Prince Adebola Adeniji-Adele, National President, Citizens Liberation Advocacy Initiative (CLAI), in this interview with JOY ANIGBOGU speaks on the forthcoming general elections and other issues. Excerpts:
Do you think that INEC is ready for this election?
I wonder why people will beam searchlight on only INEC about readiness of elections. INEC prepares for elections to be free, fair and credible. Nigerian police is also a component. We also have the politicians, the media as also an important component and finally, the electorates. I must tell you that it is only the electorate that is not ready for this election because it seems not to be aware of what it wants. It is for that reason that our organization is working round the clock to bridge the gap. The electorate needs to come together. You see politicians move from wards to local government and that is the time they use to meet. Our aim is to rescue Nigerians from the hands of political class who do not have genuine interest for the people they want to govern or represent.
What is the mission of CLAI?
We are non-partisan; we are reinventing our collective course. We come together to enlighten ourselves. Our association is a Non Governmental Organisation (NGO) that is used as a platform to educate members, change the mindset of Nigerian voters. The way the elections go sometimes, you will notice that the education of the electorate is not there, that is why it would be difficult for someone who is not in a big political party to win election. A lot of Nigerians have their permanent voters cards (PVCs) but they don’t know how to use them. We are the rallying point of the electorate, we are educating them. We are teaching them. This I think is what we should do to move this country forward. We want to use the polling unit to put how ever we want to be our president, governor, representative etcetera. Our system is one plus one is five hundred. What we want to do is that in each polling unit our members will exceed five hundred. We have computerized all the polling units that we have in this country in a simple form. There is no single polling unit in this country that does not have a name so, we are using that to do our registration. You can get registered from our website; there you will identify the area that you will be operating from.
How do you get members sign on with the association?
Once you are registered with Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) and you are not partisan, you are automatically a member. Some people are already aware through radio and television broadcast. People who know us are aware that we have integrity and very soon we will get to our goal.
How do you want to control member’s opinions about the numerous political parties and politicians you have across the country during elections?
Those coming out to contest are not Americans, British, they are not foreigners but Nigerians and Nigeria is same character. We will not tolerate the issue of ethnicity, we don’t want people who will come here and say this is my brother or sister. We will rather be considering the issue of the person who will take us to Eldorado. We will debate these things. If you get to vendors stand you will notice people who have diverse opinions, they will keep arguing among themselves but in this organisation, we will resolve all those issues.
Do you think that it is achievable?
It is going to be achievable; we are already getting positive result. If the politicians can achieve theirs, why should we not succeed? We have the power to change things in this country and that power is our PVCs, so we will use it maximally to put the right people in governance. We are appealing to INEC to release the voters PVCs to them. We learnt that some people are collecting money to release the PVCs, it is very wrong. We have had occasion when we stopped political parties from collecting PVCs for people.