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Below is the transcript of the speech Fela Durotoye delivered at the Alliance for New Nigeria (ANN) primaries on 29th September 2018:   ANN! The Difference! The Difference! ANN! I am most honoured with the opportunity to address you all distinguished members of this great party. I acknowledge first and foremost our most distinguished Chairman and the dashing gentleman in the person of Mr. Emmanuel Dania. I am sure you would like to acknowledge him also as well as all the members of the National Working Committee. I also will like to quickly acknowledge even before I make my pitch to you, the Chairman of the Board of Trustees and the founding members of this great party Dr. Nkata Chuku as well as all the members of the Board of Trustees and the founding members of this party. I would like to also seize this opportunity to quickly acknowledge the great work that every one of our state chairmen and their representatives have done across the nation in building the solid foundation and structure for this great party, that will by the grace of God lead the team that will deliver good governance for our nation in May 2019. To all the members of our National Executive Committee, I want to say thank you so much for the leadership of this party. I salute all the delegates and the members and every single one of you who’s out there, physically here in the room and I guess also watching online. My name is Fela Durotoye, infact Adetokunbo Olufela Durotoye. I like to say in a very interesting way, I was conceived in Toronto, Canada, and received in Oluyole, Ibadan 47 years ago on the 12th of May 1971. I was born to a couple of university lecturers, who later became professors and both of them, even though they are late today, I would love to acknowledge them for not just nurturing me but for giving me the values that have caused me to be able to live a life that has enabled me to stand here today. So if you don’t mind, I would like you to also please help me acknowledge Late Professor Adetokunbo Layiwola Durotoye and Late Professor Mrs. Adebisi Durotoye. Please help me acknowledge them. I grew up in a University campus. My parents were not rich neither were they poor. They were average civil servants who earned an average wage at the time when Nigeria was considered to be truly a great country and our economy was good. Their average wage did more than take care of a home. It was able to nurture and nourish three little children through school, with the best quality education you could get from a public school. That time public schools were the only real option, nobody went to private schools and at this time, I went through the staff school of the University of Ife. I went through secondary school at the Moremi High School at the University of Ife and started my bachelors sojourn in the University of Ife in the department of Computer Science and Economics, but somewhere in the course of my sojourn, my institution transited and transformed its name from the University of Ife in recognition of the great sage and national leader of our great nation, Chief Obafemi Awolowo. So whilst I matriculated in the University of Ife, I graduated from Obafemi Awolowo University. I proceeded to do my NYSC and then worked in an organization called Ventures and Trust Limited for about three years, went back to the great Ife to study Management in Business Administration program, completed that and then went to join a management consulting company called Phillips Consulting. And from there, I went on to start my own business consulting company called VIP Consulting notable for Visible Impact and Improvement in Performance and then translated that to a social enterprise called Visible Impact and a few years later set up the GEMSTONE Group and today we have a thriving GEMSTONE Nation Builders Foundation which I’m so proud of the great work that people are doing on this platform across the nation. So when people ask of me, Fela would you like to introduce yourself, I would always like to say this, that yes some people know me as a management consultant, some people know me as a leadership expert, some people know me as a motivational speaker based on what it is that I do for them on the public front as a nation builder, and these days, I keep hearing different versions of that. Some say he’s a motivational speaker, some say he’s an inspirational speaker, some say he’s a transformational speaker, some even now have started saying he’s a revolutionary speaker. But I think of all the ways I would like to describe myself, I would like to describe myself as a nation builder. When people ask me, what’s a nation builder? I say very quickly that a nation builder is someone who has four characteristics, A, B, C and D. A nation builder; A–Accepts: Accepts responsibility for the wellbeing of his nation or her nation, meaning no matter how well you are doing, if your nation is not doing well, you are not doing well enough. But a nation builder also;  B–Believes: Believes in the potential greatness of that nation, and more importantly believes in the generation’s capacity to be able to birth that greatness. But beyond believe, a nation builder also… C–Commits: Commits and sacrifices their time, their energy, their resources, their network, their networth, everything they have to; D–Diligently, doggedly deliver the future of that great nation. And I always like to say, the future is not a time zone that is yet to come, the future is everything a nation can be and have not become, the future is everything a nation can do, but the people have not yet done, the future is everything a nation can possess, but the people have not yet acquired. And so the future is not really ahead of us, the future is inside of us, that is why I said a nation builder must Accept, Believe, Commit and Deliver the future. And I believe that is what my life’s commitment is about, and I am glad I am not alone in the room, there are nation builders all around. And I believe ANN truly is a party for all nation builders. My proposition to Nigerians is really about a New Nigeria. I believe that Nigeria as we know it today is a blessed country and nobody can doubt that. We are blessed with an abundance of resources; minerals beneath the earth, natural above the earth and humans who dwell on the earth. And I do not know any nation that probably is more blessed than Nigeria when you combine our human resources, our natural resources and our mineral resources. But let’s be clear. Blessed as we are, the blessings have been given to us by God, who we acknowledge in our second stanza of our National Anthem as the God of Creation. And yet as God has given us a blessed country, it is every generation’s responsibility to be able to turn the blessing of their country into what we call greatness, so that they build a great nation even though they inherited a blessed country. And I believe that this is the greatest challenge that faces us today. This is the challenge that I intend to lead a generation, a generation of Nigerians, a generation that is empowered, a generation that is motivated, a generated that is stirred up to operate with natural excellence, a generation that will accept the responsibility to turn the blessings of Nigeria into greatness for our nation. This is by far the most important task that I have committed to take on, and with your own blessings, given the opportunity, this is the task that I hope to lead you all in building a truly great Nigeria into a truly great nation. When we say a great nation, I am talking about a great place where people love to live, a great place where people love to work, and a nation where people love to invest, a nation where people would love to do business in and do business with. I believe very strongly that Nigeria has what it takes, in fact, all that it takes to be the nation where everything works for everyone and no one lacks anything because we have enough for everyone to be truly blessed, we have enough for everyone to prosper. We must build a nation that works, the nation where not only do things work but people are able to work to make things work. And a nation where the government works for the people and not the people becoming slaves to the government. It must be a nation where people love to do business because it enables and empowers business people whether they are aspiring one day to start a business or they are trying hard to grow their business. Nigeria must be undoubtedly one of the best places to do business because you can thrive and profit and build a sustainable institution that will last many generations. Nigeria must be a place where people are empowered to succeed, are empowered to find the work that they are naturally gifted in so that Nigerians are not just painfully or gainfully employed but we want a nation where people are joyfully employed. Nigeria must be that nation where every single Nigerian regardless of where you come from must have opportunity all across Nigeria to be able to access a better life and a brighter future not just for yourselves but for your children. Nigeria must be a nation where people can live in peace and sleep in peace because they know that no armed robbers, kidnappers, no terrorist will come and take their property or their lives or the lives of their loved ones. Nigeria must be a nation where the only reason why you look behind your back is not to see who is coming behind you but to see the beautiful scenery that you have left behind you. And so ultimately, and not to take too much of our time, we must create a nation where people can find work, and where businesses can work, and where government works for everyone. To be able to build a nation that works for everyone, we need to have what you call social benefits that all can enjoy so that what is available and acceptable to the rich is also accessible and affordable to the poor. So having done a great job, one day we should be able to find millionaires on public transport and you can see the Chief executive of a business riding the same train to work as the janitor that is going to clean the office. Nigeria must be a nation where people are able to work and not be scared that by the time they retire all their savings would have lost its value. This must be a nation where people are willing to invest because there are good returns on investment. And Nigeria being almost right at the center of the world has every opportunity to this. When you look at the map of the world, you will realise that Nigeria is literally, almost perfectly in the center of the world. Which means that anywhere you produce a thing and you try to sell it to another market, it is likely to arrive there faster if it was produced in Nigeria than if it was produced anywhere else in the world. This means that Nigeria has a uniquely blessed opportunity to be geographically situated where it can become the production and the logistics capital of the world. And because we are blessed with all the mineral resources, all the natural resources and all the human resources to be able to make this happen, Nigeria can easily become the China of Africa and the new China of the world. To make this happen, a few things must happen. We must be able to convert our mineral resources, our natural resources and human resources into economic value so that we can then be able to prosper as a nation and deliver social benefits. And this is what it is that I am committing to do. To make this happen, we are asking our generation to aspire for greatness. And to ASPIRE simply means;
  1. To focus on AGRICULTURE, MINING, INDUSTRIAL AND INNOVATIVE REVOLUTION that will birth the greatness of our great nation. We must be able to do that by creating special economic zones in every one of the 774 local government areas of this Nation. So that all anyone has to do, if you are a farmer, is to get to your local government area and it is there that you can be able to find people who will purchase, process, package or preserve all your agricultural or farmland products.
And so all across Nigeria, you will see growth at the same time and no local government in Nigeria will be left behind. Once we do that, we will have equal opportunity to rise as a nation together, so that no one part of Nigeria is depending on every other part of Nigeria. And nobody is over stressed and over taxed with their own mineral resources.
  1. We must SECURE OUR PEOPLE, because that’s the first most important role of government; to provide security of lives and property. And to be able to ensure that our people are safe, that they have safety in their health and safety in every area.
  2. We must also POWER OUR NATION. We must make sure that we have power. If you give me the opportunity to be able to lead the government, and represent you as presidential candidate in the 2019 General Elections, I promise you that Nigerians will vote for power.
They will not be voting for power to the people, they will be voting for power for the people, power to do businesses. Not just power for political offices, but electrical power, solar power, thermal power, hydro power. And this we will do given the opportunity.
  1. We also must build INFRASTRUCTURE. We must build INSTITUTIONS that are strong.
  2. We must make sure that we RESTRUCTURE OUR NATION. In restructuring our Nation, we must be able to make sure that we redistribute the wealth of this Nation appropriately.
Currently, only 13% of the revenue of the resources that comes from mining and things that are taken from the ground of Nigeria, only 13% of it goes to the states. Most of the time, the places where those mineral resources are taken from do not get any form of revenue back in return. I know that it will take a lot of work, but I am hoping that one day and not long from now, we will be able to ensure that the state gets not 13% but 20%. And not only will the state get 20%, local government from which those resources were taken from will also get 20%. And the place, the village, the town where those resources were taken from will also get 20%. So then we will have a smaller federal government and then a greater local government because local governments are also very important. Then we must also focus on producing EXPORT QUALITY PRODUCTS. And to make sure that we do this, we have to have businesses that are enabled to prosper, that will produce jobs for the people. To make sure we have people who are able to productively deliver, we must have EDUCATION that will train our people not just for certification but to train them for occupation, for profession, and for industry. So if you look at the words that I’ve spoken to you today, they form an acronym A-S-P-I-R-E. And with the ASPIRE mandate, we are saying in line with ANN’s mandate, we will be able to grow AGRICULTURE, MINING, INDUSTRY and INNOVATION. We will be able to SECURE our people, POWER our nation, we will be able to invest in INFRASTRUCTURE, we will be able to RESTRUCTURE and REORIENT the minds of our people and we will be able to EDUCATE our people so that they can find EMPLOYMENT in businesses that are EMPOWERING and most importantly to grow our ECONOMY by focusing on making sure that we produce EXPORT QUALITY so that whatsoever is not good for the rest of the world is not good enough for Nigeria. So that I don’t take much longer than the time that has been given to me, permit me to say, given the opportunity, Nigerians will not only ASPIRE for greatness but we will ATTAIN greatness. We will achieve greatness with the foundation of good governance, with good people with the right values leading and governing our nation at all levels and ANN will be the party, the womb by which we will birth the truly New Nigeria. God bless you. And may God bless ANN. And may God bless the Federal Republic of Nigeria.

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This article was first published on 30th September 2018

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