By Eric Elezuo
As the race for 2019 hots up, new parties are springing up in a bid to wrestle power from the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC); most of them with genuine intentions and some just to fill in the number. However, among the prolific ones, is the fast rising Peoples Coalition Party (PCP). In this interview with the founder and national chairman, Mr. Don Anthony Harmattan, he expressed the vision and mission of the youth oriented party, stressing that Nigeria will definitely experience the real change when PCP gets into power. Excerpts:
For a start, I believe the public would love to know you in detail. Kindly introduce yourself
I am Don Anthony Harmattan the Chairman of Peoples Coalition Party (PCP). I am a Nigerian from Abia State. I was educated at National Grammar School, Nike, Enugu. I had my Advanced level GCE in 1989 while in Sokoto, and later enrolled to become a member of the Chartered Institute of Bankers of Nigeria. After a few years of working with the Union Bank Plc, I travelled abroad for my MBA Studies. I have been privileged to work with most foreign companies Like Huntsman Global Corporation with headquarters in Texas, United States.
Obviously, there’s something about you that qualifies you to be a national chairman of a party. Share it with us.
Oh yes, since 2014 having witnessed the continuous degradation and abandonment of Nigerian citizens by the political class, I decided to talk to some Nigerian Youths about the situation and actually uniting Nigerians towards creating a progressive and prosperous country. Many Nigerian youths under my watch bought into this idea and here we are today building one of the first youth political platforms in Nigerian modern history called the Peoples Coalition Party.
In other words, the party is built around youths
The Party is built around responsible Nigerian youths and impeccable men of character ready to make real sacrifices for the benefit of the downtrodden Nigerian citizens.
You mentioned ‘continuous degradation and abandonment of Nigerian citizens by the political class’ as your major reason for forming PCP. Explain what you mean
Yes it is evident today that the Nigerian citizens have never been the beneficiary of this democratic setup. Since the military dictatorship was downgraded in Nigeria, subsequent Nigerian leaders have toyed with Nigerians, creating disunity and all kinds of poverty oriented and stifling policies on the Nigerian masses. As it stands, Nigeria has never practiced real democracy but fewtocracy being government of the few.
So in Essence governance has been the exclusive preserve of the few political elite who have continuously ripped off Nigerians and subsequently impoverish them.
It is believed that corruption has eaten deep into most Nigerians, what’s the proof that the people you are gathering are different
For the major reason that Nigerians have no means of livelihood, they have not been able to rise up and take their place in governance to rain down the proceed of democracy to the people that is why the PCP has to take up this challenge to restore the dignity and pride of all Nigerians.
Like I rightly mentioned above, we have assembled men and women of impeccable and prudent character with clear consideration of the real issues at stake, one of which is corruption, and we are ready to tackle it head on. Corruption in our country continues to be a major challenge despite the current government’s efforts, but PCP has an answer to corruption.
Okay, what’s your plan for Nigeria if at the end of the day, you grab power
Our plan for Nigeria is to end corruption and restore the rights and dignity of all by declaring Nigerians as our immediate and primary responsibility. We shall end all forms oppression, suppressions and exploitation that have militated against growth and productivity of the Nigerian poor and middle class. Industrialisation, infrastructural development and monumental uplifting of our society as well as rebuilding and rehabilitation of our refineries are our major priorities. Power shortage shall be adequately addressed in under 8months of governance. Nigerians will also be re-educated to meet up with labour challenges and become productive again.
Do you have any form of blueprint towards achieving these stated objectives
Yes we have a road map to 2019 and beyond to effectively address the major challenges that this great country has been facing and we shall soon make it public for Nigerians to see. We shall make Nigerians happy and great again after years of unfruitful and failed governance.
Yes, that’s what I mean. Nigerians have not forgotten Fashola saying his government will achieve a change in electricity status within six months, but that’s not to be. How do you intend to address power challenges
Like I mentioned earlier, in restoring electricity in the country we shall apart from clamping down on corruption, we shall re-examine the electricity needs of our people and how to invest on modern energy technologies that can deliver uninterrupted supply of energy in the shortest possible time. Wind energy can help Nigerians out of this mess supplemented by other greener and environmental non-hazardous energy that the average Nigerian can conveniently pay for. Our problem with energy is that our governments are also corrupt as they are not ready to invest properly in energy. A situation where citizens are even made to pay for wires, electric poles and transformers is appalling and cannot be supported.
Okay, let’s talk about this government. How do you rate them in terms of performance
Well, this government is just doing what it can and that’s how far I believe they can go. The fight against corruption was supposed be holistic with no room for sacred cows, but at the moment, we have not seen that. Also you can see that the economy is stagnated and no viable economic stimulating package to cushion the effect of this man made recession which in the first place shouldn’t be.
We are hoping that this government can do more with the financial resources at its disposal. A situation where Nigerian citizens are abandoned to their own fate in taking care of their security, struggling to survive the rising cost of food coupled with poor salary structure is so pathetic and unacceptable.
We still hope this government could address these and other challenges facing the common man.
What is the status of PCP in the Nigerian political platform? And is there any possibility of the party contesting the 2019 elections
At the moment we are following up with finalizing our registration process with Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) and thereafter begin the process of convening a National convention that will see young men and women having the opportunity to stand for election without godfatherism, which is one of the political malady that have impoverished the Nigerian citizens in mainstream politics.
Godfatherism yes, how is your party going to fight against it
Our constitution prohibits the exploitation and oppression of Nigerians, and as such it is outlawed in our party, which is why we are different and wants to send down the dividends of democracy to Nigerians which until now is not possible because of godfatherism.
In every 12, they say, there is a Judas. How do you wish to cope with Judases that may crop up
Well Judas is everywhere like you said but when Judas enters territories where he is not needed, he will find it difficult to survive. Therefore our party will not tolerate indecent behaviours that do not support our values and ideology. Our party shall work to improve the lives of all Nigerians and will not accept less until the dignity of every Nigerian is restored. We therefore, call on all Nigerians who wish to see the end oppression and exploitation of our citizens to join us. It’s Nigerians first or never.
Sir, on the president’s ill health, what do you have to say
It’s very unfortunate that the President has fallen ill and has been unable to attend to his functions as president. But you know this is Nigeria and there is nothing much we can do other than continue to pray for his recovery though most people has been calling for his resignation or impeachment. But we have to allow Nigerians to decide. They elected him, and have to decide.
On recession, what would you advise the government to do to come out of it
To come out of recession, we will need more money pumped into the economy to create more jobs and build infrastructures, pay salaries owed workers and launch profitable capital investment. I strongly believe that we have the financial strength to carry on these projects except that the will is lacking. Also there is need for this government to overhaul its cabinet as most of the ministers are misplaced priorities while some don’t even know what their real jobs are.
What’s your take on the relationship between the executive and the legislature
At the moment it’s very poor and there is uncompromising attitude between them. These people have failed Nigerians. They have forgotten the main reason they were elected in the first place and have ascribed to themselves the power of being the master. Instead of working together and harmoniously in the overall interest of Nigerians, they resort to bitterness and rancour. Well, you know our legislators are ‘big men’ who earn buoyant and bogus salaries by just sitting few hours in the parliament. All this will stop once PCP comes to power. You can imagine Nigerian parliamentarians earning more than European and American presidents while Nigerians eat from the dustbins. All this will end once PCP comes to power.
What is the better way to flush them out since money politics still reigns
Well, we can do that by presenting to Nigerians for consideration another viable alternative action plan that will not be draining the resources of this country and make governance less attractive. Anything that is short from allowing Nigerians to reap the dividends of democracy has to be discouraged at all cost because its exploitation of the citizens and one that is not supported by the PCP constitution
Thank you sir
Thank you so much