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APDA is not going to use delegate to elect Presidential Candidate-Nat.Chairman

.cedes 30 percent elective and appointive position to women

.20 percent positions allocated to youths

.denies Dokpesi’s membership

The National Chairman of newly registered Advanced Peoples Democratic Alliance(APDA) Alhaji Shittu Kabir Mohammed has declared the readiness of his Party to do things differently by offering Youths,Women and persons with disability both appointive and elective positions.

According to Mohammed, the Party would not have to convey delegates to Abuja to elect Presidential Candidate but will allow members to vote at the various wards to nominate an acceptable candidate.

He also denied Dr Raymond Dokpesi’s membership of the Party despite his presence during the unveiling in Abuja

Read the full Text below:

Why APDA Is Different From The Crowd – National Chairman

Shittu Kabir Mohammed is National chairman of the recently registered Advanced Peoples Democratic Alliance (APDA). He speaks to LEADERSHIP Weekend on the party’s manifesto and why Nigerians should give his a chance.

How is the Advanced Peoples Democratic Alliance different from other political parties and what plans do you have for Nigerians?

We tell anybody who cares to hear us that we are not a political party; we are a political movement and what we are all about; there are four cardinal things about the APDA that we believe makes everyone in this room a member of our political movement. One, the APDA is the only political party I think in the history of Nigeria, that is negating the convention style or what you call the delegate style of choosing representatives; we are into constitutionally for the first time in Nigeria, biometric membership and electronic voting of all members across the country and all the elections; if you want to run for presidency now, all elections to elect you as the presidential candidate, will be done at the ward level; we are not going to be gathering in Abuja to come and get a delegate who is going to be voting for anybody. Two, we are the only political party in the history of Nigeria that has allocated constitutionally appointive and elective positions to three categories of Nigerians: women, 30%, youths, 20% and people with special needs, 5%. We are the only political party in Nigeria that is running an electoral college system that has on thirty-seven votes to elect our presidential candidate and chairman of the party; what that means is that if you go to count all the trees in Ibo land and you get 10m votes and somebody has 2 vote, you have only gotten 1 vote; so each state of Nigeria will be given a presidential 1 one vote. In the near future to come, we might be the only political party that has truly and thoroughly, started what we call inclusive governance even from our electoral process. APDA is a party that draws basically on social democracy; we are democrats; we are not interested in money politics; everything we do as a political party we are trying to do to say, let us as much as we can, get as many Nigerians involved to be able to come forward to change the narratives of governance in our country. So unlike the political big wigs, we speak with one voice; as one body; there is nobody who is saying this person must be governor, this person must be minister. So, this is a clarion call to everybody. We don’t want to play politics; everything we are going to be doing is listed in 56 pillars in our manifesto and it captures every single aspect of our nation hood and our nation.

We are social democrats who that welfare of Nigerians should be paramount in the affairs of governance because security has collapsed; as a party, we want to concentrate on food, security, housing, and other social amenities. And how do we do this, we first of all create an opportunity for the downtrodden and how do we do this? We must look at how to harness the resources each area: local government, state and ward has and tap into them to be able to create opportunities to create employment for the youths and not just that, we now put up processing plans and feeder roads into these areas. I’m going deep into why we believe in the social areas of our lives; until we start as a country to do this, if you go into our manifesto, we have restructuring that everyone is asking for but we may have it in a different way; our restructuring

is not that the country should break; ours is saying devote some power to the states and local government especially in area of employment, security and more. How do we do this? Wherever a state or local government has comparative advantage on either mineral resources or crops, encourage them to tap into it by discouraging some aspects of exclusive list that cut them from doing so because its high time of thinking of homemade economic development; these are what we want to bring to the table; when you allow for this, you find that getting employment is easier and cheaper

You said that you are not a political party but a political movement. Can you give more clarifications on that?

When you talk about political party, what basically you have in political parties are politicians but when you talk about a political movement what you have is a galvanization of what you call your nation’s force where everybody irrespective of creed and profession say we are clamoring for proper governance. It happened in the last administration a lot of people that were not politicians were interested in making certain that a new system came into being; what we are trying to doing here is to galvanize that force; have someone say, “I have read what you have in your manifesto, I am not a politician but I’m going to support this” that is what we mean by a movement. Of course, we are a political party by nomenclature but we are a political movement by what it is we want to galvanize.

The aim of every political party is to win elections. You are coming two years to the next elections. We have APC that is in power now; we have PDP that has been around for years. How do you hope to wrestle power from them?

For us, we believe that at a certain point, we stopped being a nascent democracy which we claim to be; we are 18 years old politically; we believe that in this 18 years, people have gone through processes; they have gone through various stages of change and seen the effects; we believe that if we bring a new ideology to the table, Nigerians will embrace us; they have seen it all; they will see a new innovation in the country’s political process. What we are bringing that we believe will change the minds of the people is direct primaries and electronic voting where you don’t need to find yourself to Abuja; you can be in your bedroom and vote for your candidate; we are also bringing e-payment where any kobo you pay to the party, you have right to know how it is utilized because you will be able to check it.

You asked how we are going to wrest power from APC and PDP, we are not going to wrest power from them, Nigerians will wrest power from them and what Nigerians are waiting for to do so, is somebody that can present something they can investigate, interrogate and trust and can now question

These days the government is shifting its responsibilities by way of allowing Private entities to take on their work. By welfare, which you say is a cardinal point of your party; does it mean government involving itself in providing amenities for the people?

We must grow our individual economies as states which this party is bringing on board. You cannot close everything and say it must be private; it is not possible; it is not done anywhere. China grew because it about brought mixed economy; what they did was to pick up the capitalist ideology, went to Russia and took the socialist ideology and married it with their own home-grown economy in which they believe that it has to be rural based. That helped China; if from day one, China went capitalist with its 50 year rolling plan, I don’t think the country will be where they are today; they believe in communism, they took economy of other countries, they married it with their communist and put amenities in place in every community; they provided a platform for which even local governments go outside China to invest and bring back profit to the country. That is the kind of thing we are talking about. We call ourself mixed economy nation, we don’t take those basic responsibilities and give it to private individuals; you cannot take people’s security by that mean food security that is basic and say it should be provided by private entities; you must provide an enabling environment and put up infrastructures that will let private individual to come in; we don’t believe you should take power holding and just sell it without having a mechanism to monitor and regulate it; you can’t do that. When we were growing, we were virtually begged to go to school; I had two scholarships: from Abuja and Niger State; we were given food and uniforms and, that encouraged us to go school; you also saw the way free education helped people in the west during Awolowo’s time; there is no way you can develop a country strictly on capitalism; as a party, we want to re-engineer our economic process and make it home-grown. If you go to our manifesto, you will see two frame works that have been developed: one is called the job creation partnerships, the other one is called the labor market agreements; it is has not been done anywhere in Nigeria before.

The question is borne out of the fact that when the party was launched, Dokpesi and a number of prominent PDP members were there. So, how do you defend that?

I know where you are going with this. Yes, you should know I was chairman of inter-party advisory council. We members of other parties like Major Agbo of NNPP, Dan Iwuanyanwu and others. I brought them to help me unveil. Arise was there, Nduka Obaigbena may be, you didn’t see him. I also called them to come and help me. I explained the party to them very well and they said they will support us with their media, I approached other media houses but they couldn’t get either support but those two were there to give it live coverage perhaps that is why you saw them. Dokpesi may be interested in the party in the future, I don’t know. But what I want to emphasize to you is that our party is not a stooge or a faction of any party. We put this party together believing that our country right now should move out of what we call ourselves-nascent democracy to start massive development of our country. And you can’t do that under these parties you have mentioned because a lot of things have happened there. If you look at the background of the people who make up the APDA, you will know that we cannot be stooge to anybody. These are just speculations that envy our position and found our manifesto and constitution and found it to be the best in Nigeria

As a party, you must have deliberated on the issue of restructuring. Have you taken a position on whether or not we should restructure or not?

Our party believes that Nigeria is indivisible; it has come to be. We believe that the issue of breaking up or not breaking up does not arise. However, there has to be devolution powers; allow states the opportunity to take comparative advantage of their own resources and pay tax. Then there are some aspects of the exclusive lists that must be taken out; items like the land tenure system in order to allow competition between states.

There are a lot of other aspects of the list that as a party, we are looking at, and believe if they are removed, it will help us as a nation. We need to earn from other countries; look at South Sudan today. Why should we be talking about dividing ourselves; yes, South Sudan has the oil; got the independence but they are still faced with crisis; they are today, begging Northern Sudan to run pipes for the oil through Northern Sudan and to pay for it. Then within Southern Sudan, you have different interest groups that sprang up.

Today, there is no peace in that country. What people don’t know is that Nigeria will be worse off if this happens. Let’s assume we ask south-south to go, sooner or later, you will hear Ishekiri and Ijaw disagreeing and cant co-habit, then Uhrobo and Omo will come up with something else; then, you go to Igbo land, they will start saying, “these ones are Osus, will Osu be my president?; Will Wawa be my president?”; you come to the north here, you start hearing middle belt; you start hearing this is Tiv, he doesn’t want Jukun; it doesn’t pay us; its better we stay together and then, harness our resources to build ourselves and our country. And then, why do people agitate? It’s because of poverty, unemployment, children can no longer go to school today, frustration now sets in; then the political elite takes a look and say, because there is oil bloc there, let us break up, forgetting that the day you break, the community where the oil bloc sits will want to be on their own, don’t want to be part of you.

Then, there will be arms dealers who will set in since they are vultures waiting to eat you raw. At the end of the day, you have the gun but you don’t have the wealth; they keep your wealth and leave you with the guns. So, as a party, we don’t believe in this country being divided; we believe that our resources should be harnessed to provide opportunity for every citizen to live.The Leadership NGR

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