On Wednesday, October 15, 2014, at the Eagles Square Abuja, former military head of state Muhammadu Buhari formally declared his interest to contest for the 2015 presidential election in Nigeria. Below is his speech at the declaration -
First I would like, Mr Chairman, if I may, pay tribute to Nigerians as a whole who are enduring all sorts of hardships and deprivations on a daily basis. Many millions are grappling with extreme poverty and barely eking out a living. Nearly all are in fear of their lives or safety for themselves and their families due to
- Insurgency by the godless movement called Boko Haram;
- By marauding murderers in towns and villages;
- By armed robbers on the highways;
- By kidnappers who have put whole communities to fright and sometimes to flight.
Ladies and gentlemen, it is everyone's duty to resolve and help the national effort to overcome these immense challenges. I would like us to place on record our appreciation for the efforts of our Armed Forces under new leadership and police in confronting these challenges.
I would like, secondly, to thank our supporters up and down the country for their perseverance and resolve in face of an oppressive PDP government.
Mr Chairman, this is an occasion to celebrate our efforts and to resolve to continue until victory is won. I humbly wish to present myself before you, before all of Nigeria and before God seeking to be elected as APC's Presidential candidate. Having appreciated that the only way to relieve Nigerians of the PDP, the main opposition parties decided to pool their strengths into one party. We have worked very hard in the last 18 months to put up structures from the polling units to wards, local governments, states and the centre.
We have tried to ensure all processes in our party formation to be transparent and credible. These structures will lead to free and fair polls. There is no point in holding elections if they are not free and fair.
Interference in the form of rigging which PDP Government has practised since 2003 is the worst form of injustice - denying people their right to express their opinions. Whether they like it or not, injustice cannot endure.
Since 1999 PDP has presided over our country's decline. Nigeria in my experience has never been so divided, so polarized by an unthinking government hell bent on ruling and stealing forever whatever befalls the country. Mr Chairman, we in APC are resolved to stop them in their tracks and rescue Nigeria from the stranglehold of PDP.
The last 16 years of PDP Government has witnessed decline in all critical sectors of life in Nigeria
- There is now general insecurity in the land
Quite apart from Boko Haram, there is prevalence of Armed Robbery, kidnappings and killings, cattle rustling, market and farmland arson.
These outrages have taken a new and a frightening dimension, disrupting economic and social life across whole communities.
- The economy continues to deteriorate while the Government continues to announce fantastic growth figures but manufacturing is down, agriculture is down, commerce is down
Simply because you sell oil and steal part of the money does not entitle you to cook figures and announce phantom economic growth when all the major indices namely,
are demonstrably on the decline.
- When PDP came to power in 1999 Nigeria was generating about 4,000 M/W of electricity. After 15 years and $20 billion spent we are generating between 3,000 - 4,000 M/W. No failure is more glaring than this.
We in APC are resolve to bring change to Nigeria. We plan to do things differently.
We plan to put priority on
- Protection of lives and property.
- Pursuing economic policies for shared prosperity and immediate attention on youth employment.
- Quality education for development, modernity and social mobility.
- Agricultural productivity for taking millions out of poverty and ensuring food security.
- Reviving Industry to generate employment and "make things" not just to remain hawkers of other peoples' goods.
- Developing solid minerals exploitation which will substantially attract employment and revenue for government.
- Restoring honour and integrity to public service by keeping the best and attracting the best.
- Tackling corruption which has become blatant and widespread. The rest of the world looks at Nigeria as the home of corruption. Nigeria is a country where stealing is not corruption.
- Last, (but not the least or final) respecting the constitutional separation of powers between the executive, legislatures and judiciary and respecting the rights of citizens.
Mr Chairman, there, in outline are some policy proposals about the direction APC should take when, by the grace of God, we are given the responsibility of serving Nigeria in Government.