(As delivered today by Acting NFP President, Semi Titoko)
I am very pleased that Lieutenant-Colonel Pio Tikoduadua has decided to join us. As he has said, we got to know each other well during the UN Roundtable process.
This was a man who, although he was loyal to the RFMF and its then Commander, could listen with respect to our opposing views. He could accept criticism and look for common ground.
He was never arrogant to us. He built trust with us and welcomed our ideas. If the Prime Minister had listened more to Pio and less to other people, Fiji would be a very different place now.
People should clearly understand that Lt-Col Tikoduadua is not an ordinary politician. Many Fiji First Party MPs are unhappy with the Government’s direction, but they stay silent. On the other hand, Lt-Col Tikoduadua gave up his position in 2015 as a matter of principle.
He gave up his Ministerial and Parliamentary salaries. perks and privileges. Very few politicians would make such a sacrifice. We welcome Lt-Col Tikoduadua and his supporters to our party. We are proud that they have chosen to join us.
In next year’s general elections, NFP will put before the people of Fiji a strong line-up of candidates. These will be people who are well known in the community and who have the deep skills and experience required to work in the next Government. We intend to make the next election a serious contest for the people’s votes. We will be making further announcements in the weeks and months ahead about new people, new policies and our vision for the future.
We are inviting everyone to join us – as party members, candidates, volunteers or supporters – to help to change Fiji for the better. We believe that for NFP the best is yet to come.
Professor Biman Prasad