Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow; A More Perfect Union By Wale Babatunde
Today we stand on the shoulders of giants that have gone before us. We are here today because the mantle of leadership has been passed down to us by our fore-bearers, who in their quest for freedom, justice, equality, national prosperity and security sacrificed on this altar the greatest gift of all. We assemble here today because out of our founding fathers’ diversity, differences, ideologies and political principles they are able to find a common ground to build a union for the sole purpose of national integration and prosperity for all.
Years before some of us were born, three great parties merged and form a union that has over the years make more of our people and the nation at large prosperous than those that came before and after them. These great parties put their differences aside and deliver our nation from the hands of few; who amass the national treasury for their collective interest and those of their cronies. We are better off today because of their sacrifice to the nation and the black race.
This nation like so many nations of the world have gone through so many difficult times but in all we have triumphed and we have become stronger than when we were in those difficult situations. Generations before us has paid the ultimate price for our liberty and shared common wealth and our great party has come to be an active player in building a more perfect nation than what it was before the formation of this union. We are better off because of these selfless sacrifices that were made on our behalf and on behalf of our children, grandchildren and great grandchildren.
Through this great union, our nation has experienced a tremendous economic growth cum development that Africa and the rest of the black race has not seen before. The party through different leadership has turned our nation to an economic power house for the continent. An economy enshrined with the principle of prosperity for all; in which those that are willing to work smart and hard get proper reward for their labour. The middle class has grown and flourish like never before. Today, we enjoy an economy that rewards dignity of labour than reward cronies because of their political affiliation. Through proper economic principles and fiscal responsibility, we now stand as one of the first five economies in the world.
Our economic prosperity is not only measured by our GDP but also the number of people who goes to bed with food in their belle. It is measured by the number of families that lives in peace knowing fully well that they are secured within the perimeter of this great nation. Our GDP per capital might be the third in the world but yet it is not the only yardstick that determines our economic prosperity because our people are among the happiest people on earth living within the comfort of their homes. The sacrificed made by our founding fathers over the years has paid off. They set the pace for this economic prosperity that we are benefactor of today.
It was through their belief that this nation can and should be great that this union was formed. They saw many years ahead not because they were soothsayers but because they were men and women of vision. They knew beforehand that our shared prosperity depends on our unity as a people. It was just not on their lips but on their hearts that national prosperity is a by-product of national integration. Today, we are Nigerians and not Southern or Northern Nigerian neither are we Muslim nor Christian Nigerian. Today, we are not defined by the language we speak, the cloth we wear, the names we bear or the religion we practice. No! Today, we are defined by our common identity, knowing fully well that our cultural, ethnic and religious diversities are huge plus to our national heritage than for it to divide us.
Through this great union, we have established a Nigeria dream that many from far and near have come to share and believe in. Today, we have more diverse languages, cultures and traditions than what we used to have. Amongst us today are Ghanaian-Nigerian, Tanzanian-Nigerian, Brazilian-Nigerian, Indian-Nigerian, Ukrainian-Nigerian and so many more. Today, we are just not a people or nation but we are an exceptional people in an exceptional nation. Today the strength and growth of our nation is enriched because of the success of this union.
In the last decades through the numerous effort of this great union, our human capital development has increased beyond normal forecast. This great union had put more “foot down” to ensure that proper education of every Nigerian becomes paramount and a core of its existence. This nation has witnessed a remarkable success in our educational system that our tertiary institution graduates are among the best in the world and they are the most sought after around the globe. Our universities and research institutes are second to none in Africa, Euro-Asia and South America. Today, we are the most educated black race on earth.
Through tremendous effort and political will, our human capital index is a reference point for developing nations. We have become a blueprint for nations to understudy and then take necessary steps towards their own development. This great union is the frontrunner in developing this nation and making her the joy and envy of other nations. We have come this far not because we are a different species of human race but because those before us paid the price for this titanic development that we see and partake today.
There was a time in the history of this nation prior to the formation of this union that security of lives and properties were not guaranteed. We have read from history books how many of our people were killed by criminals, terrorists and militants who took arms against the people of this great nation. It was recorded how police and military brutalities and extra-judicial killings of innocent citizens were under-taken by security agencies that should protect them. What some have seen as movies in our today’s Nollywood was actually a reality some decades ago. Our people lost their family members, properties and their only means of livelihood due to so many security challenges that plagued the nation. Leadership was required but those in leadership could not and did not stand to the task. History has it that President Jonathan’s administration witnessed the worst bloodletting of our country men and women after the civil war. But today, that is history.
Through the relentless and determined work of our founding fathers, a security outfit that willingly and selflessly served the great people of our nation was born. Our military is our pride today. We are proud today more than ever before to have a military that not only protect the shores of this nation but also ensured that world peace is attainable through selfless service to humanity. Our borders are safe and our people are safer within the perimeters of this great nation than outside. Ours is a different story told because of the formation of this great union. Ours is a different story today because our founding fathers paid the price of establishing a common and united party for all Nigerians. We are better off today because the security of lives and properties in this great nation is not a privilege to some selected few but to the entire nation and her people.
It is worthy to remind us that before the taking over of government at the center by this great party, justice in our courts were sold to the highest bidders. The courtroom was not the last hope of the common man. There were two laws that were in operation- the law for the rich, elite, politically mighty men and women and the law for the common man. Justice was frequently subverted to suit the political leaders of the then ruling party. Electoral laws were filled with flaws and the constitution of the nation was administered to favour those in political offices and their allies.
Equality before the law was an illusion. Those who can bribe the system to get favourable judgment do so without remorse and eventually our judicial institutions became a laughing stock for other nations. In the same way, unfair judgments were given to those within the corridor of power and undue state pardons were granted to criminals who invaded the wrath of law in our nation and our allies. Historians and political students over the years have constantly reminded us of the gross abuse of political powers that was witnessed during the early decades of our returned to democratic system of government.
But with the advent of this union and the final takeover of the mantle of leadership in our nation, lady justice was given back her honour. No man was more equal than the other in the face of the law. Equality and fair hearing were given to all regardless of whom or what crime was committed or alleged to be committed. This great party ensured that everyone lived and abides by the rules of the land. Through the efforts of the great members of this great party, the constitution has been “re-written” for the purpose of national integration after several national discourses. This singular act has led to a more united and indivisible nation. And we are glad they took the bull by the horn when their time required then to take this action for the benefit of the nation and her people.
For the purpose of our gathering today, I will like to lay the foundation for a more prosperous nation. One of these issues is infrastructure. In the last two decades, we have seen incredible development in infrastructural development around the country. Our power grid has been improved not only to serve the urban areas but it has been improved to the point of having power reservation for any future emergency. Today, we have different channel of power generation. Our investment in future technology in power is creating more jobs and export rates for the nation. This huge power infrastructure that we see and experience today is as a result of years of diligent planning and execution by various leaderships of this party. Same narration can be said of transportation, water and internet infrastructures in this nation. Our aviation industry has the highest industry standard required in the world. Our international airports are hubs to other nations. These are infrastructures we must improve on and we must deliver a more prosperous future for the challenges of the next centuries.
We need to do more. In the next 20 years, we will be injecting funds into research and development to improve our infrastructure. We believe there are new ways of doing things and as a developed nation we need to lead in finding innovative ways of improving our infrastructures to meet the challenges of the future. This is the time to build for the future. In the same way, we will be pushing for new studies within our tertiary institutions in order to develop our children with skills that are required to face the challenges of the future. There is no better gift to give to them than the gift of enlightened and empowered mind.
Another important issue is about our elderly ones. How we care more for our elderly ones. We must do more than we have done previously. The well-being of our elderly and their welfare is in our hands. We must provide a better health and wealth for them to rely on. We must not fail them because they worked to put this nation together and they should be rewarded diligently for their sacrifice to this nation. There is no greater crime and disservice that can be done in any society than when the elderly ones are neglected and not cared for. Their labour should be honored and rewarded at this time that their strength has failed them. We must carry on for them as they did for us during our youth days. It is the most honorable thing to do. So we are proposing an improved welfare and health package for our elderly. The government will commit a substantial percentage of the national budget to scale up the Elderly Welfare and Health Funds. This will ensure that all our elderly in every nooks and corners of our nation are adequately taken care of. This will also help free up more internal funds for families struggling to take care of their aging parents. And sons or daughters who want to go back to school to require a new degree can do so without worrying about health care payments for their aging parents.
And this brings me to our health system. A healthy nation is important to this government. We are improving our health system to take care of future health challenges that research has envisioned. We are not taking chances with the health of you- our people. We have tasked our research institutes to provide us with all medical solutions that can help tackle these future challenges. Aside the national health insurance that has been adequately funded, we are also making additional provision for rare causes of diseases in order to take care of every Nigerian that requires health facilities. We will continue to build and fund best medical facilities that have become a source of export for us. We are also making additional provision for medical students and practitioners; we are aiming to have more specialists as well as generalist in our primary health centers, clinics, medical homes, general hospitals and teaching hospitals. This way we are equipping our medical practitioners with the necessary wisdom required to save more lives than ever before. Medical science is a way of God telling us to continue the job of dominion on earth. We must do everything within our reach to further this noble cause.
Today, I challenge us to start the journey of the next 50 years. There is no better time to prepare the future of our grand and great children than now. The baton of national development that was passed to us by our fore-bearers must not stop with us. We must prepare a more rewarding and bright future for the future generations. This is the time to work for their economic prosperity and sustained environment. They must meet a better nation than we met. We must work to further the progress of this great union. This is what we are made for. This is why we have been chosen to lead this great union and nation. We must not fail because our founding fathers did not fail to lay a good foundation for us. We must roll our sleeves and get dirty in working hard and smart to establish a future nation that fourth generations from now will be proud of.
This is our collective responsibility as a union and as a nation. We must be counted else our names will be forgotten in the cherished history books of this great nation. We are more responsible to form a more perfect union than we met it. This is our noble cause.
God bless you and may God bless this great nation- Nigeria.
Welcome back. Thank you for reading this futuristic speech that “might” be delivered in the future if truly the merger of ACN, CPC, ANPP and others lead this nation to a greater height. But if not, a speech like this might never come in the history of this nation. I hope the leaders of the merger can see their names in this future.
My name is ‘Wale Babatunde; I ‘m a work in progress liberal and I love tea and I am not a writer by any degree.
Catch me on twitter @Babatundejnr
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