Today, I want to thank my creator, the Almighty God and to state unequivocally the very essence of my being a great believer and an advocate of truth, equity, justice and fairness in all my endeavours.
Equally, as a great believer in the age-long golden adage that says “a prophet is not appreciated in His own domain”, I owe this occasion to the honour recently accorded me by the fearless fighter and firm believer in fairness and justice, the Governor Rivers State, His Excellency, Ezenwo Nyesom Wike, who bestowed on me along other distinguished Nigerians, the highest honour of Rivers state.
I say I feel most appreciated for being considered worthy of such an important honour. Thank you, Your Excellency and May God always be your pilot.
I make bold to say that I remain firm in my commitment to the advocacy of the very core principle of the founding fathers of our great party, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).
This principle is called ‘rotation and zoning’, the very Foundation and Political Spinal Cord that has held our great party together since its formative hours in 1998.
This is what some of us refer to as ‘Turn by Turn Nigeria Limited’, a tradition of inclusiveness, deeply embedded and deep-rooted in the general concept of equity, fairness and justice.
This is boldly written in our party constitution and we are determined to defend this legacy left for us by Dr. Alex Ekwueme, Chief Solomon Lar, Alhaji Adamu Ciroma, Chief Sunday Awoniyi, Chief Bola Ige and other founding fathers of our great party.
My humble self and my co-travelers in the struggle for justice and fairness, the G5 governors, now called the Integrity Group, want to make it abundantly clear, without any equivocation, that we remain committed and loyal members of PDP, despite the present crisis.
In my recent address to the zonal committee of the party, I had reminded them in these words, “Zoning is the very glue that has invariably sustained the Nigerian democracy itself for 23 years. It is the architectural pillar holding the frame of our infant democracy. Embedded in the zoning logic is the truism of fairness, justice and collective accommodation”
Our disagreement is about the unilateral, selfish and subjective action of a few to sow a seed of discord which, if we are not careful, may lead to the disintegration of our great party.
Despite the ongoing inept attitude of the gladiators holding us down, we are ready and will, with all the strength we can muster, God helping us, support all the party’s candidates, except for the Presidency because the top party managers definitively refuse to share the Six top positions before the general Election and not after election as being canvassed by these few people.
By insisting that the presidential candidate, national chairman and Director General of the Presidential Campaign Council of PDP should come from a particular section of the country, you are trying to destroy the culture and norms of the party in a nation with diverse ethnic groups and sectarian plurality, where the strong fiber of national union is still much tenuous, where suspicions still flare, where sectarian divide is yet volatile.
I make bold to say the recourse to the principle of zoning is the stop gap that induces a sense of belonging and unity among our people.
It creates a feeling that none will be elbowed out of our common patrimony. It guarantees that someday, power will shift in such a rotational order that every section of our multi-plural society will occupy a seat at the center.
There is no room here for wobbly, indecisive representation. Our position must be clear and not woolly. Our vision must be deliberate, assertive on the path of justice and truth. Personal interest must be discarded on the greater altar of national cohesion. The narrow partisan canvas must be jettisoned for the larger purity of the strengthening of the national union.
The greater summative interest of the Nigerian state is far superior to any recourse to ethnic corridor or sectarian pathway.
Ours is a potentially great nation. The building fundaments of a progressive society are achievable when we are willing to surrender the narrow purview of self-aggrandizement for the selfless embrace of the national good.
Our nation has not reached a stage where the indices of tribes and sectarian liaisons are completely voided from the political bearings. They are still there. Our structures are delicate, fragile, weak, flailing in the wind.
Stability is a graduating process. That very process is first to achieve a sense of inclusiveness. From the vast, sweeping Savannah of Sokoto to the mighty shores of the Atlantic Ocean in Lagos, from the endless undulating landmass of Borno to the mangroves of Delta, from the furthest reaches of the forest of Ekiti to the primordial hills of Enugu – the constituents of the Nigerian Union must be assured that there is a governing fairness in the land, that the scales of Justice swings appropriately, that none is perceived in privileged attributions, that all the more than 600 ethnic groups have an equitable and fair share in the Nigerian Sun. It is when this is established, that we can boast of a solid arrival at nationhood.
Before I conclude, I want to reiterate the importance of the fairness doctrine in all our institutions whether it is party organization, the private sphere, or the public space.
Wherever there is no justice, wherever there is no inkling of equitable principle in the guidance of our institutions, there is an inevitable succumb to chaos, disorderliness, and self-help.
Rules must be obeyed. The pivotal fundament of law and order must be adhered to. We cannot and we must not cut corners to sooth the transient emotions of the moment.
What is just is just. What is right is right. Justice denied in any undertaking is justice destroyed. It is a death knell to the necessary balance that holds any union together.
This is the destructive path that must not and should not be taken.
Finally, I hereby plead, exhort, enjoin, that we should swiftly return to the path of justice, fairness and equitable balance.
Let me crave the indulgence of this eminent gathering to digress to another salient issue of national interest, which is to enjoin the management of our financial system, to take a cursory look at the dire straits our national economy has been plunged into.
In my humble opinion, the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) policy on the ongoing currency rebranding will only further destroy the economy of the nation.
To come up with the latest CBN pronouncement on daily cash transaction, with the present ugly state of our everyday life of epileptic power supply, high rate youth unemployment and sundry social challenges can only lead to one thing: fiscal and economic suicide.
All over the country, from Sokoto to Onitsha, to Jankara market here in Lagos, the people will only be more burdened with such policy as our economy is presently cash based in outlook.
The CBN policy is just too sudden. It will rather make the people sink deeper into misery and poverty. I make bold to say that the country cannot cope with what I foresee as an anti-people policy.
80% of businesses are still cash based, so it is only instructive for Mr President to wade into this rudderless monetary policy of the CBN.
Nigeria can not just move away from a cash based economy to a complete cashless regime overnight like the CBN wants to implement. Please note that the internet service is still epileptic and electric power is hardly available. How can we transact financial business in this state of hopelessness.
I appeal to Mr. President to intervene immediately before we fall headlong into calamitous abyss.
A word is enough for the wise
May God bless our Nation and let me wish you all a Merry Christmas and a bountiful New year in advance.
Thank You All
Chief Olabode Ibiyinka George, CON, GSSRS, FNSE, MBA, mni
The Atona Oodua of Yorubaland