By Johnbosco Agbakwuru
Barrister Okoi Obono-Obla before his foray into the murky waters of politics was a human rights activist. Presently the Assistant National Secretary of the Congress for Progressive Change, CPC, he is also the secretary of CPC merger committee and a strong member of the All Progressives Congress merger committee. A two time gubernatorial candidate in Cross River State, he chronicles the pains Nigerians have suffered under the PDP and how APC plans to take over federal power in 2015. Excerpts:
What are the reasons behind the formation of APC?
Today Nigeria has become a pariah state. Some people say Nigeria has become a failed state. Some people compare Nigeria to Somalia which is a metaphor for a country on the brink of disintegration. Today the biggest industries in the country are stealing of public funds; militancy/insurgency and armed robbery.
The country today is in a worse state than in 1967 during the Civil War. It therefore became a national duty for some patriots, nationalist minded political leaders such as the indefatigable General Muhammadu Buhari; the shrewd Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, Ibrahim Shekarau etc to come together, set aside their political differences to form a progressive, broad based national political movement known as the All Progressives Party to rescue the country from the throes. This is precisely what is behind the formation of the APC.
What gives you the confidence that APC will change the fortunes of the country?
The leaders of this social and political movement are among the most broadminded, liberal, patriotic, nationalist, progressive, forward looking Nigerians you can find. They are the finest crop of leaders you can access in the country. They are among the most intelligent and competent Nigerians today. They are men and women of conscience, integrity and courage. Take example General Muhammadu Buhari, he is an island of transparency and integrity. He is a man of uncommon courage.
Another titian and democrat, a national leader of no mean repute who is one of the driving forces behind the phenomenal and unprecedented realignment and coalescing of progressive forces and elements into a single national political party is the ebullient and shrewd National Leader of the Action Congress of Nigeria, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu who is a successful politician and activist rolled together.
He won a second tenure as governor of Lagos State despite the unremitting onslaught unleashed in the South West Region by the then President Olusegun Obasnjo where the Alliance for Democracy suffered a crushing defeat in the governorship elections of 2003. There is also Ibrahim Shekarau, a rising national political leader and one of the most eloquent and intelligent politicians one can find in Nigeria today. These are the solid men who have decided to sacrifice personal ambitions to rescue Nigeria from abyss by forming the APC.
It has been argued that most of the people in APC are people who lost out in PDP, what is your take?
Nothing can be farther than the truth. I have never been in PDP. I have fought PDP since 1999. I came from a human rights background. So how can you suggest then that most of the people in APC were those who lost out in PDP. The truth of the matter is that majority of the people in APC are those who have fought against the misrule, purposelessness, waste, corruption, bad governance of PDP since 1999.
What are the chances of APC in 2015?
Great chance. Nigeria has another great chance to put its crumbling house in order. It will be another opportunity to arrest the national drift we have been progressively experiencing since 1999.
Who are the possible presidential aspirants?
There are many. The party is big. It is made up a lot of Nigerians who are eminently qualified to be president.
It has been said repeatedly that General Buhari and Tinubu ambitions will tear apart APC?
This is another infantile and pernicious propaganda being dished by a desperate and jittery PDP to cause a crack in the ranks of the APC but we are wiser. No Jupiter can stop us from merging. We have proved the doubting Thomases and skeptics wrong.
The other day, the pugnacious and loquacious Dr. Doyin Okupe was swearing and cursing that APC would not survive 2014. We know that PDP and the Federal Government is desperate and would not mind to use anti democratic elements, roguish forces and political jobbers to tear and put asunder the greatest political and social movement in the history of Nigeria but we are resolute; our heads are bloody but unbowed.