PDP Has Made Our Task Easier, Governor Yahaya Bello Says As He Lists President Buhari’s Achievements
Address by his Excellency, Governor Yahaya Bello of Kogi State to young supporters of his Excellency, President Muhammadu Buhari during a dinner at the presidential villa.
Ladies and Gentlemen, Fellow Buharists. Welcome
Firstly, we are here today because we belong to the Governing Party, the All Progressives Congress (APC) and committed supporters of our father, His Excellency, President Muhammadu Buhari, GCFR. Secondly, we are believers and our unifying trait tonight is our BELIEF in three key things.
One, BELIEF in Nigeria, Two, BELIEF in Nigeria’s potential for Greatness, and three, BELIEF in President Muhammadu Buhari as the best person to continue leading Nigeria towards greatness at this point in our history.
Belief in Nigeria means you love this country and truly want the best for her. Belief in her potential for greatness means you are ready for the sacrifices of nation-building. Belief in Mr. President means you still have absolute confidence in him as the best leader for our nation till 2023 at least.
These three great beliefs are vital if our commitment to confront the odds and win in 2019 is to remain unshaken. It is only when you believe Nigeria is worth fighting for that you can commit your all to make sure she does not fall again into the hands of the PDP or a similar swarm of locusts.
The APC that is going into the 2019 General Elections is radically different from the APC which won the 2015 Presidential Elections. Our party has been through a steep learning curve and the lessons have been difficult, even painful, in many instances.
Fair-weather friends who came for the good times have left, disappointed by Mr. President’s insistence on personal integrity, fiscal prudence, equality before the law, national security, party discipline, international dignity and a single-minded war on corruption.
We are charged with telling the story of this Administration from now till victory is gained in 2019. The immediate task before us is to convince the masses that everything Mr. President has done is for our overall benefit.
We are to console our people with the good news that the planting season is over and the bumper harvest is now waving in the wind. We are to appeal to their patience with the process, and point out the signs of good times ahead which are ripening already.
We cannot do that effectively unless we believe in ourselves. We cannot believe it unless we have critically evaluated the proof that is all around. We cannot be convincing unless we are first convinced ourselves.
I will now proceed to reel out some of Mr. President’s attainments in his 3 years and 5 months in office which indicate the hope that lies ahead. My intention is to remind us of these freely available facts and figures in order to further strengthen our personal resolves, while arming us for issue-based politicking.
Key attainments for Nigerians under President Buhari:
1. NNPC’s Daily Cost of Production has dropped 72% from $580,000.00 per day to $164,000.00.
2. There was no dedicated social safety net for the poorest of us, but Mr. President has implenmented a sweeping Social Investment Programme (SIP) which has provided succor for at least 10.3 million vulnerable citizens.
3. Rice importation has dropped from 644,000 tons per annum to about 20,000 tons now, indication of growth in local production.
4. Power Generation has surged from about 4000 megawatts after 16 years of the PDP to over 7000 megawatts in 31/2 years of the APC.
5. Nigeria has gone from non-completion of any rail projects between 1999 and 2015 to completion of 3 major lines from 2015 to 2018 (Abuja to Kaduna, Abuja Metro, Itakpe to Warri).
6. In security, we have gone from 14 LGAs held by Boko Haram insurgents in 2015 to zero today. The relative return of peace and stability to the war-torn North East has enabled millions of internally displaced citizens to return home in safety.
7. Terrorism-related deaths have dropped 80% in the same period while attacks on communities by herdsmen have been contained to sudden and irregular ambushes which are quickly quelled.
8. We entered the recession which Madam Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala foresaw long ago and tried to warn the PDP against. Instead of heeding the financial guru’s warning, the PDP hierarchy taught her that ‘Fighting Corruption Is Dangerous’.
9. Of course they blamed President Muhammadu Buhari who was less than one year old in office when the recession hit, but the lion-hearted gentleman soldiered on and guided us out of the recession in one year or less.
10. The International Monetary Fund (IMF) in one of her reports entitled ‘STRONG BY DESIGN’ insists that nations overcome recessions faster if they have built strong balance sheets and have substantial foreign reserves – the exact two things Mr. President accomplished for Nigeria.
11. The Nigerian economy has grown rapidly since then and we now have $47billion in our foreign reserves, up from the paltry $29.13 billion dollars Mr. President inherited.
12. The World Bank Group also made it official this month: Nigeria is Africa’s largest economy, not by the econometrics of rebasing, but in real terms.
13. Mr. President has cut waste, purged at least 50,000 ghost workers from the Federal Workforce and maximized savings.
14. Mr. President has reduced theft in Ministers, Departments and Agencies of Government to the point that JAMB which used to remit about 50m before remitted 7bn without increase in fees charged to students.
15. Nigeria Customs Service has beaten all previous remittance records, as have many other revenue generating MDAs.
16. A company linked to the PDP flag-bearer was forced to remit N13.2 billion in previously stolen revenue to the Nigerian Ports Authority simply by elevating national interest above the personal or partisan.
17. Before Mr. President took over the helms, Nigeria had 6 fertilizer blending plants wasting away at about 10% production capacity. Today they are running at 100% and producing fertilizer blends for our Agricultural Renaissance.
18. The PDP years were generally characterized by low capital investment on infrastructure. Today, the story is different as Mr. President has invested in excess of N3 trillion on infrastructure – the highest ever in our history, and at a time when revenues were generally poor and a recession was on.
I could go on and on, but our Igbo brethren who do business have a saying I have found to be true: ‘A good product sells itself’. Mr. President is a very good product indeed, and his competencies are desperately needed for the progress of this nation, but we need to go out there and sell him to the people.
Public Relations professionals will tell you that at some point, having a good product without excellent advertising is like winking in the dark – you know what you are doing, but no one else does.
Perception is reality when it comes to politics and campaigning. Perception management is therefore critical in times like this.
We must market the incredible accomplishments of His Excellency, President Muhammadu Buhari and of his Administration to every voter – and in the language he or she understands.
If we fail, the adverse narratives aggressively put out by the PDP and other propaganda machines will dominate the land and shape perceptions.
If those of us in APC do not sell this winning product very well –
· Economic recovery will be mistaken for slow-down due to poor management of the nation’s economy;
· Measures to protect local industries and stimulate domestic production will be mistaken for deliberate impoverishment of the populace via high prices of essential commodities;
· Borrowing for rapid infrastructural development will be mistaken for unwarranted or misapplied debt;
· A tough and progressive victory against a terrorist threat which continues to cost the nation the lives of her brave military and law enforcement personnel will be mistaken for inaction;
· A difficult fight against old and new forms of insecurity, which is designed to neutralize security threats across parts of the nation without criminalizing whole tribes or populations, will be mistaken for victimization of some and condonation of others;
· Trial of politically exposed offenders using long existent laws which previous leaders were not willing to deploy against cronies and accomplices will be mistaken for extrajudicial measures and disdain for the Rule of Law;
· Social safety nets for the poor under the various Social Investment Programmes and payment of long outstanding obligations to unjustly treated segments of our citizenry will be mistaken for bribery of the populace or vote buying tricks.
If we fail to take charge of the narrative and persuade people till they see the true intents of this Administration’s policies, we will have a much harder job mobilizing the votes we need to get Mr. President re-elected.
If we do not put Mr. President’s achievements before our people till they can recite it themselves, they may agree with the shameless PDP that the heartless corruption which she is offering again is somehow better than the alleged ‘incompetence’ of the APC which has accomplished every good thing I listed above.
In summary, all may be lost if we do not get the Nigerian people to see why they must allow Mr. President continue his great work as they go to the polls in 2019.
The APC is offering greater inclusiveness for all Nigerians irrespective of tribes and voting patterns.
The APC will pay better attention to affirmative action- women, youth and special ability in appointive positions.
The APC will respect the unspoken but gentlemanly rotationally presidential pattern between North and South which most Nigerians defended in 2015.
The APC is promising to continue re-writing the agelong negatives which have plagued our nation to positives.
This is the message we must all take to every nook and cranny of this nation, and from door to door.
On the other hand, all the crooked PDP is offering Nigerians is ‘Corruption is better than Incompetence’ and ‘Anybody but Buhari’.
I say they have made our job easy, assuming we are ready to work hard.
My brothers and sisters, 2015 was about Change. 2019 is about Progress.
As members of the APC, we will not deny that our party has a huge task before us in the 2019 General Elections. The Elections will not be a walkover, the PDP will not be a pushover and we MUST take nothing and no one for granted.
Congratulations on FEBUHARI 2019!
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