My Fellow Compatriots,
As we thank God and enter a new year, 2024, I send my heartfelt and warmest greetings to all Nigerians: from my family and I, to you and yours. May the Almighty God bless you all richly and grant your good heart desires in the new year and beyond.
The events of the past year are now part of our national history. As we trudge on, we remain mindful of the State of our Nation, and that our best hopes and aspirations remain largely unfulfilled. Peace and security continue to elude us with the rising level of bloodletting deeply troubling and sometimes beyond a war situation. A situation where hundreds of Nigerians are violently killed in December alone is deeply sad and unacceptable. While we pray for the repose of the departed souls, we demand that the Federal Government must do whatever is required to bring the perpetrators to justice and permanently stop a re-occurrence in any part of Nigeria. In addition to the lamentable security situation, our economy remains confusing and depressing with unemployment, inflation, poverty, inequality and other key socio-economic variables all negative and worsening. As Nigeria is the only country we have, deeply endowed but lacking in good leadership, we will continue to seek a new Nigeria that we know is POssible.
Nigerians are now very aware and convinced that good governance, inclusive development, and accountable leadership expected in a functional democracy, continue to elude us but we must be consistent and resolute in our demand for rule of law, regulatory quality and government effectiveness for transformative solutions to litany of our social problems.
If there is one fundamental threat to our democracy, it is the undermining and weakening of our national institutions and the capture of state affairs and resources by few individuals and private interests. This must stop for Nigeria to move forward and function as an inclusive and sustainable society and nation. In a democratic and secular country like ours, there must be full respect for the separation of powers between the three independent arms of government, as well as between the federating units.
For instance, the National Assembly should devote time and commit themselves to diligent performance of their functions like the 2024 budget that requires their prudent examination and subsequent patriotic oriented approval or rejection.
We must work assiduously to avoid drifting to a one-party state, or a situation,where the Federal government intervenes unduly in the internal affairs of the states, particularly in circumstances where national security is not threatened. We in the Labour Party have undertaken in the national interest and in our undying commitment to a New Nigeria that is Possible, to remain firmly in opposition and as such, must remain focused going forward. Our collective role in nation building remains fundamental and obligatory.
Again, let me use this opportunity to thank all Nigerians who supported our campaign during the 2023 elections and voted for us, because they believed in the quest for a New Nigeria. The outcome of the 2023 presidential elections was contested and remains so, on record. But the Courts of law have spoken; so be it.
I wish to thank members of the Labour Party, the OBIdient Family, friends and well-wishers of Nigeria for their loyalty, resilience, tenacity and commitment to true democracy. We will continue ongoing discussions and efforts for the Labour Party to adjust to our new role as Nigeria’s main opposition party. We will continue to constructively engage all Nigerians and our friends, who have now realized the vast implications of the road not taken; and the folly of national interest decisions predicated on sentiments and primordial interests.
Nigeria is our God given country. The business of Nigeria is far too important to be left to those involved in transactional politics. I am involved in the struggle for a New Nigeria that is Possible and works for all and will remain passionately committed to the crusade.
I therefore implore you all who strive for a New Nigeria to remain fully engaged, committed and resilient as it is and will be Possible. God bless you and God bless the Federal Republic of Nigeria. Happy and Prosperous 2024.
Peter Obi is Labour Party (LP) flag-bearer for 2023 presidential election