Prominent Nigerians including Nobel laureate, Wole Soyinka; Patrick Utomi and Olisa Agbakoba are revving up their plans for 2019.
They are working on the emergence of a third force in the Nigerian polity to displace the rulling All Progressives Congress and major opposition Peoples Democratic Party at the general elections.
These Nigerians spoke about their plans on Wednesday in Abuja at a national summit organised by the Nigeria Intervention Movement (NIM), a platform positioning itself as that force.
Leaders of the movement emphasised the need to remove the current government in 2019 and urged Nigerians youth to obtain their Permanent Voters Card (PVC) to ensure the task is done.
The co-chairperson of the summit, Mr. Agbakoba, a senior lawyer, said the 2019 general elections will be a “rough fight” and that the movement wants to recruit about 30 million youth to to take power in 2019.
To achieve this, Mr. Agbakoba acknowledged that money is needed, even though the movement does not want “moneybag” politicians.
“It means that we here must be very united. We cannot do it alone. It reminds me of when we started the Civil Liberties Organization (CLO). We were exactly seven but confronted this huge military apparatus. Eventually, we became the 12th largest human rights organization in the world. It was our shared commitment. So, that is the commitment you are going to make. It is not to come to Abuja, dress fine and sit down.
“If you want to displace the APC or PDP, it is going to be a rough fight. It is going to be tough. I can see so many people without PVCs. So, if we are going to make a difference, the first thing is to get your PVCs. It is of no use going to the mosques on Fridays or Churches on Sundays to pray. Without PVCs, there will be no change,” Mr. Agbakoba said.
“Nigeria is like a big company where there are two million shareholders and in the case of Nigeria, about 200 million shareholders. Less than one thousand are controlling the rest. Think about it. The people holding you bondage, how many of them? They are not many.
“So, we have to break this bondage by participating in the affairs of our nation. That is the only way, but we need money. We do not want the moneybags, but we need money. Do not kid yourself, we need money to prosecute this election but we do not need the old type of money.”
Abdul Jhalil said NIM was not “moved by bitterness nor are we motivated by hatred. So we shall not wipe away our past.
“If we were asked to choose only three things for our children, it will be education, education and education. You cannot have prosperity without education and as our recent experience is showing us, you cannot even have peace and order without education.”
Mr. Soyinka urged the leaders of NIM to be vigilant and watch out for ‘experienced spoilers’.
“You must however exercise unrelenting vigilance. Prowling around you already are those recurrent interlopers, whose sole aim is to hijack your efforts or infiltrate your ranks with their stooges.
“Experienced spoilers, they are part and parcel of the very predicament you are trying to alleviate. The more notorious suffer from a messianic complex and a desperate need to obliterate the roles they have played in placing the nation in her current plight. They are adept at distorting history in order to acquire a false, sanitized identity.
“Be jealous of your own identity in the making, and protect the integrity of your mission. Watch out for geriatric encumbrances who will not leave the stage, not even for the prospect of infusion of fresh blood into the prostrate hulk of a once vibrant nation. Judgment awaits them, and the present should not grant them space,” the literary icon extolled.
Speaking through a recorded video, Mr. Utomi, a university professor, said there was need to change the recruitment processes of leaders through political party.
“There is need for a movement of thinking Nigerians, ordinary Nigerians into a huge voting bloc and the first thing is you have your PVC.”
On the abduction of school girls by terrorist groups, another speaker at the event, Tafawa Balewa, took a swipe at the President Muhammadu Buhari-ledgovernment.
He said: “Heaven forbids we lower our standards so much that we start to compare how different administrations deal with mass kidnapping.”