FULL TEXT OF A SPEECH BY DR. OGBONNAYA ONU, AS HOST OF THE PUBLIC PRESENTATION CEREMONY OF THE BOOK “FROM OPPOSITION TO GOVERNING PARTY: NIGERIA’S APC MERGER STORY”, HOLDING AT THE SHEHU MUSA YAR’ADUA CENTER, ABUJA, ON DECEMBER 7, 2015.

PROTOCOL:

It is with happiness that I sincerely thank all of you for attending this ceremony. I know that it is not easy to attend such an occasion as this, in the early working hours of a Monday in a new week. I remain very grateful.

The book that had just been presented to you, describes an event that is not only unique but historic. This event has never happened in Nigeria and also has never happened in Africa. What took place in the past, in some African countries, was a situation where some opposition political parties came together, in an alliance or a coalition to defeat a governing political party in a general election. But here in Nigeria, in our 55th year of independence, three major opposition political parties that controlled government at the State level, gave up their identities, became deregistered and defunct, and in the process successfully formed a merger, whose rank was enlarged by many other groups to form the largest opposition political party in the history of our country. The then opposition political party, the All Progressive Congress (APC), successfully defeated the then governing political Party, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), in the 2015 general election. This became the first time in our political history, that a President elected on a platform of a governing political party, was defeated in an election by the candidate of an opposition political party.

Before this historic event took place, several efforts were made in our country to bring opposition political parties together, but none of them ever succeeded in achieving its goal. It is important to note that in all earlier efforts before this historic event, opposition political parties tried to work together in an alliance. Then it would appear as if they would be successful but in the end the whole effort collapsed, when it came to the decision of which political party would produce the presidential candidate. It then became imperative that if ever opposition political parties in Nigeria, would work together to unseat a governing political party, then those opposition political parties must give up their identities and come together to present a united front, as a single political party which could then be capable to effectively challenge and defeat a governing party.

This was the case, in 2013, when the APC was born. This book was written by me to document the events that led to the formation of APC and how the APC under two years of its existence, made history and was able to transform itself from an opposition political party to become the governing party by producing the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. The history of APC so far is a major lesson that both the ruling Party and the Opposition Parties in the country can learn a lot from. This book will help the ruling Party, to constantly place before itself the mistakes which the former ruling Party, the PDP, made which resulted in its defeat in the 2015 general election. This book clearly shows how important it is to have effective competition in the political arena. There is no doubt that for our nation to attain true greatness, it must play politics the right way. This can only be achieved when there is effective competition, such that the interest of the nation will be the key motivation for public policy and at no time would Nigerians be taken for granted.

In this journey, the hand of God was clearly with us, as the Opposition at every moment overcame all challenges most people thought were insurmountable. I am very happy that such a historic event as this, with important implications for national development, was documented for both this and future generations. It is important for me to stress that in writing this book, I do not have any other interest than to serve the course of history by insuring that through this book some of the mistakes of the past will never be repeated.

I will like to use this opportunity to state that the change which the APC has brought will help to transform Nigeria into a truly great nation. Nigeria is a nation of destiny. From the very beginning of her history, it is very clear that the hand of God has remained in the affairs of the nation. Nigeria has successfully survived many very challenging circumstances which had brought some other countries to their knees. I am convinced that if there had not been a country like Nigeria, the world would have needed one. We must all work together to build a Nigeria that is united, strong, stable, peaceful and prosperous.

We are very happy that as a nation, the challenges we face in the North Eastern part of the country are effectively been contained as the destabilizing forces of disunity are defeated and the voice of disintegration is subdued and will gradually fade away from our national consciousness. However in the South Eastern part of the country, there is a growing level of restiveness that has recently resulted in the unfortunate and sad loss of lives and destruction of property. There is no nation without problems. Governing a nation, particularly in a democracy, is essentially work in progress. It is important that all grievances from any part of the country are presented in a peaceful and orderly manner that respects the law of the land. The APC administration of Muhammadu Buhari recognises the plural nature of our dear country and will work to address all grievances on the basis of justice, equity and the rule of law. The Buhari Administration is very young as it is in its seventh month in office. It still has time to continue to work for the good of the nation. I am convinced beyond any doubt that the Igbos need Nigeria as Nigeria needs the Igbos.

For our restive youths, it is important to reassure them that the Muhammadu Buhari administration means well for the nation. This administration will not rest until Nigeria becomes the country of our collective dream. We are redesigning the vision and mission of the Ministry of Science and Technology and its agencies to help secure our nation, feed our people, provide jobs for the young and old alike, treat the sick in our hospitals, provide houses for all, fight and defeat poverty, educate our people, grow our economy, strengthen the Naira and promote the rule of law. We shall lay the foundation to ensure that in the years to come Nigeria will produce Nobel laureates in Physics, Chemistry and Medicine. We want to produce young Nigerians knowledgeable and creative in mathematics and science to initially equal and later surpass the monumental achievements of great minds as Isaac Newton and Albert Einstein. We must aim high because only the best is good enough for Nigeria.

Thank You and God Bless you.

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