- Category: Politics
- Published on Wednesday, 01 September 2010 07:24
- Written by Nigerian Compass
- Hits: 1650
AFTER taking a retrospective look at the affairs of the country under the ruling Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in the last 11 years, the Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) yesterday described the Dr. Okwesilieze Nwodo-led party as a complete disaster.
The party made the remarks during a courtesy call on the corporate headquarters of the Western Publishing Company Limited, publishers of the Nigerian Compass and The Westerner, at Isheri, Ogun State.
The leader of delegation of the chieftains of the newly-christened party and its National Publicity Secretary, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, while condemning the PDP leadership, went into the specifics, saying: “Over the years, this particular government has shown a lot of insensitivity to the basic needs of the people. In the last two weeks, I think we’ve recorded about 2,000 deaths due to cholera. What could cause cholera, if not lack of access to potable water? This is 2010, and people are still dying of cholera, this is unheard of in developed countries. Yet, every week, the Federal Executive Council (FEC) would announce award of contracts running into billions of naira for projects that would not touch the lives of the people.”
He, however, maintained that despite all odds, there is still hope.
His words: “We believe that all hope is not lost. Yes, Nigeria has gone through a lot of stress in the last 10, 11 years under the leadership of the ruling party. Our infrastructure have decayed, insecurity is on the increase, unemployment is at its highest level and it’s generally like a case of hopelessness. But we believe that all is not lost and that things can still change is not impossible.”
Mohammed, who was the governorship candidate of the Alliance for Democracy (AD) in Kwara State during the 2003 elections, also affirmed that his party was poised for a good show at the forthcoming general elections.
He described the ACN, formerly the Action Congress (AC) as the only credible alternative to the PDP.
Flanked by Uche Onyeagucha, Alhaji Abubakar Magaji, Hajia Hauwa Baba Ahmed and Hajia Nafisat Molid Baba during the visit, the politician also urged Nigerians to take active part in the on-going electioneering process and not leave it to career politicians.
Consequently, he said that his political party has since its formation a few weeks ago been at the vanguard of canvassing for mass participation in the 2011 politics.
He stated that “the whole idea is to signpost a new era in Nigerian politics, and we did also say that the task of nation- building should not be left to career politicians alone. Everybody who has the opportunity to go for office or who has the opportunity to choose his leader and who does not do so has lost the moral right to criticise whatever form of bad government is foisted on him.”
Besides, he appealed to every Nigerian of voting age to participate in the voter registration that would soon be embarked upon by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).
In the same vein, he urged them to ensure that their votes count in the 2011 polls.
He said: “And that is why we’re saying that ‘go out, register’ and as long as it’s a free and fair election, it’s immaterial who ends up wining. If election is deemed to be free, even the loser will accept his loss. But, once you perceive that the election is not free and fair, even the person who knows that ordinarily, he would have lost, would also go and contest its result.”
Mohammed stressed the need for generational change in the nation’s polity, noting that this is the trend in the world today.
Accordingly, he affirmed that his political party has made this as one of its cardinal objectives to feature youths and women for most of its elective offices.
He said: “We can also say we have made statements that we believe in generational shift and here we’re not just talking about age. By generational shift, we’re talking about a new concept giving it fresh visions and fresh ideas. All over the world, we can see that the age bracket and the quality of people coming into politics have changed. In Russia, in the U.K, in the U.S, you have people in their 50s or in their late 40s who have assumed serious national responsibilities.”
The politician, who was also the National Publicity Secretary of the defunct AC, also used the occasion to explain how and why the AC transformed to ACN.
He said: “We had our convention weeks ago and at that convention, the main business of the day was to get the mandate of the convention, which is the highest organ of the party, to change our name from AC to ACN (from Action Congress to Action Congress of Nigeria). And what informed that change was the re-branding of our party, which we commenced a long while ago. “More than a year ago, we came to the conclusion that to present Nigerians with an alternative political party and an alternative government; we need like-minded people so that we can form a synergy and form a formidable political party.
“There were many options opened to us then. It’s either we form a new party or we adopt an existing party. At the end of the day, the consensus was that let’s adopt an existing political party and the AC was the party to be adopted.
“Along the line, Atiku Abubakar was also part of this initiative alongside General Buhari (rtd), Attahiru Bafarawa and others. Along the line, some of them went back to the various political parties. (Atiku) Abubakar went back to the PDP; General Buhari went to the CPC. So, with some members of the DPP, the ANPP and others that started the initiative, we said ‘let’s stay and look from a common platform, which was the AC.
“So, the purpose of that convention was to formally adopt a new name. We could have also gone the way of merger, but we also saw the morbid traps in merger because under the old law, for you to merge, you must give a notice to be signed by chieftains of the parties that are merging, that notice must reach INEC, at least, six months before election.
“Since we were not sure of when elections would hold, we could not determine when it would be six months. So, we said the best thing for the AC to do was to go for a name change and for all the participating parties to fuse and adopt that platform. That was what led to that convention.
“At that convention, we also amended our constitution in which we gave more roles to women and youths. We also used that opportunity to open our doors to new members to join our parties. We also dissolved the executive of the party (AC) from the ward to national levels.”
Continuing, the lawyer-turned- politician also spoke on the preparation of the new party for the elections holding next year, saying that “as a matter of fact, by 24th of September, we will conduct ward congresses, local government congresses, state congresses and national convention, to elect officers to run the affairs of the party from the ward to national level. The idea is to be able to give those who are new members a level-playing ground to run offices, either at the party level or for political offices.”
Mohammed also spoke on the criteria recommended by the party for becoming an aspirant for any of the elective offices. “You must have noticed that a couple of weeks ago, we made a statement as to the kind of qualities anybody that is aspiring for elective offices in our party must possess, because we believe that rather than engaging in this matter of zoning, we should really focus on certain core competence in anybody that wants to run for our party, such as education, integrity, experience in either private or public sector, family background, computer literacy, exposure and the likes.”
On Ribadu, Mohammed said he has not registered as a member of the ACN.
He, however, added that any time the former EFCC boss signifies his intention to join the party, “he is welcome”.