Former president Olusegun Obasanjo, yesterday, took his plot to wrest power from incumbent President Muhammadu Buhari in 2019 a notch further with the fusion of the Coalition of Nigeria Movement (CMN) with the African Democratic Congress (ADC).
Obasanjo who made the disclosure at a press briefing held at the Olusegun Obasanjo Presidential Library (OOPL), Abeokuta, Ogun State, reiterated his call on Nigerians not to be deceived by the “window-dressing” reformation of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and the “unrepentant mis-governace” of the ruling All Progressive Congress (APC).
The ex-president, who was flanked at the briefing by his former Senior Special Assistant on Political Affairs, Dr. Gbolade Osinowo and one time Secretary to the Government of Oyo State, Olayiwola Olakojo, expressed confidence that ADC would consolidate Nigeria’s democracy and make development in all its ramifications real, relevant, accessible and popular.
Although the first phase of his job had been done with the emergence of ADC as a political party for the movement, Obasanjo said he would not renege on his decision to quit partisan politics, but would continue to create avenue for ordinary Nigerians to have a say on how their country is governed.
He charged the electorate to shun the leprous hands of the PDP and the APC and embrace the ADC in order to usher in a new dawn in Nigeria.
According to him, while PDP offered apology without disciplining those who set Nigeria on a course of ruin, APC has left Nigeria poorer than it met it in 2015 and plunged Nigeria into more division along ethnic and religious line.
“I will advise others to join this political party platform to usher in a new dawn for Nigeria, but I may not be able to advise anybody to join PDP or APC no matter what window-dressing reformation they may claim. Although PDP would seem to have realised its mistakes of its immediate past of the last eight years or so, its present evolution would, by itself, not give confidence to well-meaning Nigerians who are interested in a new Nigeria in the hands of God that will have leadership, governance, development and values within our culture as its guiding principles with the attributes of honesty, integrity, patriotism, love, unity, industry, incorruptibility, good neighbourliness, faithfulness, trust, courage and love and fear of God held aloft.
“PDP offered apology without disciplining those who set Nigeria on a course of ruin and some of them are still holding leadership roles in their party. Nigerians may forgive, but Nigerians should never forget, otherwise they will be suffering from amnesia and the same ugliness may raise its head again. APC, as a political party, is still gloating and revelling in its unrepentant misgovernance of Nigeria and taking Nigerians for fools. There is neither remorse nor appreciation of what they are doing wrong.
It is all arrant arrogance and insult upon injury for Nigerians. Whatever the leadership may personally claim, most Nigerians know that they, Nigerians, are poorer today than when APC came in and Nigeria is more impoverished with our foreign loan jumping from $3.6 billion to over $18 billion to be paid by the present and future generations of Nigerians.
“The country is more divided than ever before because the leadership is playing the ethnic and religious game which is very unfortunate. And the country is more insecure and unsafe for everybody. It is a political party with two classes of membership.”
He conceded that both the PDP and APC still paraded some good person who could help in the birth of new Nigeria and ensure the desired change.
“But as political parties and the government they led or they are leading in the last eleven years, they have failed and failure should neither be hoisted for embracement nor reinforced. What must be done is to take what is best from all to come together on a new alliance platform that will take us to the Promised Land. There must be basic and fundamental ground for change and for people to change.
“What is not desirable is to take the leprous hand of either PDP or APC as the instrument to clean Nigeria up. The clean fingers in either of them can and must be grafted to the clean hands of new entrants and participants to move up and move on and that is what I understand the reinvigorated party platform is all about – change, new order and progress.
“The party, ADC, as I understand it, is neither based on the immediate past, condemnable records of PDP as a ruling party in Nigeria nor on the present disastrous and destabilising performance of APC. It is a new platform and a new page in our political history. Some of us must hold ourselves as watchmen and watch women for the nation without necessarily belonging to any political party as genuinely concerned and interested citizens and statesmen and stateswomen beyond the ambition of office and enticement of grandeur of position or fortune.
“Nigerians must keep their eyes wide open, their ears quite attentive, their minds very clear, their hands very clean and must not remain dumb in the face of atrocities and impunities of the governors against the governed. Those who govern us at all levels must be made to realise that it is our collective rights and sovereignty that they hold in trust for us and to be used for the good of all of us and with all of us having interest and having a stake in how we are governed.
“It is our God-given right and we must not allow the abuse of it. In the past, we have laid back and we have been taken for a ride. How did we allow Nigeria to be run by K34 without a murmur? Of course, that was followed by the running of Nigeria by Ijaw nation with four women and now by kith and kin and we are still jubilant in the face of atrocities, insecurity, disasters and degradation politically, economically and socially,” Obasanjo said.
He also advocated that primary elections by parties should cease to be by delegates, but by all card-carrying and financial members within their constituencies.
Obasanjo, who said he was alarmed by an insider revelation that about $3 billion was used by PDP to prosecute the 2015 elections, called for strict control of campaign funding and transparent accounting by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) of all funds contributed and utilized by individuals and political parties for campaigns.
Also speaking at a different ceremony to unveil the new alliance in Abuja, national chairman of the ADC, Chief Ralph Okey Nwosu, revealed that over 23 political parties merged.
Former governor of Osun State, Prince Olagunsoye Oyinlola, who also announced his exit from the APC, argued that through the combined efforts of CNM and ADC, Nigeria would be rescued from the “bad Havana NEC of the APC.”