Engineer Yagbayi Sani, who hails from Niger State, is the Protem National Chairman of the new mega party, Action Democratic Party, ADP.
In this interview, the convener of the ADP boasts that the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC will register the new party and after that, it will win the 2019 Presidential election. Excerpts:
By Henry Umoru
It’ll be suicidal for INEC not register mega party
YOU led other members of your association to INEC recently to submit your documents for registration. Are you sure that the electoral umpire will register your association to become a party?
Let me tell you that it will be suicidal for INEC not to register us because the fact of the matter is will APC be here today if INEC did not register it? They won’t be there, which means that Nigerians are watching to know whether this is the INEC they can trust.
I am not sure we are doing anything wrong, what we are trying to do is to deepen democracy, it will even help the present government. We are even expecting INEC at our head office for inspection, preparatory to the registration of the party.
Why did you decide to form another party when you have some 60 parties already in existence. Don’t you think that the number of political parties in the country is too much?
The constitution of the country allows free association and it also gives individuals rights to contribute their quota in any way possible especially if you have a developing society like ours and especially when you look at the democratic structures that we have and given the fact that the main structures we have today are weak. In fact, I am not sure Nigerians still have confidence in those parties. You said there are many parties. Well, there are many parties but we are different. This one is a movement, whose time has come. We are a party whose idea has come, we are not like any other party.
You said Nigerians have lost confidence in the parties, does that include the ruling All Progressives Congress, APC?
Yes. In fact, Nigerians have lost confidence in those parties. So, for us, it is a call to duty that we should rescue the political stage from imminent collapse.
Is your party a progressive party, a democratic party or a conservative one?
You can call us progressive. We are progressive in the sense that we want to deepen democracy. We don’t think democracy in this country, as it is now, is properly situated. Even the executive is not as democratic as it should be. So, we are coming to deepen democracy. When you have democracy, the issue of whether it is progressive or conservative or whatever is immaterial. You can say that our leaning is towards being progressive to ensure that the democratic tenets are allowed to really have a say. Why the APC got it wrong is that they were just after power. Otherwise they would have been responsive to the needs of the people.
Where are you going to draw the bulk of your membership from. Is it from the North, North-Central, South-South or South-West?
The dynamics of politics today has changed. Ours is a movement whose time has come. So, the idea of where we draw our membership from is just begging the issue. I don’t know whether you have watched or you know what happened before APC came to being. Why didn’t you ask them then where they were drawing their membership from?
We already knew that time that they had five governors from the South-West, they had one from the North and they were banking on the street popularity of Buhari in the North.
Street popularity of Buhari
That was the configuration at that time but today you have even a better environment in the sense that the governors that you are talking about, who probably are in PDP today, are in total disarray and for the PDP to come together, you now have to look at the factors that will force them to come together.
PDP may soon bounce back by ending its political quagmire and if that happens where do you hope to draw your members from?
This question is speculative because of the contending forces. If you are familiar with the reasons PDP is going through what they are going through, it is not just the issue of litigation. It is also the issue of the party that lost the centre of attraction.
Not just right now. You know the PDP has lost political power and the party in power, the APC will do everything possible to remain in power being their arch enemy. You know the PDP was able to hold together because they had power. They have lost political power now and I am not sure there is a centre of attraction anymore. I am also sure that the APC, which sees the PDP as enemy number one will not allow them.
Centre of attraction
When I say do everything possible, I mean that the bulk of those who formed the APC are from the PDP. The PDP does not have a centre of attraction and that is why they could not manage the litigations they were having. There’s nobody to call anybody to order and largely it is a very indisciplined party.
If you say there is no attraction for the PDP, what of the APC which has been receiving lots of defectors in recent weeks?
These are not people that can go back to their constituencies and tell anybody to join them and they will listen.
Mere mention of APC in some places will create anger between the proponents and the people. So, the party has really lost followers. Those defecting to join them are just individuals, who are just looking for business and business is not about masses.
The masses are looking for something different, something they can associate with, not individuals running from one party to the other to take positions or contracts. So, those moving to the APC now are people looking for something and the party also knows that they are joining them to take whatever they can get.
What about the situation in the South East where bigwigs keep defecting to the APC? Looking at the North too, it looks settled for the APC.
There are two different things here. You have to be able to separate the two. Why do you have political parties? You have political parties to win elections but the parties in existence have lost appeal. Even the APC
They are still in power you know…
Yes, they are still in power but the power rests with the people and the people have lost faith in that party. Today, we are creating a vibrant environment so that they will also become better. Maybe our coming will help them to also become better and to also manage their party affairs more efficiently. It is really in the interest of the government of the day to ensure they have a vibrant opposition; to keep them on their toes and I am quoting even the National Chairman of the APC, Chief John Oyegun.
He was quoted to have said that he will welcome mega party because it will keep them on their toes, which is better for our democracy and even for this government.
But can we really say that the main agenda of your party is to get power in 2019?
I have told you that we are coming to deepen democracy. Our aim is to deepen democracy. So, we are not coming for the sake of grabbing power. No!
You know that when APC came they were very resolute on grabbing power
No, you don’t take power for its own sake. You must have a reason for doing what you are doing and our agenda, if you look at our party’s main principle, you see all-inclusive government, empowerment of young people and also party supremacy. All of these are missing in the present government. They are not in the government we have had. How can you say that somebody who is an elected governor, who was produced by the party, is now the leader of the party? It is finished. You have finished the party and the party is gone.
You said that PDP has no rallying point, who are the rallying points in your party?
The masquerades are the people. They are the masquerades. When we come out in our large number as we are doing now, you will see the masquerades.
What are some of the names in each of the geo-zolitical zones that we can go with?
I have already told you the big men are the people themselves. Democracy is about people now. Isn’t it? So it is the people themselves. Don’t forget that in today’s world, I can sit in my house and talk to one million people at the same time and it works. The politics of today is not like that of yesterday that requires one man telling the people where to go, it has gone beyond that.
The social media you mean…?
Exactly So. That is the politics of today. We are not thinking of big men from the North or from the West; that is not the issue today. Politics has gone beyond that already and like you know, even the Buhari administration also benefited from that largely. It is a fact that they came with the idea of change. So this is why when people ask me who is the masquerade, who is this, I say the masquerade is the people.
I don’t need to go to the East to talk to people before I can get to you in the East, there is already a network. Before you needed somebody they are looking up to who will tell them that this is what to do. This is no longer the way it is done. The politics of today is when you have the idea, if you can move the people; you can move them.