2019: Why other can­di­dates must step down for me – Rev Chris Okotie

Rev­erend Chris Okotie, pas­tor of the House­hold of God Church and pres­i­den­tial can­di­date of Fresh Party for the 2019 elec­tions, ar­gues, in this in­ter­view, that all the other pres­i­den­tial can­di­dates need to step down for him so he can set up an In­terim Nati

Weekly Trust - - Interview - Nu­rudeen Oye­wole, La­gos Rev­erend Chris Okotie: Okotie: Rev­erend Chris Okotie Okotie: Okotie: Okotie: Okotie: Okotie: Okotie: Okotie:

Daily Trust: In re­cent times, you have been speak­ing on what you be­lieve is the need for Nige­ria to have an In­terim Na­tional Gov­ern­ment (ING). What ex­actly is the propo­si­tion all about?

What I am say­ing is that the cur­rent ar­range­ment in the po­lit­i­cal hemi­sphere is not work­able be­cause the po­lit­i­cal class has re­fused to recog­nise the se­ri­ous­ness of the ex­is­ten­tial ad­ver­sary that con­fronts us at this time. We are at a junc­ture in our na­tional evo­lu­tion where we must come to a halt tem­po­rar­ily and have an ad hoc mea­sure, which is the In­terim Na­tional Gov­ern­ment, to deal with the fun­da­men­tal is­sues that be­set our na­tion, and to re­struc­ture and change the Con­sti­tu­tion. No ex­tant gov­ern­ment can do these things. That’s what I’m say­ing.

DT: Doesn’t your idea ren­der the Fresh Party’s pres­i­den­tial ticket, which you have been given, use­less?

Yes, I al­ready have the Fresh Party’s pres­i­den­tial ticket, and that means we shall be par­tic­i­pat­ing in the pres­i­den­tial elec­tion slated for Fe­bru­ary 2019. But what I am say­ing is that all other par­ties should not field can­di­dates against me in the 2019 pres­i­den­tial elec­tion so that it would be easy for me to set up the In­terim Na­tional Gov­ern­ment. If they don’t field can­di­dates, it means I have won and what I’d do im­me­di­ately is set up an ING in­stead of the nor­mal or or­di­nary gov­ern­ment that is put in place, where we have the leg­is­la­ture, ju­di­ciary and all of that that is not work­able. An in­terim gov­ern­ment will not need a leg­is­la­ture and it is at this time that we can re­design the po­lit­i­cal land­scape.

DT: Would you be ex­e­cut­ing this idea on the plat­form of the Fresh Party?

I have to run for elec­tion on the plat­form of a po­lit­i­cal party. Af­ter the elec­tion has been held, the cre­ation of the In­terim Na­tional Gov­ern­ment is an­other step.

DT: How do you think this would work out dur­ing the elec­tion?

Since it would be based on con­sen­sus, it would be based on the re­al­ity of the time. By the time the 2019 elec­tion holds, I am sure we shall be com­ing to a point to re­alise that the only way for­ward is to have a paradigm shift, and that has to be the ING.

DT: But many have ar­gued that the ING idea is not rec­og­nized by the Nige­rian Con­sti­tu­tion. How do you hope to nav­i­gate the le­gal chal­lenge?

That is to­tally ir­rel­e­vant. The Con­sti­tu­tion was cre­ated by men. It can be sus­pended and we can put an ad hoc mech­a­nism in place to le­galise the ma­chin­ery of an in­terim gov­ern­ment. It can be done. It is not im­pos­si­ble.

DT: In the pro­posed ING, you of­fer your­self as the per­son to lead the ar­range­ment. How ac­cept­able do you think your of­fer would be to other po­lit­i­cal stake­hold­ers?

That would be pred­i­cated on the re­al­ity of that day. When this whole se­quence had played it­self out, it would be­come ob­vi­ous that there was no other way for­ward. There is no par­ti­san po­lit­i­cal equi­lib­rium that can sal­vage Nige­ria at this junc­ture of our na­tional evo­lu­tion be­cause the prob­lems that con­front us are gar­gan­tuan.

DT: So how pre­pared are you to deal with these gar­gan­tuan prob­lems?

I am very pre­pared. If you no­tice, all these years, I have not en­gaged in any po­lit­i­cal par­tic­i­pa­tion at any level be­cause my po­lit­i­cal phi­los­o­phy is quite dif­fer­ent. The ide­ol­ogy that I be­lieve in is di­a­met­ri­cally op­posed to that of the sta­tus quo. And that is why I have not been part of APC, PDP or any other na­tional party.

DT: You are a pas­tor, so how do you hope to drive your mes­sage to non-Chris­tians?

We will drive the mes­sage when there is a na­tional plat­form in place, which is the ING. Yes, we must rise above the is­sues of re­li­gion and eth­nic­ity. I have as­sumed an al­ti­tude where these cleav­ages di­min­ish to mere su­per­fi­cial lac­er­a­tion in the ter­rain of na­tional in­te­gra­tion. But it can only be ad­vo­cated on a na­tional plat­form that is rec­og­niz­able.

DT: If your idea works out, what would be your area of fo­cus when you lead the ING?

First and fore­most, we must re­design our Con­sti­tu­tion. That is clear. This Fed­er­al­ism that we run is what I call ter­mi­no­log­i­cal in­ex­ac­ti­tude. It is a lie. It’s a de­ceit. This is not fed­er­al­ism; it’s more like a uni­tary gov­ern­ment. When you look at its cen­tri­fig­ure, you will dis­cover that there is dis­e­qui­lib­rium. We need to ad­dress the prob­lem of eth­nic­ity and how that plays out in our polity, and then work on rec­on­cil­i­a­tion. There is a need to re­struc­ture our na­tion.

I am very pre­pared. If you no­tice, all these years, I have not en­gaged in any po­lit­i­cal par­tic­i­pa­tion at any level be­cause my po­lit­i­cal phi­los­o­phy is quite dif­fer­ent. The ide­ol­ogy that I be­lieve in is di­a­met­ri­cally op­posed to that of the sta­tus quo. And that is why I have not been part of APC, PDP or any other na­tional party.

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