You can’t end corruption without social welfare – APDA chair

Blueprint Whatsapp

The Advanced Peoples Democratic Alliance (APDA) believes no serious success is being recorded in the current fight against corruption in the country because of government’s failure to guarantee Nigerians social welfare. In this interview with PATRICK ANDREW, the party chairman, Alhaji Kabiru Mohammed Shittu, says indigeneship as a constitutional provision does not promote nationalism. Excerpts.
The APDA seems embroiled in leadership tussle, what is the problem?
It is a self-inflicted problem in the sense that parties are usually formed with impunity and ours was not different from other parties in the country, except that from day one we wanted the APDA to be devoid of godfatherism, where someone would sit in the comfort of his bedroom and take decisions that did not enjoy the input of stakeholders.
We were determined not to condone this impunity and we knew crisis would come because some elements are in the habit of thwarting whatever efforts are made to ensure democratic growth: Few elements that are wicked and don’t want this country to grow and won’t allow ideology to thrive. These elements won’t allow a party with ideology, like the APDA, to grow and we envisaged that and ensured that there was no Board of Trustees (BoT) in our party constitution in the next five years. So when some persons took us to court they met a stumbling block because the party constitution had clearly specified the leadership structure of the party and therefore it was easy for the court to handle. That was why I said it was self inflicting because BoT is not known in our constitution.

How have these elements affected your party?
First of all, we formed the party to ensure that APDA is devoid of these elements. By means of our constitution we barricaded them as it were and the court has affirmed that our constitution does not have BoT. We have also started a corrective measure in the sense that every political party that may have such problem has a precedent in our constitution. They are likely to amend their constitutions and pattern it after our own and the courts will soon begin to use the judgement in our favour as precedent. Such judgements will strengthen democratic institutions in the country. It will thus block those negative elements and then our economic developments will start from there.
These elements don’t want our economic development that is the reason they endeavour first to cripple the democratic processes. Therefore, the APDA was formed to politically clip the wings of those bad elements, take them out of Nigeria’s economic scene, and proffer vibrant economic development plan. So both our first and second plans have been fulfilled. We are proceeding to roll out a feasible development plan that will take us out of the woods.

What are your major agenda that would propel the growth of this country?
Firstly, our ideology is nationalism and we are also socialist. As nationalist, the first thing we shall remove in our constitution is indigeneship. It has been an impediment to our economic growth. When you remove indigeneship people will have the confidence to invest their hearts and resources wherever they reside because they will believe that their great grand children will also benefit from those investments.
Secondly, as an agrarian society our economic focus will be agriculture. We have to develop our agricultural sector and there is no state in Nigeria that does not have enough agricultural products that you can take advantage of. Do you want to talk of Maiduguri where you have gum Arabic that the world is looking for, is it Benue that has soya beans, is it Oyo state that has cocoa.
Taraba State has the best coffee in the world or is it Zamfara that can feed Africa with tomato, Ondo that can give you cola nut, Bayelsa that can feed Africa with rice. Is it Cross River where their wood is the best? There is no state in Nigeria without a crop that has comparative advantage. We can therefore ban the exportation of those raw materials to allow industries to come to this country and establish processing plants.

What is the position of APDA on restructuring of Nigeria?
Perfect! It is embedded in our manifesto. But we are saying restructuring for development not for the breaking up of the country. The APDA will do everything to keep the country one. We want to make Nigeria the hub of Africa. Instead of Africans going to the United States of America, they should come to Nigeria and be provided land for them to go into farming. This is why it is critical to remove indigeneship from our constitution so that Africans start seeing Nigeria as their second home.

Many still argue that leadership tussle is a hindrance in party politics, why so?
Leadership tussle exits in every political party, that is why it is a political system, be it advanced or developing. They must have crises but how you manage those crises matters to the political system, and indeed the parties. It is important that political parties do not allow crises to distract them from the development of their countries.
When you allow that then you are doomed as a party. Instead, move on, don’t look back because crises must come, if there is no crises then it is not a political party, even in families there are crises. It is not the crisis but how you thrive out of it to put the country in the front burner is what matters to the APDA.

Has the issue of chairmanship of the party been resolved?
It is a foregone issue. If you hadn’t reminded me now I won’t even have recalled that we had that as an issue in the APDA. I don’t recall that we had crisis. We are far above that level. We are now 50 percent into our plans to capture power. We are in Anambra for the governorship race and yesterday our candidate was declared the first in the debate series held for governorship candidates by Channels TV and we are making sure that we mobilise Nigerians to look at the new ways of doing things well.

Where is the position of Chief Raymond Dokpesi in your party?
Chief Raymond Dokpesi is a very good friend, a very patriotic Nigerian, who is now in the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and is running for the position of the national chairman of the PDP. His success will be an advantage to the APDA because when Chief Raymond Dokpesi becomes chairman of the PDP you should know for sure that the PDP will dissolve into the APDA. I know it will happen.

Is the APDA comfortable with the present crusade against corruption in Nigeria?
If you are a patriotic Nigerian you will be. We in APDA believe that until corruption is drastically reduced, the country will not develop. But we have different ways of fighting corruption. First, you must go into the root of corruption. Are the people paid their pensions? Do they have houses over their heads? Why do Nigerians don’t believe in their country? You solve these problems by improving on the economic development of the country. Measures taken by the present administration is commendable-like the TSA (Transfer single account). However, the fight must be taken beyond rhetorics.
You must stop people from siphoning funds. We must start prosecuting corrupt persons to serve as deterrent because when a thief sees that a fellow thief caught is not punished he or she will dig in and continue in the vice. Ironically in Nigeria, corrupt persons are celebrated.
We should take the anti-corruption war back to communities. If somebody steals N1 billion starched away in a foreign land, go to the community that he belongs, tell them that they should should beg him to bring money for you to establish a firm in that community if he refuses, of course, the community will judge him. Until the government makes it impossible for corrupt people to be heroes and heroines in their communities you cannot fight corruption.

Have we developed to a level one can say that we have strong political parties in Nigeria?
Parties evolve over time. At a go, the United States of America had over 175 political parties, they had ideological parties, like we have the APDA, to develop the country. You can have parties that focus on climate, we have the Green Party in Britain that focuses on environment. It is not the numbers of political parties that matter but the ideology of those parties and citizens believe about these ideologies.
In Nigeria, citizens believe more in money politics, so we can say that it is money political ideology that thrives in Nigeria. The APDA wants to shift it from money politics to nationalism and social welfare. It is because of the absence of social welfare that citizens help themselves with public tilt, insist on collecting money from those seeking elective offices before they cast their votes. But if the government caters for their needs they will focus on more nationalism, unity and faith in the nation.

Related content you may like

Be the first to comment

Leave a Reply