NUP’ll take the polity by storm in 2019 – Perry Opara

Perry Opara is the National Chairman of the National Unity Party (NUP). In this interview with BODE OLAGOKE, he cautions Nigerians against further support for the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC), and the main opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), He, however urges them to rally round the NUP, which, according to him, will take over power in 2019.
How do you see the political currents of the country: former President Olusegun Obasanjo’s coalition, Ibrahim Babangida’s position on President Buhari and the discontent in the polity etc?
On Thursday February 1, we did a National Executive Council meeting and we resolved that the National Unity Party is going to field a presidential candidate in 2019 elections particularly as our name is one that unites the nation. As to the high level division in Nigeria, where we have those clamouring for Biafra in the SouTheast, the issue of Boko Haram in the North, OPC in the South west and MEND in the Niger Delta, we need a united front and we feel that and the NUP is the platform that will unite the country.
We are going to look across board among all the people that are aspiring for president and see who among them we can offer our platform to run. It was reported that I made a pronouncement of giving what is called a “Valentine Gift” to Rabiu Kwankwaso, Bukola Saraki and Atiku Abubakar to come to our party and run for President in 2019, we called it our February valentine gift.
The alleged divisiveness of the Buhari government seems to have given you enough leverage? Despite the confidence reposed on the government, Nigerians are beginning to think otherwise, judging by the fuel scarcity that lingered so long and the persistent economic hardship in the country.
This is not the Nigeria that we anticipated. We are looking for a Nigeria where things works, and the NUP will ensure that, so are going to move to a better place in 2019. But so far we are not happy with what is going on. We are going to give three more months and after the three more months we are going to adopt a candidate and prepare for our convention that will be held around August this year.
At the convention, we hope to present a credible person that will field as a presidential candidate. But we don’t rule out the option of alliances and coalition. Don’t forget that it was former President Obasanjo that registered the NUP when he was President, so we are reaching out to everybody; we are trying to ensure that we cooperate with other democratic forces around the nation, because we want to ensure Nigeria gets a proper leadership in 2019.
The NUP will have Herculean task dethroning an incumbent like Buhari, who has allegedly entrenched his men in every strategic sectors following his alleged lopsided appointments. He is putting up structures to re-contest, even though he has not officially declared. Do you think that the likes of Ibrahim Babangida, Obasanjo’s coalition and your party can stop him?
What is happening is political manoeuvring. Some people who like President Buhari are busy campaigning; they want him to come back. Some people who don’t want him are also busy gathering storm against his re-election. We should allow these things to happen because they are the beauty of politics, but in two more months, things will be clearer. President Buhari has not declared yet, former President Obasanjo has never said he has a man he is going to support and the political party that he will support. But from what I said the National Unity Party is the best political platform for 2019, and we have agreed at our National Executive Council to make it open for Nigerians to use it to actualize the presidential mandate of 2019.
It is believed across board that the APC is no longer popular and the PDP is having crisis all over the place, Nigerians are looking for a new political platform they are going to use in 2019. If you ask me, the NUP is the best political party for 2019 elections.
You sound so optimistic about the NUP…? Yes, I am very, very optimistic because we are making consultations we are reaching the people that matter as far as the Nigeria’s political landscape is concerned. So watch out because Nigerians are looking for a new political platform that they will use devoid of acrimony and too many promises that don’t materialize at the end of the day. So National Unity Party is being positioned to take over the mantle of leadership in 2019.
Do you think you have the financial wherewithal as well as the political clout to stand the 2019 challenge? When people come into the party, they don’t come alone, they come in with their popularity, they come in with their deep pockets, and the structure of the party becomes big. If Atiku Abubakar moves into any party, whatever the name of the party, it will automatically become a big one. If Rabiu Musa Kwankwaso moves to any political party no matter how young or small it becomes a big one. That is what is all about it is not the name.
Don’t forget that it was only 18 Nigerians that formed the PDP. What makes a political party big or small is membership and I assure you that in the next two months you will begin to hear very big names come into the NUP.
Sometimes the problem is when the big players come into your party; they come with ideas and intentions that may become inimical to the original philosophy of the party. Do you want to encourage that kind of thing in your own party? This kind of thing happens when there is greed. Nigeria is a big enterprise that can accommodate everybody. If you are sincere with your partners, the issue of greed will disappear.
Allow people to come in and play their roles because there are different roles. You may be among the intelligentsia, you may have the political clout but you don’t have the financial clout. You may have the financial clout but may not have the managerial capability. So political parties should be an admixture of all the political clouts, people who have money will come in, people who have connection will come in, and people who have the required intellect will come and people with managerial know how will come in.
So when everybody, who has something positive to contribute comes in the party becomes big. You can find out that the problem with the APC is that some people came into the party but they were like water and oil they could not mix that is why the party is not moving, not that they don’t have good people or good ideas. So as a political party you should allow people to come in. Don’t be scared of people with money to come in, don’t be scared of people with political ambition to come in that is our position.

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