Senator Saidu Dansadau, the national Chairman of the Nigerian Rescue Movement, one of the newly registered parties, tells PATRICK ANDREW that the solutions to Nigeria’s political problems neither lie in former President Olusegun Obasanjo’s coalition nor in the PDP and APC administrations.
Current political situation in Nigerian is very worrisome as represented by the letter written by former President Olusegun Obasanjo, what is your reaction to the letter?
I think what he said cannot be faulted. He is echoing the opinion of the majority of patriotic Nigerians, who are concerned with happenings in the country especially as it relates to the poor performance of the government of the day: the APC government and President Muhammadu Buhari. They are worried about the state of the economy, the spread of insecurity. Agreed, there is some achievements have been made with regard to the war against Boko Haram. But what is outstanding is armed banditry, cattle rustling and kidnapping of people that is becoming the order of the day and is spreading fast towards the Southern parts of the country.
The opinion of the majority is that all these are the manifestation of bad government. The APC government is not performing up to expectation of Nigerians. In other words, Nigerians, who had very high expectation of the APC government, are disappointed with the performance of Muhammadu Buhari. Agreed, nobody expected that within four years the APC would be able to ameliorate all the socio-economic and political challenges that bedevilled the country for so long because of accumulation of bad governance over the years.
I don’t think in one breath it would be fair to just blame the APC administration alone. I blame the Nigerian politicians who have been at the helms of affairs from 1999 till date. If the Nigerian politicians had been able to do the right thing: provide good governance in the manner Lagos political leaders have done it would have been a different story today. Nigeria by now would have been close to the G8 countries because Lagos political leaders have been able to attain a commendable feat so much that election after elections Lagosians and political leaders are saying the present governor is doing better than the previous ones.
So, this is how governance should be not what has happened in the remaining 35 states of the federation where election after elections the present governor is performing worst than the previous ones. For us in the National Rescue Movement (NRM), we are saying what has happened from 1999 till date shows the failure of the Nigerian politicians and, therefore, there is need for political parties to really go to back to the drawing board. That is why I welcome the registration of more political parties so that among the new parties you may have one or two that are really serious like the NRM which is a child of circumstance.
Had the Nigerian politicians done well like the Lagos political leaders have done, we would not have formed the NRM, but when we discovered the steady drift from 1999 till date we say look we have to float a new political party one that has ideology. A party that will field as its candidate from councillorship to the president persons who are credible Nigerians, personalities of non questionable characters, persons that are committed, patriotic and God fearing: People that have no other the interest except the upliftment of the living condition of the people of this country.
Nigerians that are detribalised, committed to the country, to growing the Nigerian economy, resolute in promoting the socio-economic and political status of our country to the level of its peers in the other parts of the world so that Nigeria and Nigerians will walk shoulder high in the comity of nations. These are the kind of people the NRM has planned to field as its candidates in the forthcoming 2019 general elections.
What is the ideology of your political party?
Our ideology is providing service to God and humanity. That is our fundamental principle. The NRM regards political power as an instrument of serving the people not for the enrichment and personal aggrandisement.
Would the coalition of Nigerian Movement replace other political parties or is it in the right direction?
No, far from being in the right direction. What former President Obasanjo has done is putting old wine in the new wine bottle. And it is not going to work. Nigerians have learnt from bad experiences and they are not fools. The Nigerian electorate have been made very clever and wiser by the Nigerian politicians who used a lot of gimmick in the past. It’s been observed that whenever election approaches, the Nigerian politician will come up with a new formula that will suit their personal interest not the interest of the citizens and they will package it in such a way that they feel Nigerians will not understand.
So the issue of a ‘Third Force’ is nothing but old wine in the a new bottle because the Peoples Democratic Party and the All Progressives Congress members that are trying to leave their parties and form the coalition are the same political leaders that brought Nigeria into the mess the country is in today. So by giving it a new name ‘Third Force’ or whatever name it is will not change what they have been doing to Nigeria. So the solution to Nigeria’s socio-economic and political problems as far as we are concern is the National Rescue Movement because the NRM is a party of ideology.
But some persons could also argue that the same persons that had constituted the PDP and APC would eventually be part of the leadership of the NRM?
Yes, we will not stop people from becoming members of the NRM but we will stop them from contesting elections.
We will stop those with bad political records. We have prepared a credibility test that any who would want to contest election must scale through and from the rigorous proceedings and stringent measures, I am convinced that only between 5 to 10 percent career politicians will be able to scale through the credibility test to be able to secure the NRM tickets.
So where are we going to get the 95 percent candidate that we are going to field from the councillorship to the president? Our first point of call is the Nigerian youth because they have not been polluted even if they are I think they are not as bad as the Nigerian political leaders, Nigerian women, religious leaders, whom we shall ask to bring their disciples that they know are credible.
But religious leaders themselves have been found wanting?
Yes, but not all are bad. There are some who are still credible. In any organisation, setting and society no matter how bad the people are they will still be some credible individuals, though in the minority. It is this minority that the NRM will fish out to contest elections into offices. We shall turn to professional groups: Nigerian Society of Engineers, Nigerian Bar Association, Medical Association of Nigeria, and the trade unions because time has gone when these unions just sit and demonstrate against the government of the day, no we have past that stage. The credible ones among them should come out to contest elections.