-Power. Today, we saw many of the beneficiaries, and we have 200,000 of such volunteers across the country, in every single local government in Nigeria. We will by God’s grace, engage an additional 300,000 by next month, making the employment scheme the largest of its type in Africa. Our School Feeding Programme feeds over 8.2 million children every day in our public primary schools. The largest feeding programme in Africa.
Again, for the first time in history, we are paying N5000 monthly to about 300,000 of the poorest in our communities, and we are giving micro-credit to another 350,000. In the next few months, by the grace of God, we will be embarking on the most ambitious micro-credit scheme anywhere in the world, as we extend our GEEP microcredit scheme, to cover the traders at the very bottom of the ladder, who now do not have bank accounts or access to any form of credit.
Mr. President during the campaigns in 2015, and since then, outlined the issues central to realizing our desire to upturn the pyramid, such that the majority are able to earn enough to live decently, have access to free education and health care for themselves and their children, and be provided the opportunities for prosperity, as entrepreneurs and business owners.
The issues we outlined then are relevant and still relevant all the time in the history of any nation and the life time of any nation, they are – security, the economy, and in our case, the fight against corruption.
We have worked hard in the past three years, despite the challenging circumstances that we inherited, and the absolute blight of the last five years, to resolve the issues in these areas. Now on every front, the light is appearing at the end of the tunnel. We spent for the first time in the history of our country, N1.3 trillion on capital expenditure in 2017, the largest yet in the history of the country.
So now we are doing the major infrastructure projects, long abandoned by previous governments; Lagos Kano Rail, 2nd Niger Bridge, East-west Road, the Lagos Ibadan Expressway, and the Mambilla Hydro Project. We are doing this with almost 50% less revenue than all of the previous governments. We are doing far more, with much less.
All that is left is for us as a party, to remain united, to heal the wounds, redress grievances with an understanding that the Nigerian people who voted us into office, expect us to fight for them, not among ourselves. All of our people know our honesty of purpose, they have no intention of going backwards, and they know that it is forward ever and backward never.
Let us therefore, boldly lead our nation forward, under the leader of integrity that God has given us, President Muhammadu Buhari, in the full assurance that by the grace of God, we will be victorious in 2019.
God bless the APC.
God bless the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
Thank you very much.
Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity,
Office of the Vice President,
June 24, 2018