The All Progressives Congress (APC) has assured Nigerians that this will be their last Christmas celebration under the bondage of insecurity, corruption, unemployment, widespread hopelessness and poor leadership.

In a Christmas message to Nigerians, contained in a statement issued in Abuja on Wednesday by its National Publicity Secretary, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, the party said hope is in the horizon for the millions of Nigerians who could not celebrate this year due to the prevailing gloomy atmosphere across the land.

“Many cannot travel home due to fears of kidnapping, ethno-religious crisis and insurgency, depending on which part of the country they are from. Many cannot celebrate due to the effects of the economic downturn, as manifested in weakening Naira and falling oil prices, both exacerbated by widespread corruption.

“Many will mark the holidays in darkness as the country’s public power supply seems to have fallen in a direct proportion to the huge funds ostensibly pumped into the sector in the past few years. Many will be stuck on the roads that have become clogged due to their poor state.

“While there is no magic wand to solve the myriad of problems facing our country in one fell swoop, an APC government will begin to positively impact on the citizenry within its first few months at the helm, to such an extent that Nigerians will have a better Christmas celebration in 2015,” it said.

APC said Nigerians hold the power to bringing about the much-needed change, hence they should vote wisely during the February 2015 general elections so they can install a government that will address, squarely, the challenges facing the country.

“We have, through our manifesto, entered into a honest social contract with Nigerians. But we are aware that we cannot do it alone, hence we need the consent and participation of the people.

“Our eight pledges for a better Nigeria, which are highlights of our manifesto, form the core of our social contract with Nigeria. During our first term in office, we pledge to create 3 million new jobs a year through public works programmes and by shifting the economy towards value-added production will be our primary economic target; we will strengthen security by employing at least an extra 100,000 police officers and establishing a properly-trained and equipped Federal Anti-Terrorism Multi- Agency Task Force to destroy Boko Haram and any form of insurgency. We will also introduce an immediate pay rise and improved conditions for all five security services.

“To fight corruption, the cankerworm that has eaten deep into the fabric of our society, we will adopt a zero-tolerance approach to the vice – rooting out dishonest public servants and imposing tough sanctions including jail sentences.

“To position our youth for better job opportunities, we will provide interest-free loans for university/technical school students who meet the required entry qualifications, and this will be funded by providing guarantees to the banking sector and by absorbing the interest. Also, we will introduce a free daily school meal for all children attending primary school.

“As a first phase to battling poverty, we will introduce direct conditional monthly social security payment for 25 million of the poorest Nigerians. To ensure a more healthy society, we will create a network of local health centres providing free services and drugs, such that no one lives more than 5km from help. And will will create a more equitable distribution of national revenue to the States and local governments because this is where grassroots democracy and economic development must be established.

“We know that for our long suffering people, hope springs eternal. We urge them to continue to keep that hope alive, because help is on the way,” the party said.

Meanwhile, the APC has also sent fraternal holiday greetings to all the men and women in uniform, who are battling the insurgency that has held the nation by the jugular.

The party said the huge sacrifices being made by these gallant men and women, for the love of country, are very much appreciated and will not go unrewarded.

“We greet our soldiers and indeed all security agents whose sacrifices keep us safe. We know they will be on duty as many of us celebrate and enjoy the holidays. We urge all Nigerians to remember them in their prayers and to continue to support them in their onerous task of securing the nation,” it said.

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