Thursday, 22 January 2015

UPP Presidential candidate flags-off campaign, makes case for better Nigeria

2015-01-22 11:47:03
Chief (Dr) Chekwas Okorie Presidential Flagoff Campaign Speech  -The Revolutionary Agenda Of Chief Dr. Chekwas Okorie, Presidential Candidate Of The United Progressive Party, Presented At The Flag Off Of His Presidential Campaign Rally At Owerri On Wednesday, January 21, 2015
On December 10, 2014, the National Executive Committee (NEC) of our great Party at its pre-National Convention meeting at Aba, nominated me as the unopposed Presidential Candidate of United Progressive Party (UPP) for the 2015 Presidential Election. In accepting this historic assignment, I requested the NEC to approve Alhaji Barrister Bello Umar, an erudite lawyer and an upright gentleman from Zamfara State to be my running mate, who will if we are elected serve as the Vice President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. The request was promptly granted.
chekwas okorie
On 11th December, 2014, the National Convention of our great party enthusiastically ratified my nomination as the Presidential Candidate of the UPP whereupon I presented Barrister Bello Umar as my running mate.
As our Party symbol signifies, we entered the presidential race with the aura, boldness, fearlessness and the protective attributes of the Tiger. We have joined the race to offer to Nigerians the only real progressive alternative available to them.
The PDP Transgressions Sold as “Transformation”
The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has for the past four years assaulted the sensibilities of the Nigerian citizens by a largely deceitful transformation agenda coined by them to give false hope to the unsuspecting but trusting people of Nigeria. Their offer of transformation has instead resulted in misery, pain, insecurity, poor healthcare etc. This transformation therefore is a deliberate transgression against the people that must be remedied. Instead of asking the Nigerian people for forgiveness over their transgressions against the citizens, the PDP is offering Nigerians another four years of misery. We in the UPP say no. We say no to further transgressions against our trusting people. We say no to further misery. We say Vote for UPP as the only trusted remedy to PDP’s transgressions and plaque of misery. 
The APC and Same Transgressions Cloaked as “Change”
The All Progressives Congress (APC) promise change to Nigerians. But it is obvious that the change they promise is no more than the flipside of the same PDP minted coin. There is no remarkable difference between the PDP and the APC. Not in content! Not in character! Between the two parties they have nearly equal distribution of the re-cycled politicians who have kept the Nigerian economy comatose and the Nigerian people short-changed. The leaders of these two parties have together held Nigeria and its people at the jugular from the First Republic to the present time. PDP and APC are offering Nigerians the continuation of the pauperization of the people with the same impunity we have been subjected to over the years. We in the UPP say no to false change. We say no to a game of the more you look the less you see. 
The UPP and a Revolutionary People-centered Agenda
Fellow citizens, great members and supporters of the United Progressive Party, it is with this grounded knowledge of the false choice between the PDP and the APC, and with the conviction that a real revolutionary change must be brought to our nation, that I accepted with humility and determination to serve the Nigerian people as their President if elected on 14th February, 2015. If we must succeed we must act together to liberate ourselves from the political slave traders that have terrorized all of us for what looks like eternity. 
To effect this change and exorcise the oppressors from our body politic, we must be resolute and revolutionary. By revolution, I mean a revolution of the mind; a revolution in attitude and in work ethic; a revolution against the master-servant model of the PDP and the APC; a revolution against the rich getting richer and the poor being left to pay the bills for the extravagance of the looters of our treasury. 
After I was nominated as the UPP candidate, I met a young man named Uzoma in the parking lot of the hotel where our convention took place. Uzoma walked up to me with another young man and asked me why he should vote for me instead of the incumbent president. When I was done explaining to him the kind of revolution we intended to bring about, the young man turned to Ahamefule, his friend, and said “1 TRUST CHEKWAS.” 
To my fellow compatriots and to the Uzomas among our people, I present to you today the Revolutionary Agenda of the United Progressive Party (UPP), which will be implemented with the courage and determination of the Tiger if Barrister Bello Umar and I receive your mandate to preside over the affairs of the people as President and Vice President.
It is a settled issue that corruption is a vicious bane of our society. In order to plug the leakages in our system and deal a deadly blow to corruption, the following Revolutionary Measures shall be vigorously pursued by my Government if elected into Office:
a.       My Government shall pursue the initiative for the amendment of the relevant laws of the land to remove immunity from our laws on criminal matters for President/Vice President and Governor/Deputy Governor. This will make people in such executive positions to act more with circumspection than impunity. 
b.       Public declaration of assets of Public Office holders, whether elected or appointed, shall be made compulsory. And this public declaration of asset shall be updated and made public annually for as long as the tenure of such holders of public office subsist.
c.       Security Votes must be tied strictly to security matters and accounted for. This  will be applicable to all those occupying offices for which security votes are appropriated. 
d.       While we shall encourage hard-work in a free and unfettered Nigerian society and while citizens and residents in Nigeria are entitled to enjoy the fruits of their legitimate earnings, the UPP Government shall query any perceived ill-acquired wealth. The laws in this regard shall be strengthened. 
e.       Tax evasion by taxable Nigerians and institutions and fraudulent tax assessment by tax officials shall be regarded as a grievous act of sabotage against the Nigerian people and our economy and shall therefore attract very severe sanctions. 
f.       My Government shall support the autonomy of Local Governments and initiate appropriate bill to make our Local Governments truly autonomous and independent from the stranglehold of State Governments. This will be in consonance with the three-tiers of Governments that the present Nigerian Constitution envisages. 
g.       The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) and Independent Corrupt Practices and other related matters Commission (ICPC) shall be strengthened and made to run efficiently without fear or favour. The laws establishing these anti-corruption agencies shall be reviewed to make their service delivery prompt and effective. My Government shall explore the establishment of Special Courts for corruption related offences and for election malpractices that violate our electoral laws.. 
h.       All international anti-corruption agencies and friendly nations shall be engaged to keep track of all ill-acquired wealth belonging to the Nigerian people siphoned abroad through any means or guise. There will be no hiding place for corrupt people and their beneficiaries. 
i.        Justice delayed is justice denied. My government shall encourage the Judiciary to bring its justice delivery machinery in line with international best practices using modern technology to expedite justice delivery and avoid undue delay. The awaiting trial phenomenon has become embarrassing and has grave implications on human rights. My government will therefore encourage the Judiciary to determine the maximum acceptable time a person or persons under trial shall remain in custody. 
j.        My Government shall bring to an end plea bargain in the country’s jurisprudence. Plea bargain encourages corruption by allowing public officers who have amassed public wealth illegally to refund an insignificant part of their loot and enjoy the rest.
2.       We believe that Nigeria is endowed with enormous resources to make life meaningful and comfortable for Nigerians. However, Nigeria does not have enough resources to satisfy the greed of few gluttonous leaders. A UPP government will provide free, compulsory universal education at Primary and Secondary School levels. My government will embark on the improvement and modernization of Public Schools nationwide. Private investment in education shall be encouraged under appropriate legislation. The Teaching Profession shall be restored to its place of pride in Nigeria.
3 .      My Government shall give top priority to security matters. UPP Federal Government shall support the establishment of State Police and Community Policing, including other measures that will encourage every citizen to be security conscious and see himself as a partner in progress with security agencies. All security agencies shall be equipped adequately and their personnel trained periodically to make them more efficient and functional. The welfare and remuneration of the security personnel will be enhanced to encourage the officers, men and women to give their best in the service of their fatherland. We also intend to rebuild and equip the Nigerian military to be a peoples military, second to no military force on the African continent.
4.       We have taken a critical look at the security situation in the country, especially the frequent rise and fall of insurgency and militant activities, as well as the frequent cry of marginalization of sections of the country owing to the lopsided political structure of Nigeria. We are of the strong view that tension will be greatly reduced if the Constitution of Nigeria has a provision for an Exit Clause that enables any section of the country wishing to opt out of the Federation to do so peacefully in accordance with the law. The nation of Ethiopia has an Exit Clause in its Constitution, which has effectively ended the ethnic wars that plagued the country for many years. There is mutual respect and accommodation for all ethnic nationalities in Ethiopia as a result of which none has opted to invoke the provision of the Exit Clause. Subsequent Governments in Ethiopia have treated all ethnic nationalities as equal stakeholders, with an awareness that each of the extant ethnic nationalities has the option of exit should they be pressed to do so.
It is also instructive that last year (2014) the people of Scotland voted in a referendum on whether to remain or to exit from the United Kingdom. At the height of the agitation by the Scottish people, the Government of Great Britain made concessions to Scotland and in the face of better accommodation within the United Kingdom, the people of Scotland voted to remain in the Union. This also brought the frequent agitation for a separate Scotland to an end.
The periodic referendum by the Quebec people to separate from Canada has always resulted in majority of the French speaking people opting to remain in Canada. The existence of exit clause in the Constitution of Canada has not resulted in the disintegration of the country instead the agitation for separation has followed due process and often failed to attract majority vote.
I believe that an exit clause in the Nigerian Constitution shall guarantee greater stability in Nigeria and mutual respect of the ethnic nationalities that make up Nigeria.
5.       Agriculture shall receive greater impetus in order to make food crops available and affordable. Mechanization of agriculture shall be encouraged in order to make the sector more productive and contribute more in the provision of jobs and growth of the national economy. Nigeria will be made to become one of the industrial powers of the world and this industrial revolution is long overdue. The entire nation, including public, private and individual efforts will be mobilized in this necessary task. Investors will be encouraged to invest in establishing industries that will be beneficial to the society. There will be a nationwide establishment of industrial centres in every city, while incentives shall be offered for the repatriation of profits by foreign investors and re-investment of capital.
6.       In the first four years of my Presidency, we would turn the Nigerian Economy round to generate greater National Revenue from Agriculture, Industry, Technology and Commerce than Oil and Gas.
7 .      We shall tackle the energy sector with uncomon zeal. The nation’s developmental and welfare calculations will suffer severe set back if our energy sector remains the way it is today. Privatization and Private investment in electricity power supply will be encouraged by my Government, but only privatization arrangement which has failed to deliver on its mandate will be reviewed and where necessary determined, in public interest.
8.       Nigeria has continued to be a dumping ground for fake, adulterated and substandard products. In this regard, my Government shall strengthen and where necessary seek for amendment of the law establishing the Standard Organization of Nigeria (SON), with a view to making Nigeria a destination for quality products.
9.       Our target is to ensure that all bonafide and eligible Nigerians living in the diaspora shall exercise their inalienable right to vote, in subsequent Presidential Elections beginning from 2019. 
10.     My Government shall pursue a robust and proactive foreign policy initiative with Nigeria as its centre piece and with the world as a global village put into consideration.
11.     We shall aim at deploying all factors of production both human and material resources to achieve a quantum leap in job creation and steady growth of the Economic and Social sectors of our National life.
12.     Women and Youth empowerment shall receive special attention by my Government. The welfare package of my Government for old and vulnerable persons in the society shall be the best in the annals of Nigerian history.
13.     In pursuit of science and its benefits, my government will work to send the first man or woman to space. This we will do either by ourselves or in collaboration with another nation or other nations. We will deploy the resources needed to accomplish this feat.
Fellow citizens, great members and supporters of United Progressive Party, everything I have stated in this abridged Manifesto shall be accomplished and exceeded if Nigerians vote for UPP at all the elections on the 14th and 28th of February 2015. The 2015 general election is all about progressive forces led by the United Progressive Party and my humble self as Presidential Flag-bearer versus the reactionary forces represented by the duo of APC and PDP. It is a democratic encounter for political liberation and emancipation of the longsuffering people of Nigeria. A vote for UPP is a vote for revolutionary change. 
Chief (Dr.) Chekwas Okorie
Oje-Ozi Ndigbo
Presidential Candidate, 2015
United Progressive Party - UPP



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