My Dear Delegates,
As you gather for our convention, please remember that history, change and the hopes of Nigeria are there with you. They are there to ask you to perform according to your best judgment and patriotic conscience. I also ask you to do the same.
We seek a new Nigeria. It starts with us. It starts today. I have placed myself before you seeking your help to nominate me as your standard bearer for our progressive party, APC.
Personal ambition does not drive me in this regard. I seek to be the next president of our beloved nation because I believe I have something to offer Nigeria at this time of multiple crises. Insecurity, corruption, and economic collapse have brought the nation low. Time is past due that we work together to lift Nigeria up. I am ready to lead Nigeria to its rightful future.
I have always served Nigeria to the best of my ability. I have always tried to give more to the nation than it has given me. This is the principle of service that has guided my public life. Thus, I am not a rich person. I can’t give you a fistful of dollars or naira to purchase your support. Even if I could, I would not do so. The fate of this nation is not up for sale.
What I will give you, and this nation is all of my strength, commitment, sweat and toil in the service of the people. What I can give you is my all.
The PDP has been in power much too long for the little good it has done. For the past six years, Nigeria has walked backwards carrying the weight of PDP’s incompetence on its shoulders.
Due to its broken leadership, Nigeria has been afflicted by a strange illness. We are a great nation riddled by endless crises. Instead of resolving problems, this government multiplies and manufactures them.
PDP cannot stand before us and say things have gotten better under its direction. It has only gotten worse and it’s now time for change.
PDP’s government may say that it needs more time – that what we need now is continuity – but we do not.
What we need now is change!
I know what it takes to achieve real change – I have led our nation before – in times almost as unhappy as these.
I know that to solve our problems we need real leadership, not warm words and empty promises. A leader needs integrity and strength – and an unbending commitment to do what is right.
I know that leaders must not just mouth words about change – they must embody it in their lives and their values.
My love for Nigeria is writ large across my heart and I have spent a lifetime in the service of its people.
Through a long career trying to build a better country for my fellow Nigerians in offices both high and low I have always tried to place my country before myself.
While some who have occupied those same positions have grown mysteriously rich, I still live on my army pension. I own no foreign bank accounts, I own no companies profiting from government contracts.
Why then do I seek office, if not for myself? While others might prefer to stay at home watching their grandchildren grow and live the battle to others I still see injustices that need to be righted and I still dream of a New Nigeria.
I am what you see before you – a simple man who believes in serving both God and his country. A man who is impatient for change, who loves Nigeria and seeks to serve it once again.
When I last led this nation I launched a War against Indiscipline – today, I pledge a Battle for Hope.
A battle against the dark forces of corruption and despair that have held our nation hostage to their greed for too long.
We simply cannot afford four more years of PDP’s corruption and the corrosive cynicism that it has bred.
The time for hope, the time for belief, is now.
You cannot trust the corrupt to end corruption.
You cannot trust the selfish and self interested to rule in the best interests of the people.
You cannot trust those who believe hope is a tool of government rather than a human right to plant the seed of belief.
Let’s be clear. This is not a time for continuity. Failure does not deserve continuity. Incompetence does not deserve continuity.
It deserves change; that is what the nation deserves and that is what we will bring.
Make no mistake – as is always the case for those who seek to bring change, it will not come easy.
And today I ask for your votes and support as I make these five pledges to the nation:
I will honestly govern Nigeria in accord with the constitution and rule of law.
I will bring all resources necessary to end poverty through ending corruption, promoting broadly-shared economic growth, investing in our country and creating jobs.
I will tolerate no religious, regional, ethnic or gender bias.
I will return Nigeria to a position of international respect through active and wise foreign policy.
I will select the best Nigerians for posts in my government.
I do not intend to rule Nigeria. I want to democratically govern it with your help. I seek a Nigeria where Christians and Muslims may practice their faiths in peace and security; a Nigeria that is just and where corruption no longer trespasses into our institutions and national behavior and a Nigeria where our diversity could be used for our national prosperity.
Nigeria is our home. Let us now turn it into the great nation we know it can and should be.
I thank you all
General Muhammadu Buhari, GCFR