The senator representing Ondo North Senatorial District, Professor Robert Ajayi Boroffice, on Saturday formally joined the Presidential under the platform of the All Progressives Congress (APC).
Full Speech below:
Time to Unite for Nigeria’s Progress
My dear fellow Nigerians, it is with a great sense of conviction and a high sense of responsibility that I address you in this epochal period of our beloved Nation’s history.
It is quite unsettling to me, to you, and indeed, to many Nigerians that 61years after independence, Nigeria is still grappling with the basic problems that dogged the pre-independence era despite enormous human and natural resources.
Myself and many Nigerians who were witnesses to Nigeria’s independence had high hopes and strong convictions that the Nigeria of our dreams would be actualised with the total transfer of leadership from colonial masters to indigenous leaders of our Nation.
As a young boy, I can still recall when I usually recite the beautiful lyrics of our National Anthem with utmost enthusiasm in 1960 and thereafter. I loved it and I lived it. Particularly, the line that says, “Though tribes and tongue may differ, In brotherhood, we stand”.
Furthermore, the lyrics: “O God of all creation, Grant this our one request, Help us to build a nation, Where no man is oppressed, And so with peace and plenty, Nigeria shall be blessed.”, have remained a great inspiration.
However, it is neither hazy nor nebulous that as a Nation, we have not lived together and fostered inter-ethnic cooperation in line with the quoted line of the National Anthem that was adopted on October 1, 1960. Nigeria’s journey was further derailed by unceasing Military interruption of democracy prior to the advent of the Fourth Republic in 1999. The dual realities coupled with mind-boggling corruption are chiefly responsible for the state of development in Nigeria.
I pay great tributes to the heroes and heroines (both departed and living) of our Nationhood. I likewise acknowledge the contributions of Nigeria’s past leaders to our Nationhood. Particularly, those who have had to navigate a United Nigeria through turbulences like civil war, economic recession, ethnoreligious conflicts, and terrorism.
President Muhammadu Buhari has earned special spot in the annals of Nigeria for leading our Country into steady economic growth and huge construction site despite pullback factors and contemporary challenges (like global recession and COVID-19 pandemic).
Some of the landmark achievements of the President Muhammadu Buhari led administration are the procurement of massive equipment for the Military, electoral reforms, the Petroleum Industry Act (PIA), construction and completion of the Abuja-Kaduna rail line, construction of Lagos – Ibadan rail line, construction of 1.6km long Second Niger bridge from Asaba to Onitsha, robust National Social Investment Program and others too numerous to mention.
Yes, tremendous progress has been made to close the gap of infrastructural deficit in the Nation. Rather than treating the symptoms of problems as witnessed in the past, President Muhammadu Buhari has been treating the root causes. Yes, President Muhammadu Buhari has laid a very strong foundation for accelerated growth and rapid development.
However, there are still many challenges confronting our dear Nation. We are swimming against the tide of corruption, greed, indiscipline, religious bigotry, and ethnic intolerance. Principally, insecurity issues and economic challenges. My perspective is that rather than looking at the issues in silos, a holistic approach is the best.
These challenges are surmountable. And the solution is here. The National Development Plan (2021 – 2025) is a well-thought-out plan on how to address these challenges. I have the political will to mobilize human, financial, and natural resources to vigorously implement this plan.
We shall mainstream science and technology in our national policy and development strategy to drive industrialization. The difference between developed and developing economies is the level of investment and application of science and technology as a tool for National development.
My agenda for the progress of Nigeria is codified in four pillars Security, Economic Development, Education and Human Resources Development, and Anti-Corruption Crusade. The 4-pillars of the progressive agenda have 9-Point policy priorities as captured in the National Development Plan.
- I) Improve security for all.
- II) Build a thriving and sustainable economy.
III) Enlarge agriculture output for food security.
- IV) Attain energy sufficiency in power and petroleum products.
- V) Expand transport and other infrastructure development.
- VI) Expand business growth, Entrepreneurship, and industrialisation.
VII) Improve access to quality education, affordable healthcare and productivity.
VIII) Enhance social inclusion and reduce poverty.
- IX) Build systems to fight corruption, improve governance and create national cohesion.
In line with Section 14 (2b) of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria (As Amended), that: “The security and welfare of the people shall be the primary purpose of government”, I commit to deliver improved security for all Nigerians. I will provide adequate funding for security agencies. The security agencies will be adequately equipped. I will ensure improved synergy and cooperation amongst security agencies. I will encourage and support the deployment of high technology for security operations.
To combat the scourge of insurgency, I will sponsor specialised training for counter-insurgency units in security agencies in order to hunt and destroy terrorists in the country. The scourge of kidnapping will be tackled by the special unit by tracking, hunting and destroying kidnapping rings.
I will build on the foundational work that President Muhammed Buhari has done with regard to the National Identification Number (NIN) registration. This is quite vital.
I will sustain Nigeria’s investment in the Multinational Joint Task Force (MNJTF) and closely work with neighboring countries like Benin, Cameroon, Chad and Niger to combat terrorism and protect the territorial integrity of Nigeria. I will seek international help wherever it can be obtained. I will consult with international military planners who have the expertise in combatting insurgencies that we do not have.
My administration will establish the Ministry of Homeland Security and strategically organise it to effectively manage Immigration and Border Protection Services, Civil Defence, and Amnesty and Rehabilitation Programmes.
To ensure a thriving and sustainable economy, energy sufficiency in power is a pressing need. The problems facing the power sector are numerous but not insurmountable. I have the political will to coordinate good policies that will make the industry work.
The issues that plague the power industry include financing, gas supply, generation capacity, transmission capacity and metering, and distribution capacity. These issues need to be tackled holistically.
The near future of Nigeria’s power generation capacity will depend on our Country’s abundant supply of natural gas. Nigeria has 187 trillion cubic feet of gas reserves which is the 9th largest in the world and about 3% of the world’s total gas reserves.
At our current consumption levels, it will take us 306 years to exhaust. We need to harness this resource to begin to fix Nigeria’s power deficit.
I will build on the achievements of the Petroleum Industry Act to expand investment in the natural gas industry to double our gas processing capacity and significantly expand our gas pipeline transportation capacity.
I will focus on reducing the investment risk associated with investing in the power industry in Nigeria by making sure amongst other things, that the tariff is cost-reflective and significantly reduce exchange rate risk which is negatively affecting the generation industry as of today.
I will also focus on mitigating the rising expense of electricity tariffs for the poor and vulnerable in Nigeria by directing Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC) to implement a tiered pricing system in which the lowest tier, those who consume very little electricity, will pay a subsidized rate for electricity. The next tier will pay the full price of electricity but will only be allowed a certain amount of electricity at this rate. The next tier after that will pay a surcharge on any excess electricity they used over the prescribed amount. This extra surcharge will then be used to subsidize the consumers in the lowest tier. This initiative will ensure that we conserve our consumption of electricity and that the Federal government does not incur additional costs with regard to subsidies.
I will allow distribution companies to invest in and build transmission lines and substations that traverse their zones. I will also implement policies that promote the manufacturing of electricity meters in the country. My administration will show preference for all meters that are manufactured inside Nigeria and production companies that hire Nigerian workers.
If we get power right, Gross Domestic Product (GDP) will be right, Exchange Rate will be right, employment rate will be right and inflation level will be right.
Furthermore, I will focus on job creation in Nigeria. I will do this by encouraging the manufacture of Nigerian goods by directing the federal government to prioritize made in Nigeria goods over imported goods.
Specifically, I will direct the Nigerian government and all its parastatals to buy only cars made in Nigeria. I will influence state governments to buy only made in Nigeria cars. I will direct the Central Bank of Nigeria to create intervention loans and other incentives for car manufacturing companies in Nigeria. This is to ensure mass production of affordable cars in Nigeria.
I will replicate this strategy across all sectors and industries such as the housing industry. Such goods are used in the construction of houses like doors, windows, light fixtures, roofing materials, tiles, fans, and light bulbs.
The same strategy will be repeated for the electricity industry where the manufacture of transformers, cables, meters, etc. in Nigeria will be encouraged by making special loans and a broad range of incentives available to companies that buy made in Nigeria goods. This initiative will accelerate the creation of many industries and manufacturing plants that will in turn create jobs.
We will hugely invest in Social Investment Programmes, and get the programmes well codified and refocused for maximum impact.
I will pursue public sector reforms and create enabling environment for the private sector to drive job creation.
EDUCATION AND HUMAN RESOURCES DEVELOPMENT
I will ensure improved funding for education sector and research purposes. My administration will ensure improved access to education. I will ensure the figure of out of school children is drastically reduced within record time.
I will encourage robust negotiation and conflict resolution mechanisms between government and interest groups in the education sector.
Additionally, tertiary education must be refocused to directly address the challenges of our dear Country.
The government alone cannot win the anti-corruption war, we need the support of all Nigerians, the society, Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) and non-state actors. Nigerians will be enlightened to join and collaborate with the anti-corruption crusade of my administration. I will support the deployment of anti-corruption measures and cutting-edge technology to block leakages in public service.
To ensure speedy justice delivery, I will pursue the creation of special courts. I will demonstrate full support for anti-corruption agencies to carry out their mandates without fear or favour.
The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) will be re-energised to perform its mandates and the Independent Corrupt Practices Commission (ICPC) will be reorganized to mainly focus on the public sector in our fight against corruption
YOUTH AND WOMEN INCLUSION
I strongly believe in women’s inclusion in the administration of our dear Country. I think the National Gender Policy (NGP) of 35 percent affirmative action is a great idea. I will take deliberate steps to ensure women are appointed to play active roles in governance processes.
Moreover, I will fight to improve a lot of women in Nigeria by addressing the issue of misogyny in our society. I will put in place policies and promote laws that give women a fair chance in our courts and open up opportunities in our economy for the aspirations and desires of women.
For the youth population whose demography is over 60% of our Nation’s population, I will tap into your passion, patriotism, innovative capacities, and energy to deliver development and progress. We will harvest the zeal and energy of our youths to unlock the wealth of our nation. The youths have the innovative skills to navigate the global economy and integrate Nigeria into the mainstream of global digital economy.
Furthermore, the youth population enjoys my
firm commitment to appoint youths in the proportion of over 50% of the federal cabinet. No portfolio will be too big or too sensitive for young, qualified and competent Nigerians to handle.
I am a firm believer in the supremacy of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, the Rule of Law, and Federalism. I have an excellent mix of both Legislative and Executive experience plus sterling public service records.
I am presently the Deputy Majority Leader of the Nigerian Senate and the Chairman of SouthWest Caucus in the Nigerian Senate. I am a member of Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) Parliament.
I was the Chairman of the Senate Committee on Science and Technology for 8years. Over the last 11 years, I have diligently served as a member of many standing committees of the Senate. My experience with the Committees has enriched my understanding of the problems of many sectors and afforded me the platform to provide solutions through legislative interventions.
The committees are:
Senate Committee on Constitutional Review,
Senate Committee on Science and Technology,
Senate Committee on Land Transport,
Senate Committee on Special Duties,
Senate Committee on Navy,
Senate Committee on Education (Basic & Secondary),
Senate Committee on Trade & Investment,
Senate Committee on Primary Healthcare & Communicable Diseases,
Senate Committee on Local Content,
Senate Committee on Works,
Senate Committee on Niger Delta Affairs,
Senate Committee on Navy,
Senate Committee on Labour & Productivity,
and Senate Committee on Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)
In the 1990s, as Coordinator Director of Science, National Agency for Science and Engineering and Infrastructure (NASENI), I midwife the establishment of National space Research and Development Agency (NASRDA), National Biotechnology Development Agency (NABDA) and National Information
Technology Development Agency (NITDA).
As pioneer Director-General and Chief Executive of NASRDA in 1999, NASRDA launched 2 satellites; a low orbit earth observations microsatellite (NigeriaSat-1) in 2003 and a communication satellite
(NigcomSat-1) in 2007. I also initiated and delivered the groundwork for the launch of NigeriaSat-2 and NigeriaSat-X, which were launched in August 2011 from Russia.
My modest contributions to the development of our dear Country earned me the National honour of Officer of the order of Niger, OON.
I hereby declare my intention to contest for the office of President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria under the platform of the All Progressives Congress (APC). Nigeria needs a visionary leader, a leader with sterling records, a leader without baggage, a leader all Nigerians, irrespective of tribes, religion, and gender, will be proud of, and a leader with the passion and energy to confront head-on the challenges of the country.
Look no further or farther, I possess the qualities and I represent who Nigeria needs at this point of our Nation’s history. I appeal to our party leaders, governors, my colleagues in the National Assembly, State Assembly members, all elected and appointed members of our party, and indeed, all registered members of the All Progressives Congress (APC) to support my aspiration and elect me as the presidential flagbearer of our party for the 2023 presidential election.
I would like to conclude my speech by quoting a renowned physicist in illustrating the lever principle” da mihi locum standi et terra movebo” meaning give me a place to stand and I will move the world. I am saying give me a place in the presidency and I will move Nigeria to a greater height.
Thank You and God bless you all.
Long live the All Progressives Congress
Long live the Federal Republic of Nigeria.