Newly registered Action Democratic Party (ADP) claims to have the magic wand to address the socio-political problems confronting the country. In a chat with reporters in Abuja, the party’s National Chairman, Mr. Yagbaji Sani, said the ADP has got what it takes to displace the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) in 2019. Assistant Editor GBADE OGUNWALE was there.
Amid denials that there is no emerging mega party in the political space, a newly registered party, the Action Democratic Party (ADP), has owned up to claims that there is indeed a mega political party in the race for the 2019 general elections. Touting yet to be seen credentials, the party said it has learnt a great deal of political lessons from the dysfunctional party administration in the land.
The National Chairman of the ADP, Mr. Yagbaji Sani, attributed the loss of power by the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) to faulty approach to party administration. Sani pointed out that the seeming leadership crisis in the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) is also as a result of poor coordination of affairs in party administration. “The problem started right from 1999 when former President Olusegun Obasanjo declared himself the leader of the PDP. The APC has also made a similar mistake by referring to President Muhammadu Buhari as the leader of the APC”, Sani said.
He added that the same mistake is replicated in the states, where governors have assumed the position of leaders in the state chapters of the PDP and the ADC. Sani faulted the practice, saying it’s a breach of the principle of party supremacy in democratic setting. Said he, “Sitting Presidents and Governors have no business assuming the position of leader of the party at the national and state chapters. The moment that happens, the party loses focus entirely”. Political parties, he said, are organised around the masses and that the principle of party supremacy dictates that the President and the Governors must submit themselves to the party.
The President, governors and other elected officials ought to be accountable to the party that brought them to power. To buttress his point, Sani said the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) recognises only the party administrators as leaders of the various political parties and not the President and the governors. “Once you declare the President as leader of the party, it becomes difficult for the party to exercise control over him. And that is the situation in the country as we speak. You can’t run for election on the platform of a party and become the leader of the party after winning election. It was the party’s name that was on the ballot paper and not your name. So the practice is very wrong and anti-democratic. What is happening in the APC government is a reflection of this awkward scenario in the party”, the ADP chairman declared.
The chairman also traced the ongoing leadership crisis in the PDP to idea of making the President the leader of the party. He continued, “In the last dispensation, former President Goodluck Jonathan was the leader of the PDP, forgetting that the present had a limited tenure. The moment Jonathan was defeated in the 2015 presidential election, the PDP was left without a leader. If the party chairman had been recognised as leader of the party, there would have been continuity in the leadership of the party”. The ADP chairman observed that if the political parties are not organised, the country itself cannot be said to be organised.
He said that in a rudderless government arrangement, it becomes difficult for the ruling party to deliver on its campaign promises.
The Niger State-born politician said the ADP will put the President and governors elected on its platform in check, in line with the party’s manifesto. Stating the that the ADP is the mega party that the Nigerian voters are waiting for, Sani said, “ADP is an idea which time has come so nobody can stop it. The situation in the country calls for political realignment and re-direction. For instance why did people vote for President Muhammadu Buhari in 2015 and where did we get it wrong less than two years after.
The lesson here is that we should be voting for a system and not individuals. That is why there is no effective vehicle for the President to actualise the party’s manifesto. That is why there is in-fighting, no party discipline and disorganised arrangement. That is why President Buhari does not recognise the APC as a party he should subject himself to. No matter how good a leader is, there must be the right environment for him to operate. The APC has no Board of Trustees in place, they hardly hold National Executive Committee meetings. That’s why there is nobody to call him to order when he is going the wrong way.
It’s a situation of absolute power in the hands of an individual and this has been the trend since 1999. That is why we are where we are today. The party is deliberately weakened, it is not even there. The APC is not all-inclusive, the party is being run by a few individuals who have no idea what to do. What is happening in the APC government is a reflection of this scenario”.
The ADP chair said the leadership crisis in the opposition PDP was inevitable. He said Governors elected on the platform of the party have taken a cue from Obasanjo who forget that he had only eight years to remain as President.
“In the PDP, every governor is the leader of the party in his state. That is why the centre can no longer hold in the main opposition party”, the party chairman said. Highlighting options that would differentiate the ADP from the two major existing parties in the land, Sani the new party is coming on board with in-built mechanism to check the excesses of elected officials at all levels. “We are putting in place an organised party that can deliver because the ADP is formed around the people with strong party discipline. We have already put in place Alternative Dispute Resolution mechanism in our constitution. We also have the Founding Members Council, which is a supreme body within the party. If any member goes to court to challenge the party decision, he would be wasting his time because the party constitution does not allow that. Also, leaders of our party will be elected by the generality of members and not by delegates, as it is done in APC and PDP”. Discussing the factors that gave birth to the ADP, Sani said with the direction the ship of state is heading, it has become imperative for discerning minds to come together under a formidable platform.
His words: “We are underutilising our potentials as a nation because we are not making any headway in the economy. Majority of Nigerians are hungry and angry. Whereas we should be key players in the world economy, judging by our huge human and material resources. We have observed that our youths that constitute the largest voting bloc are have gained power through information and technology. They are taking back power owing to their vast knowledge in communication technology.
The economy is no longer responsive, leaving a vast majority of the nation’s youths in material poverty. But they are not poor when it comes to knowledge in communication, information and technology. These are some of the resources we are going to harness to build a population of economically empowered youth in the country. We are going to ensure that Nigerians get the best from democracy because what we have in place right now is not democracy in the real sense of it”.
On the gale of defections from the PDP to the APC in recent times, the ADP chair said nothing would come out of the defection. He cited the cases of a former President of the Senate, Chief Ken Nnamani and a former Governor of the old Anambra State, Chief Jim Nwobodo who defected to the APC a few days ago.
According to him, the people in the constituencies of the two prominent politicians are not moving with them. “As a matter of fact, the grassroots in their constituencies are angry with them. The voting community in their areas are angry with them, because the voters are looking for the right platform to give their votes”.
The ADP chairman confirmed that there are a sizable number of prominent politicians across party divide that have been giving support to the party.
He would, however, not disclose the identities of the political bigwigs said to have been reaching out to the new party. A key player in the petroleum industry, Sani had been an active player in the PDP and the defunct All Nigeria Peoples Party (ANPP) at different times in the past.
He was once a state executive member of the PDP and a former governorship candidate of the ANPP in Niger State. Speaking on what he described as silent but mass recruitment drive by the ADP, the party chairman said, “I can confirm to you that politicians from different parties have been talking to us and making moves to cross over when the time is ripe. Yes, many people from diverse political backgrounds have been holding talks with us.”
But, I am not going to mention names because it is too early in the day to do that. At the right time, they will make their identities known to the public. Many people have been talking to, us but I must make it clear to you that we are not receiving funding from any them. Just wait and see how we are going to displace both the APC and the PDP at the centre and across the states in the 2019 general elections. That is exactly where we are going”.