SOCIAL DEMOCRATIC PARTY
National Headquarters, Abuja
October ONE 2021 Press Statement
By Dr. Olu Agunloye, National Chairman, Social Democratic Party, SDP
Nigeria is set for yet another October One celebration. After confirming that the English word “Congratulations” actually means “expressions of pleasure or joy,” I concluded that it would not be appropriate for me as National Chairman to announce that the Social Democratic Party (SDP) has congratulated all Nigerians on this year’s anniversary of October One Independence. This is because, rather than call for expressions of joy and celebration, the Party would rather remind Nigerians that this is an occasion of sober reflection and deep rethinking and, in particular, a time to return to the drawing board. This is the time to build a new model, and to restore human dignity in our country. It is time to respect Nigeria’s anthem “to be faithful loyal and honest, to serve Nigeria with all my strength to defend her unity and uphold her honour and glory.”
In fact, October One Independence in Nigeria is a reminder of those noble and patriotic calls and agitations of the late 1940s and throughout 1950s for self-determination and self-government led by energetic and selfless Nigerians amongst whom, Chief Obafemi Awolowo, Sir Ahmadu Bello, Dr. Nnamdi Azikiwe, Malam Aminu Kano, and Chief Anthony Enahoro were most prominent. Their agitations led to Nigeria’s Independence in 1960. However, the self-government that followed this Independence became shattered by unwarranted military intervention, brazen corruption, greed and incompetence. Unfortunately, at sixty-one years of age, fresh agitations for self-determination and self-government have surfaced again not for an improved Nigeria but for separation or break away because of real or perceived oppression and excruciating burdens of insecurity.
The Social Democratic Party is deeply concerned about the worsening security situation across the country, occasioned by unabating reign of terror and actions of insurrectionists, agitators and outright criminals which have crippled economic activities in the country, significantly battered peace and literarily crashed the national social architecture. After being a British Protectorate 120 years ago and amalgamated Nigeria 107 years ago, an Independent Nigeria is 61 years old but we still do not have much to rejoice or celebrate about. Things are not what we want them to be, and we are not where we ought to be amongst developed nations in the world. Instead, we find that our country is in the top league of the world in corruption, insecurity, nepotism, religious intolerance and violent civil rife and a place where virtually little or no value is placed on human lives and human dignity.
The current situation belies the efforts of the Buhari Administration, even the admission of President Muhammadu Buhari and his team testified to this. When the current status is reviewed against the promises made by the President before getting elected it becomes clearer that we have been misled and may be in deep trouble. The ability of this administration “to uphold the peace and maintain the unity” of Nigeria so that “the labour of our heroes’ past shall never be in vain” has faced very stiff challenges with separationist agitations and violent attacks by local and foreign herdsmen and bandits as well as another deadly force called “unknown government”. The government scorecard is poor in terms of creation of jobs, creation of wealth, creation of security or services or creation of peace especially because there has not been creation of justice.
Nigeria is not a failed state yet but largely a fragile state with significant security and capacity gaps as well as high political and criminal violence, loss of control of its borders, high unemployment of youths, abnormal rate of inflation, weak currency, rising ethnic, religious and cultural hostilities, and high incidents of kidnapping and unwarranted attacks against citizens. This is the extent to which Nigeria has degenerated. This is why the Social Democratic Party has called for a remodeling of our country. This would be based on principles of social justice, the cardinal principle in the SDP Manifesto and the guiding ideology that serves as the bedrock for the system of actions and reasonings of our Party. Our doors are wide open for the young generation to come over to take power and together, we shall create opportunities for jobs, wealth, good education, good health care system and emancipation of women under a most conducive socio-political environment with people-oriented policies and strengthened institutions.
It has become imperative to return to the basic principles of social justice and apply this to a restructuring process to evolve a new model for Nigeria which favours a confederation of nations within Nigeria where all regions or zones have equal opportunities for economic growth and sustainable economic development and where access to resources, equity, participation, diversity, and human rights are guaranteed for everyone. The SDP does not feel shy to say that all its activities and aspirations are rooted in principles and ideology of social justice. This is different from the case of the other two major parties which jettisoned manifestos, principles and ideologies as they misruled our dear country over the last 22 years.
As we go for building a new model, the Executive arm in collaboration with the Legislators should provide Stimulus Package for security and developmental programmes and set-up of National Security Improvement Council and a National Consensus Building Project with ultimate goal to eschew corruption in all its ramifications and promote good governance and sustainable development. Collectively, they should implement a three-step scheme to address (a) Immediate Actions utilising Executive Orders and Legislative Laws to start healing process and restoration of order; (b) Medium Term Action requiring new National Discourse to produce a new Peoples’ Constitution; and (c) Evolving a long-term National Development Planning Programme similar to but better than Vision 20:2020 because Nigerian people need fresh breath of life.
It is time to say: Arise ‘O Compatriots, Let’s Build a New Model Now.
Long Live Nigeria.
Dr. Olu Agunloye.
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