• Tuesday, July 23, 2024
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2023: How we are repositioning ADC for the challenges ahead – Daramola

2023: How we are repositioning ADC for the challenges ahead – Daramola

Tunde Daramola is a member of the national executive of the African Democratic Congress (ADC) and the Lagos State chairman of the party. In this exclusive interview with INIOBONG IWOK, he spoke on the state of the party, the third force coalition and Muhammadu Buhari administration, among other issues. Excerpts:

What is the state of ADC now, ahead 2023?

We reorganised the ADC in Lagos State in 2018. At that time the Coalition of Nigeria Movement (CNM), of which I was the Lagos State coordinator, merged into ADC because the CNM could not register a political party because of time.

So, we took over ADC in Lagos and I can say nationally, we brought life into the party. We brought the party to a winning party in Nigeria placing third in the 2019 general election.

The arrival of CNM as ADC was widely welcomed. But unfortunately for ADC in Lagos, the executives I led were unceremoniously dissolved by the party’s national chairman without any query letter to me to answer.

The dissolution of the Lagos executives can be seen as the down turn of ADC and Nigeria generally. Because the little effort that the CNM was able to put into ADC saw people coming into the party and winning elections in Lagos, Ogun, Oyo, Taraba, Adamawa. We won state Assembly seats in some states. But those victories could not be harnessed to better the interest of the party. These politicians crossed over to the APC and PDP. ADC needs focus leadership and you cannot be running a party the same way and expect results. We need people with ideology, experience politically and a dynamic sense of purpose.

How are you and the executives trying to reposition the party ahead of the 2023 general election?

We are just trying to reorganise the party by bringing in the people who worked with us in 2019, all the team members with management ability. With the help of God, I am sure we can bring back the people who are working at the grassroots across the state.

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It is not going to be easy. It is going to take a lot of work, materials would have to go; especially in terms of logistics. We are trying to secure this place as a secretariat and we will make sure we get it. The bulk of the work would be done after the candidate has emerged. The only problem we have is that there is little time for the candidate to emerge.

One worrying trend is that candidates in the smaller parties often step down, endorsing candidates from the two bigger parties. How can that be checked?

When you build a strong party you should be able to attract strong candidates. We have to restructure and build from the grassroots and I know we would see how best to do that. I know the national leadership must have learned their lesson because part of the problems last time was the national trying to micro-manage the states chapters.

Politics is bottom-up and not top- down. You build politics from the grassroots, and it gives the grassroots a sense of belonging. You must consult with the state and local government for input. That is how you build the party and not top- down.

Are you in touch with the national leadership on the progress so far and latest development in Lagos?

I spoke with him some week ago, when I received the letter reinstating the executives led by my good self, and I thank him for obeying the court order given by the Justice of the federal high court. I have just had the first meeting with the existing executives in Lagos.

It was held with the reinstated executives along with the dissolved executives because we need harmony.

Where does the party get the finance, knowing how crucial it is for success?

It is to put relevant people in place and we can seek assistance from all and sundry.

What does the APC offer Nigerians different from the two major parties?

What attracted us to the third force ideology is the fact that ADC offers members a stake in the party. They are stakeholders and owners of the party, because the idea of ADC was for members to contribute to the running of the party. A situation where you are contributing N500 to run the party, gives you a sense of ownership. So, it is a grassroots party where you are the owner and you are involved in the running.

Would the ADC welcome a third force alliance ahead of the general elections?

We would see how we can work together with other political parties, but most importantly, it is putting our house in order to ensure we deliver governance to the people, be it at the ward, local government level; how you do that is to make the people part of the ownership to determine the progress of your party.

I don’t want to generalise, because governance is not only at the centre; we just want to deliver governance to the people.

A lot of people say any third force alliance cannot make any impact due to the short time left for the general elections. Do you agree?

There may be a short time for the candidate to emerge but there is enough time for candidates to campaign up till Februarys. We have more than six months to mobilise and campaign for support with the communities. Candidates may emerge but you can come together to harmonise your resources to promote your resources.

It is the fifth columnist who joined the party, they moved back to APC after the general elections. There are so many like that, they were sponsored to come and destroy the ADC, because they see the party as an emerging force then.

There are complaints that the smaller political parties often disappear after the general elections. What is your take?

Until we have parties that are self-sponsored, members winning the party. These days you cannot function without a money bag. So, what we need to do is to go back to the days of AG, Awolowo, and Zik.

Where you contribute to the growth, which is when we can have a proper party. What we have now is a system where people only want to survive; there is a lot of hunger in the land.

What is your assessment of the current administration?

So far, this government has performed woefully. They have damaged the fabric of the nation. When Buhari took over the nation, how much was the bow of garri? How much was a bag of pure water and rice? How much was diesel and even the exchange rate. APC have come to destroy and create more hunger and I know Nigerians are wiser now that is why we are trying to give an alternative.