AD nominees dropped

No Comments » December 28th, 2006 posted by // Categories: Sovereign National Conference (SNC) Project



Guardian

February 18, 2005

Why AD nominees to confab were dropped, by Adeyeye

Prince Dayo Adeyeye is the director of publicity of the Alliance for
Democracy (AD). In an exclusive chat with CLIFFORD NDUJIHE in Lagos
yesterday Adeyeye said that the Presidency was bent on destabilising the AD by
rejecting its nominees to the national dialogue. Excerpts

WHY didn’t the AD nominate delegates to the national
dialogue? Some say you are holding the country to ransom.

We are not holding Nigeria to ransom rather it is the
authorities in Abuja that wants to destroy the AD. The AD is the most
progressive party in this country. We championed all these programmes including
the convocation of a Sovereign National Conference (SNC). The AD had the
original idea and the party has been in the forefront of the agitation for a
Sovereign National for Conference.

When the President stepped in, he came up with a
completely different thing from what we had anticipated and which is completely
at variance with the wishes and desires of Nigerians. Therefore, we have no
interest in the conference. We do not believe in it and we do not think it can
lead to anything. I think the president is playing games with the people of
Nigeria. He is trying to divert attention from the pressing economic problems of
the country. So we see the whole thing as a diversionary tactics, to gather
certain opinions in the country so that they can divert the attention of
Nigerians from their problems. For me, it is like offering the Nigerian people
opium.

The conference the AD desires is a conference that will be
sovereign. In other words, the decisions of the conference will not be subject
to a tampering or approval by anybody or authority in Nigeria other than the
people of Nigeria expressing their wishes in a referendum. That is not what we
are having now.

At the end of this jamboree, whatever decisions that are
reached at the so-called dialogue, the President will sit first and foremost to
tamper with it at his own level because this is purely his own dialogue. He is
the one convening and sponsoring it. There is no enabling law. He is using
executive power or order to convene it. So it is within his prerogative to
tamper with whatever decisions that are reached there. That is one level the
entire exercise could be reduced to a mockery.

After the President must have done whatever he likes with
the agreements that were reached, he will then forward it to the National
Assembly that is free to reject the whole thing in its entirety or even refuse
to consider it. So what is the essence of subjecting Nigerians to that kind of
shameful spectacle, dancing naked in the market?

In the eyes of the world, we would be seen to be taking a major constitutional
exercise whereas we are actually deceiving ourselves. It is a macabre dance. We
will present ourselves as jesters in the eyes of the world.

Is that why you are shunning the national dialogue?

No, they wrote us to ask us to nominate delegates and we had since sent the list
of our nominees.

You have sent the names of your delegates?

Yes, we have sent the names. They gave us only two slots, which shows that they
do not want us in the first instance. Organisations that have not established
membership were given four and six slots. We have a register of members in all
wards of Nigeria with millions of members. The two slots given to us amount to
an insult and affront.

But nonetheless, after due consideration the leadership of
the AD decided to send the names of two nominees. The latest we heard this
morning, long after we sent the names is that the powers in Abuja are saying
that they will not accept our nominees. Because of publications in the media
that the AD did not send nominees the Senator Mojisoluwa Akinfenwa group, which
is being sponsored by President Olusegun Obasanjo, wrote the presidency to say
there is factionalisation in the AD and that they should not recognise any of
the two factions by allowing our list.

I believe that those who asked us to send nominees in the
first instance were acting reasonably given the fact that the Independent
National Electoral Commission (INEC), had officially and unequivocally
recognised the National Executive of the party led by Chief Bisi Akande and they
have stated it severally. To that effect, we are shocked that President Obasanjo
is still bent on destabilising us in this kind of immature political conduct.

Who were the people you nominated?

We nominated Alhaji Hassan Ibrahim, a Second Republic Minister and the chairman
of the AD last National Convention, which the INEC adjudged as being
constitutionally in order and which then led to our recognition. We also
nominated a former commissioner in Ogun State, Mr. Segun Adesegun. We asked them
to go there and stand for the AD. Ordinarily, our chairman who would have gone
did not want to go.

Nonetheless, the non-acceptance of the AD delegates is a
non-issue to us because in the first instance we don’t believe in the
conference. We believe it is a sheer waste of public resources and those who are
going there, happily many of them are retired people, old and idle. They are
people of old age, time is not really precious to them otherwise for the younger
elements it is a sheer waste of time.

So, is the government asking the Akinfenwa faction to
nominate delegates?

No, they are not asking them to nominate delegates. The Akinfenwa people do not
want us to nominate delegates and they are backed by Aso Rock. You can see that
the presidency deliberately wants to destabilise the AD. They did everything to
cause this crisis in the first instance by promoting Alhaji Adamu Ahmed
Abdulkadir who is now working for the Presidency. And when these efforts failed
because of the unity of our people who came to the convention and said, ‘no to
division, acrimony and disagreements,’ the people in Aso rock were shocked and
surprised. For the first time in a long while, the AD could come out with one
voice in that convention, which was highly successful.

Why did they send us the letter asking us to nominate in
the first instance? Because Abdulkadir is there working for the President and
Akinfenwa is his protZgZ, it is so easy for them to block our
nominees and they give an impression to the whole country that we are
antagonising the National Dialogue. We don’t believe in it but for whatever it
is worth our people can go there and be part of it.

However, President Obasanjo wants to continue to
destabilise the AD and this is part of the efforts. It is sad. They are afraid
of their own shadows. They are afraid of what will happen in 2007. They do not
want us to gather ourselves together because they know that the AD is poised to
take over in 2007.

If you know that the Akinfenwa group is a faction why did
you send a letter to us in the first instance? When the INEC had recognised one
body why didn’t you consult INEC to say which faction is recognised, which group
should we send letters to? Are you now saying that all members of the AD are not
entitled to the conference and you expect us to be bound by the decisions of
that conference later on?

Whether we have factions or not, are you saying that AD members because they are
factionalised should be denied whatever benefit that should come to them whereas
the PDP and ANPP have problems themselves? No, you should find a way of reaching
a decision. The necessary party to consult is the INEC, which is the arbitrator
in this matter.

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