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PMB Needs More Politicians Than Technocrats As Ministers – Okorie

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Chekwas Okorie is the national chairman of the United Peoples Party (UPP). In this interview with GODWIN MBACHU, he spoke on some national issues, including calls for deregistration  of parties, the anticpated federal cabinet and security issues

How do you respond to calls for the deregistration of  political parties that did not secure seats at the last general election?

The Electoral Act has stated so. But there are so many conditions on ground that if a party did not meet any of them it should consider itself deregistered by INEC. But there are also conditions that make INEC find itself in a dilemma. For example, such conditions include parties having a functional office in Abuja and winning a seat at the local government election. The conditions in registering a political party are so liberal unlike when we registered APGA. Those conditions can make it difficult for INEC to deregister a party,  without going to court to challenge it, and if local government election has not been concluded, you cannot deny them registration because it is constitutional. Even if a party is deregistered, it can reapply within 30 Days. What INEC should do is to go back to the National Assembly to strengthen the parties. I subscribe to it where it will be controlled.

Apart from that, a multiple party system is what the country requires, right now INEC has 109 applications to consider, if a party meets the requirement and maintains a functional office, you cannot deregister it. INEC and the security agencies should go back to National Assembly to give strigent condition for registration of political parties. Aside that, a multi party is what the country requires. This is in spite of the fact that the All Progressives Congress (APC) merger proves to be successful. A lot of talks are going on now, there will be more merger this time around, that I can assure you. Political parties are saying that there is much more in contesting elections than registering a party. INEC has no discretion to deregister a party because the constitution is there. INEC can only go back to National Assembly to streamline the parties.

Which parties are likely to merge?

UPP is extending an olive Branch to APGA and other like-mind political parties in the Northern part of the country. Talks are going on now, I assure you there will be more of merger this time around, especially after the half quarter of president Muhammadu Buhari’s regime.

Some Nigerians are calling for the overhaul of the security architecture, do you suscribe to it?

Yes, I do. I think the president has made that promise himself to the effect that he will review the security architecture. The other issue I have been canvassing for which people have started  buying into, is the creation of state police and community policing. No matter the fears being entertained  so far, the gains of community policing is far better.

The military has alleged that some unpatriotic Nigerians are working with foreigners to truncate the swearing in of President Muhammadu Buhari for a second tenure, what do you think?

If they have the intelligence they should have followed it up. What Nigerians want to hear is that the people behind it have been apprehended.

APC’s zoning of principal offices for the 9th National Assembly has left out some geopolitical zones, what’s your view on this issue?

I had earlier made a statement urging the APC to consider the nature of the country in zoning the principal offices of the 9th National Assembly. If they are being futuristic they should be able to give the South east a sense of belonging. For me it is not a wise political decision but they have already taken the decision. APC does not end with voting for Buhari, they still need people in future to win. No zone can do it alone. Buhari tried it three times and didn’t get it until he realised that he needs other zones. Look at the way we are being treated? The South east is the only zone that voted the way it voted, although there was improvement in the last election which was because some of us supported Buhari against Ohaneze’s endorsement  of PDP’s candidate, and we will continue to support Buhari until he finishes his tenure. I just hope the president will exhibit the character of carrying all zones along in his second tenure.

The president will be inaugurated for his second tenure in office soon, what kind of cabinet do you expect to see?

He now has the experience of a first term in office. He has also admitted that mistakes were made and that they will be corrected in his second time. Those who betrayed him should be replaced. I am not keen about this thing called technocrats. There is no difference between technocrats and politicians, some politicians are also technocrats. Politicians are the ones that plan how the election are won so you don’t expect him to leave them out entirely in his cabinet. So I expect people of intergrity and impeccable character like the President.

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