BY ADEBAYO SEGUN, ABUJA – Former Governor of Kano State, Senator Rabiu Musa Kwankwaso, on Wednesday officially declared his presidential ambition, saying he is for “positive change”.
His declaration, which was held at Chida Hotel in Abuja, attracted thousands of his Kwankwasiya supporters and party members from various parts of the country.
The former Kano State governor, who was also a former Minister of Defence, expressed readiness to give Nigerians the change the current government, adding that the President Muhammadu Buhari-led All Progressives Congress (APC) has failed.
Kwankwaso’s full speech below…
“Let me begin by thanking all of you for travelling from far and wide to witness this important occasion heralding my decision to run for the office of the President, Federal Republic of Nigeria.
Your resolve to come, I am convinced, was informed by our collective disillusionment, disappointment and the pervasive air of hopelessness in our country today. Your desire to see things change for better is well-informed and inner conviction that together we can midwife positive change is applauded.
Today I declare that I am going to vie for the office of President Federal Republic of Nigeria under the platform of the Peoples Democratic Party. I stand on my honour to offer a paradigm shift in leadership. There is no gainsaying that all is not well with the polity. It is also clear that the same mindset that created and escalated the problems cannot be used in resolving the on-going crises in our nationhood and national development.
I intend to offer positive change. Change has again become inevitable. To live is to witness changes because change is an inseparable part of living. Come May 2019, the narrative of helplessness, buck-passing, division, poverty, insecurity, and hopelessness must change to turn to a new dawn of confidence in building a one well restructured Nigeria.
I assure you that while I do not have the prophetic power to predict the future, we certainly have in us the ability to create the future that we want.
On this day, as I stand before you I offer you a value-based leadership anchored on our National Ethics as outlined in Chapter 2 of Section 23 of our Constitution:
And I quote; “The National Ethics shall be Discipline, Integrity, Dignity of Labour, Social Justice, Religious Tolerance, Self-reliance and Patriotism.”
We will provide a leadership where everybody is free and equal; where Nigerians see themselves as Nigerians first and as Ibo, Yoruba, Hausa, Ijaw, Ibibio, Fulani, etc second; where citizens are self-assured and self-assertive; where they are confident and competent; where they want to do what is right no matter whose ox is gored. I want to lead a Nigeria where people are educated and exposed beyond the confines of their tribe, religion, linguistic group or place of birth.
I want to lead a Nigeria where Citizens respect their leaders, and leaders lead and forge a team to promote and protect the interest of all Nigerians. I want to lead a Nigeria where all are comfortable anywhere and on any positive issue can compete fairly with their peers without favour or discrimination. That is the kind of Nigeria we envision. We will abandon the failed relics of the past. We have all it takes to make Nigeria good and relevant for all.
What are some of these changes that we are promising?
1. National Security: The primary responsibility of the Government is security of life. My understanding of National security transcends the stereotype limiting it to the Armed Forces and other security agencies. As former Minister of Defence, I understand security from that point; it covers more and includes the entire scope of food, health care delivery, education, economic prosperity, and enjoyment of human rights on the physical defence and security side. There is the need for a well-trained, motivated, well-equipped and intelligence-propelled security architecture.
That requires decisive options of strengthening and equipping the military while restructuring the Police to make it more effective. We will vigorously pursue other institutional reforms in the other security and paramilitary agencies and justice system that will serve as a huge disincentive for crimes and criminality. This will include training and retraining of personnel, improvement of personnel welfare as well as the provision of other security infrastructure considered necessary and relevant to combating crime and other deviant behaviors.
The constant misuse of security apparatus will stop immediately. Ours is a recommitment to strengthening all democratic institutions in Nigeria. We shall also strive to create an all-inclusive mechanism for effective intelligence gathering that involves all stakeholders especially – Traditional rulers, Religious Leaders, businessmen and women, civil servants, Community leaders, the communities themselves, youth, trade organizations, politicians and all well-meaning Nigerians.
We must as a policy strive to support and protect the identities of those patriotic Nigerians that volunteer credible information to make Nigeria and Nigerians safe.
Above all we shall put mechanisms in place for the continuous monitoring of the operations of these security institutions to ensure efficiency and conformity with the rule of law. I also understand the difficult conditions under which our military and other paramilitary organisations operate. An ill-equipped, unmotivated, deprived and over- tasked soldier cannot perform maximally.
We shall motivate all affected communities, the military and the police to put an end to all killings. There is absolutely no excuse whatsoever for killings by Boko Haram insurgents, herdsmen, crop farmers, kidnappers, human traffickers and abductors. We will provide an atmosphere where there will be security, safety, serenity and sanity.
2. The Economy: Nigeria in recent years has witnessed a weak economic performance due to tight economic policies and failed institutional supervision especially as it relates to growing small enterprises that should, in the long run, result in larger ventures to anchor our economic prosperity. Tight monetary rates, exchange rates fluctuations, inflation and unemployment are the dominant factors hindering the growth and survival of our businesses in the country today. Therefore, our focus shall be on sound economic policies that will ensure a new regime of exchange rate stability, low-interest rates and reduction in the country’s rising burden of domestic and foreign loans.
In the past three years, poverty and unemployment have become more visible, challenging Nigeria’s economic prosperity. Existing policies and economic programmes for alleviating the poverty incidence in the country have obviously failed. Our non-negotiable goal will, therefore, be the eradication of poverty through sustainable wealth creation and a coordinated and effective micro small and medium enterprises development. We shall promote policies that boost our foreign reserves and lower interest rate to ensure that the unsustainable debt treadmill profile is tamed. Locally, we shall diversify the economy through industrialisation and manufacturing, aggressive promotion of agribusiness, the mining sector and entrepreneurship to make us self-sufficient and export-oriented. The oil and gas sector must cease to be a verifiable source of corruption and inefficiency.
3. Social Challenges: Our response to the various social challenges shall be hinged on our economic model of poverty eradication. We must consciously seek to tame the widening of inequality. We will strive to end ethnic and religious bigotry, corruption, poor economic management, nepotism, gross dereliction of duty, condonation of misdeed. As we all know a serious lack of progress and hope for the future, lack of national cohesion and poor management of internal political dynamics and widening inequality – are very much with us today.
We need to believe in ourselves; we need to be critically analytical when and where necessary; we need to have indomitable courage and unwavering commitment to Nigeria and all that is Nigerian; we need to stand firm for what is noble, edifying and wholesome; we need to fight those ills that have shackled us and held us back in the past; we need to establish shared values and enthrone norms, virtues and morality that are enduring, uplifting and distinguishing.
We owe the successor generation a country that is united, stable, secure, cohesive and prosperous, playing its role among the comity of nations easily. That is our goal. We must not only do things right, we must do right things and always do them right. There should be no excuse for poor performance, shoddy job and incompetence on any grounds. We must avoid failure at all cost and engender the right ambience that will allow the creative potentials of Nigerians to be expressed uninhibited. We will have truly inclusive growth and development for shared prosperity.
4. Infrastructure: With a rapidly growing population, Nigeria’s infrastructure is challenged. If not tackled it would deny citizens the joy of national prosperity. Energy need keeps shooting up the stress of doing business in Nigeria. Domestic production suffers and a lot of foreign companies also find it hard to invest in Nigeria due to constant power failures. For decades, Nigeria failed to develop its infrastructure. To bridge the gap in infrastructure, we will prioritise capital expenditure and ensure that adequate funds are not only allocated to capital expenditure but also disbursed in a timely manner and utilised as budgeted for road and rail networks, waterways, housing, aviation communication and others.
5. Human Capital Development & Global Competitiveness, Education, Research and Innovation: The greatest asset of any nation is its human capital. In the people lies the solution to most of our challenges. My job as the leader is to facilitate the release of the creative energy embedded in our growing youth population brimming with ingenuity and famed resilience. Ours will be a deliberate policy to make our workforce globally competitive. Human Capital development in all its ramifications shall be a cardinal point of our administration. We shall provide ICT- compliant high-quality personal development education.
And research for development will be made accessible to all. We are committed to providing good quality universal education from pre-primary to tertiary and vocational skills development. We shall provide accessible, quality education to all Nigerians. Education in Nigeria will be rejuvenated and restructured to make future generations not only problem-solvers but proud custodians of their culture, heritage and history and also for creating confidence in all Nigerians across all the States, sectors and talents.
We believe that education is the cornerstone of any development and nation-building and a very strong weapon to fight inequality, injustice and poverty. It is also an instrument or tool for building national unity and cohesion. As a policy, we will drive a plan to provide the necessary infrastructure, rejuvenate existing ones and modernize them to be in line with the best international practice. We shall equally review the fees being charged for WAEC, NECO and JAMB examinations and make education affordable. Every child in Nigeria must be supported to attain his or her maximum potential in education. In addition, we shall commence a review of our method as it relates to agricultural technology in particular.
6. Agribusiness: Agri-business holds one of the major keys to eradicating poverty from our midst. The key of our agricultural development must be an aggressive pursuit of agri-business. We intend to collaborate with our numerous Agricultural Research Institutes and Universities by challenging them to pursue resolute research and development in agribusiness, agricultural technology etc. Working with expert advice, we intend to qualitatively improve the agricultural value chain, to create employment opportunities.
7. Healthcare Delivery: Now that medical tourism has become the first choice of our leaders, we will ensure that the current situation in clinics and hospitals is given radical reforms. We shall prioritise and institutionalise national healthcare programmes and delivery, medical education and training and financing of healthcare in a manner that is universally accessible and affordable. Our main goal in healthcare would be to provide affordable ‘Healthcare services for all Nigerians’.
8. International Relations: While Africa must remain the centrepiece of our foreign policy, we shall endeavour to keep our old friends while seeking deeper and better understanding of our other development partners and allies. Our foreign policy must be directed at contributing to the eradication of poverty and global competitiveness.
9. Youth & Women Empowerment: Our government will treat the youth, sports, recreation and culture activities as an Industry through which businesses can be created and job opportunities established. Our women shall consciously be encouraged in governance and business. We shall encourage and support young people and women in collaboration with all financial institutions to create platforms where they can get access to finance to establish and deploy their creative energies into problem-solving apps and other forms of ICT for sports, recreation and core businesses. We will endeavour to get 30% representation of women and youth in all organs and structures of government in line with the PDP constitution.
10. National Unity, Cohesion and Restructuring: The fulcrum of our leadership will be the enhancement of a united Nigeria couched within the matrix of productivity and a shift from the sense of entitlement by officeholders and their hangers-on.
Fellow compatriots, a key propellant of our journey must be a committed desire to ensure that the labours of our heroes shall truly not be in vain. We will strive to create an atmosphere where every Nigerian has an equal opportunity to contribute. Our restructuring will be to ensure an inclusive political, social and economic space for all. All of this will ensure that first, we are Nigerians.
At this juncture, I will conclude by once again thanking all those who contributed in their own way to make this occasion a huge success. I must specifically mention those who mobilized their resources, time and energy to travel from far and near to witness this important occasion. I hope you have collected your PVC, and if you still haven’t collected your own you have tomorrow to do so. Take the opportunity to collect and encourage others to collect their own to be used to vote out the APC Government and vote in the PDP umbrella Government.”