Diplomatic Relations

A New Year of relief, recovery and reform

This is the new year message to Nigerians by Professor Osibanjo, the Vice Presidential candidate of the All Progressive Congress of Nigeria for the 2015 Presidential election. He posted this on his Facebook page --

I wish you a very Happy New Year. This year presents a new dawn - a new beginning for our future. Never has Nigeria yearned for a new start and hope more, than today.

At this time, hope appears dim for many. Several of our brothers and sisters are displaced from their homes because of a ravaging insurgency; many parents still mourn the snatching away at night of their promising young girls just as others mourn the 19 young Nigerians who lost their lives in the quest to be employed; many young Nigerians desire financial independence, but cannot find work in a country that promises much but delivers little; the future of many children in our Nation continues to take the backseat as millions of children do not go to school. Many child-bearing women and infants are victims of a health crisis that has taken millions of lives.

We must not travel in this direction. There is a detour ahead! This New Year begins with an opportunity to change course. An opportunity to provide relief for the majority of our citizens in Nigeria; an opportunity for families to find relief in employment; employment for our youth and education for all our children. No longer will our mothers and wives be the focus of world statistics for maternal mortality nor our children die in the multitudes.

This New Year presents an opportunity for Recovery for our gutted economy. An opportunity to move away from a system that pegs all of our economic fortunes on the movement of the price of oil, without alternatives. We have an opportunity to change to real economic recovery that provides the decisive means to grow the critical sectors that put Nigerians to productive work. Importantly, we have an opportunity to recover our territory and peace-of-mind from insurgents, terrorists, kidnappers and all criminal elements that use religion and violence to perpetuate evil and insecurity in the land.

Best of all, we have an opportunity to Reform. All efforts to provide relief and engineer recovery will go to waste in the face of massive corruption. Crushing corruption in today's corrupted Nigeria is a critical aspect of the work ahead of Nigeria.

This year we have the power to bring about change that would restore the dignity of the Nigerian Citizen. This is not about vague promises or futile aspirations. We have a real, doable, and achievable plan- Relief, Recovery and Reform will touch all Nigerians in the New Year, God willing.

In the next few weeks, Nigeria decides one of two courses. General Buhari and I are certain of the course we want to take Nigerians on. We know it will not be without hurdles and interruption. Nevertheless, it is doable if we run Nigeria in a changed way: with a changed idea, a changed plan, but a steady and sincere heart. Always, putting people first ahead of vested interests.

And we are sure Nigeria will be a restored, greater, progressive and more thriving country. So this is a year of opportunity for Nigeria. It is within our hold and our sight, to not only push the old year and old ways behind us but reach out to the change that beckons in a few weeks!

The question for you and us is, can we fix this? Can we build a Nigeria that cares for the common man? Can we invent the future we desire and crave? Can we make our Children proud of our efforts? YES WE CAN! Change is within touching distance. It is doable. We are with you if your answer is yes. And together, CHANGE is our song for the NEW YEAR! This year is a game changer!

Once more, our best wishes for the NEW YEAR!

- Professor Yemi Osinbajo, SAN

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