“If you don’t measure well and ensure that the exchange between Nigeria and other countries or domestic trade is not properly measured in a way that you are not cheated, you can’t make it in economy because you can’t plan.”
Iheanacho Nwosu, Abuja
Presidential candidate of Action Democratic Party (ADP) Alhaji Yabagi Sani, believes that the duo of President Muhammadu Buhari and Alhaji Atiku Abubakar have nothing good to offer the country and therefore should be rejected by voters in next year’s poll. He spoke on other issues of interest.
The presidential campaign will start in the next two weeks or thereabout. What would you be telling Nigerians about your aspiration and why they should vote for you?
Nigerians already know what we are coming to tell them because this is something that has been in the public domain and it’s being discussed, the issue of credible alternative and leadership. This country
has lot of potentials. It is a country that has promise for greatness and the missing link between this country and greatness is leadership. So, I’m coming to tell them that we have what it takes to give them leadership. It is leadership that is informed, connected, exposed and to a very large extent, tested
in a way that will convince Nigerians that we can deliver. We belong to this time and when you have people that are in the past, of course, they can hardly think in terms of the future. But we represent today and we represent tomorrow. We are coming to tell Nigerians that there is no going back
to Egypt anymore. We can’t continue with status quo and we can’t go back to status quo ante. That means we cannot go to PDP era anymore. We cannot again continue with things that have failed Nigerians. So, the message is already there. It’s just for us to re-echo it for Nigerians to now know that what they have been yearning for is in us.
You transmuted from the position of National Chairman to Presidential candidate. The impression it gives out there is that probably the party could not get any good candidate to fly the flag of the party. Were you really nursing that ambition?
If you marked what I said, I said we don’t want to go back to status quo ante and we don’t want to maintain or continue with what we have today. I’m talking about personalities that defined that era. What
we have today, there is nothing that has changed in terms of the personalities that have now come forward to rule this country. So, why we couldn’t fit into the idea of who should rule this country is that going by the constitution of our party, you will see that it is styled in the line of having a fresh face for this country. We want something that can excite Nigerians, so that Nigerians can now say ‘he is not doing the same thing the same way and expecting different results.’ It’s now that we are going to do things differently and we have different results. We have engaged with quite a number of people and they know that it’s not possible to come here and then continue with business as usual. We have taken cognizance of the experience of the past which we want to do away with because we say we are the credible alternative. We don’t want Nigerians to continue with the lacklustre personalities that brought us to this quagmire that we have found ourselves. We want to give this country a lease of freedom so that we can now be able to really deliver on the promise of this country. This country is so great in terms of resources, in terms of anything that you want to look at. Is it the location of this country that you want to look at or the size, or the resources we have?
Look at what has happened to us. Our GDP was about $586 billion in just 2014. Today, we are $375 billion, meaning that we have gone so backward even in terms of productivity in this country and we have the capacity to grow this GDP at a rate that is even faster than America that today you can say is the biggest economy in the world. We can be bigger if we have the right leadership. So, this is why at the end of the day, when we saw that we can’t continue to do what we are doing, we were left with no choice than to look within us that are motivated and have the sense of conviction that we can give this country the positive change that we require. That’s why when we sat down and decided I should run as the presidential candidate.
Talking about doing things in a different way, what are the indices of your agenda that you think will make you do things in a different way?
We believe that a government is as strong as its regulatory agencies. We have observed the weakness in the regulatory agencies that we have in this country.
Look at the sector that is the life wire of this economy, oil and gas sector, DPR in a serious country will be an independent agency that should serve the interest of this country, not the interest of those who are in NNPC or somebody who is a Minister. So, our government will make sure that agencies like DPR are effectively empowered to deliver at the speed and efficiency that is required. Today, go to DPR and you will be lucky to find some of them even with computers that they are supposed to work with. Even tools to work with, they don’t have. So, how do you expect such an agency that is charged with the responsibility of monitoring production and then giving this country the kind of reserve that we need in terms of oil and gas production to function? You have an agency like that they don’t have vehicles, they don’t have computers.
Look at Revenue Mobilisation, Allocation and Fiscal Commission. This agency is supposed to monitor the revenue inflow into the federation account. What is happening in that agency too? They lack computers. They don’t have vehicles. They don’t have the kind of people you should have in such agencies. What is wrong with even collaborating with the private sector to inject the private sector aggressiveness into those agencies and see the wonders that will happen in this country?
Go to Federal Ministry of Trade and Investment. Among the agencies that you have there, you have weights and measures, legal metrology. Legal metrology is the cornerstone of all the great economies you see today. If you don’t measure well and ensure that the exchange between Nigeria and other countries or domestic trade is not properly measured in a way that you are not cheated, you can’t make it in economy because you can’t plan.
So, what we are saying is that we will take a look into these agencies and reform them and make them to perform very efficiently because without that, the government up there, the man in Aso Rock can do nothing. The service delivery that we are talking about in democracy comes through those agencies.
What about the anti-graft war?
Talking about how to fight corruption, you can’t fight corruption if you don’t have well organised agencies of government that are monitored effectively, that can deliver on the mandate given to them by the constitution. There are Acts of parliament that are supposed to be enforced but they are not being enforced. There are so many other agencies that I’m sure that if they were working well, we will not be where we are today in terms of the economy of this country and in terms of even the way people behave because if you give human beings that freedom, they take advantage. If you go to other countries, you don’t find people flouting the laws of the country the way they like. It’s because you have people who are in charge. You don’t only talk about EFCC and ICPC confusing people that that’s how to fight corruption. That is vendetta that you are engaging in, unleashing unnecessary terror on the citizens of the country, instead of you to go and look at how the system is working. The system of government in this country is so loose. Nobody is in charge for God’s sake.
Our government is coming to ensure that the system works the way it’s supposed to work so that we can have the results that we are supposed to have.
Why do you think some Nigerians may not dismiss your ambition with a wave of the hand, knowing that ADP does not have the national spread that can really make you win the presidential election?
It can’t be because even the APC was not an organisation that was represented in all the nooks and crannies of this country. By the time Nigerians see the promise we are bringing, believe me, people will leave APC and they will join us. Why were they crisscrossing among the already failed camps? It’s because people were looking for the victory camp and how do we queue in. There are people that I know have genuine intentions on how to move this country forward. We know some are there for pecuniary gains, but there are people in this country that are concerned about the progress of this country, but where is the platform, how do we do it? Who is there to really give us that opportunity to be great, which is the promise of this country?
Look at even what happened in France when Macron emerged. He didn’t have the political party that is all over the place. Look at Trump who came with his own thing and attacked even the Republican. He didn’t go with the Republican network. He created his own network. He told Americans what they need to hear and they keyed in. Everybody was there for him in spite of the stumbling blocks that the Republican as a party was putting on his path. So, it’s not about the party per say. It’s about the message. It’s about the individual. It’s about the fact that things that are happening in this country shouldn’t happen because they are not supposed to.
What do you make of the Shiite protests in the last few days?
The precondition for peace is justice. Where there is no justice, you can’t have peace and I’m not sure we are being fair to ourselves when we are addressing some of these issues. If a competent court of law has made certain pronouncements that this is what should happen, as a government, you should obey or make an appeal and that appeal be attended to. This is why we are where we are today. If the court says release Zakzaky, you release him and as a government, you must find a way to contain him. What is wrong in saying that he is under house arrest at least to demonstrate that you are following the court judgment because you want to promote peace? Government itself does not want peace for whatever reasons. I don’t know, but that’s where the problem lies.