Dokpesi, Nwanyanwu float ‘new party’

FROM LEFT: Member, Advanced Peoples Democratic Alliance Party (APDA), Mr Dan Nwanyanwu; Interim, National Chairman, Malam Shitu Mohammed-Cabiru; and Interim Deputy National Chairman (South), Mr Fijabi Adebo, unveiling the party’s flag in Abuja on Monday (4/6/17). 03035/5/6/2017/Ernest Okorie/BJO/NAN

Newly-formed political association, Advanced Peoples Democratic Alliance, APDA, which was unveiled on Monday, has denied any link with the crisis-ridden Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, whose members attended the ceremony held in Abuja.

The group said it would soon apply to the Independent National Electoral Commission to be formally registered as a political party.

There are currently 40 existing political parties in Nigeria while 60 associations have applied to INEC for registration as political parties.

The interim National Chairman of the APDA, Shitu Mohammed Kabiru, who disclosed this while fielding questions from journalists during the event, however said there were members of other parties waiting to join the association.

Among the members of the PDP in attendance was the proprietor of the African Independent Television, AIT, Raymond Dopkesi.

A source close to Mr. Dokpesi told PREMIUM TIMES that his boss was “just a sympathizer” to the new party.

There were speculations that APDA was being floated by some prominent members of the Ahmed Makarfi-led faction of the PDP who planned to quit the party in the event that it loses its appeal against the Ali Modu-Sheriff faction at the Supreme Court.

However, Mr. Shittu, who was also the National Chairman of Republican Party of Nigeria and later Special Adviser to former PDP National Chairman, Bamanga Tukur, on Inter-party Affairs, further explained that the PDP members were present at the event to show solidarity with the new group.

“I want you note now (that) I am calling APDA. I am not calling any other party than APDA and we should have inter relationship,” he said.

“You should also note that I was the national chairman of the Inter party advisory council (IPAC).  Therefore, members of various political parties here are here in solidarity with us. And most of these parties are even ready to come and join APDA.

“Our relationship with political parties or not… what we are focusing here is APDA.”

In the speech he delivered earlier, Mr. Kabiru said APDA was formed to actualise the fundamental human rights of Nigerians to determine their national destiny.

He also said the association was formed in recognition of the general hopelessness brought upon Nigerians by mal-administration and the urgent necessity to give them fresh opportunities and new platforms to re-direct their electoral mandate to a dependable, committed and capable generation of leaders ahead of the 2019 general elections.

Mr. Kabiru assured that if the association formed the government at the centre, it would move Nigeria out of the prevailing atmosphere of political frustration, economic stagnation, leadership failure and betrayal of the popular will and aspirations of the Nigerian masses.

“APDA stands for an inclusive Nigerian society based on principles of freedom, equality, solidarity, diversity, equity and fairness,” he added.

“We are committed to fighting for social justice, job creation and economic growth. We shall initiate policies and programmes that will promote consumer rights, sustainable development and financial market reforms so as to create a stronger, more democratic nation and better future for every Nigerian.”

Speaking on behalf of the interim National Executive Committee, Dan Nwanyanwu, said though there were already political parties existing with all of them lacking any ideological anchor, “we concluded we needed a new platform to give room to new ideas, new alignments, new energy and most of all, new pragmatic approaches to confronting national and political challenges.”

Mr. Nwanyanwu, who was the National Chairman of the Labour Party, said so many of the established political parties appeared to be fixated with recycling the same old leaders, repeating the same old rhetoric and reabsorbing the same old moribund way of doing things.

He said, “Similarly, most of the political parties in existence today conveniently attach “progressive” to their names when indeed they are reactionary political parties in content and character or at best ultra conservative political parties.

“Progressivism connotes regular positive change, for the growth and development of the society whereas some of these so called political parties do not make any pretence about their resistance to change.

“The on-going debate in the country between those who support the implementation of the recommendations of the 2014 National Conference and those who are vehemently opposed to the outcome of that conference is a typical example here.”

He said APDA was a convergence of patriotic citizens committed to the indivisibility and corporate existence of Nigeria and who are determined to enrich true federalism, social inclusion, National Cohesion and public trust in governance.

Mr. Nwanyanwu said APDA believed that the office of president and national Chairman of the party should rotate between the North and South and amongst the six geopolitical zones while that of the governor and state chairman should rotate within the three senatorial districts.

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Festus Owete is PREMIUM TIMES’ general editor. He also coordinates the newspaper’s politics desk, a beat he has covered for decades. He holds degrees from the University of Ibadan and the University of Lagos. Twitter: @FOwete

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