The born-again Social Democratic Party (SDP) unveiled its programmes yesterday in Abuja, putting the blame for the countryâ€™s woes squarely on the shoulders of public officers.
SDP National Chairman, Chief Olu Falae, who publicly announced the partyâ€™s manifesto, condemned the recent spate of cross-carpeting that had seen prominent politicians defecting across party lines into new parties.
Speaking at the partyâ€™s first National Media conference, which held at its National Secretariat, Falae said the revived organisation had zero tolerance for corruption, and warned politicians with such tendencies to steer clear of the group.
Present at the presentation ceremony were: Senator Ebenezer Ikeyina; Chief Supo Shonibare (party stakeholder Chairman of Afenifere in Lagos State); Alhaji Lawal Kasim Funtua (National Financial Secretary); and Hajiya Maryam Maggie Batubo (National Womenâ€™s Leader).
Others were: Dr. Sadiq Umar Abubakar (National Secretary); Chief Eze Clarkson Nnamdi (Treasurer); Chief Kayode Duyile (Chairman Ondo State SDP); Dr. Abdul Ahmed Isiaq (Publicity Secretary) and several others from across the country.
Extolling the leadership qualities that enamoured him to the Falae-led party, Senator Ikeyina said he had been part of the partyâ€™s first coming in 1992 and a keynote personality in the fight for June 12, the 1993 presidential polls won by the then partyâ€™s flagbearer, Chief M.K.O. Abiola.
â€œI am here because I know Falae very well. What has happened elsewhere is that people have not been working. They want to chop, chop and chop. But we are here because we want to work,â€ Senator Ikeyina said.
â€œWhat are you leaving for your children â€“a government like this?â€
He lamented the decay in virtually all sectors of the Nigerian society, including education, a fact that had forced many Nigerians to send their children abroad for schooling.
Condemning the violent nature of the insurgent group, Boko Haram, Falae said: â€œThe barbarity which Boko Haram is perpetrating in the north-eastern zone of Nigeria is an evil which this nation must not tolerate any further. The recent mass murder of innocent school children in several schools is the last straw that broke the camelâ€™s back. Government must mobilize all resources at its command to wipe out this evil.
â€œIf, as it is being suggested in the media, these murders have bases in neighbouring countries to which they return after doing violence in Nigeria, government must avail itself of the right of hot pursuit, so that they can chase these criminals to their foreign outposts and destroy them. Our children are our future, we must not allow Boko Haram to wipe out that future.â€
According to Falae, SDP returned to the political scene in order to bring sanity to the way politics is practised.
In his own words: â€œTo those who have become disenchanted with politics and politicians, especially those who have retired prematurely because they could no longer tolerate the immorality and indecency going on in the polity, I say to you, you now have a chance to return to politics of principle and service where no godfathers will impose their friends, business partners or family members on the party and where internal democracy and respect for the individual prevails.
â€œThe SDP on account of its universally acknowledged ideology of Social democracy and of its track record in Nigeria when it was the ruling party between 1990 and 1992 possesses all the credentials to lead the nation out of the prevailing fears, poverty and corruption. Our leadership is composed of tried and tested social democrats who in their various careers, either as professionals, elected public officers or career officials have distinguished themselves and demonstrated in the public domain integrity, decency, consistency patriotism and unquestioned commitment to the nation and people of Nigeria.â€
The party urged Nigerian youths to seize the future in their hands, by forming cells of the party.
â€œTo the youths, we say you are no longer powerless. Get together and form SDP clubs everywhere; in your polytechnics, colleges of education, universities, factories, markets, farms and villages. Take your future into your own hands and register yourselves and your SDP clubs with our interactive website, www.sdp.org.ng.â€
Pinning the partyâ€™s ideology on social democracy, the Chairman said, SDP made its first appearance in Nigeria in 1989 and quickly became the dominant party of that time.
He recalled that the party had made commanding comfortable majorities in the chambers of the National Assembly and Houses of Assembly of the 30 states then in existence.
â€œSocial Democracy, the political philosophy of our party is a universal philosophy which has been embraced by people oriented political parties across the world for more than a centuryâ€.