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‘ADC not only among three largest parties, but most credible alternative’

By Godwin Ijediogor
07 July 2022   |   4:02 am
The good thing is that we had a great presidential primary and national convention in Abeokuta that was second to none.

Chief Ralphs Nwosu

Chief Ralphs Okey Nwosu, National Chairman of the African Democratic Congress (ADC) spoke to GODWIN IJEDIOGOR, on his party’s strategy to win next year’s elections, among other issues.

How have the primaries, especially presidential, strengthened your party ahead of next year’s general elections?
The good thing is that we had a great presidential primary and national convention in Abeokuta that was second to none. The primaries went very well. It was challenging in many ways, but reassuring. Emerging as one of the major national parties in our present political atmosphere put enormous obligations on the national working committee members.

Considering our values and DNA, it has not been easy, because our members live in the same political environment with the poignant culture. The primaries tested our resolve and we scored well.

However, it will continue to be a work in progress for us. We have our audacious goals and our vision of a super power Nigeria within 20 years and our readiness to signpost wins from day one makes us the truly main party now.

The fact that in spite of paucity of funds, we have recorded phenomenal rise has been reassuring and enamoring. We are strengthened and very ready to show great capacity this election regime.

A former deputy governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Prof. Kingsley Moghalu, recently resigned his membership of your party after he lost presidential ticket to Dumebi Kachikwu, citing dissatisfaction with the process and conduct of the primary on June 8. What actually happened?
I have said I will not engage Prof. Moghalu; I still do not intend to do so. That remains the resolve of the National Working Committee (NWC). If he has conscience, I am sure he will retrace his steps. This is not the first time he lost in a contest.

Before the 2019 elections, some eminent persons tried to midwife a consensus arrangement amongst the many young technocrats and professionals in the race. Moghalu lost; hell broke loose. The same guy left YPP after flying its flag and losing in the general election. So, he bolted away from ADC after losing in the primary and you men of the media do not advise him.

In ADC, everything was okay, my leadership and our values until his convention loss, which happened on live television programme, with millions of people watching the entire process.

Anyone who cannot accept the verdict of a diversity of people, 2,050 delegates from 36 states of Nigeria and FCT, at least two persons from each of the 774 local government areas and across over 300 ethnicities in Nigeria, should re-examine his or her values.

It is preposterous for anyone to assume that ADC leaders took their convention to a historical venue – the Obasanjo Presidential Library’s Legacy Auditorium – to manipulate the process. With the heavy security and intelligence present at the venue, such a person should examine himself.

Trying to bring down our party or demean my person is very disingenuous of him. As a matter of fact, many of the candidates in the other parties and a few other aspirants decided not to come to ADC because they were wary of what he will do if he lost. And he is just proving those people right. Please no more comment.

I built my integrity ever before he dreamt of running for office. All the same, we have set up a committee to bring him and a few others back to reason and join hands with us to build a great party and country.

I acknowledge that Moghalu has values to add, but he must understand that leadership is not all about one person. The era of one big man and a super hero is gone and never really existed, but mere illusion. Nation building and political leadership is a collective thing and any good leader can lead from anywhere. Positional authority and power could be delusional.

On this Moghalu issue, Martin Luther Jnr. says, “There comes a time when one must take a position that is neither safe, nor politic, nor popular, but he must take it because conscience tells him it is right.”

Many Nigerians expected ADC to possibly become the third largest political party in the country before the 2019 general elections. Why has that not been possible?
ADC is the real force; we are beyond the Third Force now. If you do not believe we are, that is strange. ADC had 12 presidential aspirants, top technocrats, professionals and entrepreneurs. ADC had the best of diversity of contestants that included five females and one PWD (Person With Disability).

Three political parties held what will qualify as democratic primaries and national convention and despite the prevalent political culture, ADC came out first by any standard. The PDP and APC versions, with about 20 aspirants each, were like circus of absurdities. All the other political parties had a sole candidate, who simply paid them big money for their presidential tickets.

Our presidential primary and national convention were clear testimonials that ADC as a party has matured and is fully ready for any contest and the general election. Still, our desire to build a transformational party in Nigeria and our readiness to put in the work continues. We must continue adapting to stimulate progress, continuous improvement and organisational stability, sustainability and continuity. This is not propaganda, as INEC records of candidates have ADC as number one.

So, ADC is not only among the three largest parties in Nigeria, but the most credible alternative. We are ready and will win the 2023 general election. With his emergence as ADC’s presidential candidate, Dumebi Kachikwu as president after the general election is as sure as daylight. Forget what some sour losers are selling.

From your experience, do you think it is going to be easy or even possible for any other party, including ADC, to displace APC and PDP in the coming elections, despite the media hype?

Nigeria’s elites are incorrigible, very hypocritical. We want Nigeria to work, to develop and at the same time we harbour inside ourselves that the prevailing order cannot be uprooted. This means that people like me who left everything in the corporate world and fully vested in berthing a new Nigeria are foolish. Haba, you must retract this question and expunge it from your mind.

Nigerians everywhere – the youths, women, artisans and students – are tired of the two parties. Less than 10 per cent of Nigerians want any of the two to be in power beyond May next year. The enough-is-enough echo is so loud that I wonder why anyone will wish these two parties to continue in power.

A little experimentation of what is to come is Peter Obi leaving PDP. Again, Wike coughs and PDP has diarrhea. So, these small tips of what to come should wake people up. But for the fact that Labour and Obi showed apparent contempt and mistrust of the whole of Northern Nigeria in choosing to use Dr. Doyin Okupe as the vice president, his candidacy would have overtaken all the others. Nigerians are ready to do away with these two parties.

ADC has set up critical structures and people across the country believe in our organisation. Our presidential candidate may be the underdog or call him dark horse, but take it from me, ADC and Kachikwu will roar to victory. ADC targets at least 20 governorship slots and 60 per cent of the legislators, national and states.

What is the current strength of ADC in the national and state assemblies?
At this point, this is not necessary. But we have had many elected representatives and one of the best performing legislators in the country today, Leke Abejide, is of ADC. We have had elected senators, House of Representatives and state Assemblies members. We have had two senators from Oyo State, over 13 House of Representatives members and 30 state Assembly members.

Some of them decamped. A lot more of our wins, we lost during the tribunals’ cases. This should be a subject to deal with next time. But we are not deterred; this is an election we must win.

But often times, from past experiences, smaller parties only provide platforms for aggrieved former members of the PDP and APC to seek (re-)election, after which most of them dump the parties and return to their former parties?
That does not apply to us. ADC as a political party has carved an identity for itself, the transformational leadership-driven people with eclectic ideology. We are a distinct party.

The trend you spoke about may still be continuing amongst the other parties. ADC is selective; people who come to us must be service-driven and selfless. Also, recently, some people who failed in ADC have gone to other parties to contest. ADC has matured, we may not be perfect, but we are very resilient and our values and set of disciplines strengthen the ADC political brand.

The high cost of nomination forms showed how expensive it is to realise an ambition to “serve.” Does ADC have the war chest to undertake the campaigns, especially presidential?
High cost of nomination forms does not apply to us. ADC gave out over 75 per cent of nomination to youths, women and PWD and other vulnerable groups that have the capacity and competency to serve their constituencies, but who cannot afford the money. In ADC, the policy is that not having funds should not be a barrier for a good person with constituency support.

So, in ADC we do not lay emphasis on money at all. Political parties that fleece members cannot survive for too long. But really, come to think about it, no one forces any person to stay in any party. Many of our elites are opportunistic and they can pay anything to climb to power. They are not interested in doing the job of building and grassroots mobilisation. Some still feel that the Villa or bad system will push them into power and not the electorate. The time is changing. With the new electoral laws, now the power goes back to the people and their votes now count.

There are complaints arising from the primaries across the political parties, what efforts are you making to reconcile and unite members before the elections proper?
I will speak for ADC. This is a democratic era and when people decide to run for elections, they must be willing to subject themselves to the scrutiny of the people. The most important lesson for people when they venture into the political leadership space is that it is not all about them, but about the people and the country. Once we are at home with this reality of true altruism, it is easier to swim through the tides.

ADC set up the Aspirants College to help aspirants with what to expect and how to deal with all aspects of the journey. Mental health issues are rampant in the polity, but knowing what to expect helps people navigate with sanity. Sure, reconciliation is a path for all conflicts resolution.

We are working hard to get Moghalu and all others to rethink and reintegrate. He and all the others bring some values and vitality into our brand and we need them to govern. I wish Moghalu will come and be national chairman of ADC for just years. I intend to step down, having achieved the objective of taking ADC to maturity and making it one of the prominent and value-driven political parties in Nigeria.

Inducement was obvious in most of the primaries. Was it so in ADC? Is it not frightening for the election itself?

How does one induce 2,050 delegates and party faithful who want and wish the best for their party? ADC is not like the other political parties that have money and corruption ingrained into their systems; ADC is about leadership and role modeling.

I understand that one of the aspirants organised a well-attended dinner and party all night and gave a speech at the end that delegates should project ADC’s values and vote for the person who can take the party to victory. This is classic!

Again, same aspirant heard from party members that some delegates were stranded along the road between Osun and Oyo states and had to make special arrangements with the Police around 2 a.m. to go get the people to Abeokuta. Our protocol people were not aware on time.

Leadership is about people, managing emotions, building a master architecture of organisation and great character of the heart and mind. Head is a small percentage.

Dumebi won because he struck a chord with the people, certainly not money. He will win in the general elections because he can connect with the ordinary people; he is very sound and has many people reaching him with advice.

He listens to the people and not to himself. Many of the public intellectuals listen to themselves. If he had flaunted money, believe me, he would have been disqualified.

The country needs a leader, and Dumebi Kachikwu is a leader and luckily an entrepreneur. He will electrify the hearts of the people and make Nigerians dream again.

I want to correct the mistakes most Nigerians make, forget the know-it-all stance of some of these office seekers. There is no resource needed to create a supper power Nigeria that cannot be sourced, including security experts, economists, finance and planning gurus. The ones we cannot source locally, we go to Harvard, Oxford, Columbia and many other top institutions of the world to ask for the best Nigerian alumni well established in the field anywhere in the world.

We can get the intellectual powers, policy and organisational architects and managers to build the Nigeria that will compete big in the world.

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