“I wrote to them saying that we need to embrace a new paradigm that revolves around an interim government or an ad hoc caretaker government”
Rev. Chris Okotie, Pastor of the Household of God Church, is the presidential candidate of the Fresh Democratic Party (FDP). He speaks on the state of the nation.
As we move towards 2019, are you satisfied with the preparations so far made by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC)?
I have often said that INEC is a quango. It is an organisation set up by the government to oversee an area of public interest and to develop that area. It is usually under the auspices of the subsisting government and the remuneration is determined by that subsisting government. To that extent INEC is incapacitated ab initio. It is not possible that such an organisation would meet all the requirements in an evolving democracy like we have. Be that as it may we can only take what is available.
This is your fourth time contesting the presidential election, are you still insisting you entered the race on divine instruction?
If you read my letters to the All Progressives Congress (APC) and the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), I said that my foray into politics is at the impetus of the Almighty God because there is no other way you can rationalise my not being a part of either the APC or the PDP because democracy is a game of numbers. But because I have been propelled and galvanised by the divine will to maintain a certain position until the fulfillment of time when Nigerians will come to recognition of the things that I am saying that is why I have not joined either the APC or the PDP because my mandate is from above.
Your letters to the APC and the PDP was in July, today both parties have fielded candidates for the polls. What next?
The letters were calculated at drawing attention to the realities that confront our nation, which I called existential threats for which I made overtures to these bigger parties, that for the sake of our nationalistic existence as a people they must be willing to lay aside partisan sentiments and partisan affiliations for the greater good of our nation because at this juncture of our existence, no political or partisan equilibrium will deliver Nigeria from the present quagmire. I wrote to them saying that we need to embrace a new paradigm that revolves around an interim government or an ad hoc caretaker government with the responsibility of addressing these existential threats. They have proceeded in the natural sequence of events to obtaining their flag bearers, but I still maintain that the realities in the future will still compel them to come back to the Chris Okotie proposition because that is the only practical way forward.
How do you reconcile being a presidential candidate with your proposition?
The government that I propose is going to be by consensus. What that means is that when I have emerged I will set up a government that would address these aberrations. It will be an interim government because it will not involve the legislature, governors, ministers and commissioners. It will not be the usual governmental prolixity built after a cycle of elections because these threats that confront our nation is so fundamental that only a government of this nature can address them. That is why I talk about restructuring, the moribund constitution that we have and reconciliatory moves that must be made to bring our people together to form a cohesive nation. These things can only be achieved by an interim government. We will do this by consensus; the present constitution will be suspended and the government becomes a de facto government which then later proceeds later on to become de jure by consensus. It is very easy to do.
You say it is very easy? How can a government run without the legislature and ministers?
That is why it will be an interim government. Its terms of reference are aberrations that must be ratified because if you do not have that kind of government you can’t deal with the problems on ground. It has
to be a government structured with the responsibility to address certain difficulties and cleavages that have overwhelmed the Nigerian nation, it is doable and that is why I call it aboriginal democracy. The process will be compartmentalised into cultural historicity, evolutional modernity and global relativity as the indigenous mechanisms for translating these vision into reality because if we don’t do it now, Nigeria will implode and when this happens it is the masses that will suffer. Another APC government is not going to change the status quo and another PDP government is not going to change the status quo. This has nothing to do with both parties but the realities that confront us today as a nation that Nigerians must be willing to embrace a paradigm shift, a lateral thinking that is totally away from what we know as the political processes that we have been used to in the past.
What exactly is the problem with the structure we have?
First of all, the present system we have is not working. We have tried the parliamentary system it didn’t work before we adopted the present presidential system. The problem with these systems is that they are inconsistent with our contextual reality. Those, from who we borrowed these systems in an imperialistic propensity, have been through years of history before they adopted these things. Nigeria as multifaceted as it is must come up with a system of governance that is peculiar to us. Because of our historical and cultural realities this form of government we have now is not working. We must find a system of governance for the multifaceted ethnicities that make up Nigeria, that are indigenous, that are christened as recorded by history. Before colonialism we had forms of government. For this government to work there are certain ingredients of governance that must be in place which are not. This is why the society is becoming more divided and segregated. Comparing ourselves to Malaysia and Indonesia for me only hold true when you talk about academic dissertation and maybe home-grown political punditry but we are inconsistent with our contextual reality. There is no doubt in my mind that there are parallels when it comes to geo-political achievement quotient. But these things can never be quantified within the Nigerian context to bring success.
How long will your proposed interim government last?
It will be negotiable, that is why I said it is going to be by consensus. We are going to be a convergence where we will sit down together and look at Nigeria the big picture, what is necessary, how to fix the constitution that is supposed to be a federalism proclivity constitution which it is not because it is more unitary. Federalism as we know it is the manipulation of centrifugal and centripetal forces within a geographical expression. The way the constitution is today,
it can no longer subsist as a legal protocol that can guarantee the coexistence of the autonomous communities. So we need to reengineer that constitution with a government that does not have political partisan affiliation. The government has always tried to do right but its partisanship has always caused it to fail. If we want to face the truth and we are not overwhelmed by the greed of partisan affiliation, if we say we want to be altruistic and that this is for the sake of Nigeria then the Okotie option is the only viable option. No subsisting government will divest itself of power for the sake of the people. No matter the conferences you hold, partisan sentiments and affiliations will override the nationalistic sentiments. That is what history has shown us.
Do you think Fresh Democratic Party has the spread to propel you to victory?
The political party is a small party, it cannot compare to the gargantuan monstrosities we call political parties, I say this with great sense of responsibility, I don’t mean it in a derogatory manner, but I believe
that every system of oppression will be dismantled by divine instrumentality. The people of Nigeria are praying and asking for a solution, that is how I came into the picture and God is going to intervene and do a total interjection and bring Nigeria to that point where they will say ‘Okotie come and help take our nation forward.’ I don’t know how He will do it but I’m fully confident that He will do it because He loves this nation. I have stayed away from all the quagmire of political intercourses going on in this country so that when the time comes you can have someone that can be visualised as untainted, someone with a vision that is totally away from what Nigerians are conversant with. That is the philosophy upon which I have erected the citadel of my confidence. I have said it before that before the completion of the election something is going to happen that will give Nigerians a second chance.
Can you share what you see that will happen?
No, I cannot do that because I don’t want to make a prognosis that will be likened to that of a Prophet of doom. That is not what this is about. This is purely for love of country and anyone whose vision has not been affected by the conjunctivitis (apollo) of politics will see clearly that Okotie has maintained his position for 16 years and that is proof of my fidelity and commitment to a philosophy that I hold with all tenacity. All the things going on now, the tintinnabulation of political victory bells will soon metabolise into a crisis, a mournful dirge, a sorrowful song of the crisis that will follow. We need to be careful because those who ignore history will make their lives ebulliable hysteria. That is where we are now and I believe God that Nigerians will have the strength, that the patriots in these political parties will rise for the sake of our nation and become gladiators to defend the Nigerian dream.
There are many things wrong with the nation. I am a mediator as it is today and when you mediate you create a rapprochement between the warring parties. I’m not being critical of any government because of the role I must play which is conciliatory. I recognise that the problems that are here were not all created by this present government, it has been an accumulation. From as far back as 1960, you will see a trajectory that brought us to where we are today. A man like me who understands that it is time for peace will be seeking to bring our people together, there has to be a rapprochement that will bring us together for the sake of posterity and the future of our people. I am confident that in the days ahead this concept will become more realisable and realistic because we know there is an option, the Chris Okotie option.