By Bashir Adefaka
THE APC appears to have taken its membership mobilisation to the state levels. What is the update?
Nationally, the registration of members is being perfected and I am optimistic that by early January of 2014 the registration proper will start. What they are trying to do is probably to get some people from neighbouring states to oversee the registration of members in a particular place. Although, some people who are ignorant, self-centred and not ready to play the game according to the rules are already trying as much as possible to undermine the directive of the national body.
How are they doing that and does it have to do with alleged cracks in the leadership of the party in Ogun state?
I learnt that some people in Ogun State are going about saying that they are getting five people inaugurated to be registration officers in each of the wards. I believe that is ingenious and an attitude that is capable of even presenting the party negatively. I don’t know what the five people they are handpicking will do within the multitude of the people.
I believe that everybody should be a registration officer in this membership registration exercise. Everybody should be a monitoring officer.
This is a party of the masses. It is a masses’ movement and so, all hands must be on deck to ensure that the registration is perfectly done. The attempt to hoard the registration materials or to exclude some people from being adequately registered will have untold consequences on whomever attempts to undermine the registration process.
Do you think that anybody in Ogun State will attempt to undermine the party?
By the grace of God, Ogun State as a chapter, will not undermine the party’s unity. Like I have been saying all along, what is going on is a dialectical principle the late sage, Papa Obafemi Awolowo, since 1983, had said. While the good ones are coming from the PDP into the APC, I am also envisaging that bad elements within the APC, within the other political parties that are coming on board will either be rejected or they will find their way out of the party as they are coming in.
You know when blacksmiths put an iron inside fire and the iron is red-hot, they keep hitting the red iron on the head trying to carve a shape out of that portion they are hitting. And they put it in the fire so that the unwanted rust will go off.
As we are moving, we know that we have pseudo progressive people.
It is those pseudo progressives that will move out and they will be replaced with other progressives who will make the APC to be robust in all the states of the federation to the extent that capturing and taking over power in 2015 will be a foregone conclusion.
A PDP senator, Smart Adeyemi said the Senate was intact and that the PDP senators were not affected by the wave of defection. What is the true state of the Senate regarding this?
Those who are saying that the Senate is intact should wait. That was how they used to talk that the PDP was a family affair, that there was nothing wrong in the party and that those governors who wanted to go should go. Now that five of the PDP governors have declared for APC, Bamanga Tukur, himself, has declared that in fact, the PDP is in problem.
They are not just in problem but in serious problem. This is the first time that PDP is in this disarray and they are no longer ready to work on reconciliation in the open. They are now going into the trenches and we are going to drive them further down into the trenches so that, they would not be seen on the surface by the time we will be taking over in 2015.
Your party called on the National Assembly to impeach President Goodluck Jonathan, which the Presidency swiftly reacted to, describing the call as treason. What is your take on that?
The PDP is always very jittery. There is no need for them to react to the statement by the APC that impeachment be commenced against Mr. President. If they must react, if they needed to, they should wait for that time to come.
They should wait for the allegations and go and prepare for serious questions that will be put forward and they should go and prepare answers to those questions on all the allegations against Mr. President according to the laid down rules and procedure for impeachment of the President.
That is what they should go and get themselves occupied with. Not with whether a party calls for impeachment or not! The APC has done nothing wrong. They only re-echoed what is in the constitution, which states that whoever commits any impeachable offence should be sanctioned. We know that they thrive in impunity but we are saying there will no longer be any form of impunity in the system.
And that is why we are putting all hands on deck to bring people together and them out.
Those who are decamping are coming voluntarily. So, if Mr. President commits any impeachable offence, he should be prepared to face the music, not to begin to destroy people’s names or threaten people with treasonable felony. So, I hope they know what treasonable felony actually means.
Definitely, calling for impeachment or even filing for an impeachment is not a treasonable offence! Because when you say you want to begin a process of impeachment, it may succeed and it may not. If the accused officer is given the right to defend himself and he is not found culpable, the impeachment process will fail. And if they have not committed impeachable offences, then why are they afraid of calls for impeachment?
This call for impeachment came on the heels of an 18-page letter by former President Olusegun Obasanjo to President Jonathan. Some people said the letter was based on falsehood.
Apart from the fact that a squad is being trained as alleged in Obasanjo’s letter and that some 1000 names are already compiled for elimination or otherwise, there is nothing new in the letter written by the former President.
What he wrote there, most of them are in the public domain and that has been there for long. In fact, most of the things that we have complained about are the perpetration of impunity. Except that it is coming, now, from a man that is within, who saw everything and who was even the architect of the entire men that are doing all these, there is nothing new in the letter.
If PDP succeeds in its current effort at impeaching any of the defected officers, what do you think will happen?
If they remove one governor, because they cannot do it through legal means, let’s take for example, if they just attempt to use five lawmakers in Rivers State to remove Governor Rotimi Amaechi, you can be rest assured that we will push up at Mr. President himself.
The battle-line is being drawn. Already you have seen that two incredible alternatives to the mien the PDP has foisted on the country are beginning to take over in earnest. The people are going to have a very clear choice between two alternatives. If today the PDP is messing up and the people realize that there is hope in the APC, they will go to the APC and install it at the end of the day come 2015.
If the APC too fails to learn the lesson of what happened to PDP, they (PDP) may have the opportunity of coming back. And if we have within ourselves people of principle and integrity, with our leaders that are well known for their outstanding character, I can assure you that it is not only 2015 that is a foregone conclusion, we are also going to rule for as many years as the people want.
What is your advice to the leadership of your party?
My advice is that the leadership must realize that when they look back and they don’t see anybody behind them, they are leading themselves. Whatever they do or refuse to do must at all time be in the interest of, not only the followers but also, of the generality of Nigerians. For the followers, yes, we should be good followers that will not be described as sheep without shepherd.
Because the moment they don’t respect their elders and they don’t follow the laid down path of their leaders, then they will be like sheep without shepherd. So, we don’t want that.
Beyond that, for the leadership, it is essential that they must learn to bring everybody together. Not that they will say, “Yes, these are my own,” within a group and then you start discriminating among members of the same party.
That will definitely lead us to where the PDP is today. Those who have those tendencies to discriminate, to segregate, to actually promote division within the APC as a party, should be warned. They should learn that divided we fall, united we stand.