By Agatha Emeadi
Col. Hassan Stan-Labo is the National Security Director of the Labour Party as well as the Managing Director/CEO of Hakes &Partners Limited.
He is also a counter-terrorist expert with huge operational experience from his participation as part of the Nigerian military contingent to Liberia, Sierra-Leone, Darfur and Bakassi Peninsula.
A native of Kagoro in Southern Kaduna, Kaduna State, Hassan was head, Training Division, Army Peacekeeping Centre and Brigade Chief of staff, and served as the hub for cord and implementation.
In this interview with Sunday Sun, Stan-Labo who said soldiering is his life, noted that Peter Obi’s ignition of the nation has created frenzy that cannot be ignored again.
What was your experience as part of the contingent that went to Liberia, Sierra Leone, Dafur and Bakassi Peninsular for Peacekeeping?
The experience was often very professional, a silent learning curve that builds one personal delivery capacity in the field, improving one by the day with every operational encounter. If one’s deployment was to the frontlines like mine was, one goes through a harrowing dare devil experience, but come out a far better soldier with huge professional gains. If one is lucky, one would come out alive and unshattered like a few of us did. But then, survival from operations is often by providence and never because one is a better soldier and, in all sense, it begins to influence the direction in which one’s future military postings take. Now, the idea is to see how the system gains from one’s wealth of operational knowledge as I found myself in training institutions like the Army Peacekeeping Centre in Jaji and Army School of Infantry etc. Again, I was also privileged to be invited to offer pep talk to departing troops for missions abroad and also avail advisory notes and comments to DHQ or AHQ when demanded. Sincerely, nothing really made me realize how good the Nigerian military is until I saw myself operating and training with the British, American and French etc. Though technologically wise, they could be better, but that is where it ends. Every other thing they looked up to you for solution or demonstration of the way to go.
Now, the elections are around the corner, are you satisfied with the preparations the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has made to curtail electoral malpractices?
Yes, I am impressed with their effort, but they should not relent. They must remain steadfast on their guard at all times. The noble idea is the introduction of the BVAS technology, the electronic transmission of election results and the exclusion of Form E8 from the entire process are all initiatives that must be commended. It will bring a lot of transparency and integrity to bear on the process of election results.
Are you impressed with the massive voter registration exercise and what do you think is driving young Nigerians to turn out en masse for such exercise?
The exponential increase witnessed with the voter-registration exercise is quite impressive. It is a clear indication of voter’s awareness and the desired change. The unexpected turn out of the youths within the political space as seen in the emergence of the Labour Party candidate, Peter Obi has ignited the entire nation and created a frenzy that cannot be ignored. For the very first time in contemporary Nigerian body politics, an unprecedented number of citizens consisting mainly of youths has shown interest in the political process and this is a welcome development. It speaks volume of the competence, capacity and character of the candidate of the Labour Party. It is a clear statement about the nature and character of the candidate that the citizens desire at the helm of affairs this time around.
Do you anticipate any social disturbance if some expectations are not met in the 2023 elections?
If perhaps some expectations are dashed through rigging or some form of unholy connivance, hell would be let loose. That is quite predictable because the ordinary citizen as we speak has had enough, he’s been pushed to the wall and Nigeria today is at the brink of collapsing, that is why people are yearning for a competent leader.
You are the National Security Director of Labour Party, and the Obi-dient Movement too, do you think the party has a chance to win the ruling All Progressive Congress (APC) and the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) as old political parties with experienced politicians?
In fairness to them all, both APC and PDP are all weighed down by numerous internal problems even as the political season heat thickens up. If I am not hopeful of Labour Party’s success at the polls, I wouldn’t have identified with them. The Obi-dient movement are striving to take back Nigeria from those holding her down. You can see, read and hear things for yourself that Labour Party does not only have the potentials to win, but has a candidate who is squared up both physically and mentally. The candidate’s intellectual capacity, competence, integrity, prudence profile and go-getter attitude endears him to me and many Nigerians who believe in transparency.
We have not been seeing much of Labour Party interests in the national assembly contests. Should the Labour Party candidate win the presidential elections, how would he be able to ride along with a Senate and House of Assembly made up of predominantly APC and PDP lawmakers?
That is already being addressed among the party faithful as we speak. We are quite cognizant of the fact that the president needs a comfortable majority in the parliament to work with, see to the safe passage of bills and avail value added representation that would yield dividends of democracy for the people. Now, the bulk of the citizens concerned today has to do with the poorly managed power at the centre that could have turned things around for the country and avail the much-needed change; but all we saw in the last eight years is a reluctant lackadaisical nonchalant attitude in leadership. This is coupled with a carefree lay back attitude to state matters, requiring utmost urgency and it should not be acceptable to the citizens and hence the prioritisation of the office of the President. Nigerians must know and interrogate who is coming into that office irrespective of tribe, religion and ethnicity.
If Peter Obi, the Labour party presidential candidate, wins the 2023 general elections, do you think he will carry out some reforms that will make the country a better place for all like Macky Sall of Senegal did in 2012?
Definitely, the nation will witness some radical changes and a paradigm shift. It cannot be business as usual again. Knowing the antecedents of Peter Obi when he was the governor of Anambra State, we all saw what he did with state’s funds, his cut-down-cost style of governance, leadership skills, strategies he played with education and basic amenities. It might not be the grab and grab system again because he, as a candidate, if he wins, will not be interested in the acquisition game. Therefore, his cabinet would also know their master’s style if he wins. Governance process would be reviewed with the aim of forging new impetus that would cut down cost, waste and leakages within the system. A change process would likely be initiated by Peter Obi that is aimed at transforming Nigeria from a consumer nation to a production nation.
Certainly, insecurity, social and economic problems that the out-going administration has not satisfactorily solved, how would the Labour Party candidate tackle the hydra-headed monster that has brought the country to the edge?
The outgoing administration might not have got it right completely and at some point, but it was good Nigerians saw things themselves and count their teeth with their tongue. However, Peter Obi would always say, no government was elected to come and complain, but to solve problems for which it was elected into office to address. The appropriate solutions are currently being sought in line with these pending challenges to achieve the goals. You must be aware of the numerous trips of our presidential candidate of late. He is not only consulting, but also ensuring that all instrumentalities for a smooth and immediate take off on hitting the ground are put in place just in case he emerges as the Nigerian president.Electrical power supply is a demon rearing its ugly head; successive administrations have failed to fix the energy system; do you think the Labour Party government can change the narratives and turn on the lights if elected into the office?
Well, the visit of Peter Obi to Egypt, an African country was definitely meant to understudy first hand how that country came out of its power challenge where Egypt grew its power requirement from 4, 000 MegaWatts to 50,000 MW within a space of five years.The point is that, one cannot sit at home and keep doing the same thing, same style and expect it to excel; or experimenting with people who are interested in enriching themselves and expect positive results, no, it does not work that way. One must pull-out, research, strategize and see how others are achieving their success stories and adapt it within the peculiarities of one’s challenge.
A good number of Nigerians believe their country has let them down, if the Labour Party is able to win the elections, what would be the priority of the administration of Peter Obi?
I will not sit here and set agenda for Peter Obi’s administration if he wins the presidential election come 2023, but, however, we all know that his love and concern for the welfare of the ordinary Nigerian on the street would see him pay serious attention to security, economy, education. We all know that he will initiate policies and plans that would transform the country from a consumer economy to a production economy. He would, therefore, in line with that prioritise sectors like agriculture, health and education.
As an apostle of the Obi-dient movement, do you agree with the news making the rounds that Peter Obi is not just a candidate, but a divine movement whose bold-walk into the race might retire some old politicians in Nigeria?
Take this from me today. Obi’s emergence on the presidential race is divinely ordained. It is not just a movement, but gradually metamorphosing into a political and social revolution. Every Obi-dient knows that Peter Obi is in this race as a sacrifice for the emancipation of our motherland from the hands of leaders who turned themselves into looters. Our collective heritage is being ravaged and squandered daily by a certain few ruling class that Nigerians entrusted the nation as a whole into them as custodians. I can assure you that with Peter Obi as the president, if he emerges, acts of indiscipline and official rascality will definitely be controlled.