The All Progressives Congress on Thursday, unveiled its Code of Ethics to guide the party’s activities.
The event marked the highpoint of the party’s first national summit, held at the Transcorp Hilton, Hotel Abuja.
The event, which attracted most of the party’s founding fathers, also provided an avenue for its leaders to showcase what Nigerians should expect, if it forms government in 2015.
In his opening remarks, Lagos State Governor Babatunde Raji Fashola, said the APC was the first party in Nigeria, to take the step it was taking to lay bare what it has in store for the people.
He explained that the unique thing about the exercise was that the party was making its intention known to the public at a forum other than a campaign rally, as had been the practice before now.
Fashola said “We in the APC seek to create a new future for Nigeria, a future without leaders who deprive the families that they are supposed to protect.
“A future where high price of food and fuel do not undermine families, where there will be jobs for all who want to work. We will do things differently through our code of ethics.”
The governor noted that the divisive politics which had become the hallmark of the ruling Peoples Democratic Party, was unhealthy for national peace and development which Nigerians yearn for.
According to him, members of the APC were tied together by what they believe, a belief which says corruption will no longer be tolerated in our national life and that every Nigerian deserves to live in a nation where his basic rights are respected and the rule of law thrives.
He also said Nigeria’s population of over 160 million who speak different languages ought not to be a disadvantage but a source of strength which should create jobs and opportunity for all.
Speaking on the significance of the party’s Code of Ethics, the governor explained that the party like the disciplined and focused entity which it seeks to build, must be guided by a set of rules.
He described it as a road map for a new Nigeria and that the set of principles contained therein, would differentiate the party from the rest of the pack.
While berating the ruling PDP for its poor anti-corruption record, he blamed the rising unemployment on the pervasive corruption in government.
He expressed the view that if government were serious about the anti-graft war, there would have been enough money to create jobs for the nation’s growing youth population.
The party in its mission statement said it was committed to a Nigeria that achieves its full potential and promise that it would work towards a nation that is economically and socially vibrant, peaceful, just and secure.
It also listed 10 principal commitments it was making to the Nigerian people.
Some of them include its commitment to preserve the Nigerian people which it believes to be the nation’s greatest asset pledging to do everything possible to protect and preserve human life and dignity.
It also made a commitment to uphold a Nigeria bound by the principle of freedom, justice, peace, unity and the rule of law and promised to pursue its objective of increasing economic opportunity for all citizens, social welfare and progress through a government led and private sector driven economy.
Several speakers which included leaders of the three legacy parties namely: the ANPP, ACN and the CPC, participated in a discussion where they took members of the audience through some of the challenges they encountered before the merger.
Gen. Muhammadu Buhari, who was one of the speakers, said opposition party members realised that unless they came together, the ruling party would isolate them and destroy them one after another.
He said they discovered that “We need to come together to put good governance and leadership to manage the huge resources of Nigeria.”
A former Lagos State governor, Asiwaju Ahmed Tinubu, said for him who had gone on exile on a number of occasions, he was encouraged by the fact that everywhere he went, he could only rely on his Nigerian passport.
This, he said, made it imperative for him and likeminded progressives to build a truly national party.
In his remarks, Chief Ogbonaya Onu, said the APC was an idea whose time was now.
Also, speaking at the event, Chief Audu Ogbeh recalled how he and a few of his friends and political associates muted the idea of the coming together of opposition parties to form one strong party.
He said he and his associates began having their meeting since 2005 adding that it was a thing of joy that the APC is now a reality.
In her keynote address, a former Vice-President of the World Bank, Dr. Obiageli Ezekwesili, said despite earning more than $600bn in oil revenues in the last 13 years, the Federal Government had been unable to improve the lot of the ordinary Nigerians.
She observed that increased oil revenues had failed to translate into an improvement in the lives of ordinary Nigerians.
The two-time Nigerian minister also lamented that Nigerians did not fare better than citizens of war-torn nations like Afghanistan or impoverished nations like Chad when welfare indices were applied.
According to her, despite the more than “$600bn of oil revenue earned by this country in the last 13 years,” the amount had not translated into well-being and development.
She said the country had been ranked 32nd among countries with high corruption index, adding that whether we accepted it or not, Nigeria was presently engaged in systemic corruption and not much had been done to curtail graft.
Ezekwesili sounded a note of caution to the APC which she said should focus less on merely pushing PDP out of office by all means, because Nigerians whom the party intended to provide leadership for must be alive to witness the promises of good tidings.
She described the recent massacre of students in Yobe State as an assault to the country, saying anyone who might be profiting from bizarre slaughter of innocent children and women should be prepared to receive appropriate punishment from God.
According to her, members of the APC who have just unveiled the party’s road map should be prepared to lead party members to accept the challenges inherent in seeking to tackle the myriad of problems bedeviling the nation at all levels.
Ezekwesili explained that she accepted to deliver the lecture not as a politician with any interest except for the superior interest to help build a better Nigeria which all Nigerians would be proud of.
She said there was a consensus among most Nigerians that the nation was living far below its installed capacity.
Commenting on the centenary, she described the event as unwarranted considering the unsatisfactory performance of the country. Ezekwesili said the celebration “was nothing but a party for the elite where all the leaders irrespective of the divide enjoyed themselves to the bewilderment of agony-stricken Nigerians.
“It is heart-rending that the present state of affairs in the country now questions our oneness as a country. We cannot develop and grow until you are bound in a common sense of purpose and values.”
Earlier, leaders of the party took turns to symbolically sign the code of conduct form as a mark of acceptance and commitment to the ideals contained in the document.
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