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ADC is Nigeria’s flagship party today, says Nwosu

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Photo Credit; rockcityfmradio

National Chairman of the African Democratic Congress (ADC), Chief Ralphs Okey Nwosu, speaks on the state of the party and how its fusion with former President Olusegun Obasanjo’s Coalition for Nigerian Movement (CNM) has affected the party’s electoral chances and membership. Godwin Ijediogor reports.

Has the alliance with former President Olusegun Obasanjo’s Coalition for Nigerian Movement (CNM) improved the electoral power and fortunes of the African Democratic Congress (ADC)? If yes, how?

I will answer you in two ways. ADC did not discuss alliance with former President Olusegun Obasanjo’s group. So, there is nothing like alliance.

The group coalesced or fused into ADC.

The CNM is a coalition of eminent Nigerians who feel strongly about the despicable state of the nation and quality of governance of the Muhammadu Buhari administration.

They rose up following the letter written by Obasanjo.

These people include youths, politicians, women, professionals, religious clerics, students, market women, traders and artisan.

I happened to have joined the movement from the inception. So, I am a member of the CNM, Nigerian Intervention Movement (NIM) and Nigeria Arise.

The movement is like a powerhouse. If you were part of us, you will see that influx of members took place in stages.

First, when Obasanjo wrote his letter and second, when former military President, Gen. Ibrahim Babangida (rtd)’s letter came out.

Then, when Gen. Theophilus Danjuma (rtd) spoke out at a graduation ceremony.

The movements gained resurgence at the various times when Bishop Matthew Kukah, eminent religious and traditional leaders spoke out.

When Gen. Yakubu Gowon (rtd) and Chief Emeka Anyaoku spoke, another cream of personality joined CNM.

If I am to do a graph, I can show the surges at each point.

However, the story about who and who took action when our country was dragged to the lowest ebb by some All Progressives Congress (APC) egomaniacs will be well chronicled for history.

I am giving this synopsis to make you see the enormity of the various movements, especially CNM and Nigeria Arise.

So, in coalescing with ADC, the party experienced a major boost. Apart from CNM declaration for ADC, membership has continued to soar.

The missives and speeches of these eminent statesmen and leaders have served as a call to action to salvage the nation.

All over the nation, ADC is welcoming members in droves at the ward levels. Today, we have all the local government council offices in place. However, this is a call to action and not about persons or personalities.

In one of my interviews, I summarised it that ADC, the struggling corner-shop political party, has become a national supermarket of choice.

But I do not mean Shoprite or Wal-Mart. Our God is awesome. I am happy; Nigeria is very sick and Nigerians have assembled together to get back the soul of their nation.

Do you think this has made ADC the Third Force or the third or fourth largest political party in the country? Do you see ADC making inroads in the next election?

I do not understand what you mean by making ADC Third Force.

The new ADC is a response to the clarion call made by all the former leaders of the country, eminent statesmen, religious and traditional leaders and retired military and security top notches.

Which party is so populated and which party has ever come together in Nigeria as a result of the men and women taking action in an ever-worsening political environment in Nigeria.

So, ADC is in every sense the Number One movement in Nigeria today. Do not see the current happening in the light of politicians coming together to take power as the catalysts of the ADC surge.

Obasanjo, Babangida, Danjuma, Kukah, the numerous religious and traditional leaders and other statesmen, whose concerns and actions helped catalyse the movement and the need for a new way and a new purpose-driven party with values.

These are not an assembly of power-seeking politicians, and they truly seek no political office.

So, ADC is not a gang up political action. I would rather imagine you asked why ADC was chosen.

And I will say again, you go and ask the people who made the choice. Although Obasanjo spoke extensively about the choice of ADC, I will encourage you do conduct further inquiry.

What I can tell you is that even at its formation, ADC desired to maintain a status as the continental model.

These leaders conducted their own due diligence and resolved that our democracy and political party systems needed a model to help stabilise the polity.

The ADC had had some prominent Nigerians in its fold in the past, who later abandoned the party when they couldn’t realise their political ambitions on its platform and joined bigger parties. How would this current alliance be different?

When we founded the ADC, one of the first persons we approached in 2006 was Buhari. I do not want to say what happened.

However, his organisation copied parts of our constitution, manifestoes, and slogans to form their own party, Congress for Progressive Change (CPC), which later fused with Action Congress of Nigeria (CAN) to form APC.

They also copied from our charter statement the Change we advocate. It may be easy to copy, but the implementation is key.

Leading change requires thoughtfulness, effective leadership and efficient management and not propaganda.

Yes, I got Prof Pat Utomi to run for president in ADC in 2007. Pat is a good guy and I am sure his spirit is still ADC.

The convoluted Nigerian system, at times, distracts good people. He will still find his root.

Building from the scratch may not be the fine art of many people.

This is understandable. Many of our people are still with us and I am sure that in spite of some allures with which the APC government are trying to entice some persons with, at the appropriate time, very decent persons who are part of the political process will find their way to where they belong.

It will not be too far.

You cannot defend the indefensible. The stench, killings, nepotism, cluelessness, arrogance and desecration of institutions and corruption cannot be swept away even with the longest broom in this world.

There is no future for Nigeria under APC.

You recently said you have been courted and induced since the merger with the Obasanjo group. Can you throw more light on this?

I am a political missionary and a nation builder. I do not want to be distracted by some of the antics that are manifest in our current systems.

I guess what has happened so far between me and any persons should serve as a signpost to everyone that I cannot be compromised as far as the Nigeria project is concerned.

How are you sure the party won’t be hijacked by the joiners and the original ADC left to play the second fiddle?

The Nigerian space is what systems scholars will describe as complicated, complex and fluid.

Look at what has happened to APC and to some extent, PDP.

You can see very clearly how opportunism, opportunists and opportunistic tendencies interact in any ecosystem that is not well framed.

I have seen such tendencies before and now. Lessons learnt will help us as we midwife this process.

In many ways, ADC is different from the APC and PDP, which did not get sufficient grounding in their quest for power.

We have existed for 12 years and we have solid front stage and back stage persons that are very resilient.

Builders in ADC do not think about hijackers, because we are resolved in our ways and our ethical compass is solidly framed in edifying values.

ADC members will make the process of integration seamless.

I, for one, do not need to be national chairman to grow ADC to become the continental flagship we set out to build in the first place in government and outside.

But truthfully, a lot of persons have approached me and many of our party leaders to try to manipulate the process.

I always tell them to go and build the party first in their constituencies.

Some approached us with a list of executives from wards to entire states. I have warned them that the party is a public trust and cannot be a campaign machinery for any individual person.

Are you not wary that divisions might emerge when it is time to pick candidates and how are you going to forestall that?

Nigeria will have only one president at a time, just like all the 36 states will have one governor each at a time.

All the constituencies will only have one member, representative or senator at a time.

Also local government and wards will have one chairman and councilor at any one time.

People contesting for any election must have that mindset.

So, the important thing is to have a quality transparent nomination and primary processes.

This will make people able to accept the outcome of the process.

The problem with many of the other troubled parties is that they build structures around individuals and some people feel they must dictate who becomes what in their bedroom.

Structures of individuals and aspirants must be different from the party’s, and until such a time when such individuals have become party candidates, it remains like that.

Everything must have a process for a system that is built to last.

How do you react to the belief that Obasanjo has lost so much clout and political influence across the country and his joining forces with ADC might be of little significance?

Do you believe ADC would lose without the Obasanjo factor?

How do you expect me to answer such a question; it is demeaning.

A former President of the country with 200 million persons losing clout after being in office eight years?

A former military head of state, who midwifed the Second Republic and handed over power to a civilian President in 1979? A retired and brilliant General, educationist and top grade farmer?

Obasanjo, an international personality and currently the Chairman of the Conference of former World Presidents and Leaders does not have clout to impact change in his own country?

Obasanjo influences peace and government and political actions across the continent and globally. He is not a lone ranger; he is a consensus builder.

He consults widely. Unlike many, he goes into action to accomplish the collective will of well-meaning stakeholders and peoples.

ADC will not only win the presidential election, but will have minimally 30 governors sworn in on May 29, next year.

You can bet on that. ADC will begin the process of leading and repositioning Nigeria as a continental and global player in less than one year to come.

What do you make of the frequent movement of politicians from one party to another, especially to the ruling or bigger parties, in the bid to realise their ambitions?

It is better than taking the old path of changing government through a military coup.

Democracies evolve in different ways. If ours is taking this present course, it is well.

The institutions will experience the roughs and tumbles that systems go through that make for adaptability, sustainability and strength.

So, no shaking.

The national and state assemblies are growing so long we have democracy in practice. When they mature, they will help in stabilising our democracy.

Don’t you think there are too many “briefcase” political parties in the country, most unable to record any electoral victories years after their emergence?

How can the number be streamlined and made less unwieldy for the electoral umpire and even the electorate?

There is nothing like a ‘briefcase’ political party. Our political systems are still emerging.

Nation building is complex and not easy and has no particular formula. Some of the small parties have more depth than the ruling parties of today.

I have been a leader of the CNN, a rainbow coalition of 35 political parties.

I have also dealt with leaders of the so-called big parties, so I know their contents and depth.

APC or PDP as political parties, other than forming government, what do they represent and how effectively do they represent the window to Nigeria democracy, politics and governance?

Remove the fact that you, as a person, have always known me and what I represent.

Many people have at different times regarded ADC as a small and irrelevant party.

Even when Utomi ran for president, people asked him what he was doing with a small party.

Today, it is the flagship party in the country.

Twenty-four different organisations have joined and ever since Obasanjo’s world press conference adopting ADC, all the other parties have more or less become skeletons.

As I speak, close to half the memberships of Social Democratic Party (SDP), PDP, APC have joined our structures at different levels.

Forget the shenanigans. Immediately after the Eid and Ramadan, we shall be launching our structures from wards, local governments, states and national, big offices paid for and equipped by ordinary persons.

Many people have signed our code of conduct and believe in the philosophy of ADC.

The leaders of some of these parties are floating on top.

Wait till election comes, you will see the magic of Babangida’s letter, Danjuma convocation speech and global shuttles and tsunami of the strategic planning and execution by Obasanjo and many others.


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