The All Progressives Congress (APC) national chairmanship aspirant, Adams Oshiomhole, says the ruling party should be a platform for those whose actions do not conform to the core values of social democracy.
Oshiomhole said this in Abuja on Monday when he visited a chieftain of the APC and a former Governor of Abia State, Dr Orji Uzor Kalu.
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He said, “I believe in working along with leaders like you and other leaders of our party to begin the process of building a functional, democratic, masses-based, membership-driven, membership-funded political party that is accountable to its members. That way, Nigerians will begin to see over time the difference between the APC and any other party.
“When I read newspapers, I see people wondering aloud, what is the difference between Party A and Party B? You really cannot fault them because the difference is so difficult to define but I believe that going forward, we must begin to consciously work towards that.
“So, if a reactionary element wants to join the APC and by his antecedents, we feel that his values, his actions do not conform to the core values of social democracy, we should be able to engage him and say, ‘Mr Applicant, maybe you have to look elsewhere’.”
“I do not think we should be a platform for all from the extreme right, the extreme left and even fascists. I think over time, this must be the objective so that in the years to come, Nigerians will be able to say, the APC, this is what they stand for on issues of housing, education, healthcare and various social policies; and the other parties, this is where they stand.
“And it is not as if we were not there before. I believe in the Second Republic or so, the NPN that was the governing party believed in what they called qualitative education and the UPN talked about free education. One believed in green revolution and so on.
“So, people can say, okay, this party believes in this and the other does not believe in this. Therefore, in joining a political party, it would now be based on what you know that that party stands for and anyone who contests elections whether in the executive or to the legislative arm must be someone who subscribes to these values.
“I think this is a task that we must work together to achieve so that Nigerians can begin to make what I call informed choices on Election Day and not based on who brought a bag of rice or cubes of sugar. This position is not sustainable. If we are friends because we appreciate each other and our lifestyles, our friendship is more likely to be sustainable than if we were just opportunists.
“We have seen it in the PDP that because what bonded them together was simply money. Their philosophy was share the money. Once their access to the treasury, whether the CBN or NNPC is disconnected, you can see that the centre can no longer hold. There are huge lessons to learn from that; that money as a glue to keep a family together is not sustainable.”
Dr Kalu, in his response, pledged to back the former labour leader if his commitment to President Muhammadu Buhari’s vision remained.
“We are in the journey together where President Buhari will offer himself to Nigerians to re-contest in the next few months. It is a long journey. You have us as the leader of the party in Abia. Personally, I will support you. You are a strong candidate.
“Be assured of our prayers and as long as you support our president, I will support you. If you don’t support our president, I will not support you. There will be other candidates, but we pray that you succeed,” he also said.