THE BIRTH OF A NEW NIGERIA
Speech By Dr. Haruna Goroh
for Mother of all Rallies Protest Washington
– Dear fellow citizens and friends of Nigeria.
– The organizers of this Mother of all Protests Rally.
– His Excellency, Dr. Ifeanyi Okowa, Vice Presidential Candidate, People’s Democratic Party.
– Dr. Yusuf Datti Baba-Ahmed, Vice Presidential Candidate, Labour Party.
– His Excellency, Aminu Waziri Tambuwal, People’s Democratic Party chieftain.
– Professor Pat Utomi, Labour Party chieftain.
– Valentine Ozigbo, Labour Party chieftain.
– Aisha Yesufu, Businesswoman and activist.
– All participants at this great rally.
Thank you very much for sacrificing time out of your busy schedule to attend and participate in this mother of all protests rally.
It is my honour to be invited to add my voice with many others at home and in Diaspora, who are calling for a change in our beloved nation Nigeria. We are all aware of the challenges facing our nation.
The most populated black nation in the world, with so much human and natural resources.
As we know, Nigeria is a nation with immense potential to become a major force to reckon with in the League of Nations. We are endowed with so many mineral resources, enough to make us compete with first world
nations, such as, America, United Kingdom, Germany, China, etc.
In spite of all these resources and
blessings that the Almighty God has blessed us with, we still find ourselves dependent on nations that do not have a tenth of our resources.
However, despite these advantages, Nigeria has struggled to achieve its full potential due to the many challenges that we face.
One of the most significant barriers to progress in Nigeria is the issue of corruption.
Corruption takes many forms, from bribery and embezzlement to kickbacks and favoritism.
It undermines our institutions, stifles innovation, and erodes public trust in government.
It also perpetuates poverty and inequality, as
resources are diverted away from the public good and into the hands of a few.
Nepotism and tribalism, on the other hand, are two other destructive forces that threaten to tear our society apart.
When people are promoted or given opportunities based on family connections or ethnic affiliations rather than merit, it creates resentment and division.
It also leads to a brain drain, as talented
individuals are forced to leave the country in search of better opportunities elsewhere.
To solve these problems, the need for good governance that is transparent, accountable, and efficient, cannot be overemphasized.
We need leaders who put the interest of the people first, who are
committed to fighting corruption and promoting meritocracy, instead of rewarding mediocrity.
policies and institutions that enable equal access to resources and opportunities, regardless of someone’s background or connections.
I stand before you today to share my journey in political awareness. For many years, I was disinterested in Nigerian politics due to the corrupt nature of politicians who have conducted political affairs in the past.
I was not the only one who had lost hope in Nigerian democracy.
Past elections have been marked with so much irregularities.
Rigging of elections has become an accepted way to get to positions of leadership.
Democracy in Nigeria became a struggle for self enrichment. Politics was seen to be the easiest and fastest way to get rich.
Politicians were prepared to kill opponents in order to win elections.
Winning was no longer about who has more supporters, but who had more money to buy votes, who
had more thugs to seize ballot boxes, who had the money to buy off the election officials to alter the outcome in their favour.
All these evil practices made many people to lose interest in politics.
Good people found it difficult to get elected to government, because they were not prepared to buy their way to power.
This resulted in the collapse of the democratic system in the country.
The young people, who make up about 70% of the population, were not interested in politics, because they were made to feel excluded. As someone from northern Nigeria, we have had many of our people govern the nation.
The sad reality however, is that we have been the most disadvantaged. We have suffered more insecurity and poverty.
I could not see how Nigeria would come out of this vicious circle of bad governance.
However, my interest was piqued when I started to hear the President promising the
nation that he was going to ensure that 2023 elections are free, fair, and credible.
He promised to ensure
adequate security of life and property, before, during, and after the elections.
To boost my confidence, and that of many, the electoral commission pledged that 2023 elections would be their most transparent
and credible elections.
He said that no Nigerian would be disenfranchised in this year’s elections.
All these promises, raised the confidence of Nigerians, especially, the youth, who have felt left in previous elections.
The electoral commission announced the mass registration of voters for people who were not registered
The youths went out in their millions to register. Large queues were seen all over the nation.
Never in the history of the nation has that level of enthusiasm been seen among the youths.
They were prepared to use their voters cards and vote for change.
They did not mind the hardship encountered in
the process of registering for their voter’s card, because of the future they were hoping for.
The youths became even more hopeful and enthusiastic, when they saw one of the Presidential candidates, Mr. Peter Obi and his running mate, Baba Ahmed, who seem to be speaking their language, of a New Nigeria.
They soon won, not only the hearts of the youths, but many Nigerians of all ages.
These two individuals possess all the attributes of good leadership, and have proven track records free of corruption.
These were the kind of individuals needed to move Nigeria forward and free her from the diabolic hold of the current political elites, whose only wish is self-enrichment at the expense of vulnerable citizens.
The challenge of insecurity, poverty, and disunity requires people who possess the will, character, and capacity to bring about change in Nigeria.
In 2022, we saw the rise of the youths, whose vision was to save their nation from total collapse. They referred to themselves as “The Obidients” and “Yusfuls,” and they were determined to take back their nation.
They conducted rallies and concerts to raise national awareness, and they went out en masse to register for their voter’s cards.
Sadly, many of them were unable to get their voter’s cards, as some were destroyed and dumped in dumpsites.
Many of the youths were unemployed, but they hustled to get money to print banners, t-shirts, and caps to sensitize the nation on the vision of a new Nigeria.
They were at political rallies and
campaigns, ready to elect a new president, whom they saw as their last hope.
They chanted, “we no de give shishi, we no de receive shishi,” meaning, we don’t give or receive bribes.
Peter Obi, the Presidential candidate, who ran under The Labour Party, was the only candidate who won the hearts of the young people and many of the citizens who were tired of the repressive regime of APC.
They were all calling for the birth of a new Nigeria. Peter Obi promised to end corruption in Nigeria, tackle inequality, insecurity, and disunity, and turn Nigeria from consumption to production.
On 25th February 2023, Nigerians, charged with the hope of the birth of a new nation, all went out to cast their votes.
Sadly, many of them were attacked by political thugs, some brutally beaten, some killed.
Ballot boxes were seized by armed men, and in some polling stations, the electorates were left waiting in vain for the arrival of the electoral staff.
Many were unable to cast their votes. Election officials asked those who were not going to vote for the ruling party candidate, to go home. In some polling units, electorates were locked out, and election officials were thumb printing for the ruling party.
In some places, party agents were seen buying votes. National and international observers have said that this
year’s elections were marred with a lot of irregularities.
The electoral commission had promised to upload the election results in real-time on the Irev portal on the election day, but failed to do so.
Instead, they went ahead to announce Asiwaju Tinubu of the ruling
APC party, as the winner of the Presidential election.
The election commissioner, Mr. Mahmoud Yakubu, refused to listen to calls from party agents who challenged the results that were being presented by the
election returning officers from the different states.
The party agents were in shock when they heard the returning officers announcing results that were completely different from the ones from their polling units.
People were in bed, when INEC announced Tinubu of APC as the winner of the elections.
The electoral commission failed to follow their own laid down guidelines and procedures for the elections, that required that the results be verified before a winner is declared.
It is alleged that Asiwaju bribed the INEC chairman to announce him as the winner. It has since been found out that many of Peter Obi’s votes were swapped with those of Asiwaju, when they found out that Obi was going to win the presidential elections.
Nigerians are still in shock as to how Tinubu emerged the winner, knowing that most of them did not vote for him.
The nation has since been in what appears to be a mourning season, since the declaration of Asiwaju as the winner of the Presidential elections.
Peter Obi has taken the matter to court to demand justice. In his petition, he is calling the court to disqualify Asiwaju for:
1. Being convicted of drug trafficking.
2. Not scoring the required 25% in the
Federal Capital Territory.
3. To be disqualified because his running mate, Shettima’s double nomination.
4. The irregularities in the results, etc. Swearing-In Tinubu as President based on a flawed result is not representing the wish of the millions who went out to vote for change.
I hereby, call upon the Judges to do the right thing by restoring OBI’s stolen mandate.
Failure to do so will not only destroy democracy in Nigeria, but result in a situation where the nation will be thrown into a crisis that we may not be able to handle. We cannot afford to let our democracy be trampled upon.
We must stand together and demand justice for the stolen mandate.
In conclusion, I call upon all citizens to remain peaceful and law-abiding as we demand justice for the stolen mandate. We must restore the citizens’ confidence in democracy and ensure that our voices are heard and that our votes count. We cannot afford to let this injustice go unpunished.
Dr. Haruna Goroh