Thursday, April 11, 2013
WELCOME ADDRESS BY DR. FREDERICK FASEHUN, CHAIRMAN OF THE COMMITTEE FOR THE RESUSCITATION OF THE UNITY PARTY OF NIGERIA (UPN) AT CENTURY HOTEL, LAGOS, ON APRIL 10, 2013
Distinguish Ladies and Gentlemen: We warmly welcome you to this maiden gathering of visionary Nigerians who are engineering the resuscitation of the Unity Party of Nigeria, UPN. OUR DISILLUSION WITH NIGERIAN POLITICS Let me begin by finding out something here and now. Please, we shall like to recognize all Nigerians at this gathering who are completely happy with happenings in Nigerian politics and government – could you please indicate through raising your hand? Obviously, only a handful of Nigerians, those in power are pleased with the quality of leadership and service that political parties have been giving our countrymen and countrywomen. But why is the greater majority of Nigerians disillusioned about the way politics has turned? One reason for our collective disappointment is that unlike many democracies of the world, government in Nigeria has failed to make the citizen the centerpiece of governance. Worldwide, democracy is seen as the government of the people, by the people, for the people. But the Nigerian situation is rather very paradoxical. Various groupings have had to form political platforms, most of which are non-ideological, and this is why although Nigerians have aspired to democracy, they have today achieved a situation far from democracy. What we have today at best is self-government and certainly not democracy. And this is the tragedy of our situation because, worldwide, there is a consensus that the best form of government is popular government, self-government or democracy. And one key element in any democratic configuration is political parties. Political parties come across as a group of people who share the same ideas about the way they want their country governed. But the politics we see in Nigeria today is bereft of idea or ideology, both of which serve as a compass by which a political party charts the roadmap for individual aspirations and national development. For many of us gathered here today, we agreed that we do not like the way our country has been administered at the local government, state and national level since 1999. Politicians who occupy the political space and public office have continued to behave like soldiers of an invading army, whose primary aim is to kill, to loot and to destroy. Unscrupulous politicians continued to stack away their loots in foreign bank accounts. Last year, Nigeria was ranked 139th out of 176 countries in Transparency International’s 2012 Corruption Perceptions Index. However, even without corruption, the cost of governance has become excessively prohibitive and unreasonable. So much that government is the most profitable industry in Nigeria today, with returns on investment well over 10,000 percent. There is real danger for the country and we cannot continue to fold our arms and watch politicians run the country aground through profligacy and corruption. From all indications, Nigeria will not survive beyond 2014 as a country, unless Nigerians rise up to evolve good political platforms and traditions. And UPN has come to provide such a credible platform. Those championing the resuscitation of UPN aim to bring sanity into Nigeria’s political space, beginning with the South-West. A credible political association such as UPN will serve as a reliable, focused, people-oriented political vehicle. UPN shall meet the true yearnings of Nigerians for quality education, for free health for all, for a functional transportation system, for rural-urban integration and for mass housing. Less that 30 percent of our yearly budget goes into the projects and purposes of which they are appropriated, while the bulk goes into the drainpipe of corruption, through vast cash holdings, Nigerian banks and foreign accounts. UPN AND AWO Going down memory lane, we all recollect that together with and his political associates from all across the country, UPN was founded in 1978 by the great Nigerian politician and ideologue, Chief Obafemi Awolowo. The party carried on business until 1983 when it was swept out along with other parties in the coup led by General Muhammadu Buhari. Prior to the untimely resting of UPN, the pattern of election in the Second Republic showed that the party had a virtual monopoly of seats in the South-West and a sizable representation in the old Mid-West (that is Bendel State, now Edo and Delta states) and the North Central (especially in Kwara State, where it won the governorship seat). Concerning the genius of the UPN Founder, Former British Prime Minister, Harold Wilson acknowledged that: “Chief Awolowo would have been an excellent Prime Minister of the United Kingdom or the President of the United States.” The former British PM went on to say that Awo had “genius plans for a greater Nigeria.” Should the legacy of such a man be left to rot away? Should his ideals not become the pole on which the entire country should revolve? Those internationally acknowledged plans UPN in revival has come to resuscitate. Just as obtains in the United States whose Democratic Party, established by Thomas Jefferson and James Madison in the 1790s, rates as the oldest party in the world, we aim to revive and build UPN into the oldest party in Nigeria. But much more than that, we have the vision of making it the most productive and the most people-oriented political organization in Nigeria and ultimately in Black Africa. This was the vision of the founding fathers, including not just Chief Obafemi Awolowo but also the likes of: Chief M.C.K. Ajuluchukwu, Chief Philip Umeadi, Alhaji Muhammadu kura, Chief Ayo Adebanjo, Chief Abraham Adesanya, Chief Olabisi Onabanjo, Professor Ambrose Alli, Alhaji Kayode Jakande, Chief Mrs. Osomo, Pa Michael Imoudu, Chief Jonathan Odebiyi, Chief Joseph Olawoyin, Chief Adekunle Ajasin, Chief Bisi Onabanjo and Chief Alfred Rewane. And we are determined that the labours of these heroes, living and dead, shall never be in vain. The operating ideology of the UPN shall be the truest traditions of AWOISM, TALAKAWANISM, SOCIAL DEMOCRACY and SOCIAL JUSTICE. We must bring the greatest good to the greatest majority of Nigerians. So help us God. Now I ask you: Do you commit yourself to this vision? Nigeria can be great. Nigeria can become the Giant of Africa. This is our motivation, this is our goal. LAI MOHAMMED AND HIS MISCHIEFS My attention has once more been drawn to a statement made yesterday by the Publicity Secretary of the Action Congress of Nigeria, Alhaji Lai Mohammed. Lai is not only being clever by half, Alhaji Lai is a liar. He lied against me and the Oodua People’s Congress, OPC by misinforming the public that I had secured a N2.4 billion contract to guard pipelines. Trouble dey sleep, yanga go wake am. Let us reemphasize that we shall not go out of our way to look for trouble, but if trouble comes knocking, we shall return fire for fire. A word is enough for the wise. Ladies and Gentlemen: I wish you fruitful and inspiring deliberations.