Way To Solve Nigeria’s Problems Is To Vote Out PDP – Amaechi

Amaechi R

Rivers State Governor and Chairman of Nigeria Governors’ Forum, Rt. Hon. Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi has again stressed that the way to solve the numerous problems facing the country is to vote out the ruling Peoples’ Democratic Party PDP in next year’s election. Amaechi spoke at the 2nd International Conference on Democracy and Good Governance with the theme ‘Nigeria’s Democracy: Issues and Challenges’ which held at the new Dr. Obi Wali Convention Centre in Port Harcourt, Wednesday. According to him, something is wrong with the country and posed to participants at the conference the question: “Do you like Nigeria the way it is now? (the audience answered ‘No’.)  “Do you like the way Nigeria is being governed now? (‘No’, the audience again chorused.) Simple, you have one answer. Vote out those who have kept us inside this kind of situation, vote them out whether they are from Niger Delta or from Southern Delta or from whatever Delta. We need to vote them out now and change Nigeria. “We need to change Nigeria now and that is what APC offers, and that is what I stand for. If you are not satisfied the way Nigeria is being governed now, it means that they should not be given another chance.  If you are not satisfied that there is corruption and corruption is called ‘common stealing’, if you are not satisfied with that, vote them out. “It is not about salaries of National Assembly members or salaries of the Executive. In a country where a Minister would buy over 15, 20 cars and invite the President to come because he wants to give out the cars to his supporters and they sent a representative of the President to be there, how else are we supporting corruption?  Why have we not asked the minister, where did you get the money to buy these cars and why was the minister not locked up and sacked from the cabinet? “A country where a minister travels every time with chartered aircraft every weekend, nobody asks where they get the money, there is impunity on stealing, it is no longer corruption. I agree it is not corruption. We need to vote them out now, all of you are responsible for what is happening to Nigeria and you are responsible because you voted them into power. You are responsible because you are condoning what is happening.  Nigerians must rise now,” he said. Amaechi bemoaned the worsening security situation in the country, stressing that it is the duty of the government in power to protect the lives and property of all Nigerians. He said true democracy is not practised in the country because votes do not yet count. “The Federal Government has the responsibility to protect your life, to protect the lives of those girls that are in Sambisa Forest.  If that fails then the government has failed.” “Democracy is the right to choose.  You should be allowed to choose. They should not bring out the military or police to come and fight you and write results.  They should allow the military and the police to stay in their barracks, let us go and vote, let us see who will be our leader, that is democracy, not one that you are compelled to vote or they vote on our behalf.” He lambasted the PDP for embarking on early campaigns ahead of next year’s election, calling the current government a ‘civilian regime’ and not a democratic government. He also appealed to the people to prepare for next year’s election and ensure their votes count. “So, what I enjoin all of you is to prepare for 2015.  All of us must come out en masse and vote out these gentlemen.  We must vote them out.  They know nothing other than how to steal our money.  Those who left us to the other party left us because we refused to share money.  If you allow them to take power, they will spend one year stealing money, so we must stop them”, he said. Amaechi remarked that APC is averse to looting and corrupt practices and wants only to use public funds for people’s benefit. “There are 16 APC Governors and there are 18 PDP Governors, in APC States like Lagos and Rivers, see what we have done.  We are saying to them, we don’t play to the gallery. The problem of Nigeria is beyond road construction. Most governors construct roads so that you will clap for them. We think that you need to address education if you must run away from poverty and that is why just as we are addressing education here, Lagos State is addressing education even our neighbouring Imo State that does not have the kind of money we have. “We also think that you need to address Agriculture as a way to mitigate poverty.  Let PDP come forward and say we are doing the same, let us see.  We are open to a debate.  So, what we are saying here is that the difference between PDP and APC is that we are progressives. A lot of you can approach me, a lot of you see me drive myself on the street, a lot of you see me stop in restaurants and eat food, an emperor does not do that.  PDP is an imperial party.  It is a party that is conservative.  Some of them don’t know what conservative ideas are. They don’t know what capital is.  They don’t know that with capital, they can invest. They think that government can solve all problems.” Corroborating the governor, Dino Melaye, a former member of the House of Representatives said from Amaechi’s explanation, it becomes even clearer that APC Governors are more result-oriented than their PDP counterparts. He lampooned the corruption culture in the ruling PDP and said fervent electoral effort should be made to reverse the trend. He said, “In PDP, 16 is more than 19 but in APC, we are saying 19 is more than 16. If you check the performance of the PDP Governors just like His Excellency has said and check the performance of the APC Governors, the difference is like darkness and light. “In APC, we officially launched what we call the road map of the party and I am announcing to you that PDP is yet to even clear their ground not to talk of having a road map but the APC have a national road map to all the problems of this country and it was officially launched in Abuja some months ago. Then while we believe that stealing and corruption is the same, PDP believes that there is a difference between stealing and corruption. “They said the GDP is growing and Nigeria is the fastest-growing economy, forget power-point expression by the Minister of Finance, we in APC believe that our GDP is this:  When this government came in 2010, the price of a bag of rice was N8,000, today it is N12,500. Our GDP is that dollar in 2010 when this government came into power was N140, today it is N165. These will make you realize that APC is completely different from the PDP.” Delivering his lecture, Prof. Pat Utomi said legitimacy for the current PDP-led federal government was waning over its poor performance and slow response to issues. On his part, Mr. Bernard Kouchner, a former French Foreign Minister shedding light on ‘Africa, Nigeria and the issues for the future’ noted that Nigeria and the rest of Africa was playing more important roles in the world compared to times past when the continent was the world’s focus for humanitarian needs. For Guido Westwelle, a former German Foreign Minister, peace and stability, high population growth coupled with unemployment were still high on the list of challenges facing Nigeria and Africa and urged leaders on the continent to make effort to pull back those challenges. He however commended the African values of empathy and brotherliness among others but said government must be empowered to maintain peace and stability. Ambassador Daniel Benjamin, a former head of US State Counter-Terrorism Bureau, Nigeria continues to face terrorism from the Boko Haram sect which is a major obstacle to economic and political growth. He therefore called on the Federal Government to take appropriate action to end the malaise of terrorist attacks in the country adding that peace and stability would be needed in Nigeria and other parts of Africa to promote growth in various sectors and enhance bilateral trade and other relations within Africa and the rest of the world. Attendance at the conference cut across wide segments of society including politicians, industrialists, union leaders, students, market women and general public.


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