Second Republic lawmaker and Chairman, National Advance Party, Dr. Tunji Braithwaite, in this interview with LEKE BAIYEWU, says no sovereign national conference, no election in 2015
How would you react to the deregistration of your party?
The INEC decision was clearly unconstitutional. It’s a diversion.
At this point in time when we are talking about the level of poverty and sufferings of the people of this country, when we are also calling for the convocation of a national conference, deregistration is a non-issue as far as I am concerned. We should get on with more important matters. We are getting to the end of the year and the issue of corruption remains completely untouched. I have said it many times that no force can prevent the people of this country from coming together to take political action, either they are active in political parties or not. No force can stop them.
Now that the 2015 general elections are approaching, are you planning to form another political party?
There will be no election in 2015. Go and write that down. There will be no elections in 2015 unless a sovereign national conference is convoked and a new constitution acceptable to the people of this country is agreed upon. Then if there are no elections in 2015, there is going to be an interim administration. We cannot continue in this rot; in this morass. Let the masses realise that deregistration of parties was intended to distract attentions from the real issues as to whether this country will remain as it is. The constitution we are operating now (1999 Constitution) has been adjudged as completely ineffective because it’s not a people’s constitution. We need to have a people’s constitution which will include dealing with corruption. We will also include decentralisation of power. That is the primary focus that we are concerned with and we will do our best. So, forget elections in 2015; that is putting the cart before the horse. We must convoke a national conference first and bring out a peoples’ constitution, not the whitewashing they are doing now in the so-called town hall meetings.
Some Nigerians have been calling for a revolution. Do you see it coming?
Yes! That is the answer. Enough of all this nonsense!
Can you compare the Nigeria legislature in the First and Second Republic with what we have now in terms of efficiency?
The performances of both the legislature and government in the First and Second Republics, which I participated in, were far better than this corrupt legislature. Since the military took over, corruption has been instituted and it is interesting to hear some of the anchor heads of corruption coming out to denounce corruption and even trying to jump boat. It’s too late. We know, the people of this country know the people who have looted their treasuries; those who have desecrated justice and values.
What do you think are the challenges of the nation’s anti-corruption agencies in prosecuting corruption cases, even with available evidences?
The anti-graft agencies are still being manipulated by the government.
The judiciary too is not much of a help in the fight against corruption because some members of the judiciary are deep in corruption themselves. That is why there has to be a revolution for the people to take their destinies in their own hands. And that is what the National Advance Party has been calling for since it was formed.
LEKE BAIYEMU/PUNCH NEWSPAPERS