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Transcript of the opening address by the National Chairman of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Chief John Odigie-Oyegun at the party’s National Executive Committee (NEC) meeting held at the APC National Secretariat in Abuja, March 24, 2016.

Your Excellency, the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, your Excellency the Vice President, the distinguished members of the National Executive Committee (NEC), distinguished leaders of our great party, I want to, most sincerely, welcome you to our first formal meeting of the National Executive Committee.

These are challenging times no doubt and this meeting is held at a period that calls for the best out of all of us. Firstly, it is almost a year ago when we won the national elections and secondly, that our dear president was installed as the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.

Naturally, this would have been the time to roll out the drums and to celebrate loudly but I think that being a government and a party that is responsive, we are very well aware of the hardships in the land and for that reason, it should be a period of introspection, a period for memories and a period for reminiscences.

The problems we have are well known, of course originating from two well known factors, our squandered patrimony of course, the unfortunate coincidence of the collapse of the price of crude. Nevertheless, inspite of these hardships, our government has recorded strides that are worth mentioning, that are worth celebrating and that are worth noting.

No question at all, that the vigorous and focused leadership provided in the fight against insurgency has yielded results that we all, as a nation, must be proud of. The insurgents have been deprived of the possibility of ever again, holding Nigerian territory and hoisting any of their dastardly flags.

We have other issues like the Treasury Single Account (TSA), and what it has done for our states and of course, Mr President’s shuttle diplomacy.

The oil market, the price of crude is gradually beginning to crawl persistently, slowly but upwards.

Lastly, the fight against corruption: the gains are clear, the era of impunity is beginning to disappear from our land. Even from reading the papers, social media – critical as they may be – virtually every Nigerian today now accepts that corruption was perhaps, the worst affliction that this nation has ever suffered from.

And of course, finally, the cost of governance is down. So, even with the lean resources, it is clear that all over the nation, from the federal level to the state level, we will be able to do more with less.

Yes, it is true, these are hard times, but hard times create challenges. Challenges call for men and women to agree in leadership, united, focused, passionate in the policies that they stand for, which means that this party must rediscover itself, which means that this party must stand as one behind the success of our president and for the policies that we stand for and for the promises he has made to the Nigerian people.

Which means that this is a time to stand together, which means that this is a time to rededicate ourselves and the party to the vision to which the people of this nation voted.

We must leave this arena once more as a strong, united fighting force dedicated to delivering on the promises made by Mr. President to the Nigerian people.

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