We Have Come To The Field Of Fateful Choice, By Bola Ahmed Tinubu
I am a Nigerian who loves his country and am hopeful about what it can become. I have seen and conducted myself as a patriot long before I thought of myself as a politician. I shall always walk this line and no other.
After all the political calculations are made and the dust of competition has settled, it must be this nation and its people who stand first and foremost. The question becomes whether we stand strong, able to shape ourselves into our best future or will we stand frail and trembling, burdened by the abject failure to surmount the multiple problems confronting us.
It is against this backdrop that I assess any action I take. Here I come to my name being placed in consideration as the Vice Presidential candidate for our party, the APC. I have laboured hard to move this party from being merely an idea in the minds of a few into being a political organization that might win this election and govern the nation in way that gives the people the hope and opportunity they seek. Nothing is more important to me than to realize this dream not for myself but for the people of this land I so love.
I helped to build this party, giving no thought to seeking an elected office because of it. My contribution to the party was never based on the expectation of a later political handout. Nigeria is in trouble and we are well past the moment for such narrow, selfish games.
There came a time during the course of the events when our Presidential candidate, General Muhammadu Buhari offered the Vice Presidential slot to me. Being a normal human being, I was deeply moved and honored that he would consider me for the position. Being a patriot, I had to weigh my potential candidacy in all of its dimensions.
I have concluded that the interest of the party, our campaign and of the nation are better served if I retain my position as the National leader of the APC, allowing me to be a bridge builder across all divides. Although, I declined the position, I want to thank General Buhari for extending the honor to me. Despite all the noise and opposition around my possible selection, he stood firm and steadfast. He showed the traits of a leader in holding to a decision he believed was right despite the errant plots against it.
When my name was raised, the political hatchet men tried to chop it down with rumor and lies. Over the years, I have developed a thick skin. The personal attacks did not bother me. I am used to them. While I have a thick skin, I don’t have a thick mind. There has been one form of attack that has troubled me. That is the attack based on religion. The PDP and others have stoked fear of a Muslim- Muslim ticket.
I have removed myself from consideration so what I now say cannot be seen as self-serving. I plead with the people of this nation to never allow the power lust of cynical politicians to set brother against brother, neighbor against neighbor. If you look at those politicians who raise this issue the most, they are the least devout and faithful to any religion other their self-interests.
Nigeria has too many secular problems – insecurity, economic collapse, poverty , corruption and misgovernance – to allow inept people to use religion to keep us from solving these challenges for the benefit of all.
Those who exploit religion should be wary. For there really is a God and he does not like it when you play with his people or use His name to do the opposite of what He intends.
I ask the people to remove religion from the electoral equation now that the tickets of both parties are mixed. I ask you to select the ticket best able to end the downward slide that Nigeria has endured since this government took over. I ask you to remember that too many Christians and Muslims are poor. Most of all, I ask you to remember that the true religion of the PDP is poverty, APC come to bring prosperity to the people. Please vote for that.
The Nigeria I see is a nation that shall overcome. The Nigeria I see is a nation ready to sweep aside the broken ways of our recent past and the government and politicians who impose distress upon us. The Nigeria I see and seek is one where each person, every man, woman and child may live free of terrorism, free of the despair of poverty and free of the fear that the government meant to serve and protect them has turned its back to them in cold and utter indifference.
I see and seek a Nigeria where progressive democratic governance creates the political and economic space needed for each of us to contribute to rescuing and retooling this nation. And, in the process of this benign endeavor, may each and every one of us share in the sound promise and good prosperity that shall describe the architecture of our national revival.
However, not everyone that shouts the name of Nigeria believes in this vision. There are many who would have you laid low and our future tossed asunder that they may persist in reaping the unjust reward of their selfish ways. There are wolves in sheep clothing and even jackals in wolf’s clothing. I have seen them but not as residents in some strange zoo. They populate the halls of this diminished government and the party from which this government was born.
We have come to the field of fateful choice. We have been brought to test the scales of weighty decision. Shall we lift this nation upward so that from its higher vantage point we may clearly see the road to our better destiny? Or shall we continue to march the march of fools into the dark of darkness. The current path has but one end. It shall take us into the den of national collapse. We have gone far enough down this wicked avenue to be aware of what its continuance portends.
We must awaken of our own accord, my dear people, before the bell of doom rings upon us. If we wait until that moment, we would have waited too long. Our future, our fate, our destiny would have been cast into the snare of utter misfortune. This is not the song of greatness. It is the poetics of ruin.
For me, political ambition will never triumph over patriotic conviction. This delicate moment affords no space for emotion to intrude to blind us from what is best. The APC is the best and only vehicle to enact the progressive and broad change this nation cries for. I eagerly lend myself to this fine cause without me having to be on the ticket.
This is a time for cohesion and an overriding sense of mission. We must defeat the foe before us and resist all temptations intended to entice us to fight among ourselves.
I sincerely commit myself to the rescue agenda of General Buhari and Professor Osinbajo.
I declare to you, I will work and dedicate myself so that our ticket succeeds and wins the 2015 election — not for his good, not for my good, not even for the party’s good but for the good of the nation we inhabit.
Some may call what I have done a sacrifice. I call it otherwise. It is my patriotic contribution and duty. I do so with a happy and uplifted heart and clear conscience because I have committed myself to seeking the best for this nation before seeking what is good for myself. This is the creed of statesmanship I chose to follow. May this be the creed of our party as General Buhari leads us to historic victory in the 2015 elections.
May the light of a bright future always shine on you and on our beloved nation, the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
Asiwaju Bola Tinubu is a national leader of the All Progressive Congress, APC