Rev Austin Emeka Nnorom was Executive Secretary and past Chairman, Conference of Nigerian Political Parties (CNPP) in Lagos State. He was the Chairman of Movement for Restoration and Defence of Democracy (MRDD).
MRDD was the first party to evolve as a result of a merger but the merger process was truncated.
He spoke to Our Online Editor on sundry national issues, including the future of his new political platform, the All Progressives Congress (APC).
In which political divide are you now?
I’ve just joined the All Progressives Congress (APC).
Were you part of the merger process?
I joined the party before the merger process. As soon as I saw the hand writing on the wall; a clear indication that the process that brought the party together represented, I immediately knew it was a party one had to align with and work with because of what their vision portend for democracy in Nigeria.
As a member of Movement for Restoration and Defence of Democracy MRDD, which was a product of a truncated merger process, how do you thing the APC merger will work?
Where we are now is beyond thinking that about if it will work. This is already a moving train. APC is a train on the move.
MRDD was an aircraft that never really took off for a day. It was grounded from inception. But APC is a flight that is already airborne to 2015 and the target is to ensure that the nation feels an impact of a change in governance.
It is believed that those who are coming into the APC may end up bringing disequilibrium within the party, particularly when to appointments and allocation of offices ahead of the 2015b election. What is your take on that?
If you look at states where the All Progressives Congress is in charge, you will see a clear style of what officeholders reflect and what it takes to serve in government.
Issues that bother on holding political offices are not used to compensate party members. That you are a member of a party does not and has never guaranteed that you will hold a political office. It’s a party that always want to have round pegs in round holes and square pegs in square holes and that is why these ones are coming in from different divides and they are coming into a divide that they have seen what is on ground.
You won’t expect that because you are merely a member of the party they will ask you to go and head a place where ordinarily you need an expatriate or a qualified person in. I don’t see that being an issue here.
If it’s all beyond the office one occupies are you are saying, some people believe that the merger is all about taking over power at the centre in 2015.
What if APC did not capture power after the general election?
Thank God you are asking “if”. But I wonder how this “if” will take place because I don’t see Nigerians today, settling for continuity.
You mean at the centre?
Yes, I don’t see Nigerians settling for continuity at the centre. It will be very, very difficult.
But a lot of people believe that the president has performed very well?
If you look at governance here from 1999 till date, I think we are ripe for change. The country cannot be more prepared for change than 2015. Presently, the people have an alternative government, which never had before these parties came together. We couldn’t have that as ACN, or CPC or ANPP.
They did not have the strength to fight individually and that made the world to see the PDP as the biggest party in Africa. But today, you have a party that can tell you it’s the biggest party. Right now, APC has become the biggest party in Africa.
What have you to say concerning the believe that some people who are now leaving the PDP to join the APC were some of the people the party saw as corrupt in time past? It is said that joining your party means importing corruption from their party if PDP was corrupt as your party claims?
I don’t know among the governors that are coming into the party that has allegations of corruption against them. Is it Kwakwanso the Kano state Governor or Amechi of Rivers State. I’ve not seen any of the governors that came in that have corruption cases against them.
In fact, one of the reasons why these governors left was that they stood against tendencies of corruption. So, people saying that these governors have allegations against them on corruption I’m yet to hear.
Rather, the disagreement that brought about their leaving bothered on believes that their former party was corrupting the process. Election took place, people voted and you say that the minority will have its way. That is corruption. You had a congress and you are manipulating the process and that is corruption.
So, their agitation is even against corruption. They left purely because of issues that bothered on a process that didn’t ordinarily reflect corrupt-free democratic process.
What is your political future like in APC?
With APC, my political future is very bright.
How would you access the government run by APC in Lagos State since 1999, particularly the current administration?
The footprint of the government is clear and there for all to see. The acknowledgment and the endorsements the government has gotten are there for all to see. In every area, it’s there: in healthcare, education, infrastructure, name it. They speak for themselves.
It has been a general complaint that in the suburbs where the ordinary people are living, there is no real government presence, making some argue that the government is pro-rich. What I your reaction to that?
Life is in phases and men are in sizes. There is a phase for everything in life. This government has started and this government is working and there is no part of the state in the 20 local governments and 37 local council development areas where there is no presence of this government.
Today, the impact of government is being felt and when you consider what it takes to construct roads in Lagos state is very expensive. I know that even the suburbs, the government has ensured that the suburbs are developed. And the programme to develop the suburb is being implemented.
So, if there are people who are in the suburbs that are complaining, I am yet to see. Is it in Bariga, Epe, Ajegunle? In all Ikorodu, in all the suburbs, the impact and presence of government is being felt, particularly with regards to infrastructures.
Now that you’re part of the party that wants to take over power at the centre, don’t you think that getting a presidential candidate will create serious problem in the party in view the fact that many people coming into the party are serial presidential aspirants?
I don’t foresee what you called serious. In any political process, issues that bother on having candidates are issues that are taken seriously and it takes a serious person to always mange them. You have to take a critical look at the merging political parties and how they were able to produce their candidates before the merger.
In ANPP, where Mallam Shakarau emerged, there was no problem through the process that sprung him up. In CPC there was no problem after emergence of Buhari and in ACN when Ribadu emerged, there was no problem.
I see a democratic process which shall be very beautiful and which people will celebrate and say this is good for democracy by the time we go for congress.
What is your final word for those who believe that the party will have some crisis?
Let’s watch and see; let’s wait as 2015 vindicate us.
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