I welcome you all to this historic event, which is landmark in the political landscape of our country, Nigeria.
My inviting you today, distinguished leaders of our party, is to inform you formally that I will be seeking the ticket of our great party, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), to contest the 2019 presidential election. This is without prejudice to our party’s position.
However, I am a supporter of competence and capacity, especially now that this country needs young and able leaders that can take our country out of this present state of hopelessness.
Most importantly, despite that the party has zoned the presidency to the North, it may interest you that no one has come out in this manner to show interest and our party should not wait or beg anyone to fly its flag. Do we now say that if no one comes out from the North, the party won’t have a candidate?
Going down memory lane, in 1999 and 2003, despite that our party zoned the presidency to the South, the likes of Alhaji Abubakar Rimi of blessed memory and Chief Banabas Gemade contested the ticket.
Also in 2007, some party members from the South did not only declare their intention to contest, they also showed interest and obtained nomination Forms. Those from the South were; Chief Victor Attah, Dr. Peter Odili, Dr. Sam Egwu, Dr. Donald Duke, Dr. Chimaroke Nnamani, Owelle Rochas Okorocha among others.
This, in itself, assisted in deepening democracy.
Our party must not lose sight that Nigerians at this period are desirous of a President with demonstrated capacity to change their fortunes. Furthermore, we must be mindful of the fact that our party needs a candidate like me, with a penchant for defeating incumbents.
Twice, I defeated incumbents to become the Governor of Ekiti State and I am confident that with your support as my party leaders and supporters, I will defeat the incumbent President, Muhammadu Buhari, in a free and fair election.
Let me state that in Ekiti, God has used me twice for our party to regain power from the opposition and I believe same feat will be repeated at the national level.
I do not stand before Nigerians today to present myself as one with the answers to all our national questions. Rather, I present myself as one with the required knowledge, understanding, competence and, above all, the political will to coordinate the human and material resources that we have in abundance to achieve national greatness.
Having served successfully as governor twice in a state with very meagre resources, I have by this garnered enough experience over time to prepare me well enough for the task of leading our country.
By the grace of God, I am the longest-serving governor in Nigeria today, having served under three Presidents – Obasanjo, Jonathan, and now Buhari.
Therefore, I can say expressly that I am well equipped in terms of knowledge, experience as well as physical and mental capacities to hit the ground running as soon as I assume office as President of Nigeria in 2019.
Today, our country is faced with myriad of problems. Our economy that was the fastest-growing in Africa when our party was in power has gone comatose, with the present managers who are completely clueless.
Scarcity of food last experienced when President Buhari was Military Head of State between 1983 and 1985 has returned to the country, with Nigerians going to bed daily on empty stomach.
Regrettably, a bag of rice that was N7, 000 when PDP was in government is now N17, 000!
Allocation from the Federation Account to the three tiers of government has declined to such a level that most States can no longer carry out the basic obligation of paying workers’ salary.
Under the present government, our economy recorded its second worst investment inflow in 10 years. Exchange Rate that was N197/dollar in 2015 is now over N360/dollar.
In the area of security, which they leveraged on to come to power, despite claims by the government that Boko Haram was technically defeated; Nigerians are being killed by the insurgents while villages are being attacked in the North-East. Also, herdsmen are killing Nigerians and destroying farmlands with reckless abandon while kidnapping is now on the rise.
Most worrisome is the fact that our country is now more divided than ever before, with the unity of the country being threatened due to nepotism, religious bigotry and favouritism of the present government.
Unemployment has risen to an alarming level. Instead of creating three million jobs per year as promised, millions of jobs are being lost daily, with many companies folding up. This government has successfully wiped off the middle-class.
Like they lied to win election, the APC government of President Buhari has been deceitful for over two years and an end must come to this deceptive government by 2019.
My party leaders, standing before you is Peter (The Rock) Ayodele Fayose, the man already destined by God to take Nigeria out of the present political and economic stagnations.
You are all witnesses to my commitment to this party in this difficult period, where I have demonstrated uncommon courage that makes me stand out as capable of leading our country at this time.
Our economy will be revived and returned to the path of progress that it was before we had the misfortune of having these clueless people in power. We will ensure diversification of the economy through agriculture, adequate supply of power and massive industrialization, thereby creating employment for our youths. We can do it, and we will do it.
With me as your President, you can be rest assured of a government that will be responsive to your needs. You are guaranteed a federal government that will relate with all Nigerians not on the basis of ethnicity, religion, political affiliations and the percentage of votes but on equity and justice as citizens of one nation, one people, and one destiny.
In Ekiti State where I am presently the governor, our success story in education is there for all to see. Ekiti State was number 29th in 2014 NECO examinations but within two years, we were able to move the State to number one in 2016 and again in 2017.
Also in the West African Senior School Certificate Examination (WASSCE), Ekiti State’s performance, which was 25 percent in 2014, moved to 74.86 percent in 2017.
We were able to revive this sector because we placed our teachers in the driver-seat of our policies. We will do the same at the national level because we are mindful of the fact that education is the bedrock of the development of any nation.
As a governor, I encouraged my children to attend schools here in Nigeria and I have never travelled abroad for Medicare. This, I hope to sustain as president of Nigeria by making sure that our schools and health facilities are of international standard.
Our justice system will be such that judges will not be molested and the common people of this country will see our courts as truly their last hope while our security system will make all Nigerians feel safe living in their own country.
Our fight against corruption will not be selective but total.
My party leaders, I present myself to you as the needed vehicle for our party to move back to the presidency. I am doing so because I am confident that with God and all of you behind me, we can do it, and we will do it.
Thanks and God bless.