In many instances you have said the NNPP is out to provide credible alternative to what is on ground? And there are reports that there is going to be merger of political parties to confront the two main dominant parties (PDP and APC). Is NNPP going to be part of this merger?
You see the trouble is that you people (media) want to set the agenda for the parties but we are setting our own agenda. There was a time when people feel that what is happening with the two side of the coin being offered in this country is the ultimate and nothing else will come out but along the line something happened and Nigerians began to ask for what they called third force. Nobody described what the meaning of the third force is but there was the feelings and notions that something good and better should come out that will supersede what is on ground at the moment and over the past five years or six years, people have been searching for that third force. But when the NNPP came out, we did not come as a third force but as the force because we did not want to be of third class, we did not want to be number three in the race. Nobody wins anything when you are number three.
Immediately the NNPP emerged, people began to say this is what we have been looking for and it has even gone beyond our own imagination. It is just on auto drive that things are just moving so fast. We started this national movement that has transformed into NNPP a long time ago because we looked at the terrain and the situation of things and we concluded that Nigerians would not accept what was happening then and what was going to happen next and they would not allow it to continue. But we cannot allow our democracy to disintegrate. Let people know that some of our elders and leaders fought for the independence in this country and put their lives at risk and people are now benefiting from that act of patriotism. Again when we went into deep confusion in the country, some elders emerged and said there must be a new journey and that is how in 1999 we embarked on this democratic journey. But it seems after 22 years down the line, we have forgotten why we are here. Now emperors have emerged who dictate the everything it is either they get it or nobody gets it and Nigerians are saying this is not what we bargained for. And you know Nigerians are very patient but for a while. You cannot continue to take them for a ride, they know what they want, they only give you time.
Nigerians have given them sufficient time to show their angst yet they fail to realise that where they are heading to is not where Nigeria supposed to be. This country is a very serious country and we supposed to take our country seriously and we deserve to be placed in a proper position in the comity of nations. Nigerians should work and walk freely anywhere in the world and people must drop that criminal tag on us. Nigerians are not criminals, we are honourable people. If our democracy is successful, it should be able to overcome these kinds of issues. The NNPP is going to offer hope, give new direction and reshape Nigeria’s political landscape and I can assure you that 2023 will be a great year for Nigerians irrespective of region or tribe. But we are calling on Nigerians to come forward and come out of their cocoon. Sitting still, agonising, wailing, shouting, screaming will not stop anything. They have all the opportunities now and anybody who fails to use this opportunity must be comfortable with what is happening now and must not complain.
What is your view on the state of the nation as Nigeria has witnessed?
We are talking about 23 years of uninterrupted democracy in the country. I feel that Nigerians have every reason to celebrate democracy. We have a chequered history of democracy with disrupted party politics. And finally for the first time since 1999, we have had series of elections at all levels and series of transitions from one government to another. So, it is convenient to say that we are beginning to learn the rope at that level. But the most disturbing aspect is that we are beginning to forget the very reason we settled for democratic governance which is based on the rule of law. Democratic governance is about constitutionalism and it is rooted in justice, equity and fairness to every citizen of the country. Democracy is not one man one vote where people go and queue after every four years to vote for individuals, no. It is an essential and social contract between the leadership and the people so that whatever you are doing as a leader will be justified by the followers and they will appreciate your leadership.
There is a great disappointment in the way and manner democracy is being run in the country. People are becoming disenchanted and disappointed and there is anger in the land. People feel alienated, people feel frustrated, people feel those in power have not been fair to them and that is why you can see over the past few weeks now that there is massive exodus of people from one political party to another in search of succour and those who are not involved in party politics are withdrawing into their cocoon. Some Nigerians have been threatening that they will not come out and vote next year but this should not be the case. The New Nigeria Peoples Party emerged to give a credible alternative to what is on the ground. If people offered to serve the country and they failed to fulfil their promises, how can you take them seriously again? And unfortunately if you know you have failed to fulfil your promises, there is no harm to offer apology to the people and say “sorry, we promised you but we failed and this is our reason for failure”, but some of them are not even blinking their eyes. They just felt they are doing the correct thing and how do you think you are doing the right thing when the country is passing through very difficult economy, social and political crises.
If not because Nigeria is blessed with so much human and material resources, if it was a poor country, it could have disappeared from the surface of the earth. For example, there has been crisis in the North East for many years now and some other zones too. The crisis has also spread to be midlands which we refer to as the North Central. Now it is in the North West and the South East. So who is spared? Democracy should be able to guarantee security of lives and property and provide social services. People are not happy with the way things are going. Maybe there could have been oasis of performances here and there but if you look at the overall activities or results, there is a lot of disappointment and we cannot continue like this.