PATH TO NIGERIAN GREATNESS: On the campaign trail Charter of stability and progress*

Continued from last week

THE second quotation is taken from the great didactic Sermon Oil the Mount:

“Be on your guard against false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing but underneath

are wolves on the prowl. You will know them by their deeds. Do you ever pick grapes from thorn bushes, or figs from prickly plants? Never! Any sound tree bears good fruit, while a decayed tree bears bad fruit. A sound tree cannot bear bad fruit any more than a decayed tree can bear good fruit.

Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. You can tell a tree by its fruit. None of those who cry out, (Lord, Lord) will enter the kingdom of God but only the one who does the will of my Father in heaven. When that day comes, many will – plead with me: ‘Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in your name? Have we not exorcised demons by its power? Did we not do many miracles in your name as well’?’ Then 1 will declare to them solemnly, ‘I never knew you. Out of my sight, you evildoers!” (Matthew 7. Verses 15 to 23)

With these quotations in mind, my sincere and serious verdict is that, whether he believes in heaven or not, and whether he likes it or not, Tai Solarin, because of the pureness of his heart, and because of his innumerable humanitarian and Christlike deeds, will find himself in paradise, while some self-righteous clergy will be on the other side of the unbridgeable ethereal Divide – which is Hell. Someone who speaks more nonsense than sense outside the narrow confines of his professional communion with worms and such like things, has told us that four walls don’t make a school!

The same person told us twenty-five years ago that the primary classrooms in the then Western Region were so badly constructed that they were tilting and would all soon collapse. Twenty-five years have passed, and they are still standing and fulfilling their mission which is to provide adequate shelters for those who teach and receive instructions in them.


Our Stand

In the crusade against ignorance on which the UPN through our Governors have embarked, we will not be deterred by factious and carping criticism such as Archbishop Okogie and other ill-motivated people like him have mounted.

The objectives after which we of the UPN strive are clear before us. We are unflinchingly resolved to help every Nigerian to assume his true heritage as the image of his Creator. It is to this end that our four cardinal programmes have been fashioned. Education is to give him a sound mind. Preventive and curative health care is to give him a sound body. And by preventive health care we mean something more than prophylactics. Suitable and adequate food and shelter, decent clothing, and a wholesome environment are vital aspects of preventive health care. But whilst Government must provide preventive medicines free of charge, it cannot be expected to provide food, shelter, and clothing free.

However, it goes without saying that no one can procure these things without adequate income. It is for this reason, among other reasons, that it is incumbent on the Governments of the day, acting in concert, to ensure that every Nigerian is’ able to earn a minimum national living wage or income.

It is only by achieving the objective after which we strive that our people can reflect the real but dormant Godhood in them and cease to be the helpless and hapless victims of superstitious and religious dogmas, and assert their freedom from pagan, clerical, political and economic exploitations.

I would also like to seize this opportunity to pay public tribute to all the UPN members in the National Assembly and in the eleven State Assemblies of Bendel, Cross River, Gongola, Kaduna, Kano, Kwara, Lagos, Ogun, Ondo, Oyo, and Rivers. From all accounts, they have all done us proud: Our members in the House of Representatives and those in the Senate under the enlightened and indefatigable leadership of Chief J. A. O. Odebiyi have shown beyond any cavil what a dedicated non-government party can and is expected to do in a presidential system. It is the duty of the Legislature to see to it that it governs well. It is a happy thing to observe that UPN members of the National Assembly together with their friends in the GNPP and PRP have, in all their utterances and doings, demonstrated unflagging vigilance, devotion to our election pledges, constructiveness, and a high and unimpeachable sense of responsibility. The NPN members in Kaduna State Assembly should go to our people in the National Assembly and learn.

It is too early to pass considered judgment on Shagari’s infant administration. Because of his in action, there is really nothing to write home about. Recently, however, he chose to pat himself on the back for what he described as his achievements in sixty-one days of office. For a habitually slow pedestrian like him, even the pace of a fast walker is still too much. But Nigeria wants to move at a jet speed to recover grounds that have been lost in the past nineteen years, and to move forward to take its rightful place in Africa and the world.

It is, therefore, the duty of our members in the National Assembly and indeed of all of us in the UPN to impart an impelling and accelerating impetus on Alhaji Shagari, to the end that he may develop the desired speed. If he fails to respond, then we should uncompromisingly expose him far what he is. In either case, we will be the gainers – as the pacemaker of the slow-beating heart of Alhaji Shagari’s administration, and as the unmasker of his cleverly disguised but utter inadequacy …

Here I stand, I can do no other. These are the famous wards of Martin Luther, the initiator of the Protestant Movement, when he stood defiantly before the Diet of Warms to answer a charge of heretical activities arising from his opposition to the “sale of indulgences.”

In this address, I have presented to you the outlines of a Charter – a charter of stability and progress. And I believe I can proclaim on your behalf and on behalf of the masses of our supporters throughout the country: On this charter we stand; we can do no other.