By Jacob Ajom
Dr Femi Ferguson, legal practitioner and Lagos State Chairman of the newly registered United Progressive Party (UPP), in this interview, speaks on the philosophy of the new political party and what makes it different from the rest. Excerpts:
Your party has been saying that UPP is a party for the voiceless, for non-indigenes. How true is this?
Let me correct one impression. The people who are regarded as non-indigenes. My leader, Prince Olusoa is from Ikorodu, because every Ikorodu man here is regarded as an Ijebu man. But he cannot compare himself with me who was raised up in the palace of Oba Oyekan. How can you call me a non-indigene because my father is from the east?
So we are trying to abrogate that and make it possible for all Lagosians; whether you were born in Lagos you will be free to contest and win elections in Lagos. Bill Clinton ended his tenure as President of the United States of America, went to New York bought a house there. He had never lived there before and his wife, Hilary contested and won election as a Senator. That is what we want to see happen in Nigeria, and Lagos in particular.
I want to see someone like Babatunde Raji; Fashola who has done so well for Lagos go to Enugu at the end of his tenure, buy a house there and contest election there as a senator and represent Enugu. That is what we mean by non-indigenes having a say.
You speak so strongly, do you have the machinery to capture Lagos?
I am surprised you are saying this. The machinery is already on the ground. I mean we have people like Prince Olusola and other men of structure. These are men you call up anytime and they are there for you and they move along with their structure. In politics, there are some people the press have made into paper tigers. Ask them to bring 100 people and they can’t bring even twenty.
I want to believe UPP is an offshoot of APGA. How do you intend to guide against events that led to the disintegration of APGA?
There is a Nigerian adage that says, when an old woman falls down twice, you are bound to count the contents of her basket. And the Holy Bible says affliction does not run a second time, so our great party will not suffer that. APGA is a party that was formed in a hurry in 2002 and entered into election in 2003. And before you knew it they recorded a certain degree of success. recorded victory that had to go through a court of law.
They had no time to put the party together. But UPP was well planned, well articulated and well structured. So that is exactly what happened. We have not yet covered all the local governments because we are taking our time, planning and putting the relevant structures in place. We are taking our time and by the Grace of God, we will not suffer what we suffered in APGA. I was in APGA. I was in APGA from the beginning till I left.
So, what is UPP promising the people?
UPP is promising the people what has never been experienced in the Nigerian political space before. We are promising them prosperity, we are promising them peace, we are promising them tranquility and harmony, quality life and purpose; a new direction. UPP will bring peace. It will serve like something coming from the outer world but it is true.