OUR country and her peoples
have been, and continue to be
subjected to intensifying levels
of hardships, compounded by
growing insecurity.
Fifty-Seven [57] years after
independence we seem to be
trapped in our past, as we continue
to debate not the challenges of
nation building or nationhood,
but the very notion of whether we
can exist as a nation, and coexist
as one people with one common
citizenship.
Public service delivery has
failed, poverty is rising, and the
gap between the rich and the
poor continues to widen, creating
unprecedented levels of inequality
in our polity and economy.
And nearly six decades after
independence, while we are home
to the Richest persons in Africa,
we are also home to the largest
population of poor people on the
continent. More than 112 million
of our citizens live in poverty;
over 90 million live in subhuman
and inhuman habitation or are
homeless, against a housing deficit
of 18 million.
Our education system has
collapsed, with more than 11.5
million children of school going
age out of school; with the quality
of education provided in public
schools in rapid decline; and with
private education inaccessible
to the majority, and churning
out graduates who though
educated have no knowledge of
their context, and are incapable
of understanding, let alone
responding to and functioning
effectively within that context.
Little wonder that
unemployment levels, both
among the general population
and among youths have reached
historic, unprecedented and near
cataclysmic levels. The number
of young able-bodied Nigerians
unemployed at over 40 million is
more than the total population of
a significant number of countries.
The major reason why we are
in such a mess decades after
independence; the main reason
why we have been unable yet to
fulfil the promise of independence
and fully realise our immense
potential can be attributed to
one major factor; The Failure
of Leadership. The failure of
our leadership recruitment,
and leadership reproduction
mechanisms; the total failure of
the ruling elites, the ruling class to
provide purposeful, strategic and
nation building leadership.
This failure is a class failure, a
collective failure. This ruling class,
in all its incarnations, and across
all its factions have failed to build
a viable and sustainable economy,
and equitable and socially just
society, on the basis of which a
prosperous and inclusive nation
can be built.
The ruling elite has failed to build
a Nigeria Nation, superintended
by an inclusive welfare,
developmental Nigeria State, one
that can earn and keep the trust
and confidence of citizens; one
that can weave our various peoples together into one single
citizenship of one prosperous, great
and equitable Nigeria Nation.
It is the reason why our institutions,
once strong, effective and efficient,
have all collapsed. The Historic
Challenge confronting us in 2019 and
towards the 2019 General Elections
therefore, is how do we discard
with this failed leadership, and
Empower a New Transformational
and Visionary Leadership; and elect
a New Patriotic and Nation Building
Leadership.
Our collective task is to put in place
measures, and take the necessary
steps towards supplanting these
Nation Wrecking Leadership, with
a new crop of Nation Building
Leadership.
So, what conclusions can we draw?
That we are suffering the impact of
failed and collapsed leadership, that
the quality of leadership provided
by the ruling class has been declining
since independence, and that this
decline is now precipitating a
collapse.
What do we need to do therefore? It
is obvious that we have to empower
a new leadership that will deal with
the following core and fundamental
historical challenges:
First, we need a leadership that
will promote and take practical steps
as part of a concerted citizen driven
National Building effort to enable
the development of common and
shared experience of single Nigerian
citizenship. All Nigerians must be
able to enjoy their human rights,
and their rights as Nigerian citizens
anywhere they are in Nigeria, as
well as outside Nigeria. No Nigerian
should have his or her citizenship
diminished or somewhat impaired
by reason of where they live, where
they are resident, where they work,
nor as a result of their faith, gender,
ethnicity, and or age or disability.
We must address the question of
citizenship and the need to protect
collectively our human dignity. My
citizenship should not be diminished
because I have stepped out of the
boundaries of my so-called state of
Origin. We have to do away with
State of Origin, and instead embrace
residency. It is supplanting of
citizenship prescribed by residency
with one prescribed by indigenship
that is at the bane of most of our
problems; it is why we have been
unable to plan in any pragmatic and
or empirical manner.
Why should Lagos State or Kano
state be planning not for the accrual
population resident in the state,
and who are also meeting their
obligations within the state? Why
should they instead be basing their
plans on indigenes of the state many
of whom are not resident in those
states?
This residency question has
significance for quite a number
of issues. For instance in the
implementation of Federal Character
principle and quota systems. I agree
with the need for affirmative action
to correct historical imbalances; but
since it is those citizens who are
actually resident in the various states
who are directly impacted by the
relative underdevelopment of those
states viz-a-viz others; then it is the
residents of those state that should
count when we are implementing quota systems and federal character,
not the indigenes who live outside
the state and who probably live in
relatively more advantaged contexts
than residents of the underdeveloped
states.
Also every affirmative action
should be time bound, there must be
a projected exit date, as well as a clear
strategic plan to close the existing
gap within the transitional period.
With respect to Gender; again
residency rights will immediately
remove the barrier to women
that excludes them from political
participation when the dichotomy
between their states of origin, and
the states of origin of their spouses
is brought up. Once citizenship is
prescribed by residency it removes
this unnecessary anomaly and
impediment to women’s’ political
participation.
Again, let us take the question
of devolution of powers, and
the establishment of state police
to enhance internal security of
states. Will the recruitment into
these state police forces recognize
residency rights, or will exclude
residents and instead be based on
indigenship? Back to the example
of Lagos and Kano States. Will the
state police in Lagos and Kano
states respectively recruit only on
the basis of indigenship? Will each
for instance rather recruit so-called
indigenes who have never lived in
those states, who were born and
bred in other states, and who have
no knowledge of the context of those
states, over and above residents of
those states who were born and bred
in those states, who have lived more
than one generation in those states,
and who have clear knowledge
and understanding of the context of
those states?
Second is the issue of inclusivity,
equity and social justice. We require
a leadership that will be committed
to building an inclusive and
socially just nation; one that must
recognise the urgent necessity for
redistribution of wealth, and take
active, proactive, pragmatic and
strategic steps to address these. A
leadership committed to ensuring a
comprehensive reform of governance
[the Structure, Process and Content
of Governance] to ensure effective,
quality, efficient and affordable and
accessible public service delivery.
For let us be very clear, the failure
of public service delivery, is the
beginning and the driving force
in the failure of governance and
subsequent collapse of the state and
its institutions.
This leadership must address
the question of promoting the Ease
Of Doing Business for small and
medium scale enterprises, and must
be ready to take practical steps to
integrate the so-called informal
sector into the formal economy and
enhance service delivery to and for
them.
The Third fundamental issue
that this new transformational
leadership must address is that
around comprehensive reform of
Governance in general, and local,
community governance in particular.
Our communities have progressively
over the years since independence
become ungoverned spaces. There
is an urgent need through deliberate policy action to restore governance to
the communities, and enable a system
of democratic self-government
by the communities. Making this
happen will mean taking steps to
modernise community institutions
of governance, but on the basis of our
own history and traditions.
We shall have to find ways to
effectively combine and integrate
a system of democratically
elected and tenured community
governments [probably based on
a reform and formalisation of the
existing Community Development
Associations – CDAs – frameworks];
and the historically inherited system
of traditional rulership, with the
traditional stools and their courts
playing in relation to the elected
governments, a somewhat strategic
advisory and oversight role. They
could for instance have a role in
customary adjudication of cases,
as well as in the surmounting/
inauguration, and dismissal/
dissolution of Community
Governments. Such Community
Governments should have a central
role in provision of community and
municipal services, which are public
services provided by community
and municipal governments.
Now, this is the type of
transformational, and nation
building leadership that we require,
and that we are committed to
providing.
To make this realisable towards
2019 we must actively canvass
support for and demand that the
ongoing constitution amendment
process delivers positively on
removing age barriers [Not Too
Young To Run], as well as on
enabling Independent Candidacy.
These two fundamental reforms
will contribute significantly towards
opening up the democratic space,
and create an enabling environment
supportive of the emergence of a
new Transformational Leadership.
The 2019 General Elections must
be based on fundamental issues of
practical significance to ordinary
people, issues which if addressed will
significantly positively impact on the
lives of the average Nigerian. Is this
Vision Realistic and Realisable? Some
will say that politics and elections are
too capital intensive, too dirty, and
too devoid of issues in Nigeria.
They will say, and with empirical
facts and proof that the electorate is
bought, that voting is transactional in
character. But wait a minute? Let us
take a critical look at voting patterns
since 1999. We have never achieved
more than 40% turn out in
elections. With the eventual winners
taking significantly less than 20 to
30% of the registered voters.
What is the significance and the
implication of these? It means that
in every election since 1999, more
than 60% of registered voters, even of
those who have collected their PVCs
and had their biometrics captured
have never bothered to go out and
vote. Why is this so? Because for
the vast majority of them, they do
not see any qualitative difference
between the choices on offer. And
they do not trust any politician to
be sincere and to have the ability to
take steps once in office that that can
have help to qualitatively transform
our nation, our condition of living and our condition of existence. So
they stay away.
The other significant implication
of this is that these majority of
non voting registered voters,
including a significant population
of Nigerians of voting age who
have never bothered, for the
same reasons to get registered to
vote; these significant population
cannot be bought, and will not
participate in any transactional
voting.
Thus if we are to effect any
significant change in leadership,
and in the process of selecting
and recruiting leaders, then it is
to this population of seemingly
apathetic and apolitical registered
but non-voting electorates, as well
as those of voting age who have
never bothered to register that we
must turn.
We must approach them, turn to
them, and arouse their interest and
desire in transforming our nation,
and rebuilding our country. We
must convince them, that the task
is realisable, but only if they come
onboard and take ownership of
the process. We must give them
something to excite them, a vision
and mission that can stimulate
their intellect and their passion.
If we are going to Take Back
Nigeria, then we must awaken
this population politically, make
them
believe, and then together march
on towards the emergence of a
new transformational leadership,
and take on the responsibility of
Building our common Nigerian
Nation.
That is why I am running for
office as President of Nigeria
in 2019. To reach out to this
population
of Nigerians, to draw them
out and bring them back to take
the centre stage in the project to
Rebuild Nigeria, and Take It Back.
I am not a politician, but I am
running for office. In any case,
there is no profession called being
a politician. I am a Development
Strategist by Profession, my career
has been in Inclusive Governance,
Participatory Development,
Conflict Transformation, Peace
And Security. My competences
and expertise have been
around Policy Analysis and
Development, and Engagement
with Policy Processes.
I am not looking for a new
career, much less one as
superfluous as being a Politician.
But I am running for office as
President in 2019. Let us be clear,
in 2019 I will be running for office
as President; In 2019, it will no
longer be possible to rationalise
or justify staying aloof and
withdrawn by stating that ‘there
is no credible choice on offer,
no viable alternative among the
candidates’, because you know
what? I will be a candidate, and
I am credible and viable. If we
chose otherwise, it will not be
because there is no choice, it will
be because we chose to either
directly or indirectly sanction the
status quo by voting otherwise,

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