Dr. Samson Isibor is the National Secretary of the Accord Party and one of its two delegates to the proposed National Conference. In this interview with WESTERN POST in Benin City, he says the party does not believe that INEC will do a thorough job in the 2015 general elections.
He also claims former Oyo State governor Rashidi Ladoja, the party’s candidate in the 2011 gubernatorial election in Oyo, is not a member of Accord Party, among sundry other issues.
Akhere Agene brings the full transcripts of the interview:
Q: Sir, you were quoted recently as saying Edo State Governor Adams Oshiomhole is eminently qualified to run for the presidency in the 2015 general election. Please tell us how you came to such a conclusion?
A: Governor Adams Oshiomhole is eminently qualified to run for presidency in 2015 because of his record of accomplishment in bringing the dividends of democracy to Edo State people. Evidently you are not living in Edo State? Even the Lagos State Governor, Mr. Babatunde Fashola, who came to Edo recently for a program designed to empower youths of Edo and curb unemployment said so. He said that Oshiomhole would make a better president than Dr. Goodluck Ebele Jonathan. This is because the development agenda of Oshiomhole in Edo since he took office has ensured that every part of the state benefited a great deal from schools and health centre rehabilitation, provision of water and good roads, which has opened up rural areas. All over the country the landmark achievements of the governor is being celebrated and I am sure this is why Fashola suggested him and I am sure the APC will nominate him and he will defeat Jonathan in any election. However, while waiting for Oshiomhole to make up his mind, very soon all parties will mobilise on a road walk to ask the governor to run for president. We believe that of all those aspiring to the presidency in the APC presently Oshiomhole is the most qualified and if the APC does not give him a platform, we will mobilise other parties and form a coalition to endorse him and make him their presidential candidate.
Q: What is the position of Accord Party on the proposed National Conference?
A: The NEC of our party met in Benin City recently and nominated my humble self, Dr. Isibor, and Mallam Umaru Abdul as the party’s delegates to the proposed National Conference. That shows we are interested in the conference although we wanted a sovereign national conference and we submitted a memo to the organising committee when it met with stakeholders in Benin City. Having said that we condemn the authority of the president to nominate over 100 delegates to the proposed National Conference and the plan to submit its resolutions to the National Assembly instead of asking Nigerians to go for a referendum. This totally negates the spirit of the entire exercise. Also, the idea of ‘no-go areas’ like the sovereignty of the Nigerian state should have been included for discussion at the National Conference because many Nigerians are sad that it was Lord Lugard’s girlfriend that gave the country its label and would have wanted to debate it and how they should stay together in one country.
Q: Is it true that the Accord Party is in crisis because we hear that your National Chairman Alhaji Mohammed Nalado is now in PDP?
A: Alhaji Mohammed Nalado is no longer national chairman of the Accord Party. He was recently appointed by the PDP federal government as the Chairman, Governing Board of the Federal Polytechnic, Katsina in Katsina State, a position that automatically puts him out of contention as the national chairman of Accord Party. That makes him a dual office holder thereby violating our party’s constitution. The NEC and NWC of our party have decided that we will soon go to court to stop him from parading himself as the party’s national chairman. He unilaterally indulged himself in actions that conflicted with his esteemed position and in the process violated our party’s violation. Alhaji Nalado violated Section 24 subsections 9 of the Accord party constitution, which prohibits any member employed or appointed in the public service from holding dual position. We have also instituted an investigative committee to look into this issue and the alleged imposition of non-members of the party as state chairmen in some states through the backdoor by Nalado. The party before now advised Alhaji Nalado to desist from parading himself as the national chairman of our great party. We call on the public to note and desist from doing business with him under the guise of being the party’s national chairman. A word is enough for the wise.
Q: Can the Accord Party, as it is at present, make any impact in the 2015 poll or are you thinking of merging with any other like the APC or PDP?
A: Well as the National Secretary of the Accord Party I can tell you that the party is not open to discussing any merger talks with the PDP or any other party ahead of the 2015 general elections for which the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, has released a timetable. The Accord party has not discussed the issue of merger at any of its National Executive Council or National Working Committee meetings as the matter never arose and may never arise before 2015.
Q: But a leader of your party, former Oyo State governor, Senator Rashidi Ladoja, has said Accord Party, Labour Party and the All Progressives Grand Alliance are ready to merge with the ruling PDP. What is your take on this?
A: Ladoja is not a member of Accord Party. He is being probed by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC). We do not know Ladoja in Accord Party. Ladoja has been expelled in 2012. He was expelled from the party because he was trading with our party. He was also expelled from the PDP after causing confusion and we gave him the party’s platform to run on as governor in Oyo. Ladoja should be warned to stop negotiating for the Accord party for his selfish interests with the federal government as such acts amount to incurring risks.
Q: What is the position of the Accord Party on the 2015 election timetable as released recently by INEC?
A: We commend INEC for releasing the 2015 general election timetable but we are not happy that it decided to put the presidential election first. The election is supposed to be a kind of pyramid from the least to the biggest i.e. from the House of Assembly to that of the Governors to National Assembly and then the Presidency. The way INEC has designed it we suspect foul play on their part. Maybe they are acting out a PDP script prepared for them. Moreover, there is the probability of landslide, mudslide and bandwagon effect, which we believe, will not augur well for our young democracy. We therefore call on INEC to reverse the timetable and make the elections into the House of Assembly come tops. We are asking INEC to review the timetable and let the elections begin with the House of Assembly, Governorship, National Assembly, and the Presidency in that order or we will go to court.