By Dumebi Kachikwu
My Dear Nigerians,
When I embarked on this journey a year ago, I started with what I called My Opening Argument and promised to end my campaign with My Closing Argument. I believed then that my final argument would be a pitch on why you should vote for me but alas as we prepare to vote in the next 48hrs, I am forced to accept the sad reality that there is no pathway towards victory for Ahmed and I.
I will therefore make a different argument today and it is the case for a Nigeria that works for everyone. Before I do this, I would like to thank Ahmed for not only agreeing to run with me but for his dedication and total loyalty. I went looking for a VP and found a brother. I want to thank our wives, Ikeme and Maryam, who have been tolerant, supportive and patient.
They endured a lot of sleepless nights hearing us strategize on how to stop Ralph Nwosu and his gang from selling us out. Ahmed and I would like to thank our mummy, Senator Mrs. Patricia Akwashiki, the State Chairmen of our party, candidates and party members who stood by the constitution of our party and refused to sell out. Doing the right thing is never easy. They all did what was right even in the face of being expelled from the party or losing their tickets.
There are those who sold out and it speaks to their character. Whenever you see any candidate running on the platform of one party and promoting the candidate of another party, then you know someone who lacks character. They seek shortcuts. They want to get into office at any and all costs, but they have failed the first test of leadership, which is loyalty. We must never support or vote such candidates into office. Don’t let them deceive you. If they can betray their parties, they will betray the public trust.
I want to especially thank our team led by my Chief of Staff, Amina, for all their hard work and dedication. A special shout out to our supporters all over the country and across the world. Thank you for all your love and support through this turbulent journey. Last but never the least, we say thank you to our mothers. There is nothing like a mother’s love and prayers. Their prayers brought us this far.
Outside of the Nigerian Civil War, the last eight years under the APC Government has been the toughest period ever for Nigerians since Independence. As President Buhari prepares to handover, he is unleashing more pain and misery on Nigerians with the misguided recolouring of the Naira.
He and his advisers believe that this would limit the undue advantage that Asiwaju Bola Tinubu has with a huge war chest to buy over voters. What they have inadvertently done is make it easier for the APC candidate as millions of voters will be unable to exercise their democratic franchise because of cash constraints. Most of those affected by this will be the Labour Party supporters.
The odds therefore favour the APC Government to continue in power. How you might ask? It is very simple. The APC structure that brought in Buhari eight years ago still brought him back four years ago even though most Nigerians were united in saying he wouldn’t come back.
Today the PDP, which is the main opposition party has been successfully divided into three; PDP, Labour Party and G5. APC supporters across the country remain intact and are fully committed to ensuring their candidate wins the Presidential elections.
The candidates of the two leading parties followed by the Labour Party candidate all have one thing in common and that is their previous stints in public service. The APC and PDP candidates have been accused of using that opportunity to create access, opportunities and wealth for family, friends and supporters while the Labour candidate is said to have only catered to his family.
This sad reality has therefore reduced their campaigns to my thief is better than your thief or which thief is a lesser thief. The three candidates deliberately avoided debates and instead promoted emotive issues on the campaign trail while taking advantage of poor Nigerians by paying them to attend their rallies.
Nigerians are therefore short-changed in not hearing any real arguments or proposals on how we can finally create a nation of committed component parts all subscribing to a new charter, vision and constitution. We had no critical conversation on how to create millions of new jobs, secure our nation, balance our budget and tackle the twin menace of recession and inflation wrecking our economy.
They failed to provide specifics on how to create world class infrastructure, urbanise our cities, stem the rural-urban migration and reverse the brain drain occasioned by the loss of our middle class who are leaving our country in their thousands.
They were silent on all critical issues and instead pandered to ethnic and religious sentiments. The Labour Candidate took campaigns to a new low with his church visitations. Have you ever imagined what would happen to our country if Atiku Abubakar and Bola Tinubu made similar visitations to mosques.
Our country is fragile, and we must never allow religion play a role in politics. We can’t complain about President Buhari and seek to continue on the path of religion and ethnicity with the ‘it is my turn campaigns’.
Whereas I subscribe to the argument that the Ibos have not had a fair shake in the Nigerian nation, most of the blame for this must go to our leaders who mostly subscribe to self and family as against building their states or region. They failed to capitalise on the entrepreneurial spirit of the Ibo man to create an industrial powerhouse in the South East that would provide millions of jobs and shared prosperity for our people.
Today the economy of the Southeast is in ruins, our people live in fear and our leaders have relocated to Abuja and Lagos.
When leaders are afraid to defy evil what do we expect to happen to our communities? We all saw what happened in Northeast Nigeria because their leaders failed to stand up to Boko Haram and we now see the same thing in Southeastern Nigeria.
This attitude of it is their problem has almost destroyed us. We all have to come together to save Nigeria. Nigerians can’t continue to look for a mythic hero or saviour when they are unprepared for individual change.
Today our youths are poor, angry, bitter, frustrated and therefore subject to all forms of manipulation and abuse by desperate politicians. We can’t continue to do this to our people. We fail to plan for them but plan to use them.
We threaten their future with inexplicable debts. We polarise and divide them with tongue, tribe and religion.
I commend Peter Obi, the Labour Candidate for embracing the youths. This relationship should go beyond the elections into real mentoring for millions of our youths who have lost their way. They mustn’t be discarded when elections are won and lost. They must also not be used as a mob to terrorise opponents.
My dear Nigerians, I sympathise with you and feel your pain. Words can’t express my hurt at what your life has become in the last few weeks. Most of you are confused as some leaders say you must endure this suffering because it helps their chances.
It is a tragedy, but we must not give up hope. Even though we are faced with more of the same as our realistic options at this point, we must hold them accountable. We must subscribe to higher ideals. We must learn patriotism and love of nation.
We must never again allow proponents of tribe and religion sway us or polarise us. We must reject their wars and embrace peace.
As we now consider the three flawed candidates before us, we must also remember that we are also flawed. We must look beyond their flaws to their capabilities. We must consider their relationships and associations. We must look at those they are likely to work with and those with them now.
Beyond this we must accept the reality that except Northern Nigeria miraculously comes together in the next 24hrs to throw their support for the PDP candidate, the race looks likely to favour the APC candidate.
Except the PDP and Labour can reach an agreement in the next 24hrs on how to collaborate to win the elections, any vote for Peter Obi is a vote for Bola Tinubu. PDP and Labour need each other. It is that simple. As true democrats, the leadership of both PDP and Labour must find a way to work with the other smaller parties towards building a formidable coalition that ensures the contest is even.
Any attempt to go this alone guarantees another four years for the APC. I commend and congratulate my friends and fellow Presidential Candidates, Prince Adewole of the SDP, Sowore of the AAC and Prince Malik Ado-Ibrahim of the YPP for their spirited efforts in ensuring Nigerians are liberated.
My Dear Nigerians, as you vote, please vote Nigeria before religion and tribe. Vote Nigeria above pecuniary gain. Vote Nigeria above all other considerations because Nigeria remains the only nation we have.
Whichever way the pendulum swings, I assure Nigerians that Ahmed and I remain committed to nation building. We will devote our time and resources towards deepening our democratic culture and practices. Our voices will not relent nor weaken in speaking and advocating for the Nigerian masses. We love you all.
Till we meet again, I wish you all well. God bless the Federal Republic of Nigeria. God bless you all.
Dumebi Kachikwu, African Democratic Congress Presidential Candidate
February 23, 2023.BEWARE All Rights Reserved. This material, and other digital content on this website, may not be reproduced, published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed in whole or part without prior express written permission from Juliana Francis