From George Onyejiuwa, Owerri
National Chairman of the National Democratic Mandate Group (NDMG), Chief Isaac Chigozie Ude is disturbed by the erosion of national cohesion ahead of the 2023 general election.
The leader of the political group seeking registration by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) said Nigerians need complete reorientation such that the people would at every point in time hold their leaders accountable. He also decried money politics as prevalent in Nigeria.
What is the National Democratic Mandate Group (NDMG) all about?
NDMG is an independent grassroots political pressure group formed on the 12th of December 2015 with the sole purpose of strengthening and deepening the democratic practice in Nigeria. Our members are drawn from farmers, the political class, students and people who are disenfranchised in the different political parties. All of us came together to set up this political structure of our own which we hope will metamorphose into a real political party.
We are 100 per cent committed to the success of the administration of President Muhammadu Buhari. We were not formed to fight any of the registered political parties but to accomplish what other political parties have failed to accomplish for Nigerians.
We want to introduce effective, quality and transparent leadership as the late Dr. Nnamdi Azikiwe, Chief Obafemi Awolowo, Tafawa Balewa, Ahmadu Bello, Okotie Eboh did while they were alive.
Painfully, it has become the tradition of a good number of our leaders to form structures every four years with which they climb to power only to shut their doors against those who gave them the mandate to rule.
Such leaders put police dogs around their residence after going from one place to another campaigning and soliciting for votes. They keep enmity of neighbours because such neighbours do not share the same ideology with them.
We believe that the time has come for us to have a body that will checkmate those in power and from time to time, we will call them to render account of their stewardship to the electorate. It is a different ball game from the way our group sees it. Nigerians should wake up and begin to do the right thing and at the right and with the right intention.
We are not interested in tribal or regional politics but that which will make our nation great and restore the confidence of the people in governance. It is unfortunate that in recent time, our democracy has been enmeshed in all forms of violence and erosion of democratic norms and values and our group with God on our side will checkmate this.
How will you hold our leaders accountable for their actions if you are not an opposition?
We are not opposition and cannot be in the opposition but to support the government until their tenure expires. God brought us for a purpose and he will help us accomplish that purpose. Nigeria is a great country and we are prepared to restore its respect and dignity among the comity of nations. We thank God for the sustenance of our democracy from 1999 till date which is unprecedented in the annals of our political history.
If eventually registered as a political party, would your party zone the presidential ticket to the South East?
We are not advocates of zoning but somebody who will do a thorough cleansing. We want to see a Nigeria that will give Nigerians what they want and deserve such as all season motorable roads, quality education, enough shelter and low cost of transportation, reduction of tariff imposed on building materials, maximum security, clean environment and a hope for the future.
We are advocates of one united Nigeria because it is a property we inherited from our forefathers. Nigeria cannot divide in our hands. Again, if we become a political party, we will implement all we have said. We are not coming to rip Nigerians off but to fulfill the original plan and I call on all well-meaning Nigerians to join us. We cannot and can never be like those who came in the name of APC and later disappointed the people.
Are you saying that the NDMG will withstand the rigours without fizzling out like others especially if you’re not in power?
We have established strong structures in all the wards and LGAs with 23 officers in each ward. We have established presence in all the 774 LGAs across the country except in the North East because of the Boko Haram insurgency.
In Imo State for instance, we have 27 state excos. We have 39 national Excos, six National Vice Chairmen, youth and women leaders as well as zonal National women leaders.
In Imo, we have Hausa, Yoruba and students’ wing with a central leader. NDMG is not an ad-hoc arrangement but one that will endure and last long. Hopefully, one day it will be a registered political party because Nigerians are earnestly yearning for a new name and we are tired of recycling.
We are praying for the nation with various prayer departments. We are praying for President Buhari to succeed and nobody will be president without our support and without working for our party.
As earlier stated, we are an independent pressure group. We have a very good vision and God is behind it. We know the character and behavioural pattern of Nigerians and whoever joins us will read the handwriting on the wall that our group is not for sale.
What is the guarantee that your group will not be hijacked by moneybags if it eventually becomes a registered political party?
We belong to nobody and we are all over the country. We have not approached anybody for sponsorship and we are collectively sponsoring and funding our group to avoid being hijacked by anybody.
If you want to join us, we will tell you what will benefit the average Nigerian. We do not deal with political parties but with individuals and ensure that you are not part of the group promoting inflation and hunger in this country.
The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has the power to register or deregister any party under the Electoral Act. So, we are submitting our harmonized list and we are confident and complete to be a registered political party.