The Presidential Candidate of the African Democratic Congress (ADC), Mr. Dumebi Kachikwu, has called on the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) to call of their strike so that students in tertiary institutions that have been at home in the last five months can go back to classes and continue their education.
Kachikwu made this call in his State of the Nation address at an emergency National Executive Committee (NEC) and Board of Trustees (BOT) meeting of the ADC in Abuja.
He urged Nigerians not to allow religion, ethnicity and language to divide them ahead of the 2023 general elections.
He also called on medical doctors in the country to stop leaving the country abroad and allowing the healthcare system in the country to continue to degenerate.
He said: “Do we let ourselves be killed? Do we wait for the next rain of bombs on our cities? Do we wait for the next calamity? Please look around you and understand that all is not well with us.
“Nigerians are hungry, Nigerians are suffering, and Nigerians are afraid. This is the hill before us. We must understand that we must first have a country before we can talk of elections. Who will save Nigeria? Who will save Nigeria from her government? Who will save Nigerians from Nigerians? You.
“Today we must reset. Today we must chart a new course. Today we must choose to fight for Nigeria. Today we must fight for ourselves. Let us look within us and find the courage to start again.
“We must take our country back from these evil men. We must resist all invaders. We must defend our lands, our cities, our country, block by block.
“This is our patriotic duty. No longer will we let religion, tribe and tongue divide us. Those who have destroyed our country are from all tribes, tongues and religions so we must not be deceived. They are in the minority. We are in the majority. We have suffered and endured for too long and we must endure for a little while longer.
“They will induce you. They will make promises. They will say they have changed. They will threaten you. They will beat you. They will incarcerate you. Whatever they do to you just endure because in a little while, in a short time, in the near future, our small voices, our small actions, our small protests, our small plans, our small groups will become a mighty rescue mission to save our nation.
“You must endure. We must endure. Architects and town planners form groups in your communities. Create the masterplan of the community you envision for your city. Engineers come together in your different cities and design the infrastructure we need. Design the power grids we need. Start with the design. Start with the plan.
“Lawyers, civil society groups, men and women of good will, contribute your quota to a new and better constitution that divides us rather than the corrupt one that now divides us.
“Lecturers go back to classes. You have sacrificed before. Sacrifice one more time for the sake of our children. This government can’t afford to pay your demands. They are broke.
“They can’t give what they don’t have.
Please go back to classes and save the future of our children. Our medical personnel are leaving the country in droves, and nobody cares. Who will staff our hospitals? Who will treat the sick?
“Are we going to leave our healthcare to quacks? No. We must take a stand for Nigeria today. It is the right thing to do.”
Kachikwu further bemoaned the degenerating security situation in the country and called on Nigerians to rise up and take their country back in 2023.
He added: “Several months ago, when I announced my intention to run for the highest office in the land, I was clear within me that it was a suicide mission.
“I knew what was at stake. I was not in any doubt about the capabilities of those in the better-known parties. I expected the hound dogs would come after me.
“I was prepared to be imprisoned. I was prepared to even be killed in the process, but I was not fazed because I knew that the real threat was not any of those.
“No. The real threat was the tens of millions of Nigerians who had only known abuse all their lives.
“People whose normal was the abnormal.
People who couldn’t trust anyone who promised change because President Buhari had shown us all what change was. People who were affected by the Stockholm Syndrome. They love their captors and prefer them to those who will try to save them.
“Some of my family, friends, colleagues and business associates are also affected by this syndrome and most would say to me they didn’t believe Nigeria could be salvaged.
“Most of them had given up on themselves and on Nigeria. They didn’t give me or my rescue mission any chance.
“I remember trying to galvanise young Nigerians to run for office because I believe you must walk your talk. Don’t just complain, do something. Be the change you desire.
“Most of them just laughed. Most people I encountered on this journey believed that the only reason for them to embark on this mission was money.
“They believed that I had to incentivise them to join the rescue mission. Most felt there was nothing like patriotism so they would rather go for me, myself and I.
“This was my reality every day. Extremely discouraging. How do you help those who don’t know they are in need of help? As I toured media organisations and heard them all asking me questions that suggested they believed only the two better known parties had a chance, I pondered at the fate of my country.
“If most people have given up, then who is going to be part of this rescue mission? Who will save Nigeria? The answer is simple, you. I refuse to give up on you. I refuse to give up on Nigeria. Our nation might have failed but we will rise again.
“As long as I have breath in me, I will keep on speaking, I will keep on nudging, I will keep on prodding you. One man at a time, we will build a formidable rescue army.
“We will rebuild our country, we will revive our economy, we will protect our citizens, we will secure our borders and we will defend our land.
“I don’t care about what this government has done, I care about what we need to do now. Time is not on our side, but God is on our side. Forget about 2023 and start today.
“Raise your voices, speak up and don’t be cowed. Our nation is blessed with the people who can make this the greatest nation in the world, and you are one of those people.
“Join this rescue mission and let’s start changing Nigeria one person at a time, one street at a time, one city at a time and one state at a time.
“We will rescue Nigeria. It is our goal, it is our destiny, it is our mission. Remember, the rescue starts with you.”
He insisted that the present political leaders have lost focus, saying it will take the collective efforts of the masses to vote them out of office ans vote in a new team ready to change the current abysmal narratives.
He said: “Under the Buhari administration, Nigeria has witnessed unprecedented calamity second only to the Nigeria civil war. From Taraba, Kogi, Niger, Abuja, Katsina, Zamfara, Borno, Sokoto, Kaduna, Ondo, Imo, Anambra, tales of woe.
“The streets of Nigeria flows with the blood of the innocent. Many a mother is weeping. Many a wife in sorrow. Many families left to mourn quietly and helplessly.
“In all this, no one has lost his or her job. No Minister, National Security Adviser or President has resigned. The shame of a nation. Who did this to us? We reduce the dead to nomenclature such as scores killed, dozens killed, hundreds killed.
“Don’t we know they have names?
They had dreams, ambitions, aspirations. They had loved ones. What needs to happen before we know Nigeria is a failed state? Who needs to die again?
“Which school needs to be attacked? Who needs to be kidnapped before we realise that this administration has nothing more to offer?
“Beyond the killings and kidnappings, we also have to contend with a failed economy.
Tens of millions unemployed and underemployed. ‘Yahoo’ and the trade in human parts are now accepted as industries in our nation.
“The naira is 612 to the dollar today. Our farms are untended as terrorists rape, maim and kill our farmers while our government looks the other way.
“Five months of fuel scarcity in some cities like Abuja, diesel at an all time high of N800 a litre and the middle class who are the engine room of every society just wiped out overnight.
“Our children are at home as government and ASUU fritter away their future. I can spend the next 24 hours talking about the failures of this
government, but they are all too familiar to us all.
“How did we get here? How did we let our nation descend to this abysmal level? How did we fail on multiple levels with our eyes wide open?
“Didn’t we have any constitutional safeguards? What is the role of the parliament when the executive fails? What is the role of the media when the government fails? What is the role of society when you have a failed government?
“What is your role? It is important that these questions are asked and answered. We can’t run away from this. We can’t run full throttle towards the 2023 general elections when we don’t know if we will have a nation in six months. This is the crux of the matter.
“How much more can this nation take? How much more can the Nigerian people take? When does the abuse stop? When do we say no more?
“The most painful part of our collective suffering is that we are too afraid to say anything. The media operate in fear of having their licences suspended or revoked.
“The opposition parties dread that invitation from the security agencies when they speak out of turn. The people remember the forgotten victims of the END SARS protest, so they stay silent in the face of despair, disillusion and abuse.
“Who will save the Nigerian people? Who will save us from ourselves? Because we must accept that we all have a role to play in this mess. Silence in the face of tyranny is not an option. An emasculated parliament is not an option.
“A weakened judiciary is not an option. Abandoning Nigeria for other countries is also not an option.
“We also know that this President will never resign and that he will never be impeached by this weak assembly. So, what are our options as a people?
“As I prepared to make this speech today, certain media organisations declined to cover me. They were worried that I would say something about the government that would affect them.
“There is no society in the world that can survive with a cowed and cowardly media. None. When the parliament fails, when the executive fails, when the judiciary fails, when society fails, the media must never fail.
“For if they were to fail then all hope is lost. The media must arise and shine at a time like this. Your country needs you. My dear Nigerians all hands must be on deck. This ship will run aground if we don’t act fast.
“The poor and hungry we ignore today will eat us tomorrow. The terrorists we pamper today will kill us tomorrow. The religion we introduce into politics today will divide us tomorrow.
“The politics and politicians we avoid today will govern us tomorrow. The hatred we incubate today will destroy us tomorrow. We can’t run away from these truths. Let us act now to save Nigeria. Let us speak with one voice.
“Don’t let them divide us. Don’t let them change parties and deceive you. Don’t let them change logos and deceive you. If they have been there, then they have done that. Get rid of them.”