From Fred Itua, Abuja
Six political parties have indicated their interest to merge and form a mega party ahead of the 2023 general elections, according to Kingsley Moghalu, a former presidential candidate in the 2019 general elections and former Deputy Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN).
Moghalu gave the indication when he hosted Nze Akachukwu Nwankpo, the candidate of the African Democratic Congress (ADC) for the November 6 governorship election in Anambra State.
He said the sudden U-turn by the Senate on electronic transmission of results, ahead of the critical general elections in 2023, is a glimpse that the elections will be transparent.
Moghalu, who recently defected to the ADC, called on Nigerians, especially young people, to register in order to be eligible to vote in 2023.
‘As concerns the National level the ADC is a very strong party that is growing stronger. It was founded in 2005 and it has been a consistent party. All their presidential candidates from Pat Utomi in 2007 to Dr Obadiah Mailafiah in 2019 have been intellectuals,’ Moghalu stated.
‘But the party is also very grassroots oriented. So the combination of ideas, intellect and a grassroots approach to politics, that combinations I think is what marks out the ADC and we hope to be a key part of a much larger third force that is building up for the presidential elections which will include a merger of about six or seven or more parties.
‘So, I believe that in the 2023 elections the citizens of Nigeria should not allow it to be a contest between two sides of the same coin because there is no difference. It should be a battle between the old and the new – between the old Nigerian and the possibilities for a new Nigeria. That is what 2023 should be.
‘I am calling on the young people of this country, the youths, to register, vote and colonise the future that rightfully belongs to them.
‘Speaking about 2023, I am very pleased with the news coming out of the National Assembly that the Senate has caved to the pressure of the Nigerian people and has decided to allow INEC to conduct elections as it sees fit, which means the inclusion of electronic transmission of results.
‘This is a massive victory for democracy and I believe that it shows what I have been saying that we cannot all go and sit down and become part of a surrendered brigade.
‘As a member of the ADC, I support him I am very proud of Nze Akachukwu. I endorse his candidacy and I wish him the very best of success in the gubernatorial election.’
Speaking on the security situation in Anambra State, the former CBN deputy governor said he was in support of the deployment of security agents to halt the growing trend.
‘I am extremely concerned about the insecurity in the South East. The primary thing is the security of lives and property. I believe that whatever the government needs to do that is reasonable to do, I would welcome it.
‘Obviously, I do not support the declaration of a state of emergency because I do not believe that that would be a reasonable response given the worse security situation in other parts of the country which have not attracted similar measures. But in terms of sending in security forces which is part of a nationwide deployment, I think that is okay.
‘I believe that the situation is beginning to calm down a little bit with the introduction of the military. I regret the introduction of the military into civilian spaces. It is evidence of the fact that the police force is not effective as it should be in a democracy.
‘This goes to do many other issues – the matter of restructuring, the matter of state police – so that the different states can secure themselves and ensure law and order with effective police forces that are closer to the communities and closer to the people.
‘I certainly hope that the situation in Anambra state will be brought under control sufficiently for free and fair elections to be held.”
On the 2022 budget, Moghalu condemned the borrowing spree embarked on by the administration of President Muhammadu Buhari. He said the administration will go down in history as one of the most insensitive to the cries of Nigerians.
‘This government will go down in history as a government that has embarked on profligate and irresponsible borrowing to an extent that has never happened in the history of this country. And the sad thing is that these loans are not productive,’ noted.
“We are not seeing the economic benefits of these loans. Poverty is increasing in Nigeria. The naira’s value continues to depreciate. Unemployment continues to rise. Inflation is at a very high level. So, there is nothing to show for these borrowings. You are borrowing to spend in recurrent expenditure.
‘Out of a budget of N16 trillion, about N10 trillion will go to recurrent expenditure and debt service. So Nigeria is an economy that is actually in a state of economic collapse held afloat by foreign borrowing and Central Bank borrowing by the government.
‘It is not a good situation but I do not think that the capacity or the political will exists for this to stop before 2023 because it’s become like a bad habit, it’s become like a drug that a junkie craves because there clearly is not the ability to come up with more innovative solutions to raise revenue base inside the country and this now makes the government feel compelled to keep borrowing. But this is in my view dangerous. Who will pay these loans?
‘I feel that there is an element of callousness in this direction of economic policy because I feel there is a sense that 2023 will come we will walk away from it and somebody else will handle it. That is what I perceive because despite all the criticisms from the business community, from economists all over the country and from citizens, they just continue to borrow.
‘So, there is no responsiveness to the cries of Nigerians that they are mortgaging our future. There is no solution therefore that is not a political solution in 2023. Politics as usual is a no go area for Nigeria in 2023. Otherwise, this country will literarily collapse into an Afghanistan-like situation if in 2023 we do not elect a government led by a president that is economically competent and sound to begin to turn around our economy. That must be our number one priority. If we just play politics as usual – politics without governance – we get very bad outcomes.
‘It will just keep getting worse. There is hope but that hope rests in the decisions that Nigerians make in 2023,’ Moghalu declared.
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