By Dapo Akinrefon
Â ALHAJI Lai Mohammed is National Publicity Secretary of the Action Congress, AC. In this interview with Sunday Vanguard, he says his party, AC, plans to align with other political parties in the country to outwit the ruling Peoples Democratic Party, PDP come the 2011 general elections. He, however, maintains that the PDP is a party in disarray.
Â If you look at the various political parties in Nigeria, we have some of them which are in shambles and your party has been described as a regional party especially with the return of former Vice President Atiku Abubakar to the PDP. Do you think any of these parties yours inclusive can stop the PDP in the 2011 elections because psychologically, people still believe that the party remains a force to reckon with?
PDP is in complete disarray. I can assure you that in months to come, we will see the kind of political realignment that has never been seen in the history of this country. Iâ€™m not a soothsayer neither am I a clairvoyant. But from what I can see, I can see the dynamics in motion that would lead to political realignment that will be for the good of Nigeria.
Now, as for our party, despite the defection of our presidential candidate, I think our party will remain solid, weâ€™ll remain focused and we are still forging ahead with talks with other political parties and individuals who see AC as the only alternative in Nigeria.
In politics, a day could be too long, talk less of a week or a month and like I said, in the next few months, there will be such a transformation in Nigeria and AC will be the party to beat
Already, we are in talks with other political parties, we are in talks with certain political bigwigs, but you see, we want Nigerians to join us to ensure that we have electoral reforms, to ensure that we have a credible person as our electoral umpire. You see, democracy is a destination, itâ€™s a journey and it evolves. My party, the Action Congress, donâ€™t believe in do_or_die politics. If elections are free and fair, weâ€™ll be the last person to challenge it in court. We are not really bothered who wins, but let the best candidate and most popular candidate win. Thatâ€™s the beauty of democracy.
Would you agree with this argument that Action Congress is a regional party?\
Those saying that AC is a regional party are just being mischievous, they are just being insincere. If you look at recent events. Thereâ€™s the Anambra elections in which Chris Ngige came second despite all the dis-enfranchisement of the people, despite all the irregularity, yet, we defeated PDP, he defeated PPA, Labour and ANPP, how can you now say our party is a regional party. If you go to Edo State where AC is ruling, is Edo State in the South West also? We did have Senators from Kogi and Plateau states from where they defected. How can anybody in his right honesty describe such a party as a regional party and the question is that at what point in time did our party become a regional party?
Until two weeks ago, our presidential candidate, Atiku Abubakar was from the North East, the late Abubakar Rimi was in our party before he defected, so, when did our party become a regional party. The facts on ground does not portray us as a regional party but it is not unusual for a political party to have a strong hold in a particular locality. I think people should look for other more urgent reasons for their failure.
With the recent defection of Atiku Abubakar and his supporters to the PDP, donâ€™t you think Nigeria is gradually becoming a one party state?
Yes, unless, we have electoral reforms, we might end up with a one party system. Once people lose confidence in the electoral system, nobody wants to be in the opposition but we might end up being a one party system. Thatâ€™s why we insist that a transparent electoral system is only guaranteed for a multiparty democracy.