Contrary to the usual, “I thank God for keeping me and my children alive and the house I built,” while entering a new year, the legislator representing Kogi Central Senatorial District at the National Assembly, Senator Natasha Akpoti – Uduaghan has charged Nigerians to go above and beyond that, while thanking God at any New year.
Making her point while sending her message across, the senator has this to say: “I have a lot to be grateful for this year. I survived a ghastly motor accident on the 14th of April 2023, after being rigged out of the senatorial elections I overwhelmingly won. Gratefully the courts bided me justice on the 31st of October 2023. Indeed, 2023 was quite a remarkable year but we can’t help but think about the suffering a lot and those who died only to assume that God loves them less.
“Two recent unfortunate incidents come to mind, the Tudun Biri Kaduna drone strike of the 3rd December 2023 where 88 innocent people were killed by an erroneous military air attack. Shouldn’t have happened at all. Then the ‘Black Christmas’ for residents of Bokkos and Barkin Communities in Plateau where over 150 people were killed by terrorists. The image of the “Crying Baby” strapped on her dead mother’s back still haunts.
“here today, millions of Nigerians live in the despair of poverty and joblessness amidst the high cost of living. Quality basic education is a luxury and our women are still held hostage for want of settling maternity bills in poorly fit healthcare facilities. The roads, oh the roads are death traps and playgrounds for bandits and kidnappers.”
Sensing that as senators, the people expect them to address the problems, she quickly said that she believes that it is a problem that needs all hands to be on deck to tackle, reiterating that: “We can fix the problem ourselves and rebuild the Nigeria of our dreams, adding, “how about starting 2024 by resolving accountability?”
Senator Akpoti-Uduaghan therefore observed that on the grounds of negligence, “we can call for the sack and prosecution of the Army commandant who ordered the Tudun Biri air strike. We can call for the sack of the Plateau State Director of DSS and Commissioner of Police for gross incompetence over the killings in Plateau.
“Fellow Nigerians, you are mostly young, smart, and intuitive; there lies your power. Let 2024 be a time you show yourself changing narratives in well-defined civil spaces. I, Senator Natasha Akpoti-Uduaghan, will walk with you. Let 2024 be a year you unleash your potential. Nigeria’s music industry wasn’t established by the government but by ordinary citizens, webbing an ecosystem responsive enough to own their space in the world.”
Still sending her message across, she asked: “Who says you can’t do the same with Science and Technology as you did to the music industry? Who says you can’t revolutionize alternative medicine in the wake of the pharmaceutical giant’s departure from Nigeria? In the past two weeks, I watched the NAFDAC DG and Chairman of, the Senate Committee on Science and Technology, Sen Aminu Abbas making strong cases to support startups and clinic research in furtherance of alternative medicine.”
Believing that the next big pharma could be Nigerian, she urged the country’s specialised TechHubs to be her playground, enjoining, Station F of France, STING of Stockholm, Botswana Innovation Hub to brace up innovators. To Nigerian youths, she wished that 2024 be the year they take charge of their government.
“Question the numerous MoUs and contracts entered by foreign investors and the Federal and State governments. That is how unqualified Shell companies are uncovered and we can avoid another SolGas, GINL Ajaokuta steel & Delta steel mishap. Critique our bilateral agreements and treaties. Some are meaningless, obsolete, and sovereign traps. Help Nigeria escape from neocolonialism!!!
“Demand monthly question-and-answer sessions with your president. Share your developmental ideas and public opinions. He is your president till 2027, so you might as well begin to make the best use of him for you. Remember: Nigeria is ours to fix; the dead of yesterday could be us tomorrow and; politicians’ promises are only as real as you make them by demanding accountability and recalling the un – performing amongst us. In 2024, intentionally critique the budget, follow the money and monitor the contracts.”
Beckoning them to know that every single kobo borrowed to fund the budget is a debt on Nigerians, including the unborn children, she urged them to treat governance seriously, reminding them that their democratic rights don’t end at the polls, but it starts there. “Be involved, we shall work with you.”
She continued: “So as we thank God for making us see this Newyear, let the lives of those who died not be in vain. As we give thanks for the health of our children, remember the children in the kidnappers’ dens. While we thank God for the new houses we moved into or built, remember those rendered homeless by the flood and insurgencies. Be concerned and emphatic about the situations in other states and regions because as we are all bound in poverty and insurgencies; we shall also be bound in the successes of our innovators and industrialists.”
In conclusion, she said: “Finally, please learn to apply the law of attraction internationally to your daily life, because you are your self-programmer. I did this from childhood long before I knew the philosophy existed and it worked. The Secret by Rhonda Byrne and The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho are good books to read for free on the net. Unambiguous determination sets in motion a series of events that would work in your favour and I would love to practice this with you all. So let us leave the fears and tears of 2023 and intentionally seek a prosperous 2024.”