The USA chapter of the Action Congress of Nigeria just concluded its convention in beautiful Chicago. The conference theme was; “ALL PROGRESSIVES CONGRESS (APC): THE NEW VISTA AND THE ROLE OF THE DIASPORA” and it was well attended by leadership of the party formerly known as ACN and soon to be christened APC should all pieces be put in place. Read the Summary of the event HERE.
I would like to thank the entire ACN US branch for giving me the opportunity to speak on behalf of my dad, Rotimi Akeredolu (SAN), the Gubernatorial candidate at the just concluded Ondo State election. Although we did not win and there exists a plethora of reasons thrown out from all nooks and crannies explaining why, the battle is still on going even despite the unfavorable outcome of the petition at the tribunal level. I state unequivocally that Aketi has vowed to continue the fight to the finish and his reason for being absent at this joyous event is a result of him working on ensuring justice is served as the case moves up to the appeal court.
Many of our dignitaries present at this event know of Aketi’s tenacity when it comes to doing what is right, prosecuting his convictions with utmost courage; we have appreciated the doggedness and resilience he showed as NBA president, throughout the electioneering period and even through the disappointments. He has been an integral part of the ACN legal team in numerous dispensations and will continue to show his support and absolute allegiance to the party. He sends his regards. But this is not why we are here.
We are here to acknowledge the rebirth of a figurative phoenix. Greek Mythology speaks of the fabled Phoenix, the all-powerful bird known to resurrect in a pool of fire; renewed, reinvigorated and reenergized. Although the Action Congress of Nigeria as a name and acronym seizes to exist from now on, the party has imbibed its strengths and channeled it into what has now become the APC, a product of a new burning light in Nigeria’s nascent democracy. We are here to channel a future that recognizes Nigeria’s intellectual pool and under utilized people resource living in the diaspora. This is a testament to the forward thinking ideologies championed by our great party which we have had the privilege of seeing in APC run Edo, Ekiti, Lagos, Ogun, Oyo & Osun states.
As a 24 year old with a keen interest in my country’s political landscape, I have, like many of my other colleagues have taken a cursory look at the Nigerian situation from the outside in. The Situation in the country is rather unfortunate. Having had the privilege of spearheading Aketi’s multimedia campaign effort on the internet, disappointments which are a product of a failed state abound but they also reveal a glimmer of hope for a better Nigeria. The internet has truly amplified what was already known to many; the literacy problem and what would seem like a deliberate act of the media to capitalize on this shortcoming and purposefully misinform the Nigerian Polity. The Internet in many other regards has exposed a lot of Nigeria to a larger pool of Nigerians in the diaspora. We are more informed about the happenings in the country now more than ever and a new wave of patriotism has ensued as a result. Just two presidential terms ago, one man may have had a vision and could only share it amongst his closed circles but now, an idea can result in the Arab springs thanks to the internet or the Oil Subsidy riots fueled by internet phenomena such as BlackBerry Messenger (BBM), Facebook and twitter.
We cannot talk about the dire Nigerian situation without acknowledging the Boko Haram & Militant insurgencies holding our country ransom. it is most shocking to see the slothful pace of the current administration to acknowledge the situation and act proactively. it is most discomforting that in a centralized system where all security parastatal reside at the center, the president deemed it fit to lay a lot of the blame on the governors of these states. Many of us here are aware of the cries of ACN led states for a dissolution of power. Even I have seen well established democracies dissolve policing all the way down to universities. I am convinced this is the first step to steering the Nigerian ship ashore before it sinks.
Need we speak about corruption at an all time high? Or should we talk about the witch hunt of individuals who do not share the current agenda championed by the current administration? Do we need to speak of the increase in poverty which is gravely at odds with the current windfall of revenue from crude oil? Do we need to emphasize our over reliance on oil even though facts have shown that the USA is poised to produce enough oil for the world and shock the prices of oil? What do we do then?
I ask these questions because many Nigerians in Nigeria are oblivious to these truths or misinformed. Diasporans have been fortunate to see real democracy at work. We have been experienced research, forward thinking and purpose driven economies, are knowledgeable & determined enough to want to contribute for the betterment of our country.
Aketi’s Slogan for his campaign was “it is time for service”. We as interested parties in a New Nigeria are fortunate to be at the cusp of imminent change right now. We have been blessed with tools that make connecting, galvanizing and influencing people positively, almost trivial. They say with great power, comes great responsibility. As we take time to harness the resources at our disposal, I implore all not forget that we are just as responsible to the billionaire going Scott free for bribing an elected official as we are to the beggar on the street that might be facing jail time for stealing a packet of biscuit because he has been unemployed even with a university degree. We have come to answer Nigeria’s call to serve the father land. Let us obey and do so with love, strength and absolute faith in our country, our people and in whatever higher power we acknowledge.
Thank you for your time.