Our Interviews::

ALP Wants House Of Representatives Scrapped, Advocates Passage Of FOI Bill


Chief Emmanuel Osita Okereke is the National Chairman of African Liberation Party, (ALP). Former presidential flag bearer for 2007 presidential elections, being ardent supporter of true democracy in the country, Okereke bears his minds with our reporter, Paul Efiong in an exclusive interview with him where he spoke of topical burning issues in the country such as the zoning presidency, war against corruption as well as how activities of the lower house of assembly should be checkmated and the reasons why National Assembly should pass Freedom of Information Bill (FOI) into law. Excerpt;


Can we meet you sir?

My name is Chief Emmanuel Okereke.National Chairman African Liberation Party, (ALP).


Zoning is one of the most topical issues now within our polity, what is the stand of your party?

Zoning is never a problem, I don't see reason why some people try to make trivial issues, zoning is never a democratic issue, it has not been part of our system. We have over 50 political parties in this country, if person or group of persons thinks they are credible enough, they should enter any political party to make themselves relevant. Zoning is outside democracy, if the ruling party wants to insist on that, could they prove that such was their agreement? Where was such an agreement signed and where are the copies? And who endorse them? I want to say that if there are such documents then Nigerians should have been informed, and all registered political parties and zones should have been told and reasons for accepting such. Those that are insisting on zoning presidency arrangement are fraudsters who do not know what they want. As long as democracy is concern, zoning has no basis even under military regime; nobody becomes head of states through zoning. We want credible elections after all the ruling party has been rigging election without zoning. Now that we are talking of zoning, we have not seen even the election guidelines; we have not seen electoral Act 2011 and have INEC guidelines. Let every zones come out to context even if there are 20 persons in one zone, the most popular and most credible would have his way at the end. let them have their National Convention, then who wins become the flag bearer for the party in 2011 election.


Do you have confident in the New INEC leadership?

What Nigerians should understand is that INEC always have credible leadership but at the end the system would swallow them. We are talking of a system in Nigeria, when there is no freedom of information, when the FOI Bill has not been passed into law what could we expect. We are boosting of free and fair elections, no! Not now until the bill is passed into law for the benefit of Nigerians. Yes, Attahiru Jega is a very good friend of mine, and we have known for some times, he is credible but the problem lies with the Nigerian factor. He is known for transparency, remember he is just an individual at the helm of affairs which does not constitute INEC as a body. He is just a Chairman that may not know of any office there at INEC. Infact, as far as I know he is just a (JJC) Jonny Just Come! Remember too that some civil servants are the most corrupt people in this country which include some politicians, do you know why some ministry are failing in their assigned task and assignment? It is because of some dubious civil servants there, since they are also at INEC Jega may do nothing or little.
I am telling you that he may not be able to give credible and transparent elections to Nigerians come 2011.Remember too that with none passage of Freedom of Information Bill there is virtually nothing Jega as an individual can do to save the situation. The passage of this bill is important that every thing in the country has one or two bearing with that bill. It could be used to fight the canker-worm called corruption as well as other economic and social ills in our country. Jega is just here in Abuja as the Chairman of the commission, what about other states of the federation? Could he be there personally to see things for himself at every time? Could he supervise them individually to give credible elections to Nigerians at the same time? It could be very impossible for him, although he has good intention, and passion for his country. I always say that credible election remain mirage in Nigeria until FOI bill is passed by the national assembly into law.


When you talk of his credibility, don't you think Jega may tend to favor President Jonathan during 2011 election?

I told you that I have known Jega for some years now; he would not give Jonathan if he does not win election. He could conducts credible election for Nigerians, but remember that other INEC Commissioners are directly appointed by the president .In Nigeria, the system is so corrupt that who ever appointed you into office is the one you worship come what may.
My advice to Jega is that he should forget about god-fatherism and ensure that 'one man, one vote count is the order. If that does not happen, there is no democracy in Nigeria and his image would be at stake while the election would become a flop and failure. Let me tell you that Professor Maurice was not finding things easy as some politicians claimed. Yes, it was not easy for him because many people would want to get you that is transparent corrupt. Government in place would always want to have her way by using you to the full but would later dump you. Most of those INEC rigged for could not even come to its rescue when the chips are down. So what we are saying this time around is nothing but credible, free and fair election come 2011.If people or group of people market themselves properly let them come out and contest through a platform if they do that, they could win. Let there be credible elections this time! Nigeria is bigger than any individual and ethnic groups, after all President Yar'adua died and nobody is talking about him again. This time around people should use their tongue to count their teeth PDP would not try to rig this time again, where they connived with some touts and agberos to rig elections, after paying them a stipend of N1000 and so for them to carry out the dastardly act. When Jega was a lecturer, he never collected money from any student, he rather asked them to be studious to enable them pass their exams. I see him capable of giving Nigerians credible elections come 2011 if Nigerians would give him the needed support and if the system allows him to do so. I want to point out that the 2011 election may not hold on March and April, because Jega has a lot of work to do in that Commission, think of registration, reviewing guidelines, times table and so on. Let Nigerians rally round Jega and his commission so that they could give us credible elections.


Deregistration of Political Parties have been clamored for by some Nigerians, are you in support of such a move?

Those clamoring for the registration of political parties in the country are political applicants looking for jobs. Our constitution is very clear when its says 'Freedom of Association, Freedom of Speech, as well as, Freedom of Movement to mention just a few are right of every citizenry. Some of our law makers are corrupt which suppose not to be so. Those that moved motion against deregistration of political parties should also moved a motion for the quick passage of Freedom of Information Bill into law. But what we see and heard is sharing of money meant for projects execution as well as that of the constituency which most could not show a particular project ever executed. When there is valid reasons for people to answer for their action and inaction, misdeed or out right embezzlement of fund, they tend to prove innocent trying to suspend if they could those that try to exposed them, they arrange thug, to beat them up as if they were not voted to represent people and constituents there. What kind of leadership are we talking about? Is there anything very special about the position of a speaker? Is only here in Nigeria that people give particular respect to the office of a speaker, he was there to serve and not to embezzle our money. Why did the president send back the budget proposal of some ministries and parastatals? Because they inflated the amount that were involved. That why you see our budget keeps increasing annually. But look at our road network, from Abuja to Lokoja, they are death traps. Some activities in the House are questionable, and supposed to be scraped or disbanded. We could survive by just the upper chamber of the National Assembly to make our laws. Some percentage of the money for constituency is just nothing but a waste of resources because they ended up at private pockets. We political parties receive just N6million a year and that money could not pay our rent here, while some members of the House collect N27million and over a month. I am of the opinion that House of Representatives should be scraped leaving only the upper house to make laws for us with increasing number of representation. Let me commend Dino Maleye for his courage in exposing the corrupt influence of the Speaker. Dino Maleye has credibility and his action save this nation over N60billion over road construction of new Airport road, he refused to take bribed, he saw calamity and was ready to expose it irrespective of who was involved. Do they have power to suspend fellow colleagues and law makers for telling the truth?


How can corruption be curbed in Nigeria?

Corruption could only be curbed when the FOI Bill is passed into law. Most of those in government establishment are giving oath of office once they are employed, the reason being that they should never exposed any act of corruption there. Let me tell you that my party is heading to court to know why law makers refuse to pass that bill into law for the general benefit of Nigerians and particularly you journalists in this country. Your job as journalists has no insurance covering you, and some people have died because of executing their constitutional assignment.


What does your party have for Nigerians?

Our party is founded on the principles of equity and fair play. African Liberation Party is the only party with manifesto, investigate all other parties what they have could not be compared with ours because our manifestos have provision for women, youths and people empowerment. We are determined to create employment opportunity for all Nigerian graduates roaming the streets in search of job. We want to create steady electricity light and general up liftment of Nigerian people.


What are your messages to Nigerians?

Let us join hands to build Nigeria. We have the ability; let us join hands to fight for credible elections in this country particularly during the forth coming 2011 election.


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