Daily Trust: How will your party produce a presidential candidate that would be acceptable to Nigerians?
Mr. Michael Kelikume: For us it is a strategy. We are currently head hunting and we know on our part that the North still has its quota and so we need to get someone credible from the Northwest. Not just a northerner per se but someone credible, with a track record of achievements and credibility and without any stain. We would also look for someone from the West as his running mate.
DT: So, who are those being shortlisted?
Kelikume: We are mindful of the fact that Nigerians want better options than the current people who have left us lurching in the dark. We are taking our time screening and searching. There is no hurry. As long as we get the right persons and they meet all conditions, only then would we present our candidate and that would be after our party primaries. We must be vigilant, cautious and circumspect in presenting these candidates.
DT: But you will agree that time is not on your side, so when do you think your party would be unveiling your presidential candidate?
Kelikume: That won’t pose a problem. We are currently joining alliances and building up our network at the grassroots and in all parts of the country. As a party, the Alliance for New Nigeria needs to get it right first time so we would be able to get it right every time. We would not adopt the fire brigade approach that has failed previous parties. We want to dare to do things differently as professionals and as technocrats.
DT: You talk of alliance among political parties, what is the ANN bringing to the table, and what would it not compromise?
Kelikume: One fact is sacrosanct. We will not touch anyone who is corrupt or has been stained by acts of corruption. Nigeria has credible people who can be called upon to hold public office and be accountable to the electorate. Arrogance, impunity and parochial sentiment are alien to our party. Our manifesto says it all. We aim to, we will strive to practice what we preach. What we have on the table, we currently keep close to our chest but I assure you, it will be business unusual. We will unite the country, inspire our citizens, promote competition, encourage enterprise and provide the infrastructure for growth, sustained development and profitability.
DT: Your National Chairman recently said the ANN is engaged in nationwide membership drive, what are the challenges therein considering the existence of bigger parties?
Kelikume: There are no challenges whatsoever. Nigerians are tired of the present government with their lies, deceit and propaganda. The killings and insecurity across the country is worrisome. When you measure these incidences alongside the misrule of the PDP you will then understand that nothing has changed. We are a party with a difference. We have come to lead and not to rule. Our aims, goals and objectives are to sustain democracy, build strong public institutions and ensure peace, justice and equity for 180 million Nigerians.
DT: Apart from the membership drive, how are you running your campaigns?
Kelikume: We are working. There are stages of work in progress. We have various committees saddled with responsibilities. I belong to some of them myself. The media is aware of our party. We are not going to be involved in propaganda, lies and deceit. We intend to be professional so as to keep our eyes on the ball as we dare to be different. We are technocrats and so we intend doings things in a mature and dignified way. That way we would get the respect, admiration and support of Nigerians who are watching from the sidelines looking for better options.
DT: How acceptable is ANN in the south?
Kelikume: We are creating awareness in every part of the country. At no point shall we ever be tagged a regional party. From the North-East, North-West, North-Central to the South-East, South-West and South-South we will have equal participation and equal representation at all levels. There are no money bags among us and we are very comfortable with that fact. At the end of the day by doing things differently we will emerge as a party with principles, sound ideologies and a manifesto that would turn the fortunes of the country towards growth and profitability.
DT: Why is your party not talking and organising primaries and national convention at this time as the others?
Kelikume: We have set dates for conventions. We will make that public in due course.
DT: Familiar big time politicians are not in your party, why is it so?
Kelikume: We do not need them. They have failed Nigerians.
DT: But would it be fair to lump all the big politicians together as say they have all failed Nigerians?
Kelikume: Sometimes such drastic decisions are necessary so you can start well, build well, grow well and do well. That becomes the benchmark across board and across public institutions and among individuals.
DT: If the ANN eventually grabs power, what would be the first thing Nigerians should expect?
Kelikume: A national rebirth, wide scale reforms in our public service, especially in the police, judiciary and civil service, an end to insurgency and all acts of criminality, critical and aggressive focus on education, health, power, massive urban and rural road construction and rehabilitation and partnership with state governments to create hubs for business growth.
DT: You were in business for a pretty long time before joining full time politics, what elective position would you be contesting for?
Kelikume: I am currently a member of the BOT and my focus is on winning in 2019.
DT: You were the party’s Vice Chairman, South-South, tell our readers if the days of agitation for resource control and militancy are over or not?
Kelikume: I have relinquished the appointment of National Vice Chairman South South. My focus is on winning the elections in 2019.
DT: Still, we would like you to answer the second the question on resource control and militancy.
Kelikume: Once we have good governance in place and an even spread of development at all levels all these talk of resource control and agitations will fizzle out