FORMER Governor of Edo State, Senator Osereimhen Aigberaodion Osunbor, a Professor of law , also former Chairman of the Nigerian Law Reform Commission, NLRC, a chairmanship aspirant of the All Progressiveness Congress, APC, in this chat spoke on his ambition and how he intends to manage the ruling party if elected national chairman of the ruling All Progressives Congress, APC in this weekend’s national convention of the party.
By Emman Ovuakporie
Are you the famed dark horse in the chairmanship contest?
Laughing…. Let me tell you about the dark horse story first before the issue at stake. The dark horse you refer to is the horse that emerges from nowhere to win the coveted prize while many people must have staked their money on other horses. And the funniest part of it all is that the winner horse must always be a dark horse. Well if you say so I may just be the person to emerge.
So why do you think you are the most suitable candidate for the position?
Our democracy and the political process in Nigeria since 1999 have been characterised by weak political party administration.
If our democratic culture is to be firmly established and good governance entrenched, it will require well managed political parties.
This is because democracy thrives best under an effective and efficient multi-party system. The weaknesses in our system manifest in many ways such as indiscipline among elected/appointed political office holders and unnecessary bickering and distractions.
These impediments stunt our growth and prevent Nigeria from attaining her full potentials.
The All Progressives Congress (APC) as the governing party in Nigeria has a huge responsibility to provide leadership in inculcating and building a culture of a vibrant political party system from the national level through the other levels down to the grassroots.
As National Chairman of APC I shall strive to build on the efforts by the founding fathers of the party and reposition it to help focus government’s attention in order to impact positively on the well-being and security of Nigerians.
I am absolutely convinced that I have the competence and ability to provide the needed leadership at this point in time for the following reasons.
I have the educational and professional competence to give the required leadership as a professor of law and an administrator.
I have the legislative experience as a two-term Senator to establish and engender a cordial relationship between the party and the National Assembly. My former colleagues at the National Assembly and other political associates across the country are invaluable assets.
As a former governor I have the executive experience to foster good working relationship between the party and the president at the national level and governors at the state level.
Through collaboration, the party, the legislature and the executive will not be bogged down by unnecessary rifts and conflicts which, as we have seen, are unhealthy to good governance and the realisation of the happiness and prosperity of our people.
As national chairman I will ensure that the various organs and officials of the party function effectively and harness their energies to work as a team. Good team work produces best results.
I shall strive to win friends for the party and grow its membership from among increasingly enlightened Nigerians, especially young persons, through reasoning and persuasion rather than crude force.
The pursuit of unity among party members is urgent and critical as we approach general elections. I have a vision of an APC that will be a model for other political parties in Nigeria and even beyond to emulate.
We must as a party support and complement the efforts of President Muhammadu Buhari in his African Union mandate to provide leadership in good governance in Africa.
We must elect a party leadership with unquestionable commitment to the realisation of these ideals through the re-election of President Muhammadu Buhari which he has earned by dint of his leadership style and unwavering commitment to total national reconciliation and the sustenance of democratic tenets in Nigeria and the world is watching us.
I have a vision of an APC that will be a model for other political parties in Nigeria and even beyond.
Did you at anytime step down because the rumour is all over that you did?
You said the rumour mill and what we heard was that I bought the form but failed to submit it and now you are saying I stepped down but I never did.
I was the fourth person to submit the form and I have not changed my mind about running because I do have a vision of what I can do to re-engineer our great party.
Do you believe in a consensus candidate?
Oh yes I do if it’s the party’s position.
Have you visited Buhari regarding your ambition?
Oh no I have not done that yet.
What exactly did you mean by a party model that other countries could emulate?
Simple! What I meant is that most of the challenges we are confronting today in our party can be properly solved with a well structured administrative party system.
There are doubts that the convention may not hold?
The speculation has been in the air is not just yesterday but I don’t know whether it is the handiwork of fifth columnists. It may also be another way of making sure the convention is properly organised. It could also be people from the opposition trying to stir up crisis in our great party.
I wouldn’t know where this problem is coming from but if it’s being instigated from outside or within the party, sooner or later we’ll know. If there are forces bent on stirring crisis within the party by shifting the date of the convention we’ll soon know.
Again the issue of stepping down has remained a recurring decimal do you think you can weather the storm?
The issue of stepping down does not arise but as you said you heard it from the rumour mill, the first rumour was that I did not pick the form; the second was that I picked the form but did not submit and now the third is that I have stepped down for another candidate. I want to assure you that I have not stepped down for anybody.
The party has said that the race is open and nobody has been shut in or shut out. We have also been assured that the leaders of the party will not interfere with the process. We have also been told that the president is not going to interfere with the process. At least, I have heard that from the Presidency through the spokesperson of Mr. President, Femi Adesina.
As for the endorsement of some candidates by certain important political personalities, as a politician and from my experience so far, the game is usually not over until it is over. Things can change very quickly and that is even assuming that the story about endorsement of one candidate is true. Even if it is true, things can still change because politics is dynamic.
The issue of unity has been a major problem in your party particularly the nPDP threat, how will you handle it?
I will invite all those involved and ensure everything is amicably resolved with sincerity of purpose as my watch word while handling the matter. If by the grace of God I become chairman I will ensure it’s peacefully resolved.
What made you to collect the form this late is it possible you were under pressure from a group?
It’s better late than never. For reasons that you must understand I cannot disclose to you who I have or not met in this issue or who has endorsed me. The fact that they were still selling the forms meant they were still receiving new entrants for the race.