I am one of the many Nigerians happy at the decision of the erstwhile corruption czar, Nuhu Ribadu’s decision to seek the highest office in the Land. I am also one of the many that are very guarded in their optimism.
I am excited because I sincerely believe that he is a brave and loyal individual. He exhibited is bravery by going after corrupt elements in Nigeria at great expense to his personal and professional security, even as many continue to focus more on what he could have done or achieved, rather than looking at what he did or actually achieved. He also showed a great deal of loyalty to Nigerians, by not backing down from some of the more controversial cases he handled at EFCC. I sincerely believe he has what it takes to lead Nigeria. But, I may be wrong.
I am guardedly optimistic because I see another failed progressive attempt at taking over leadership at the national level. Mallam, I must confess that you have surrounded yourself with political novices, who do not seem to understand political campaigning. Your Campaign coordinator boasted in a recent online interview that he is not a card carrying member of ACN, the party platform you have chosen to run on. How else are you going to win the party primaries, if your supporters are not card carrying members of ACN?
It is only card carrying members that can vote and be voted for as delegates to the party’s convention where the party’s flag-bearer will be elected. Your team does not seem to understand that you are not yet a presidential candidate. You are still an aspirant seeking to be ACN’s flag-bearer. So, there is a need to tailor your tactics to first achieving the immediate aim – getting the party nomination. One sure way of making that possible is to get your teeming supporters to register with your chosen party. To achieve this, you actually have 10 days to the end of the ACN membership registration. The Chairman of the party in Oyo State, Lamidi Adesina was quoted as saying recently that he will seek a waiver to extend the registration period to satisfy his own political end in Oyo State. I was also surprised that you became a member of ACN after you declared your intention to run on the party’s platform. Only you and your policy team can explain that.
If you are thinking about being a consensus ACN candidate, I will tell you right now to perish that thought and push your campaign team to start a massive ACN membership drive. You need something to show to be relevant in ACN. One way to do that is the number of new members you bring into the party. Your team should also be planning for Nasir El-Rufai’s entry into the race. He is been bogged down right now by all the cases against him.
Once he is cleared, I can bet that he would join the presidential race
Another very important point is how you plan to counter the Tinubu effect in ACN. You only need to ask Fashola in Lagos to know how ruthless BAT can be when it comes to political power. Right now within ACN, you cannot win the nomination without BAT’s blessing, because he is the major financier of the party, and believe me, if you win the nomination with BAT’s blessing, you will be a COMPROMISED candidate. BAT’s antecedent is there to support this. What type of alliances are you building independently within ACN? The question you need to start asking yourself right now is if you going to compromise your principles to win the nomination or are you going to run a truly grass root campaign that is capable of standing to any manipulation by greedy interests within ACN? It’s your call Mallam.
I read your education speech on Saharareporters, and it came across more aspirational, rather than transformational. You spoke a lot about what you hope to achieve, but there were no concrete ideas on how to achieve them. A lot of the ideas you espoused are failed policies of the past that you intend to reform. One of such idea is Nomadic Education. What exactly is nomadic education and what has the program achieved since it was established? You are well placed at this point in the history of Nigeria, to cancel this wasteful program because it is a conduit through which billions of Naira in education funding has been siphoned. Is that the program you want to identify with? Tell me what lessons Fulani herdsmen need in numeracy? They have been selling their cattles for years. What they need are agric extension workers to work with them on grazing land management issues, so they don’t continually take their herds into people’s farms, improving their position in the livestock value chain, so they can make more money, and ultimately, providing a conducive environment for educating the children of the herdsmen. As far as I am concerned, Fulani herdsmen do not need education, all they require is information.
Another hint from your speech is that you are a big government person. Your speech did not include any mention of partnership with the private sector, especially in a very important area as research. The major reason why we have not taken advantage of current research in Nigeria is because government funds all aspects of research and because government does not really have any incentive to take basic research to application, the results from such basic researches are left to rot away. Government needs to work closely with the private sector to determine research priorities, based on our national development objectives. Government should only concern itself with basic research and encourage the private sector to fund the promotion of the basic research results to the application level. In a world that is fast moving away from big government, I find your position amusing. I may be wrong, though.
Mallam, the biggest problem facing Nigerians today is not Power, but Economic Stagnation. The economy drives everything. What is your economic agenda? BusinessDay Newspaper sometime ago called for all presidential aspirants to present their economic agenda. Will your monetary policies ensure a stable Naira, drive export based on comparative advantage, increase access to capital for small businesses, diversify government’s revenue base, and severely punish white-collar criminals? How will your fiscal policies ensure transparency in spending, improve service delivery, manage cost by cutting waste, and severely punish erring public servants.
How about your tax policy? Governments over the years in Nigeria have intentionally encouraged Nigerians not to pay taxes, because it is easier for them to continue to be corrupt without any real backlash. This is because people only care about corruption when it hits them in the pocket.
As most Nigerians, including politicians don’t pay taxes, they see corruption as just taking ones share of the national cake. But, that has to change. Your tax policy must ensure that every Nigerian contributes financially to the prosperity of the country in an equitable manner.
At the end of the day, if you become President, you would have achieved this feat either by running a credible campaign and standing fast on those principles that have endeared you to millions of Nigerians or you would have made several compromises along the way that will make your government as ineffective as those before you.