2007 presidency: There’ll be big fight in the North, if...– Akande

  • Tuesday, July 18, 2006 - By RAZAQ BAMIDELE
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Former governor of Osun State, Chief Adebisi Akande, has taken a critical look at the activities of the Economic and Financial Crime Commission (EFCC) and declared that the agency “is creating a moral burden for the Federal Government,” predicting that it would soon lose credibility in the eyes of the world.

Akande, who is also the factional chairman of the Alliance for Democracy (AD) asked: “If they could burst into the bank to ask for the statement of accounts of the Vice President, what stops them from going there also to ask for the statement of account of Otta farm into which Orji Kalu’s cheque was paid by the president?”
The concerned AD chieftain wondered why: “it is only the vice president that can commit offence in the dictionary of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) and not all other people in the party,” pointing out that the same EFCC became helpless when the issue of the port authority that involved some PDP chieftain came up.

On the contentions issue of power shift, the former governor, who said he would never become president because of age factor, said “presidency of this country does not belong to any group,” advocating a process that would be acceptable to all and sundry irrespective of where anybody comes from.
He also spoke on other sundry issues like the crisis in the AD among other issues.

Merger arrangement
There are two things holding us back. One, some of the participating political parties believe in an alliance and not a merger. An example is APGA and PRP, but those of us who believe in merger have some grey areas to unravel. It involves a lot of arguments and debates. In any human organizations you can’t think the same.

We all want to be involved. And we want to be involved in this country’s absolute democracy.
We want to be involved in constitutional democracy, but because of cultural differences, because of antecedence, because of differences in experience and political participation, definitely we can’t think the same. We can’t approach the issue the same way. That is why there have been arguments.
In the last meeting I attended of the merger group, we resolved most of these problems. I think we don’t need to hold more than two more meetings before we come out to the world with what we have been doing.
There would be no agreement without discussion unless you want to do it wish washy. If you want to do things right, you have to think about it. You have to think about it. You have to argue within yourself, you have to sort out areas of agreement and re-discuss all over again. Otherwise, we will bring a party to you, and at the end of the day, you are going to blame us. You will ask why we did when we knew that. In any human organisation, you need time.

The EFCC is creating a moral burden for the Federal Government, because if they burst a bank to ask for the statement of account of the Vice President, what stops them from going there and ask for the statement of accounts of the Otta farm to which Orji’s cheque was paid by the president? Or is it only the Vice President that can commit offence in the dictionary of the PDP? And not all the other people in the PDP?
The same EFCC was helpless when the issue of the Port Authority came up.

So, I think EFCC is creating a moral burden for the Federal Government. The whole world is having its own searchlight on Nigeria. And by the time the EFCC goes further, it would have lost the credibility in the minds of the people and in the court of the people. And no matter what comes out, the effects they are making would come to naught because they would not have impressed anybody in this country.

Oh, AD is intact. Remove the Shenanigan of the INEC and distablisation process of the Aso Rock, AD remains stronger now than it was even in 1999. The lesson from this crisis is that we should learn to work according to the laid down process and laid down rules. We should learn to work according to law.
We have been talking about the law all along, like the laws that made up the constitution of the AD, the laws of Nigeria and the constitution of Nigeria, but the moment anybody deviates from any of these three laws, there would be trouble. The lesson we have learnt is that due process must be adopted by all and sundry, whether in AD or in any other political parties.

I was elected as the national chairman of AD. Then how come the idea of stepping down for anybody? I tried to step down, but my party said no. It is not a personal matter.

I am not a part and parcel of Fasoranti’s Afenifere that endorses southern presidency because they don’t think straight. It is a defeatist attitude to say the president should come from the west, north or south.
The presidency of this country does not belong to any group at all. Only PDP rotates positions. And if Fasoranti joins other people to talk about rotation, they are PDP already then.

What we are saying is that we should go to a convention through Option A5 to elect the most suitable and most acceptable Nigerian as the president. It does not matter where the president comes from. The only thing is we need a stronger autonomy.

All federating units must be stronger than they were before. That is what is called constitutional federalism. Let us reduce the power from the centre. Don’t make it as attractive as it is now. The more attractive or the more stronger the centre is the nearer to collapse Nigeria would become.
I don’t share their views. They don’t belong to my own group. They don’t think like us anymore, the way we think Nigeria belongs to us, that the best man should rule us.

Go and read the Yoruba agenda. It has answer to everything we are talking about.
If you say the North should produce the president, you will see a big fight in the North; one northerner against the other. Already, Atiku wants to be president. Babangida wants to be president, Buhari wants to be president. Marwa wants to be president. Sani Yerima, my friend in Yobe, all of them want to be president.

And if you say it is the South, whether by regimentation or by law, you will see big fight in the South. In another two months, we won’t greet ourselves. That is not the way to do it. It isn’t the president that changes the constitution or the restructure. It is the people. And because today people are not thinking right, they may be listening to arguments that president should come from a certain zone.

Option A5
Option A5 is that, if there are more than one of you looking forward to become the president in a ward, we reduce you to one. The people will vote and reduce the number to one. That is Option A1.
Option A2 is that if there are more than one of you in the local government who want to be the president within that local government, the people will vote to reduce the umber to one.
Option A3 means that if there are more than one person vying for the presidency within a state, the people of the state would reduce it to be one.

Option A4 is that, within the zone, if there are more than one person vying for presidency, the zone will reduce it to one.

And at the end of them, you would have only six going to be considered by the national convention. And that is Option A5. It is an improvement on Option A4 that produced (MKO) Abiola.
And this (process) can produce an Ogoni man. And process it for parties primaries. This is to select candidates for political parties. When it comes to general election, we are advocating open secret ballot.

We have been trying to say let’s restructure the country. The president cannot do it. It is the people that can do it. Obasanjo started a process, trying to amend the constitution. That is his own belief of restructuring. The country said no, and it was thrown out.

Today, let’s say in Osun State, there are some wards that are larger than a whole local government within Osun state. That is badly structured by the INEC then or whatever name they were being called. They did the delineation of the ward, and the local governments within the state. And in creating the state too, there are some senatorial district of certain state that are bigger than many states.

These are bad structures and that is why we say, restructuring. We have been shouting that we want to restructure. And you can only restructure through the people, through the National Assembly and not through the President.

There are cultural differences in this country and there should be cultural democracy. Cultural democracy is what we call federalism. And that is why in the Yoruba Agenda, we have made it clear that each federating unit should be made absolute in the production of food or the life of the state. The life of state include food, clothing, housing and security. Each federating unit should be dissolute of the provision of life for its own people.

But when it comes to the life of the whole country, that is when an external countries are having dealings with us either for war or for trade or whatever, then the Federal Government should be made active. But when it comes to the life of individuals, like food, clothing, security, housing, transportation and education, each constituent unit must be absolutely autonomous to be able to do it without the Federal Government interference.

Until we do that, we would be worrying about geographical difference, structural differences and the advantage here or disadvantage there.

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