- Nigeria's ruling party, the All Progressives Congress (APC) and the main opposition party, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) have failed the country
- This is the opinion of an expert in conflict management and resolution, Iyoha John Darlingtom
- Darlington is also the international media aide to the Green Party of Nigeria (GPN)
Nigeria's ruling party, the All Progressives Congress (APC) and the main opposition party, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) have been described as failures.
The statement was made by Iyoha John Darlington, an expert in conflict management and resolution.
Darlington also doubles as an international media aide to the newly formed Green Party of Nigeria (GPN).
In an interview with select journalists, Darlington speaks on the situation of the country, plans of the party to emerge as an alternative for Nigerians ahead of 2019 general election and other sundry issues.
Read the interview below:
Kindly tell us about the Green Party of Nigeria and what it represents?
For starters, there is no denying the fact we are in the middle of an epic struggle, a very challenging phase in the course of our nation's history. The ongoing struggle to regenerate Nigeria is, of course, between genuine game changers, that is to say, those who want to embrace a more progressive agenda and those who are driven by a dispiriting spectacle of threadbare ideas. Nigerians will agree with me that today our nation is at the crossroads due to leadership failures and disheartening departure from the dreams of our founding fathers. Nigeria has never been this divided by the threat of imminent disintegration staring us ominously in the face resulting from prodigal years of visionless leadership.
The Green Party of Nigeria thus became a child of necessity to rescue Nigeria and Nigerians from the death throes of misrule foisted on us by a cast of neophyte actors. We believe in a free, democratic society where the rule of law shall be vigorously pursued and upheld with a view to advancing the cause of social justice in a stable constitutional government.
The Green Party of Nigeria shall strive to fashion out a new Nigeria where the moral issues that divide us as a people shall be non-existent in order to reawaken the sense of a true Nigerian community.
What are the plans of the party for the country?
One of the most important functions of a state is to ensure the development and maintenance of a modern, efficient infrastructural base to facilitate trade, movement, communication, and commerce, provide adequate infrastructures for the citizenry to enjoy at no cost. Sad to say today that Nigeria's service infrastructures have undergone incremental depreciation, decay, and decline of Greco-Roman proportions. As you read this piece, there is most probably no running water in your taps or for the past 12 hours you have experienced power outages. If you are a motorist or a commuter who takes a ride on a public bus to work you may have probably been caught in an agonizing gridlock today resulting from washouts, potholes that could force an expectant mother into involuntary abortion.
This is very disheartening if you ask me! We have spent too much time harping on or brooding over past mistakes while we make no time to correct them and secure tomorrow for ourselves and posterity, this means bracing ourselves for even darker times ahead. It is mind-boggling how the APC-led federal government has failed to make meaningful inroads into the provision of service infrastructures to regenerate our country. Over two years into the life of this administration, there is nothing to suggest that we are on the path to recovery nor is there anything on the ground to suggest we are on the road to redemption.
Nigeria's economy is stagnant and has consequently gone comatose. We lack capital projects that will attract investors to our country. However, it must be borne in mind that if Nigeria is to bounce back serious planning and implementation have to be done in all enabling sectors such as education, energy, transport to mention but a few with comprehensive rail network linking all civil divisions across the country. This is what the Green Party amid other challenges is poised to do.
The country is battling insecurity, especially from Boko Haram insurgents and herdsmen, what are the plans of GPN to tackle this challenge if given the opportunity by Nigerians?
Insecurity of lives and property has become a recurrent nightmare. Few days ago, the Boko Haram insurgents launched yet another devastating attack that killed no fewer than 100 people. Insurgency is often triggered by perceived injustice and we all know how this problem started. Had this problem been peacefully resolved at the time, it would not have escalated. The overzealousness of our security agents must be frowned on. There are many cases and still ongoing where savage brutality against the civil populace has been repeatedly reported with no disciplinary action to stem the ignoble tide. Nigeria today is still battling a deadly insurgency with no end in sight.
About three years ago, we lost a substantial part of our territory to insurgents who fought toe-to-toe with our military in a bid to actualize a sovereign state but as luck would have it, President Buhari was able to turn the table against the invaders by ordering the movement of army command posts to the northeast, the epicentre of the bloody insurgency which yielded amazing results as many of our lost territories were reclaimed.
In a similar vein, the Green Party of Nigeria driven by an irredentist's ideology thinks of a larger Nigeria via a sustained expansionist policy where possible instead of ceding any part of Nigeria's territory to any group under any guise. As an expert in conflict management and resolution, it is my firm belief there is nothing dialogue cannot resolve. The insurgents though radicalized are still Nigerians.
The step to end the ongoing insurgency must begin from the pulpit to disabuse their minds of the dangers inherent in false indoctrination. Our religious leaders have much work to do here. They must, as a matter of fact, take the bull by the horns for this onerous task to ensure the true word of God is delivered unadulterated in our places of worship across the country. This was exactly what Prophet Muhammad, upon whom peace, did in pre-Islamic Arabia. In fact, when his teachings became incompatible with the Meccan ideology, he employed moral suasion to resolve the ideological conflict instead of launching a counter-attack on the recalcitrant Meccan aristocrats.
Secondly, unemployment must be tackled. That is one of the problems that must be fought to get our youths actively engaged. Victims of enforced idleness often become vulnerable to criminal predators as money changes hands.
The frequent clashes between herdsmen and farmers pose a grave danger to Nigerians as we have lost our beloved ones in these attacks. The GPN has been very disturbed about this sad and unfortunate development. This informed our interest and desire to set up a committee with a view to finding an acceptable policy position for an in-coming GPN-led federal government. As the committee submits the report which would, by all means, be devoid of any flaw, we shall present it to Nigerians. You may rest assured the GPN wants the best for our country and shall tirelessly work in that direction.
There are also agitations in some parts of the country, especially in the southeast and South-south parts of the country, how will GPN address this?
This vexed issue of ethnic and secessionist agitations is not only a complex but multidimensional problem threatening our corporate existence as a nation considering the fact that the UN Charter on self-determination which is the basis upon which the bulk of the agitators erroneously demand secession is not only misconstrued but grossly misinterpreted by the leaders and their followers.
Over 97% of the agitators are in dire need of an imprint of sensory data being unfortunate victims of the Lockean concept or notion of tabula rasa to get them better informed on the provisions of that clause. The ongoing agitation for secession being championed by the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) and the Movement for the Actualization of the Sovereign State of Biafra (MASSOB) is a purely domestic matter over which the United Nations or any other supra-national authority has no control or influence.
The UN and AU Charters on self-determination, to the best of my knowledge, were only developed within the context of decolonization and this terminated on the attainment of statehood. While addressing this all-important issue, the Green Party of Nigeria (GPN) when voted to power will ensure the speedy inauguration of National Mobilization and Orientation Agency to deradicalize the youths who have been so falsely indoctrinated on what is possible and impossible within the ambit of International Law, look into the problems that gave rise to the agitations in the first place via extensive dialogue with a view to proffering lasting solutions and ultimately re-integrate them to society.
What is the party’s stand on the call for restructuring?
On the vexed issue of restructuring, the Green Party of Nigeria is following the issue cautiously and making wide and extensive consultations across the country in order to come up with a workable policy document that will be acceptable to every section of Nigeria. That is why we are yet to take a firm position.
In fact, we do not want to put the cart before the horse considering the sensitive nature of this issue. We do not want to make any mistake. That is why we deem setting up a special committee for this purpose absolutely necessary to study the situation, make extensive consultation by reaching out a hand to all the geopolitical zones and the GPN presidential candidate, His Excellency Maj. Hamza Al-Mustapha together with his team has been on nation-wide tour in this regard. Like I did say earlier the GPN believes in a free, democratic society where the will of the people shall always dictate the tune of governance. You may rest assured the will of the people will prevail in the end.
What are the party plans for the revival of the economy, especially in the area of poverty alleviation and improvement on the infrastructures in the country?
It is no more news that our great nation has seen an abysmal economic performance in the past two years with rising inflation and soaring unemployment figures under the APC-controlled federal government.
Today our living conditions are better imagined than real as we have in fact become poorer thus forcing our children in rapid succession out of schools for the unknown in what could be likened to a wild goose chase abroad. A good number of them have died while crossing the fiery Sahara Desert to the coast of North Africa from where they often embark on dangerous sea journeys on rickety boats to Europe. Many have died in this needless adventure resulting from the inability of these substandard boats to withstand the strong ocean currents.
We had thought the advent of the governing All Progressives Congress will address this problem but sad to say the failed economic policies of the governing party has compounded this problem which amounts to jumping out of the frying pan into the fire.
GPN-controlled federal government will focus attention on agricultural and rural development to create jobs. There is no denying the fact that Nigeria is blessed with vast agricultural potentials which if well developed will be able to create over 100,000,000 jobs for Nigerians and thus reduce our high food import bills, produce enough for export and thereby turn Nigeria to a front-line food exporting nation. This will entail setting up national food farms to revolutionize agriculture in Nigeria. This, of course, will require the cooperation of the various geopolitical zones to make available acres of arable land to the federal government for this purpose. Subsidiary firms and feeder businesses will spring up in these areas such as service and processing factories that would also offer jobs to the unemployed.
The GPN will work towards establishing vocational training and youth empowerment scheme as obtains in advanced capitalist economies which will create a competitive business and investment environment capable of making Nigeria a world leader in manufacturing and agricultural production instead of over-dependence on oil as our main foreign exchange earner.
Our great party shall strive to create a simpler regulatory environment to promote honest business and entrepreneurship while manufacturing, agriculture and the service sectors will remain areas to focus on and develop. The larger part of Nigeria's population must be moved to the middle class by strengthening traditional areas of employment like agriculture and retail through a rights-based approach by allowing every citizen the right to housing, health, and social security.
What is your take on the fight against corruption by the present administration and the claim of witch-hunting by the main opposition party? How will your party address the challenge of corruption in the country?
President Buhari, doubtless, deserves a pat on the back in this regard and the Green Party of Nigeria, therefore, voices solidarity with him in the ongoing anti-graft war for this rare display of courage by fighting this cankerworm toe-to-toe but urges him to do more by ensuring there is, in fact, no sacred cow. You see, government, they often say is a continuum along dimensions and we do hope to build on Buhari's antecedents by ensuring that we do not relent under any guise.
President Buhari, like Homer, has been caught nodding severally which is very unfortunate. He is making the same mistake former President Jonathan made by refusing to heed the voice of reason. There are many turn-coats in the APC today who have been implicated in massive fraud and large-scale embezzlement of government funds who he has refused to bring to justice. The only conceivable reason for this is borne out of his interest to seek a second term in office. Former President Jonathan did the same thing and that became his undoing and the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in the 2015 general elections.
No matter the falsehood being churned out from the APC propaganda machine, Nigerians know the truth, so whitewashing every member of his cabinet will not yield any fruitful dividend in the end. President Jonathan paid deaf ears to the voice of reason even when alarms were thunderously raised and his attention called to the massive looting of the treasury under his watch but he failed to join the hue and cry so as not to endanger votes from certain quarters.
President Buhari started a good fight but derailed by compromising his principles with inaction and this doubtless will affect his chances under a level playing field in 2019.
GPN does not control any state at the moment. How do you intend to woo Nigerians to see the party as an alternative, especially considering the fact that there are over thirty political parties in the country?
It is not in dispute that Nigeria and Nigerians need a new intriguing third force in Nigerian politics as experience has shown that the two dominant political parties namely the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) and the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) that have each had a shot at the centre have not only failed Nigerians woefully but marvelously considering the myriad of problems plaguing Nigeria.
We parade a broad spectrum of firebrand revolutionaries highly determined to abolish corruption, violence, insecurity, hunger, unemployment and the ongoing ethnic agitations threatening our corporate existence. The Green Party of Nigeria under the dynamic leadership of His Excellency, Major Hamza Al-Mustapha has commenced effective mobilization at the grassroots across the country and over 11 million Nigerians in the diaspora will be reached other things being equal to mobilize a potent political force to ensure our candidates win by a landslide. I can confidently tell you here that many political bigwigs across Nigeria have shown interest in our great party and have, in fact, girded up their loins with us for the circuitous journey to 2019. Rest assured the GPN will be the party to beat in the forthcoming general elections.
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