Ahead of the 2023 general elections, prominent Nigerians have established a third force, Rescue Nigeria Project (RNP), to give Nigerians an alternative platform to the All Progressives Congress (APC) and the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).
Founders of RNP include former Chairman of Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Prof. Attahiru Jega; political economist, Prof. Pat Utomi; former Governor of Kwara State, Ahmed Abdulfatai; and former Governor of Cross River State, Donald Duke.
Others include Prof. Tunde Adeniran, Senator Lee Maeba, Usman Bugaje, Amb. Nkoyo Toyo, Yomi Awoniyi, Dr. Rose Idi Danladi and Dr. Sadiq Gombe.
Delivering his keynote address, Abdulfatai lamented the state of the nation, noting that the high level of nepotism and lack of inclusiveness gave rise to agitations from different ethnic groups.
He recalled that in 2015, Nigerians embraced change, adding that “today, that change appears to be what we didn’t expect, as insecurity has taken over the nation.
“It is based on this that we decided to set up this RNP. We want to salvage this country and see how we can fix the mess. We want to set a template and key criteria that leaders must have before they can attain any political position.” On his part, Adeniran said he foresaw disaster, hence the move to rescue the nation.
He said: “You only rescue when there is a disaster, and when you fail to rescue during the disaster, it is more dangerous. We have a disaster in our hands and we need to rescue the country. We need to look back and see how we get here. We know where Nigeria was before now. We know the task is not going to be easy, but we have to determine how to rescue the nation.”
In his opening remarks, the RNP national coordinator, Usman Bugaje, explained that the RNP was founded on the premise that the challenges bedeviling the country were largely derived from poor leadership.
Chiding the President Muhammadu Buhari-led government, Bugaje said, “when you reduce the problems of this country to what they are, ultimately, it all comes to leadership.”