A BOLD DARE, A BOLD RESPONSE TO NIGERIA’S CALL, AND A BOLD INVITATION: HAVE THE COURAGE TO JOIN US.
Having announced my aspiration to contest for election to the Office of the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria on February 28, 2018, and faced in recent months with invitations from various political parties as potential platforms to contest the 2019 election for that high office, I thought carefully before making a choice.
I thought about why I have joined politics — the imperative of a radically new political leadership for Nigeria, one with a vision and the capacity to build a new and different future for our country. That meant almost automatically that I would not be part of the old order of failed and recycled politicians that have run our country aground with poverty, insecurity and corruption as our national legacy.
I also considered what I bring to this quest: love and passion for our country and its suffering masses, my leadership track record in nation-building as a senior official of the United Nations for 17 years, in economic management and economic thought as a former Deputy Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria and as Professor of Practice in International Business and Public Policy at the prestigious Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University in Massachusetts, USA, and my extensive experience and vast networks in international diplomacy and global business.
I therefore decided that I want to be part of a peaceful, democratic revolution that will usher in a new leadership and political order in our country.
Would the party I would join share my vision of leadership as one of service and accountability? Would it be focused on the youth and our future while inclusive in its membership? Would it be nation-wide in its spread and appeal as opposed to an ethnic or sectional focus? And would the party, from the standpoint of electoral strategy, be a viable platform with a structure to prosecute the struggle for a New Nigeria that is focused on the future and not the past?
Once I was done with thinking all this through, I knew I was ready — I knew I had to choose the Young Progressive Party. Because it answered my questions in the affirmative. The rest was detail, consultation, and a wide-ranging accumulation of data and information across the country and across a series of hard-nosed operatives, thinkers and doers.
The Young Progressive Party is a great dare, a tantalizing promise, a notice of evacuation to Nigeria’s recycled political class.
I weighed the case against casting my lot with this party. I heard some cynicism: ‘it hasn’t been done before’. And then I heard this: ‘Politicians will not take you seriously’.
As they will undoubtedly come to see, the cynics are on the wrong side of history. I want to be part of that army that proves our hopes right and our fears wrong. Great leaders often take their countries and their followers along uncharted waters. They arrive at successful transformations made possible by the will to BELIEVE in possibilities. That belief has to be backed by the courage to act on their convictions.
So I am here today to announce that in response to the parties of the past, in response to umbrellas that block out the light of hope, and brooms that sweep away truth and replace them with lies, in response to the parties of tired old tricks and tired old systems and tired old men, I and millions across Nigeria will choose the Young Progressive Party — YPP — the party of today and tomorrow.
This is, importantly, an organizational choice. The Young Progressive Party has over the past year set up full and final structures — extensive offices, with an extensive pool of party officials, operatives, volunteers across the country. This is a grassroots-oriented party. Matched with our historic network and cell leaders across Nigeria in every one of the 6 geo-political zones of the country, this is a union made in possibilities.
There is also the symbolism, and there is no more powerful symbol of the kind of campaign that we have chosen to run. Rather than cast my lot with those who have brought Nigeria to its knees, I choose to make a bold statement: I choose to cast my lot with the youth of Nigeria. Not just by words, but by action.
Ladies and gentlemen of our beloved country, our time has finally come.
Our excuses have finally met their match in action, our dreams have finally found expression, our energies have finally found a machine.
The time has come for you to stop complaining about Nigeria from your office canteen. The time has come for you to stop complaining about Nigeria from the comfort of your school hostel. The time has come for you. If you have been looking for a platform party with the machinery to disgrace those who believe Nigeria belongs to them, the Kingsley Moghalu Support Organization (KIMSO) and the Volunteers of our To Build a Nation (TBAN) Movement, together with the Young Progressive Party is the full and final answer to your question.
I need you. I need every single Nigerian of voting age to join this party. I need you who are tired of the way Nigeria is run to pick up a form and join this party. And then if you want to run for office — and you should, if you have the capacity — then I also need you to pick up a form and contest for office. We need those who want to shake up the House of Representatives, to shake up the House of Assembly and shake up our Local Government councils across Nigeria to join us now, and to work with us to execute our plans.
I chose this party because I want to inspire Nigerians to look to the future and not to the past. Without your help though, without your active involvement — without you choosing this very minute to go to www.yppnigeria.com.ng or a party location near you, pick up a form that you can fill in just 10 minutes, and join this party, then it will not happen.
This is not about me. This is not about the Young Progressive Party. This is not about my colleagues. This is not even about the presidency. This is about you. This is about changing the way politics is done in this country. This is about transforming the kinds of candidates and elections we have in this country. This is about dramatically increasing the quality of the hands and minds that stand for election and become your leaders.
Today, I have made a stand for Nigeria and for its future. And today I wait for you — to put your action where your mouth is. Now.
Not tomorrow. Not next time. Not later, fellow Nigerian, now.
Join me in the difficult work that stands ahead of us as we seek to contend with and then remake the political realities of this country and the path that we must take to show Nigerians that it is possible. It can be done.
Let’s get to work.