AN ADDRESS DELIVERED BY COMRADE PREYE DRESSMAN, DIRECTOR-GENERAL OF THE CITIZENS NETWORK FOR PEACE AND DEVELOPMENT IN NIGERIA ON THE OCCASSION OF CNPD’s MEDIA BRIEFING
DATE: SUNDAY, JANUARY 26, 2014
HOLDEN AT ROCKVIEW HOTEL: WUSE II, ABUJA
GENTLEMEN OF THE PRESS,
It gives me great pleasure to have you grace this occassion and we would like to express our sincere gratitude for the time you have taken out of your undoubtedly busy schedules to attend.
CITIZENS NETWORK FOR PEACE AND DEVELOPMENT or CNPD is a non-governmental organization which was registered a year ago by Nigerians of like minds who were inspired by common love for our country and who share a vision of an era of meaningful and sustained development as we are begining to enjoy in Nigeria today.
The formation of CNPD is essentially in response to the overwhelming desire of millions of Nigerian citizens for an effective platform of communication amongst themselves and also with government at all levels. CNPD’s mission is essentially to promote peace, good citizenship and responsible leadership which we believe are the crucial ingredients needed to lubricate our nation’s wheel of progress. With keen commitment to this mission, our vision is to establish a network of citizens who are committed to the shared values of peace, justice, mutual respect, cross-cultural understanding and national coorperation.
Since the CNPD was registered, we have been involved in several activities aimed at promoting the need for peace in Nigeria without which our collective desire for change and progress will continue to elude us in the face of global advancements in governance and development in general.
Our resolve to be an active part of a new Nigeria in the making has remained unshaken and we are determined to promote both the interests of the people and that of any administration that recognizes the fact that the interests of the people comes first.
In the past year, we have followed keenly the activities of the President Jonathan’s Administration as it assiduously works to realize the Transformation Agenda and we have had cause to contribute to the administration’s efforts by vocally registering our voices on some of its notable programmes and policies. This we have been able to express on the platform of various information media as well as through correspondence with the concerned authorities.
Our activities were taken a step further when on May 29, 2013, President Jonathan presented to the nation his administration’s Mid-Term Report which serves as a catalogue of his administration’s achievements between 2011 and 2013 and enjoys the reputation of being the first of its kind in Nigeria. It also provides an insight into the administration’s future plans as well as modalities for achieving desired goals.
Though the Mid-Term Report initiative was widely applauded by the generality of Nigerians as being consistent with President Jonathan’s promise to adhere by the sacred tenets of transparency and accountability in governance, some of our countrymen in the name of politics sought to discredit Mr. President’s claims as embedded in the report.
Rather than toe the path of constructive criticism that is in itself a key element of democracy, some critics who in our opinion do not wish Nigeria well, engaged themselves in campaigns of calumny, tribal prejudice and mischief.
In light of this unwholesome development, the CNPD decided to embark on a verification excercise of the contents of the Mid-Term Report bearing in mind that President Jonathan himself encouraged Nigerians to assess the performance of his administration within the realms of reallity.
After several months of painstaking research and tours to various project sites nationwide, we are happy to report to Nigerians that our findings, which are based on comparative analysis and evidence of what is visibly on ground, reveal the fact that President Jonathan’s claims as contained in the Mid Term Report are consistent with his electoral promises and the activities of his administration.
The visible achievements of his administration cut across crucial sectors such as; Roads, Security, Agriculture, Water, Education, Power, Transport, Health, Aviation, Oil and Gas, Women and Social Development just to name a few.
The reforms of the Jonathan Administration have ultimately restructured the entire workings of the polity for greater effectiveness and productivity. For want of space and time it would be virtually impossible to begin to itemize and elaborate further on these far reaching developments that have been arrived at in barely two years.
Without doubt, President Goodluck Jonathan has raised the bar in the area of good governance and has to his credit the fact that he has been able to exhibit rare political will and courage in his drive to transform Nigeria for the better.
The Jonathan Administration has performed far better than any other since the inception of our independence; particularly in view of its sterling achievements in just one thousand days. The administration symbolizes a watershed in the annals of Nigeria’s political history and we pray that future administrations will not only emulate its actions but also strive to build on the foundations it has laid to the glory of the fatherland and the betterment of all Nigerians.
January 25th, 2014 marked President Jonathan’s one-thousandth day in office. For us, it is not only a day to celebrate a visionary leader, a patriot at heart and a nationalist whose loyalty to country is without question; it is also a day to reminisce on our journey so far and appreciate the fact that a glimmer of hope beckons to us in the horizon despite daunting challenges.
In view of the far reaching achievements recorded under the Jonathan Administration in so short a time, we wish to declare here at this venue, this 26th day of January 2014, our unflinching support for President Goodluck Jonathan and in unequivocal terms call on him to declare his candidacy for a second term come 2015.
Our stand is not based on sentiments; rather it is based on the realities on ground. We strongly believe that the need for continuity is paramount in our quest for sustainable development, especially as we are trying to build a new nation virtually from the scratch. We must urgently consolidate on the gains of the Transformation Agenda as they unfold and this can only be effectively achieved with its architect firmly in control.
Since critics and the self styled opposition have been unrelenting in their criticism of the Jonathan administration’s every move without proffering any meaningful alternatives, it portends that our steady march to progress is in danger as they will if given the opportunity overturn every meaningful programme and policy put in place by President Jonathan. The issue here is not just that such a move will result into untold waste of funds, it will also set us back to the dark days of stagnancy.
The unhealthy political rivalry that has been displayed by these critics and the opposition have largely served no purpose other than to periodically overheat the polity to alarming heights. Every action or inaction of this administration has been misconstrued and misinterpreted to suit the exigencies of the times, but we dare ask if any of those who are quick to criticize can do better than President Goodluck Jonathan?
We must not forget that President Jonathan inherited a colossal burden of liabilities which he has borne with humility and is addressing with tact. Corruption existed long before this administration. So did militancy in the South-South and so did the wanton killings in the north. President Jonathan has performed far above average. His life story has shown that victory in battle does not necessarily go to the strong, nor does victory in a race go to the fastest, just as wisdom and age have nothing in common; instead, God in his infinite wisdom decides a man’s fate as he pleases. Without fear of contradiction, we declare yet again that in President Jonathan, we find the very epitome of exemplary leadership.
We appeal to all stakeholders in the Nigerian project especially our politicians to stop their incessant and unnecessary battle of wits, which serves no genuine purpose. They must realize that the Nigerian electorate are more enlightened than ever before and are truly fed up with their endless antics of manipulation and deceit which revolve around their selfish ambitions.
Some of our leaders, past and present should also heed to our advice and play the role of the elder statesmen they are supposed to be. They had their God given chance to direct the affairs of this country and yet could not heal all Nigeria’s ills in one, even two terms in office. President Jonathan should be given a chance to contribute his bit for in the long run, only history will vindicate.
CITIZENS NETWORK will in the days ahead be at the vanguard for calls and activities geared towards ensuring that President Jonathan runs again. Any party or individual who has contrary reasons as to why President Jonathan should not contest for the office of President come 2015 should step forward and engage us in an open debate. As for the CNPD, we will adhere strictly to objectivity and facts in the course of our agitations.
While on the subject, we call on members of the Peoples Democratic Party to sheath their swords. Given that the party exists as a big family, we advise that those nursing inordinate ambitions at the expense of the party’s unity to have a rethink and put their weight behind the only candidate worth voting for in these trying times. We commend the smooth transition of leadership in the wake of recent resignation of the former party chairman, Alhaji Bamanga Tukur and advise that the PDP urgently put its act together and rally round in support of the new Chairman, Alhaji Adamu Muazu.
There is also need to look the way of the National Assembly where some members of the House of Representatives seem more engulfed in matters of nomenclature and positioning that only serve the purpose of massaging their already over bloated egos.
We wish to remind them that there are crucial issues to be dwelt that touch on the lives of the entirety of Nigerians such as the 2014 Budget proposal which is yet to be signed into law.
Going by the directives of leaders of a political party that its members in the House of Reps. frustrate the passage into law of the budget proposal as captured by the media recently, we wish to fervently remind our representatives that their first loyalty is to the Nigerian people who voted them in to protect their interests.They must not allow themselves to be used as willing tools in a meaningless political battle will compromise the interests of the people.
To our fellow citizens we appeal for calm and total support for the forthcoming National Dialogue, which will serve as a platform for building consensus, dialogue and reconciliation and ultimately strengthening our unity.
In conclusion, we wish to call on all civil society groups and organizations, interest groups and all well meaning Nigerians to join us in appealing to President Goodluck Jonathan to declare his candidacy for the office of president come 2015.
Mr. President, a gold fish has no hiding place…the time has come!
We thank you all for your time and ask that as you leave here, you do so with a message of peace to all Nigerians.
Long live the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
Long live the Citizens Network for Peace and Development in Nigeria
Long live the Nigerian press.
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CITIZENS NETWORK FOR PEACE AND DEVELOPMENT IN NIGERIA joins all patriotic and well-meaning Nigerians in condemning in the strongest possible terms, the unnecessary and brutal murder of innocent students of GSS, Mamudo, Yobe State which occurred in the early hours of Saturday, July 6, 2013. Easily the most painful incident of terrorism in recent times, the massacre of over 30 students and staff of the school has again ushered horror into the homes of all Nigerians, especially those law abiding and peace loving citizens resident in the restive North East.
The attacks on various schools in the region within the spate of one month points clearly to the fact that every Nigerian is a potential victim be you a Muslim, a Christian, young or old. Islam is known to be a religion of peace and does not accept violence and crime in any form. We wonder therefore what the Boko Haram sect really stands for as they clearly promote no logical religious doctrine nor do they advocate any positively inclined political ideology. They are simply evil in mindset and deed. These insurgents represent no nation and defend no territory save the few communities they have held hostage and from which they launch their nefarious attacks against unsuspecting Nigerians. They operate in the shadows of society. They send small teams of operatives to infiltrate our ranks, they conspire in secret and finally they strike without warning. They cut down our men, our women and our children. Theirs is nothing but a tale of cowardice and wickedness. Such characters can not and must not be allowed to go free.
We therefore call on the Federal Government to bring the master minds of this terrible act to justice. In so saying, we wish to restate our support for the offensive launched by the Jonathan Administration against these miscreants who seek to impose the darkness of tyranny and terror upon us all. We encourage President Jonathan not to waiver in his determination to bring security, peace and reconciliation to the north.
We also ask the Legislature to rise to the occasion and for the sake of our security, act and update our laws to meet the threats of terrorism.
This incident is a clear sign that we must all close ranks and fight this threat to our collective struggles for freedom and liberty as enshrined in our constitution. We must fight for our ability and God given rights to live in peace, what ever the cost. Regardless of our origins, we are all ultimately Nigerians. When the blood of an innocent Nigerian is shed for whatever cause, the loss, the pain, the grief are all felt from one point of the country to the another. We wish to state categorically that this recent development is an indictment on the inaction and general lukewarm attitude of our Northern Elders towards the entire Boko Haram saga. Rather than speak and act strongly against the actions of the sect, they have preferred instead to turn truth on its head and argue from faulty premises aimed at justifying the agitations of the former. From a safe distance, they sit and twitch their thumbs while watching Boko Haram tear the north apart piece by piece.
The handwriting on the wall is clear; they must act firmly and decisively; they must urgently support the efforts of President Jonathan towards returning life in the North to normalcy otherwise in the not too distant future, they too may be victims in the ongoing reign of terror. As Nigeria mourns the victims of the shocking incident of Saturday, July 6, 2013 at GSS, Mamudo, we condole with the Government and people of Yobe State; especially the families of the murdered students. May God grant them the fortitude to overcome this deep grief. May He grant all the victims eternal rest in the comfort of his bosom. He giveth and He taketh at His own time.
Olu Adekunle Snr
Director Media and Publicity