2023: It’s too early to talk about merger — Kachikwu, ADC presidential candidate
Kachikwu (left) and Moghalu

*Mergers, alliances don’t win election

*… says electorate  are my strength; explains why Moghalu left ADC

By Nnamdi Ojiego

Mr Dumebi Kachikwu is the presidential candidate of the African Democratic Congress, ADC, for the 2023 general election. He defeated former Deputy Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN, Professor Kingsley Moghalu in the primaries to clinch the party’s ticket. In this interview, the founder of Roots Television and younger brother of Nigeria’s former Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Ibe Kachikwu, said that the Nigerian economy is in total chaos and requires competent hands to rescue the country. He also spoke on his vision for Nigeria, merger talks and role of political structure in elections, among others.

Your party, the ADC, is not that popular in the country and therefore, not much is known about the party’s ideology. What does the ADC stand for?

Our party stands for a Nigeria that protects the rights of women, children, disabled and the less privileged in the society. We stand for a Nigeria that works for everyone, a Nigeria that does not deemphasise hard work, a Nigeria that does not promote ethnicity or religion. We stand for the unity of Nigeria. Our goal is to make Nigeria a better place for all of us.

Read Also: 2023: I won’t run for president on any other party – Moghalu

On the popularity of our party, typically, what we see in our interactions with the media is that the media promote a narrative of big parties. I will like to say that they are not big parties, rather, they are better known parties. The bigness is in the electorate, they are big, and take the final decision.

So, the narrative is important because we know the power of subliminal persuasion, which is the power the media has with the viewing or the reading public and that’s why I have come to seek your support and assistance on how you report us not just my party but other parties like my party.

What are your antecedents, where are you coming from?

I’m a businessman who has interest in multiple sectors ranging from IT and telecommunications, agriculture, real estate, software development, medicals, security and media, just to name a few. I managed some assets of Nigeria’s Satellite company a few years ago till this government came.

Why are you starting from the top, the presidency instead of starting from the local government, state house etc.?

Why I’m starting from the presidency? It’s simple, what the presidential position requires is not necessarily those who have been local government chairmen,  House of Assembly members, governors or ministers. What you can see in Nigeria now is that the successive governments have failed and failed spectacularly.

So those who have been through that process have got nothing to offer. They are part of the failed system. However, we realised that government is all about people who have patriotic fervour to revive the country. I have the experience in terms of business, I have the know-how, I have the determination to do the work.

I think I’m one of those who have built businesses that are critical to reviving the Nigerian economy. I have the know-how, the knowledge, and determination to do this. I think I’m one of those people that believe that you don’t necessarily have to come from the local government, House of Assembly or having been a governor, to serve the country.

So it’s not necessarily about where one plays or where one seeks to enter but we also realised that at this point, we find out that every election cycle, those who should run don’t run and I always wonder why.

Uphill task

There are people I look up to in the society, people like Atedo Peterside, and I see him being brave, bold and speaking out on critical issues but when it comes to time to vie for elective positions, I wonder why they don’t run.

They have succeeded in most of the endeavours they have undertaken but when it comes to politics, they don’t run maybe because they don’t want to fail, and you know, election is such an uphill task and it’s an uphill task because we present this narrative that the only way to succeed in politics is to have been in public office all your life and that’s not true.

I have been in the background in political sphere, I have supported, I have influenced but you realise that if you want to get something done sometimes, it requires you to be on the driver’s seat and that’s why I’m trying to be in the driver’s seat at a time like this.

Do you have the financial muscle to compete with candidates from ‘better known’ political parties?

Well, I won’t underestimate the role of money in politics but I believe that money plays a huge role when there’s no vision. People will typically rally round the vision.

We have not really seen a vision in our political space and that’s why people just take money but where there’s a vision, you will see people rallying around that vision. So the electorate is my strength and they are the ones I’m taking my vision to so that they can join me in this rescue mission.

Political structure

Again, why money is seen to be playing an important role is because of the nature of our political structure. Our election season is very short and doesn’t give the electorate enough time to know the aspirants before they become candidates. For example, we had just three months before the primaries and there wasn’t enough time for anyone to do any serious politicking to get the people to know you.

We have 176,846 polling units across the federation, do you have the wherewithal to galvanize supporters and volunteers across all the polling units in the country?

I think we are probably the only party outside of the better known parties with structure across the country. If you watch our primaries, the constitution of our party ensures that we have people from every local government in Nigeria.

We have about 2000 delegates from every part of Nigeria who participated in the primaries. So we have the structure, we have the people. I believe that those people who have been monitoring our campaign, monitoring me, will volunteer to join our campaign.

Who’s your running mate?

Dr. Mani is my running mate right now but he’s more or less at this point like a placeholder. We finished our primaries just last week so I need time to consult properly and I have the next few weeks to do that consultations to ensure that I have a running mate who not only understands what I believe in but also represents Nigerians.

Your main opponent in the primary, Prof. Kingsley Moghalu, has left the party. What moves are you making to bring him back to the party?

I have reached out to him a couple of times. I travelled to Lagos last weekend to try and see him. I have also tried to go to his home in Abuja to see him. Moreover, the party has set up a committee to reconcile aggrieved members including those who have left the party.

People deal with loss effect, we will have to understand that some people need time to cool off and process loss. So we’ll all have to respect that but with time, all wounds will heal and we will move forward.

The important thing is that Moghalu ran not for selfish reason. He ran because he believed that Nigeria needs to be rescued and anyone that believes that will join the rescue mission and will do anything possible to rescue our country.

Is your party involved in any merger talks?

Structure, you know, is not building. Structure is the aspiration of people in a party. So, you have a House of Assembly candidate for example, that’s the structure of the party in that area. What he creates there is what the House of Representatives, Senatorial, governorship and presidential candidates will stand on.

The second structure is the people – the electorate. So when lesser known parties don’t have candidates everywhere to project their interest or to drive and canvas for votes for them there, then, you have to have a message or a candidate strong enough in bringing people to the party.

The electorate is the ultimate structure and if the electorate does what they are supposed to do, we don’t have to really worry about the bigger parties or about the security agencies or what have you.

Merger

It’s too early to discuss mergers or alliances. The electorate will position people for alliances and what I mean by that is that the electorate is going to process all of us. So right now, you have people who are social media rave of the moment, etc.

But we want to see where everyone is in the next six months. By that time, political parties would be able to access each others’ chances, strength and opportunities and we will have conversations then.

My thinking, my understanding is that it’s not the merger that wins election. The merger of the ACN, CPC and other parties last time was not necessarily what won that election, it was the people. The people were fed up and were galvanized around their frustration.

The people who were part of that merger, how many are they? how many votes do they have? The people were fed up, their frustration led to the removal of President Jonathan. So it’s never about merger per se.

Vanguard News

Subscribe for latest Videos

Disclaimer

Comments expressed here do not reflect the opinions of vanguard newspapers or any employee thereof.