REINFORCING THE BELIEF
[Being text of the address delivered by Prince Gboyega Nasir Isiaka (GNI) at a Press Conference heralding the birth of a new dawn; holding at the Oke-Ona hall of Olusegun Obasanjo Presidential Library on Friday 1st June, 2018]
1. Distinguished guests, eminent political figures, leaders of thought, political associates, my immediate family members, members of the fourth estate of the realm, well-wishers, ladies and gentlemen. I welcome you all to this press conference convened to intimate the good people of Ogun state and Nigerians in general, about what for me, constitute another watershed in my political career which has spanned the last fourteen years.
2. Today takes on added significance for two reasons. First, it is a sober day because we are disembarking a course that has witnessed many twists and turns; some pleasant, some not too pleasant. Secondly, today represents a paradigm shift as we are charting a new path that is not only full of shinning potentials but one that affords us the unhindered expression of our values and beliefs; for there is no greater misfortune that can befall any man than the inability to give vent to his innate desires.
3. I titled this brief address ‘Reinforcing the Belief’ because my political trajectory thus far has been founded on my personal belief in many ideals on how a decent society should evolve relative to the growth of its people. I and my team have in the course of this journey taken many decisions that have birthed different results; but in all, I thank God for where we are today. Two matters have largely defined my political career thus far; the first being that I have contested to be governor of Ogun state on two occasions and that naturally raised a lot of issues; some within and some outside my control. The second is that within this period also, I have had reasons to traverse different political platforms and alongside this comes political gladiators I worked with and the experiences from it.
4. It is important that I situate political journey within context. I came into public office in 2004 when the opportunity beckoned to serve as the Group Managing Director of Gateway Holdings Limited, the state’s investment management company. That was a PDP administration which did its best to awaken the social and economic situation of the hitherto sleepy state.
5. You all recall I aspired and emerged the gubernatorial candidate of the party in 2011 but intraparty politics thwarted that mandate. Our group, upon wide consultation, moved into the PPN, where I contested the 2011 election as its gubernatorial candidate. After the 2011 election, we took the next few months to reflect on what was and what could have been. We concluded that the PPN was a necessary vehicle that served a purpose at a time and may not necessarily carry us into the future. The outcome of that reflection and further consultations culminated in our group joining the Labour Party which we built into a virile platform until fate decided otherwise.
6. Towards the end of 2014, the evolving national conversation dictated that political parties needed collaborations and realignments of political interests; the outcome of which eventuated our move back to the PDP where I, later on, emerged its governorship candidate and contested the main elections. While these matters are well documented and now confined in the historical portmanteau of posterity, I can in all of these say that the decision to make those platform changes were circumstantial and indeed got one to reflect on the challenges of political parties, their processes and the need for far-reaching reforms that bother on internal democracy and respect for extant rules of engagement. From the totality of my experience, some of the lessons further learnt are that:
• Notwithstanding personal convictions, the need to show good faith to diverse political interests and serve group objectives are always prevalent; and that contradiction oftentimes does not help the polity.
• Politicians and political parties must imbibe the desire to always reinforce the truth and promote equity, fairness and justice as abiding parts of our democratic culture.
• We also must, as of necessity promote values and cultivate the moral conviction needed to follow the noble path and reject what contradicts personal principles and beliefs.
• The need to ensure strong electoral platform capable of delivering our goals is beyond mere fight for structure control; therefore, common goals that is crafted in an ideology may be the way out of that challenge.
• Above all, the idea of party supremacy may still be far-fetched in our clime even though it is the way to go; nevertheless, the institution called political parties must be strengthened to de-emphasize party ownership and control by an individual.
7. After having chronicled my political experience in order that they are situated appropriately for future referencing and the lessons derivable from it, I must at this juncture pass my sincere gratitude to everyone that has contributed to the journey so far, chief among who are the former Ogun state governor, Otunba Gbenga Daniel and Senator (Prince) Buruji Kashamu; for their support at decisive times. My extensive appreciation also goes to several personalities (too numerous to mention) that supported me in one way or the other over the years. I wish everyone well in their different political and other endeavours.
8. Ladies and gentlemen, what does the future hold for me? After the 2015 election, I reflected on our politics relative to the BELIEVE philosophy that we have propagated for about a decade and discovered that this philosophy needs to be reinforced with new ingredients around the central theme of VALUES. This became important because, the current political system is glaringly corrupted and broken. It is bereft of right values and subscription to good democratic ideals. The political parties, especially the major ones have proven to be huge disappointments and incapable of enhancing the socio-economic welfare of Nigerian citizens.
9. Consequently, I and my team interrogated this failure and concluded that the total collapse of values and morals in our national fabric have contributed to this national decline. The result of our inquest nudged us to create a Movement that is today called The Believe Movement (TBM); a sociopolitical and advocacy group geared towards values orientation, mass mobilization for civic responsibility, socioeconomic intervention for the less privileged and promotion of good governance. For us, these ingredients reinforce our beliefs that society can be better than what presently obtains and that the people can achieve their God-ordained potentials given the right environment.
10. I am pleased to inform that since its official launch in December 2016, the Movement has gone about its goals in a most focused manner and today records over 200,000 strong people of Ogun state who have fully subscribed to the message that things can be done differently. We are daily inculcating our people with the orientation that has elevated their values, character and integrity. They have also embraced the principle of delayed gratification which entails that they prefer to reject inducement by dishonest politicians who offer only temporary enjoyment – in favour of more enduring dividend of good governance. Beyond the promotion of the objectives of this movement, we recognized from the outset that the ultimate goal is to use governance to drive those laudable objectives and which means that The Believe Movement will be politically affiliated at some point in the future – if it must meet its goal of ensuring good governance.
11. I was all the more glad when in recognition of the failed system, the national conversation shifted to having mass movements of the people towards national emancipation. The major one was broached by our father, Chief Olusegun Obasanjo, which is the Coalition for Nigeria Movement (CNM). There is the other one, Nigerian Intervention Movement (NIM) and others like Red Card Movement and Save Nigeria Movement. I was also present when former President Olusegun Obasanjo alongside other patriots, did symbolic registration as CNM members. My open identification and registration also, was because I believe in the objectives of CNM as a national movement having been promoting a similar movement in Ogun State over a year earlier.
12. We again note that the former president stated emphatically that the CNM will eventually empty into a political party (after which he will personally take a back seat). Further to the foregoing and very recently, the CNM in conjunction with other stakeholders adopted the African Democratic Congress (ADC) as the preferred platform to restore the dignity of Nigerians. I must at this point salute the former president who is a great Nigerian and true African Statesman for his patriotism, vision, leadership and courage – to chart this path for us all. As he takes a back seat deservedly, the challenge has been thrown to us all to keep the vision alive and run with it till Ogun state and Nigeria becomes a better place for all. I urge that we kindly give him a rousing applause in absentia.
13. You all recall that on 24th May 2018, I resigned my membership of the PDP due to the perennial and intractable crisis which has festered to an extent where the hope of reconciliation continues to dim inexorably; especially in Ogun state. More importantly, the party did not offer a veritable podium for us to propagate the good ideals of TBM; and for me, that makes the party irredeemable. Having correctly exited the PDP, our movement has fully crystallized meeting most of its objectives and now needs to affiliate with a political party that shares the same values with it. Friends, I am again on the threshold of positive history. It was Dante Alighieri who in his famous tripartite epic poem said that “The hottest places in hell are reserved for those who in the period of crisis maintain their neutrality”. Another great icon, Martin Luther King (Jnr) could not but agree with Dante when he echoed that, “I agree with Dante, that the hottest places in hell are reserved for those who in period of moral crisis maintain their neutrality”. Luther King then added, “There comes a time when silence becomes betrayal”.
14. For me, Gboyega Nasir Isiaka, having come this far, I cannot afford to betray my supporters, the people of Ogun State and my generation; hence my new platform decision. I have received the inspiration of God and having extensively consulted my political associates, friends, supporters, important stakeholders, well-wishers, voices on the streets and my immediate family, I formally announce and declare my membership of the African Democratic Congress (ADC); effective today 1st June, 2018. I also have the approval of the Board of Trustees of TBM to announce the adoption of the African Democratic Congress (ADC) by The Believe Movement.
15. The ADC is the third force that is morally conscripted to offer Nigerians an escape route from the failed promises of the status quo and the party that connects across Nigeria today, most movements and people who believe that we must depart from the worn out system of mediocrity, cronyism and corruption; which the APC and PDP represent. We have elected to align with a platform that is devoid of the entrenched retrogressive politics and which believes in the dignity of citizens and human capital development – as the fundamental focus of its governmental imperatives. While we recognize that party is not yet a finished product and will continue to fine-tune its processes, we have the conviction that we can use the ADC platform to reinforce our belief:
That our people can enjoy a better, happy and contended life given the human resources and natural endowment of our state – Through values-driven governance.
That good, accountable and people-centred governance is achievable if there is sincerity of purpose by those entrusted with power which will restore trust and confidence of the masses.
That we can initiate new ways of thinking that aligns our systems and processes such that government is organized to work; and transform our economy to one driven by teamwork, knowledge and technology.
We believe that we can reform our political system to enable it become ideologically driven, properly managed and people-oriented; in order to assist our people’s electoral choice based on sound criteria like Character, Capability, Courage, Integrity, Sincerity of Purpose.
We believe that the trust and confidence in the government by the governed is the key driver of participatory democracy; therefore we must ensure equitable distribution of opportunities and developmental initiatives across our communities without discrimination or undue preference.
Undoubtedly also, we can put our dear state and nation at large on the path of peace, opportunity, equity and prosperity for generations to come.
16. All of the above is what we hope to use this new platform to achieve. I urge every Ogun State citizen and Nigerians in whole to join the ADC today as the only credible alternative. The road has been rough, the journey has been tortuous but the end will be soothing and give everyone a life of abundance. I remain committed to pushing this agenda to its actualization. Finally, we must all convince ourselves to do the right thing that will help our society; for Edmund Burke said, “The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing”. The battle to give our new party a head start will be tough, but we must be convinced in our mind to give it all it takes in order to obtain the price. Victory is always possible for he who refuses to stop fighting.
17. Today, our belief has been reinforced and we can be optimistic of a better tomorrow. I thank you all for listening and wish us safe return to our respective destinations. Ogun state and Nigeria shall be great again. I Believe.
ADC…..Arise and shine Nigeria !!!