THE PRESIDENT OF THE SENATE
FEDERAL REPUBLIC OF NIGERIA
SENATOR (DR.) ANYIM PIUS ANYIM, GCON
PEOPLE’S DEMOCRATIC PARTY (PDP) CONGRESS
BOSTON MASSACHUSETTS, USA
27TH DAY OF APRIL 2002.
It gives me great pleasure to be in your midst today on the occasion of the first congress of our great party, Peoples Democratic Party, here in Boston in the United States of America.
The activities of members of the party who are based outside Nigeria have been very much encouraging. You have held high the flag of our dear nation. By your actions and deeds, you have continued to complement the actions of the Nigerian government. This is made possible through your messages of solidarity and words of encouragement at all time.
As you are aware, our country is moving towards the year of election. This is the period when Nigerians shall be called upon to come out and vote and be voted for. It is a very important time in the history of our nation. All of us are aware that it has always been easier for Nigeria to transit from military to civil rule but we have never been able to successfully transit from one civil rule to another. It is a jinx we have to break this time around.
The question is, how do we do it? The assignment is for all of us. We should say ‘no’ to military rule again in Nigeria by voting the right caliber of people into positions. We should enlighten the citizenry that acts of thuggery, banditry and other ungodly acts that usually accompany elections in Nigeria are not in line with the demands of democracy. They kill, rather than sustain it. As we know, democracy is to be nurtured to mature. It should not be given a bad name in order to truncate it.
Ladies and gentlemen, we should always remember a popular line in our National Anthem, which says that, “the labour of our heroes past shall never be in vain’. We should always note that making this democracy work and its staying permanently with us, will make a meaning out of the wordings of the National Anthem.
Let me reiterate at this juncture that the process of law-making is not a one-day affair. It is also not an assignment for legislators alone. Every Nigerian; whether as a group or individuals should know that he has the right to contribute to the process of law-making. This is why there are always public hearings during which people could make submissions through memoranda before a bill is finally passed. It is important to mention here that these public hearings should be taken more seriously so that any item that may not be too clear can be taken care of by the memoranda. This is in line with the Principle of Participatory democracy and the 1999 constitution of Nigeria.
I am therefore, using the opportunity of this occasion to inform all Nigerians in diaspora that the National Assembly of Nigeria, in fact the Senate, shall be debating some vital issues, including resource control, in the next few weeks. We shall hold Public Hearings and call for memoranda from the general public.
I implore you all to, please, be part of the debate through every means; whether by letters, phone, fax or e-mail. It is your right to have an input into how you are to be governed. You can even initiate a bill on any issue and send it to the National Assembly. It will be given every necessary attention.
As we move into the election period, all of us must work tirelessly for the development of our nation and sustenance of democracy in our land. We owe ourselves the duty. We owe our children. We owe it to posterity.
I thank the organizers of this programme for finding me worthy of being invited for this very important event.
May the good Lord bless us all.
I thank you very much for listening.