By Vincent Kalu
President of Congress for Non-Political Party Members (CNPM), Chief John Mayor Echefu, in this interview said that mediocre would not have their way in 2019.
What is your view on the state of the nation?
Nigeria is in trouble, and asphyxiating. If it must come out from this state, men of integrity, men of goodwill should rise up and save Nigeria.There is tension everywhere; people are wailing and crying over the economic situation in the country. There is the urgent need to rescue the ship of the nation state before it capsizes.
What is Congress for Non-political Party Members all about?
It is for Nigerians who do not belong to any political party, but always exercise their voting rights. Because of the way our political parties are organised, coupled with the characters of our politicians, many people are averse to identifying with the parties. However, they exercise their civic responsibilities by casting their votes.
When was the association formed?
It was formed in 2008. Since then, it has been making tremendous impact, educating the voters. The level of acceptance of the group by Nigerians is beyond imagination, which means, there is a yearning for change and a gap to be filled, because the people are not satisfied with the way the political class is carrying on with themselves. We have over 15 million members cutting across the electoral wards in the country. We have presence in every political ward in the country.
Come 2019, we are going to tell the politicians that power belongs to the people, and that political victory is in the hand of Congress for Non-Political Members in Nigeria. There will be no more room for mediocre to be in government.
What are your plans for 2019?
We are mobilising and carrying out public enlightenment campaigns on the dangers of electing mediocre into political offices, and the doom they have brought to the country. It is not going to be business as usual. The time to critically appraise candidates running for particular office has come. There is not going to be room for non-performers in 2019.
For the politicians who in the past made promises but couldn’t fulfill them, this is the payback time. We are not going to support them. Before we support you, we must look at your track records, what you have been able to do from private rank of life. This will guide us to know your direction when you get into office.
We are going to pick the candidates to support based on merit, and we are going to resist politicians who had failed the people. In 2015, when people were painting President Buhari as repentant democrat, we warned them. What do we have now? Everybody is groaning, and gasping for survival.
What impact have you created?
Most Nigerians know that there is movement called Congress for Non- political Party Members in Nigeria. We want to give the people back the power, so that when the elected officials start to misbehave, we would be bold to call them to order by telling them that they are our servants, as sovereignty actually belongs to us. It is not going to be business as usual for the politicians. Our movement has awakened the voters. You must go to equity with clean hands that is why if you go and check the records of leaders of this group, none has been involved in shady deals or is known to have breached the Nigerian law. We don’t collect money from any politician to support him. I’m applauding the senate over the move for independent candidacy so that people who don’t want to belong to any political party can contest and win elections.
Who has won election because of your support?
We supported Anambra State governor, Chief Willie Obiano and he won election. We supported him for his first term, and followed his records, and we were satisfied, and that was why we also supported him for the second term.
We supported Dr. Alex Otti in the last gubernatorial election in Abia State. You saw what happened, he won the election, but the usual Nigeria factor played out- INEC and the Judiciary, were instruments that subverted the wishes of the people.
We also supported Lagos State governor, Akinwunmi Ambode and he won. We have supported many candidates, even at local government elections and they won.
Will you yield to the pressure of any political party that wants your support?
We can’t work with political party; we work with individuals in those parties who have the quality to deliver dividends of democracy to the people.
What are the qualities you look out for in determining who to support?
We look at the crime records of the people and their antecedents. Because of our presence in every ward across the country, the record of every politician is there for us to asses. There is no hiding place. If you don’t meet up with our strict criteria we won’t support you no matter your enticing offer.
What are your expectations for 2019?
That will be a turning point for Nigeria. The electorate for ones will look the politicians eyeball to eyeball and tell them that enough is enough. For sometimes, Nigeria has been experiencing voter apathy. This is because of the manner the politicians are carrying themselves and we are going to address that by carrying out public enlightenment campaigns. There is going to be a great improvement.
It is true that PDP didn’t perform, but APC has failed woefully. The argument by the ruling party that they are cleaning the PDP mess doesn’t hold water. Let the Information Minister, Lai Mohammed engage me in debate, I would reel out statistics to show how APC has destroyed what was left of Nigeria.