Olubankole Wellington, also known as Banky W, on Saturday declared his intention to contest for the House of Representatives in 2019.
The entertainer is currently seeking to represent Eti-Osa local government area in Lagos on the platform of the Modern Democratic Party (MDP).
Read his full speech below.
Good evening Ladies and Gentlemen… my name is Olubankole Wellington.
I’d like to start by saying a very special thank you to who is to me, on the inside and out, the most beautiful and incredible person in the world.. my wife, Mrs Adesua Etomi-Wellington.
For myself, and the team behind this MDP movement – the Modern Democratic Party, I can honestly say, that tonight is a dream come true. I’ve seen that happen many times, you know? I’ve seen dreams come true; and it’s amazing everytime. I am, infact, living proof, that the unlikeliest of dreams can indeed come true.
In 1981, I was born to a father from Lagos, and a mother from Cross Rivers – both of whom struggled and were it not for the Grace of God, had no business receiving University educations abroad. My Dad was an orphan, who was shuffled from relative to relative, and depended largely on a combination of street smarts, book smarts, and athletic abilities, to put himself through school, using a combination of scholarships, student loans, and multiple part time jobs.
My mother’s story was not much different… born in Calabar, to a single mom, she was sent off to live with her relatives in Lagos. Through her belief in God, a lot of hard work, and sheer force of will, following her secondary education, she too earned and worked her way through University.
Neither of them grew up in particularly fortunate circumstances… but they held on to a set of beliefs that I have since inherited… we believe that what you lack in wealth, privilege and connections, you can make up for with hope, hard work, and determination. My parents taught me that if you believe in God, believe in yourself, never give up hope and work hard, dreams that seem impossible, CAN indeed come true.
In 1985, our family returned to Lagos. Like most families with a limited income, sacrifices had to be made. My parents realized at that time, that they couldn’t afford to rent a nice flat AND send us to a good school at the same time – it would be one or the other. And so we attended Corona Primary school in Ikoyi, while we lived on the ground floor flat of a sinking building in Akoka, Yaba. We were classmates with children of the rich by day, and playmates with children of the street by night. I remember during the peak of the raining seasons, our flat would literally get flooded and come up to about the knee level, and so Momsie would wake us up early to scoop water in buckets out of our home, before heading off to school and work.
But I went from Corona Primary school to Home Science Secondary school, and in 1999, just like my parents did, I gained admission into a University in the USA that the family really could not afford. But again, just like my parents did… by the grace of God, I used a combination of scholarships, student loans, and every job under the sun that you can imagine.. to put myself through school. It took focus, prayers, a lot of hard work – everything from working in Mcdonald’s restaurant, to at one point being a door to door knives salesman – and a whole lot of hope. That courage to Hope in spite of circumstances is what helped me earn a Bachelor’s Degree from one of the top Engineering schools in the USA.
Hope is what my best friend and I held on to in 2002, when we were crazy enough to start a record label in my University Dorm Room. We had no idea what we were doing, or what it would take… we didn’t know one single person in the music business home or abroad… but that’s kind of what hope and faith is all about, isn’t it? It’s about taking that first step even when you don’t see the entire ladder, or where it leads. You dream big but you start small, and you never let small minds convince you that your dreams are too big.
It’s incredible what can be achieved with a dream, the willingness to work hard, and the courage to hold on to hope in spite of the odds. I’ve seen rock bottom create champions. I’ve seen grass watered until it becomes known as grace. “Hope” is almost always the common denominator. Hope is what helped a former househelp/plantain seller and a kid born blind at birth become 2 of the most internationally acclaimed and successful Music Producers, from this same Nigeria. Hope is what convinced 2 young Nigerians that they could take a company that at one point, wasn’t worth the paper it was registered on, and build it into one of the foremost Media and Entertainment Empires in the country. Hope is what convinced me that a scrawny little kid from Ojuelegba Shitta could one day become the biggest Artist on the African continent. Hope is what has helped me through 3 separate battles with skin cancer.
And to me, that’s what tonight is all about… it’s about this generation having the courage to hope again, and the will to work towards making our dreams for Nigeria, a reality. That’s what we are attempting to do with MDP – the Modern Democratic Party.
You see, subconsciously, we’ve kind of given up, haven’t we? As a generation, we have essentially accepted that things will never change. We’ve lost hope. It’s why more people vote in Big Brother Africa than in our General Elections. It’s why most of us are too busy to register for a PVC, but we’ll stand in line for days at the VISA Center – further proof that nowadays, for the average citizen, the ultimate Nigerian Dream is the one in which you get to escape Nigeria.
For many years, I’ve been a vocal critic of leadership and bad governance in Nigeria, and a vocal proponent of young people participating in the political process. And yet, the turn out is never good enough, because we simply just don’t care enough to do what it takes.
I realized that all my years of Activism in Nigeria, didn’t amount to much more than my plight as an Arsenal fan. You see, as Arsenal fans, we love our club, but we knew it was time for change. We complained, we tweeted, we held up banners at the stadium, we shouted and hashtagged for many years. But until the people who were a part of the system – the board, the shareholders, the executives etc – until THEY decided that it was time for change, all of that noise would not have amounted to anything. Our former coach could have remained in that position until the day that he died.. and there’s not a damn thing any of us could have done about it.
The same can be said for Nigeria. Until the day that we decide as a generation, to get involved with the affairs of our country, nothing will EVER really change. The time has come for us to play our part. We can no longer afford to remain mere spectators. Getting a voter’s card alone is no longer enough; because that does not give you a say in putting up the kind of candidates that you believe in. We must take things one step further by building a new political platform for this generation. One that is not built for selfish interests.. but one that is built off of a shared vision and ideals. One that will put up the right kind of candidates: people with Integrity, the right intentions and the intellectual capacity to lead. People with vision and the ability to execute.
Make no mistake, WE ARE a generation in a battle for the soul and direction of our country, BUT we ARE stuck in a lose-lose situation. But when you’re in a lose-lose situation, you don’t pick sides. You change the situation. It’s time for us to do that. It’s time for us to hope and believe again. It’s time for us to work and build.
25 years ago, the majority of Nigerians overwhelmingly bought into a vision called “Hope ‘93”. We had the freest and fairest elections in our Nation’s history, and elected a great man called MKO Abiola into the Presidency. May his soul rest in peace, and his sacrifice not be in vain. Our Country’s trajectory might have been very different, had he been allowed to live and assume his rightful position.
Back then, it didn’t even matter that he fielded an all Muslim ticket… because poverty, lack, and suffering do not discriminate. Unemployment, lack of infrastructure, a declining educational system, poor healthcare, gender inequality… these are issues all Nigerians are struggling with whether we are Christian, Muslim, or Atheist… Yoruba or Igbo, Hausa or Ijaw, Edo or Delta, Efik or kanuri.
Our generation does not really believe in the existing powers that be on both sides of the divide.. and for good reason. We have been taken advantage of and lied to.. we are tired and disenfranchised. We are frustrated and suspicious. We don’t believe in our current political options, so it’s time for us to build our own. We want a seat at the table of Governance in Nigeria, but we must bring our own chair. Because if we are to get in to leadership, it MUST be on our own terms and conditions, with our own vision and set of ideals… otherwise we risk being marginalized and handcuffed by the same systems we are criticizing.
And this vision is for beyond 2019, and for more than just the office of the President. It’s about every electable office in this country. We must start now to build a movement towards 2023 and beyond, otherwise, in every election we will find ourselves in this exact same spot.
We want to fix Nigeria, but we must begin by rebuilding our communities. Everybody seems so obsessed with the Presidential race – it’s one of the most frequent suggestions I get – “Banky W, run for President”. But see, like I said earlier, I do believe in dreaming big, but I believe in starting small, and working your way up. Hope is what we needed in ’93. 25 years later, hope is what we’ll need in 2019. And it is with the greatest sense of humility, purpose and destiny, that I announce my candidacy for the 2019 Federal House of Representatives, in the Eti Osa constituency of Lagos State.
I have spent the majority of my life in Eti-Osa. It is where I went to Primary school and part of Secondary School. It is where I have built my home, and my business; it is where I plan to spend the rest of my life, with my wife and the children I pray God blesses us with. Most of the friends I have, most of the businesses I admire, and even most of the businesses that inspire our entire country are based here.
The economy of Eti Osa is central to the Nigerian Economy, with a GDP contribution that dwarfs several states combined. And yet in spite of all this, it’s no longer a secret that much like Nigeria at large, the people in our neighborhoods are yearning for better representation, across local, state, and federal levels. Eti-Osa is infact, a microcosm of Nigeria as a whole. It is home to people from various backgrounds… it is home to the Market women in Ajah, the billionaires in Banana Island, the creatives living in Lekki, and the multicultural ethnicities in Obalende.
We have people from various tribes and tongues, people from all walks of life.. extreme wealth, and extreme poverty. There are things that we should be proud of, and there are plenty areas for improvement. This is the headquarters of Corporate Nigeria, a model that has continued to encourage investors both local and foreign to sow into our country. And yet we still have residents who cannot afford 3 square meals a day.
Everyone knows that we have generated trillions of Naira at our toll gates, yet we still have potholes. We have the very best and worst of education in our school system and the same could be said of the healthcare in our hospitals. However this is not the time to point fingers and accuse.
It is the time for all our leaders and citizens to come together, across party lines, and work with each other to love, rescue and rebuild our society. If Nigeria is to work as a country.. then Eti Osa must first work as a community. We must team up, with each of us playing our part, to make this the most desirable local Government in the country, and that will inspire others to do the same.
My legislative agenda and detailed manifesto will be shared on my website, and I encourage you to please take a look at it in the coming weeks and engage me on the issues of job creation, gender equality, youth inclusion and empowerment, affordable healthcare, and education. I would love to hear from my constituents, current leaders in Government, regardless of background or affiliation – we can do this, if we do it together. That is how we can fix Nigeria, one community at a time.
Our generation needs a realistic rallying point. We need to begin in community, earn our way into the system and up the ladder. We need someone to stick their neck out and pave the way. The problem is that we’ve always looked only to our leaders for change… instead of looking in the mirror and at the neighbors around us. Isn’t it ironic that we are the ones we’ve been waiting for all along?
I have shared this vision with quite a few people. Some have been incredibly supportive, but some have advised against it. I am under no illusions that this run will be easy. Considering the machines we are going up against, some THINK it is impossible.
They said we don’t have the money to run.. we say we our strength lies in our numbers. They said we don’t have the structure, we say we will attempt to build it. They said “what if you lose”? I say, what if we win?
You see, my entire life has been a story of just dreaming dreams, praying about those dreams, setting goals, and working until they come true. I can live with trying and failing. I can not live with not trying.
So while we may not have a godfather, we do have God. And we have vision. And intellectual capacity. And integrity. And the right intentions. And last but not least, a whole lot of hope.
At the end of the day, hope may be all we have, but I believe that it is all we need. Thank you and God bless Nigeria.
Akpabio vows to crush Emmanuel
Godswill Akpabio, the former governor of Akwa Ibom State on Sunday vowed to crush the incumbent governor in the 2019 elections. He stated that he brought Emmanuel Udom from Lagos and installed him as Governor of the state.
Akpabio further disclosed that Emmanuel Udom never had a membership card of any political party neither had he contested for any election on his own, before he (Akpabio) picked him up from Lagos and made him Governor.
Daily Post reported that the former Senate Minority Leader who said the All Progressives Congress, APC, would record a landslide victory in the general elections in the State, added;
“I was shocked that Emmanuel whom I brought from Lagos and installed as a Governor even though he was not a member of the party on whose platform he stood election and become Governor, could call a world press conference to insult me.
He said, ‘’the electorate in the state would reciprocate the kind gesture of Mr President Buhari by voting massively for him and all candidates of the APC in the state.’’
Akpabio who took a swipe at Governor Emmanuel over what he described as hypocritical campaign slogan tagged “only God”, said God cannot be mocked, noting that;
“Only God could have made it possible to make someone who was never a party member to become a governor.
“Only God could have made somebody who has never had a party card or know what is called ward to become a governor.
“Only God could have made someone who could not have stood election on his own even as a Councilor and win to be brought from somewhere and made Governor.
”Only God could have made a man who has never helped anyone to become anything to become governor.”
Buhari to meet APC NWC
President Muhammadu Buhari may meet All Progressives Congress (APC) National Chairman Adams Oshiomhole and members of the party’s National Working Committee (NWC) this week over the campaign for next year’s poll.
The meeting may also review reconciliation efforts to pacify aggrieved members.
The President has banned public officers and agencies from contributing to his campaign.
There are indications, however, that most leaders prefer the beginning of marathon rallies from January.
Other support groups can, however, engage in various campaigns nationwide.
The NWC wrote President Buhari before his trip to Poland for an audience to firm up campaign modalities.
A presidency source said: “Mr President will soon kick off his campaign after consultations with the party. The NWC actually wrote to seek an audience with him on some issues.
“These issues are campaign modalities, determining the kick-off date, outcome of the reconciliation efforts and how to ensure victory at the poll. Do not forget that the party gave the six reconciliation panels a two-week deadline to complete their assignment.
“The President promised to meet with the NWC after his trip to Poland. So, the session may hold this week.”
Responding to a question, the source added: “ Buhari does not want public funds diverted to his campaign. He has warned public officers, ministries, departments and agencies against contributing to his campaign.
“ The President is determined to end the practice of diverting funds meant for projects to the campaign. Certainly, the 2019 poll will be based on character and the achievements of this administration.
“Government officers and heads of agencies who plan to fiddle with public funds for the campaign will have themselves to blame.”
Most APC leaders prefer January for campaign shuttles in order not to disrupt the Christmas session.
Some leaders also advised the President to lay the 2019 Budget before embarking on the campaign.
Donald trump nominates Heather Nauert as UN envoy
The President of the United States,Donald Trump has announced that the spokeswoman for the State Department and former Fox TV news anchor Heather Nauert Friday will be the new ambassador to the United Nations.
Trump told reporters that Nauert, who is going to be Nikki Haley’s sucessor, had done well at the State Department by all,” Trump said.
He further added that Nauert through her hard work and diligence has proved beyond doubt that she is worthy of the office.Haley,the incumbent ambassador announced who had also served as the governor of South Carolina has decided to step down to pursue her political dreams.
Nauert — a former anchor of “Fox and Friends,” among the television-loving Trump’s favorite shows — is the spokeswoman of the State Department despite the fact that she lacks foreign policy experience.
Unlike her predecessor , Nauert is not expected to have cabinet status,which means that foreign policy decisions will remain firmly with Trump’s hawkish national security advisor John Bolton, and Nauert’s current boss, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo.
This recommendation would have to go through the senate and it is likely to come to fruition and gain support since the republicans enjoy majority in the house.
Israel, a very close ally has shown their support for the new change, they hope to continue to enjoy the support of the United States in the UN Security Council.
“Ms. Nauert has stood by the State of Israel in her previous positions, and I have no doubt that the cooperation between our two countries will continue to strengthen as ambassador to the UN,” Israel’s ambassador to the United Nations, Danny Danon, said in a statement.
Haley, in what could be a final diplomatic push, on Thursday failed in a bid for the UN General Assembly to condemn the Palestinian Islamist movement Hamas for firing rockets at Israel.
But for the United States, the vote also succeeded in reaffirming its stance that the United Nations is biased against Israel.
Court sacks APC exco
The Anambra State Executive Committee (SEC) of the All Progressives Congress (APC), led by Emeka Ibe, has been sacked by a Federal High Court. But in a statement, yesterday in Awka, the state capital, by the State Publicity Secretary, Okelo Madukaife, the party said there was no cause for alarm.
The sack followed a suit filed by one of the state chairmanship contestants in the party’s congress in May, Mr Onyi Uzochukwu.
The plaintiff said Ibe was not properly nominated during the Congress.
He prayed the court to nullify the Congress and call for a fresh one.
Delivering judgment yesterday, Justice I. B. Gafai nullified the congress and ordered for a fresh one.
But the party said the court judgment had not been served on any of the sacked persons.
The statement said: “Our attention has been drawn to reports in some sections of the media to the effect that the Anambra State Executive of APC has been dissolved by a Federal High Court sitting in Awka.
“Our State Executive has not been served with any court process in any High Court matter relating to any subject around our mandate duly conferred on May 19…
“However, given our status as a party of the rule of law and due process, we shall, if and when we are served with such a process and judgment, study it properly with a view to doing the needful on it, within the hierarchy of laws and courts in Nigeria.
“For now, there is no shaking, as we remain in our duty post with three years and a half to complete our tenure.
“In the interim, our Executive remain intact, properly constituted and within the due discharge of its duties in our great party.”
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