The former President, in a statement, issued on Tuesday, described the two major parties as unworthy of leading Nigeria and called for a coalition of fresh minds to rescue the country from the grip of the two behemoths in the next general elections
Recently registered political party Abundant Nigeria Renewal Party (ANRP), has responded to former President Olusegun Obasanjo’s call for Nigerians to gravitate towards a new political coalition that will replace the ill-performing All Progressives Congress (APC) and its discredited counterpart, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).
The former President, in a statement, issued on Tuesday, described the two major parties as unworthy of leading Nigeria and called for a coalition of fresh minds to rescue the country from the grip of the two behemoths in the next general elections.
In an open letter addressed to Mr. Obasanjo, the ANRP described itself as a political orgnisation founded on openness and transparency, adding that it is at home with the periodic interventions the former President makes, via letters, to those in government.
“We wish to inform you that we formed the coalition that your letter calls for over thirteen months ago; precisely on 16 December, 2016. Considering the contents of your letter critically, we want to assure you that our party ticks all the boxes and even takes the debate for a better Nigeria farther than you have captured in your missive,” said the party.
The ANRP claimed to have been formed by Nigerians, who have not been part of the age-long rot in the country. It equally claimed to have foreseen the failures of the Muhammadu Buhari Presidency pointed out by Mr. Obasanjo as far back as 2016, the reason it assembled a coalition of professionals with love for the country.
“We took lessons from some of your earlier responses to Nigerian youths around the issue of leadership. In this wise, we refused to look for “Dead Men’s Shoes”; we started constructing our own shoes no matter how uncomfortable it felt (we know we can keep improving on it). We refused the toga of “Work-Avoidance” for which our young and not-so-young people are known - and so we have been doing a lot of work since then - building consensus, organizing and training our members as regards the challenges ahead and why we need to sacrifice our time, financial and other resources,” said the ANRP.
The party disclosed that it has attracted about 33,000 Nigerians from wards across the country, a figure displayed on its website as evidence of its commitment to transparency. It also boasted that it is the first and only political party in Nigeria that has done this.
“Our vision, therefore, is for deepening the practice of democracy in our dear country. We project that before the 2019 general elections, our numbers will nudge one million. ANRP is an ideas-based political party. We are driven by intense and well-organized internal debates and are Nigeria’s largest gathering of talents ever. We are also tech-driven, because we are very futuristic. Indeed we are known as the ‘Computer Party’. Technology also assures transparency and so we have an active website (www.anrp.org.ng) and are all over social media (@abundantnigeria)”, the party stated.
On its source of funding, the party disclosed that it is crowd-funded and has financed its activities with little contributions from all members.
“We are letting our members and Nigerians at large know that if they don’t contribute to the evolution of our politics, it will be tough to complain about outcomes. We have also seen how established politicians in Nigeria have deliberately excluded ordinary Nigerians from decision-making by relegating them to a position of crumb-eaters while corruption festers. We don’t encourage any of us to have a prima donna (know-it-all) or superstar attitude. Instead we make every member realize their potentials. All members in ANRP are therefore equal,” explained the ANRP.
The party advertised itself as gender-sensitive and one that is not ideologically pigeon-holed. It described itself as an organization with a belief in economic restructuring, which reduces the amount of financial resources resident at the federal level, but will enforce strict anti-corruption measures at the sub-national and local government levels towards delivering the goods for majority of Nigerians.
“We are against the usurpation of local government effectiveness by our governors and have determined that Nigeria’s growth and development can only be bottoms-up. We believe that Nigeria has to get its best brains working at the local government levels - which Nigerian leaders have totally neglected over the years. We are a party that believes strongly that Nigeria is abundant, especially in human and material resources,” the party stated.
The party, however, declared that it is not getting high on its own importance and realizes that it is a tough and complex task to govern Nigeria. It refrained from excoriating President Buhari, who it said must have realized that his performance in office is sub-par through Mr. Obasanjo’s letter.
“Rather, we take caution, given that Nigeria has repeated this same process a number of times. We are more concerned with what makes many Nigerian leaders fail to launch, achieve very little with so much and sometimes crash and burn. We are concerned with the phenomenon by which every new government seems to be worse than the last since our return to democracy. Our approach is therefore to let Nigerians see the urgency of now, by involving our people more in their own governance, in departure from the usual situation where a certain group of individuals have postured that they retain the required knowledge - and connections - to take Nigeria forward,” said the ANRP.
It argued that the time to effect a change is now, given the decrepit situation of the country.
“Nigeria currently has the highest number of out of school children in the world, at close to 15million. This is totally unacceptable and frighteningly despicable. 15million out of school children is equivalent to 100 years of mediocrity and chaos for a nation. That is why our national budget is less than half of our fellow oil-exporting country; Angola’s. This is unbelievable but true. Angola has budgeted $47billion for its 25million people this year - and the budget has been approved and put into play. Nigeria shamefully budgeted $23billion for its 180million people - and that budget may continue to be tossed about till June as usual because of egotism and power play. It is our belief that Nigerian leaders till date, have conspired to dehumanize the masses. This must end immediately,” ANRP demanded.
The ANRP called for a reorganized society, one that will prevent people with social and political connections from constituting law unto themselves. It argued that Nigerians are reluctant to pay tax because of the injudicious use to which resources are routinely being put by their leaders.
"A Catch-22 scenario is in play. As a result of economic mismanagement and lack of a better vision, we celebrate an exit from recession and a projected growth of 2.1%, while countries like Ethiopia, Senegal, Ghana, Cote D’Ivoire, Rwanda, Uganda and Kenya (most of which are commodity exporters) are projected to grow at between 5% to 8% this year. We are supposed to be Africa’s largest economy but have turned out to be a giant with clay feet. The difference with Nigeria is that the proceeds of our commodities have been used to fan big egos; the 2018 budget, like its previous counterparts, is full of purchase of large SUVs and similar fancy purchases to make top civil servants and politicians happy. It is a wonder how Nigerians have accepted what has gone on in the name of governance over the years," the party pointed out.
As at Tuesday, the party, said Nigeria became the country with the highest number of extremely poor people in the world.
"According to the World Poverty Clock as at the 23 January 2018, Nigeria is almost overtaking India. We have 82.714million extremely poor people, while India has 82.991million. However, the escape rate for Nigeria is negative 6.4 people per minute (meaning that more people are getting poor here as a result of sad, unfeeling policies), while for India, the escape rate is 47.1 people per minute who are leaving poverty. Nigeria has written its own testimonial for the world to see," lamented the ANRP.
The party called on Mr. Obasanjo and all Nigerians to unite come and save the country. It expressed hope that it will put up a strong showing at the polls because it started its mobilization process early and without the influence of tainted figures.
"We have shown that we are responsible, and are ready to tread the road less traveled. We have learnt lessons over the past year and are building cohesion and resilience to withstand the challenges of the future," the party concluded.