•Atiku, others preach peace, hope for better Nigeria
Omololu Ogunmade, Adedayo Akinwale and Shola Oyeyipo in Abuja
President Muhammadu Buhari and the presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, yesterday joined other prominent politicians to preach messages of peace and hope for a better Nigeria in the brand new year.
While the president asked Nigerians to approach the New Year with caution being an election year, saying the polls need not become a do-or-die affair, the PDP flag bearer said citizens have an opportunity to chart a new course for the country with the impending February 16 presidential election.
Buhari in his New Year message said approaching mere elections with fear and trepidation was unnecessary, restating his commitment to the conduct of free, fair and credible elections and expressed happiness that many presidential candidates had signed a pact for peaceful and violence-free 2019 polls.
While arguing that the greatest number of Nigerians trust in the preparedness of his administration to provide a level playing field for all candidates at the polls, the president warned those he accused of promoting falsehood and beating drums of war, saying such individuals are only fighting a lost battle.
According to him, Nigerians yearn for a secure and prosperous country characterised by infrastructure development, a task he said his administration had been committed to since its advent in 2015.
Against this background, Buhari said the resources at his administration’s disposal had been well utilised and secured from the reach of a few people whom he accused of greed as he sought the cooperation of all in the effort to build the nation of their dream.
He said, “2019 will be an election year for us. In about two months, the polls are due, and we will elect leaders into various offices, at national and state levels. As I welcome you into 2019, I also reiterate my many promises and declarations that the general elections will be free, fair and credible.
“Elections need not be do-or-die affair, and we should not approach that eventuality in a democracy with trepidation and mortal fear. Happily, a large number of presidential candidates have committed to peace, and peace we shall have.
“Those who continue to trumpet falsehood and negativity are on their own, fighting a losing battle. The greater number of Nigerians are trusting, and believing that we shall deliver on our promises for a level playing field at the polls, and that is what we shall do.
“Nigerians desire peace, security, prosperity, inclusiveness and infrastructural development, a nation they can be proud of, a country that can hold its own among the nations.
“That is the journey we have embarked on since we came onboard in 2015, and we are not distracted as we move on. We are resolved to build a country in which the resources are utilised for the benefit of the largest number, and not appropriated by a privileged few in their never ending quest to satisfy their greed.
“We are on this mission together, and I assure you of a firm commitment to the ideals of a safe, secure, fair, just and prosperous country.”
Acknowledging that the country has been confronted with a myriad of security, economic, political and social crises, Buhari restated the promise of his administration to conquer such challenges.
He thanked Nigerians for their support and collaboration in the past three years adding that he looked forward to the year 2019 with hope that the people would give him yet another opportunity to retain power for another four years.
He said Nigeria was making steady and sustainable progress in every area of its national life, arguing that his search for power was not for any ulterior motive but rather to serve as a platform for service to the country that is devoid of selfish objectives.
He added, “I appreciate your support and collaboration in previous years, and look forward to same in 2019, and beyond, as I hope you will renew the mandate you overwhelmingly gave us in 2015, for another term.
“We are motivated by nothing other than service to motherland, and service without selfishness or personal interest. I can assure you all that we are making steady and sustainable progress in all areas of national life. Those who are unbiased can see and appreciate the progress the country has made since 2015.
“A New Year provides opportunity for renewal of commitment, and I invite you to rededicate yourselves to the vision of a Nigeria that works for all.”
Atiku: 2019 Offers Nigerians Opportunity to Chart New Course
Atiku in his message said 2019 could offer a beacon of hope for Nigerians as it presents an opportunity to elect a visionary leadership in the forthcoming general elections.
The former vice president said in 2018, the country became the world headquarters for extreme poverty, but assured that if the country can chart a new course, more Nigerians would be lifted out of poverty.
Atiku said, “I’m convinced that in 2019, if we chart a new course, we can become the world headquarters for hope and extreme devotion to the cause of lifting our people out of poverty.
“2019 is as yet a blank page. As a nation, we must not settle for whatever it brings. Rather, we must take collective action, through our choices, in making it a year where we revive national hope, with visionary leadership that sees our economy and institutions working again as they did in our golden era.
“We can chart a new course and open a new chapter that sees every Nigerian living in peace and prosperity with their neighbour.
“It can be the year when our youths finally get a job instead of being unfairly tagged as lazy. With purposeful leadership, it can also be the year when we put an end to terrorism and usher in a golden age of peace.”
The former vice president said the only type of leadership that could navigate the difficulties currently facing the nation and lead the country to unity and faith, peace and progress, is the one provided by the PDP and its candidate in Atiku and Peter Obi.
Atiku noted, “But it will not just happen by itself. We have to make changes from the top all the way to the bottom. We already have the vision, the vision of a nation that is a beacon of hope for the Black Race and the world at large, what we lack and what 2019 can provide, is the leadership that has the capacity to translate that vision into reality.
“In 2019, Nigerians need a leadership that is 100 per cent for 100 per cent of Nigerians, 100 per cent of the time. We have seen where division and sectionalism has led us to. Now let us try unity and patriotism.”
He asked Nigerians not to lose heart and hope, adding that Nigeria is no stranger to overcoming difficulties.
Saraki: Let’s Pray for God to Restore Peace in Nigeria
Senate President, Dr Bukola Saraki, called on Nigerians to pray to God to restore peace to every nook and cranny of Nigeria as we enter Year 2019.
Saraki, in a New Year message, emphasised the need to remember “our fellow countrymen and women in troubled areas of the country and pray to God to restore peace in all the nooks and crannies of the country, defeat insurgency and successfully restore the displaced people to their homestead.
“Specifically, we should remember to intercede with God on behalf of our sister, Leah Sharibu, and other captives from Chibok and Dapchi. May they regain their freedom in good health in the new year”, he stated.
The Senate president added that the New Year presents another opportunity to write a new success story for the country by working to make Nigeria great again.
He urged Nigerians to remain positive and hope for better days even as they celebrate the commencement of the New Year, 2019.
According to him, the current social, economic and political challenges would give room for better times if Nigerians remain hopeful and collectively work together to ensure a turnaround.
“I congratulate all Nigerians who are today ushering in a New Year in an atmosphere of peace. While a lot needs to be done to increase the level of security in the land, revive our economy, gainfully engage our youths, the New Year gives us another opportunity to take steps that would lead us to our desired destination as a nation.
“We can only overcome our challenges if we remain resolute in fighting for what is right and doing the right things. We should ensure the coming general election is peaceful, free, fair and credible. All of us should abhor any illegal or violent activity”, Saraki further said
Nigerians Should Be Optimistic, Says Dogara
The Speaker, House of Representatives, Hon. Yakubu Dogara, in his message challenged Nigerians not to despair, but to look to the future with optimism.
Dogara acknowledged that though 2018 was characterised by wanton killings, decline in the nation’s economy, unemployment, general insecurity and other acts of lawlessness due to challenges of governance, he was hopeful that 2019 will present Nigerians a unique opportunity to renew their faith and hope in God and the country, as well as take full control of their destiny.
In view of the next few weeks preceding the general elections, Dogara tasked Nigerians to be patriotic and committed to their civic responsibility by turning out en masse to elect leaders that will be sensitive to their yearnings and aspirations and provide adequate security for their lives and properties.
According to him, “The year 2019 presents a unique opportunity for us to take full control of our nation and our destiny. It is also time for us to take responsibility for our own lives and work towards making Nigeria a better place for all its citizens.
“A democratic government should always depend on its citizens as the reverse will only amount to slavery. Hence, we must continue to demonstrate patriotism, cooperation, dedication and resilience in order to overcome our challenges and triumph over the forces of retrogression.”
PDP Assures Nigerians of Brighter Future
Also reeling out its message for the New Year, the PDP Presidential Campaign Organisation urged Nigerians to step into 2019 with unwavering optimism, faith and hope of a new era of peace, and economic prosperity under a new president, Atiku, as presidential election holds in February.
The main opposition party said 2019, as an election year, offers the citizens their much-desired opportunity to end the trajectory of economic hardship, hunger and starvation, strange humongous unemployment figures, wanton killings that have bedeviled the nation in almost four years of the Buhari administration.
The Director of Media and Publicity, Mr. Kola Ologbondiyan, congratulated Nigerians for their resilience in surviving the hardships of the past few years and urged them to use the New Year to pray against all negative projections by the All Progressives Congress (APC)-led federal government, who he said had declared more hardship for Nigerians in the coming year.
He said, “Nigerians must, therefore, avert such negative projections by voting out President Buhari and replacing him with their choice leader, the PDP presidential candidate, Atiku, who has already articulated a practical blueprint to ease their burden and pain by engendering rapid economic recovery, national cohesion and realistic solutions to our myriad of challenges.”
He said Nigerians had made immensurable sacrifices to keep the nation going in the face of very harsh policies, lies and fake promises of the Buhari administration, adding that they now eagerly long for a breath of fresh air under Atiku as their next president.
“Nigerians should, therefore, be optimistic as their incoming president will usher in a new era of a transparent and responsive government with the template for wealth creation, job opportunities and revitalization of our productive sector through tax cuts and direct empowerment of our hard working entrepreneurs in a manner that increases our national productivity, reduce costs of goods and services, increase exports and shore up the value of our naira.”
The PDP National Chairman, Prince Uche Secondus, too urged Nigerians to seize the opportunity that 2019 presents as an election year to vote the party and restore Nigeria on the path of greatness.
Secondus said 2019 is critical in the life of the nation as it would be a turning point in the emerging political evolution.
The chairman, in a statement yesterday by his Media Adviser, Mr. Ike Abonyi, said that the good decisions by the voters this year is all that is needed to recover the country from the hands of the destroyers.
He stated, “The general election in the country this year 2019 provides ample opportunity for the country to be rescued and restored as the biggest black nation in the World, both economically and politically.
“This year provides us the ground to save our democracy and the country from the comatose state the misrule and inept administration of the APC has placed it.
“2019 provides the way for us as a country to correct the mistake we made in 2015 which has dangerously brought the country to this sorry state.”