Dear Friends,

Welcome! In the ADC tradition, I extend my hand for a warm handshake. To us in ADC, the handshake is not just a party symbol but a tradition laden with meaning. It is about who we are and what we desire to make of our society. It represents relationships of the heart, mind and soul, associations that are warm, respectful, truthful and just, that reflect our common humanity.

Some years ago there was a news report claiming that Nigerians were the happiest people on earth. Many will agree with me that we can no longer claim that position. There is unhappiness and suffering all over the country. Nigeria seems unable to protect and provide for its citizens, and has lost respect in the international space. The levels of poverty, unemployment and insecurity are unprecedented, insurgents, bandits and ethnic militia hold sway, and corruption amongst government officials remains the norm. Democracy has not yielded the much longed-for dividends, instead we have infrastructural decay, system collapse and a state of hopelessness and chaos. The prevailing political culture is very troubling. Access to elected leadership positions is based on vote-buying, cheating and/or violence. The level to which things have degenerated has led many to question the suitability of the democratic system of government to lead the country into the future.

Two political parties have for the last 22 years been responsible for shaping the democratic trajectory of the nation, and the outcome of their tenures is plain for all to see. One of the parties is accused of sponsoring terrorism; the other has been labelled as the seat of corruption. Ideologically there is no distinction; members have crossed carpet so often that the two parties seem to have morphed into one and can aptly be described as two sides of the same coin. The membership of these parties have become so audacious and unaccountable that they can hardly be said to represent anything democratic. Political leaders and elected officials live in opulence on stolen wealth and estates amassed while in office, and apply the same wealth to sponsor the violence that keeps them in office. The result is a crisis of leadership and dearth of statesmen and women to mentor, guide and inspire the younger generation.

The push to build an alternative political platform started in 2004 when it became clear to some of us that the continuing corruption, indiscipline and usurpation of power within the political corridors cannot sustain our democracy and deliver a better nation. The African Democratic Congress ADC was formally registered in 2006 with the clear intention to be a purposive, forward looking, progressive and value driven party vehicle. The concept of the ADC-DNA was developed to articulate these values and inspire collective action.

1. We practice disciplined and responsible membership.
2. We practice radical transparency.
3. We practice endurance. We would practice good goevernance that is transparent, accountable and responsible
4. We challenge the status quo with creative thoughts, new ideas and sound principles
5. We shake hands, promote inclusion and tap into the power of all.

The ideological position of ADC can be best described as ECLECTIC PRAGMATISM. Eclectic in the sense that we refuse to be slaves to any one school of thought; rather we critically examine a range of doctrines and select those that promise to advance our development goals. Pragmatism, in the sense that we adopt practical approaches to solving our problems. ADC is guided by our values and ethical compass and driven by the aspirations of economic growth based on production, entrepreneurship and free market, social justice and the dignity of every human person.

The '23+20 ADC strategic compass is hinged on our vision and mission statements.
Vision: "Consolidating Nigeria's democracy beyond (flawed) elections and political theatrics to super power economic development, just and resilient institutions, systems and processes and an egalitarian society.”
Mission: To get the Nigeria people working with purpose and commitment and ensure we use our diversity to optimize outcomes.

The ADC MainstreamMax (Mmax) is a component of our strategic compass which aims to build an inclusive, pro-people platform that is member owned and driven. One of the objectives of MMax is to mainstream women, youth and people with disabilities into the democratic process and ensure that they are well represented within State and National Assemblies and Executive Councils. We have signed a commitment to work towards having women as 35% of our party aspirants for various positions, and youth as 35%. We recognize the significance of the Nigeria diaspora and have formed the ADC Diaspora Network as the seventh zone. Diasporans will have representation in government and be part of all policy making organs of the party, just like the other six geopolitical zonal structures. One of our ADC mantras is that for good governance and a strong country, no one should be left behind.

The last 16 years have been tough. As change leaders we never expected it to be easy. In line with our DNA, our members have made sacrifices, volunteered their time and creativity and have shown courage, resilience and endurance. Some may consider us slow, but we are willing to soldier on until our country evolves the democratic leadership culture that is required for responsible nation-building. ADC has produced Senators, Members of the Federal House of Representatives, and State Legislators. At the moments we have over 25 elected counsellors in Oyo state. We have won elections in each of the six zones of the federation, although the few we won in the South East and North West were denied by compromised electoral agency officials and tribunals. We could have won more, including Executive Governor seats, but the culture has been disabling. We have however learnt a lot and we believe that we are on the path towards securing more seats and building a critical mass that can give Nigeria a new lease of life.

Today the cries of “No PDP, No APC” echo loudly from every of the 774 LGAs and 36 states including the FCT. Sooner or later something must give way. True, the people are hungry. Many have lost interest because they believe the system is too heavily rigged for their actions to make a difference. Political incumbents have so much money; they use the public treasury at will to advance their personal agenda. The security forces and government agencies feel beholden to the incumbents and grant them undue privilege. Even the electoral agency and the judiciary officials can be blackmailed or violated by the powers that be. They do all they can to frustrate, discredit and cripple any opposition and block the channels through which opposing parties receive support. They discredit democracy and disenfranchise the people because of their greed. So many obstacles stand in the way of a party that is well intentioned like ours.

The current state of our politics is a source of deep concern to true democratic lovers. Democracy as a brand must be protected and human rights should be preserved. The challenges are real but Nigerians must stand up for what they want. Winning requires good people working in alliance. ADC has been at the forefront of several alliances built amongst political parties over the last 12 years. With our tradition of a warm handshake, we welcome new members, collaborators and allies wholeheartedly and are always willing to make concessions to accommodate varied interests for the good of all. We invite all well-meaning groups, individuals and patriots to come along with us and join us to chorus “Arise and Shine Nigeria”. For those who may be losing faith in the political process, be assured that we shall remain very accountable. We need your support.

The weaknesses in the nation's political fabric have resulted from many years of corruption, highhandedness, injustices and hypocrisy. We need to learn a new way of doing politics if we are to make a difference. In spite of our lean purse, we place high premium on leadership development. ADC is a leadership development organisation and a learning platform. The ADC national office is nicknamed ADC Global Campus; each state office is an Academy and the LGA and Ward offices are designated as ADC Learning Centres. We run regular Ready-to-Serve Clinics and outreach programs designed to build leadership skills in our members and supporters. Whatever your profession: a doctor, or lawyer, a sports personality, entrepreneur, trader, or mechanic, you have values to offer. You can volunteer your services, skills or time to serve and empower others, to inspire, guide and mentor colleagues and younger people. The ADC way, is that we all get involved.

As a missionary in politics and nation building, I invite you to join us. Let's Go to Work: to salvage our constituencies, states and country; to empower our people; to create a model for all. With ADC, each of us is a handshake away from fulfilling a destiny call to serve the cause of democracy, to work for people, country and humanity. Come and participate in this transformative political process as we build the most dynamic, people centred, progressive, and transformative political organization in Nigeria. You belong with us.

ADC!!! Arise and Shine Nigeria.

Ralphs Okey Nwosu,
National Chairman, ADC