Dr. Kola Olusola Christwealth, is a presidential aspirant on the platform of the Social Democratic Party, SDP. In this interview, he enumerates some of the factors militating against Nigeria as a nation. He also identifies reasons why he thinks the ruling All Progressives Congress, APC and the leading opposition party, the Peoples Democratic Party, would be dislodged in 2019.
As a presidential aspirant on the platform of the Social Democratic Party, how would assess the chances of your party against the two dominant parties in the country in 2019?
The world would be shocked by the outcome of the Presidential elections in Nigeria. Political gladiators of the old order have lost the battle before it even starts. APC and PDP should say a final goodbye to the seat of the President.
While we appreciate them for some goods they have achieved, most especially in the most difficult time and the beginning of this democracy between 1999 and 2003, Nigerians have now given them the red card to vacate and let the young ones take charge and steer the country forward.
I can safely predict that the infighting in PDP will work against them; the insecurity in Nigeria, the deprivation of the youths and mindless disposition of the present government against the youths, and the bad shape of the economy will also work against APC. SDP or any party that fields me will most certainly win and a new era will begin.
What gives you the confidence to think party like SDP will dislodge the two dominant parties come next year?
The SDP as at today is the strongest party in Nigeria. It is a party with the longest and best history. It was the party that produced MKO Abiola, the acclaimed winner of the freest and fairest election ever conducted in Nigeria but jinxed by the military. SDP has solid structure and strategies on ground to unseat APC
As I said, SDP was the party that produced MKO Abiola. The structure built even before the 1993 election is still very much there and with the able and respectable leadership of Chief Olu Falae, the structure is still being oiled.
You sound very optimistic to clinch your party’s ticket. What would you say is your unique selling point?
I am new to Nigeria’s politics. I was a politician in the United Kingdom and a financial and card-carrying member of the Labour Party of Great Britain that produced Tony Blair and made him a long serving prime minister in the UK.
I was also invited to contest a political position under that Party, which was an impetus to pursue my British citizenship and deepen my root, UK.
I shunned all the opportunities because I believed then and now that I am needed more in Nigeria. My party, SDP and the leadership under Chief Falae appreciates me and believe that I have something to offer and some of my inputs are getting implemented already.
There is a serious decision I have to take within the next few days about going ahead to pursue my aspiration on the platform of SDP or use another platform under the CUPP.
I will clinch the ticket of whichever party I choose to run, within the CUPP of which SDP is a principal member. I will be chosen as the flag bearer of whichever party I finally choose and emerge the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria in 2019 by the grace of God.
My strategy to clinch the ticket is very simple and workable. I will not divulge them here.
What is your agenda for Nigeria and Nigerians?
I will turn Nigeria around within four years. I have a template. I have the experience. I have the will and most importantly, I have God’s backing.
I have a ten-point agenda, most of which would be private sector driven but with active support of my government. Let me briefly share three of them with you
In the area of politics, I will deliberately court the friendship of all past presidents of Nigeria for mentorship and to learn from their mistakes and then chart a new course.
I will seek their goodwill and not in any way try to run anyone of them down or disrobe them of dignity to add to mine. Come to think of it, leadership is not easy and there is no known leader that set out to fail or unhappy to leave a worthwhile legacy.
I will build bridges across religions and tribes and extinguish our negative primitive sentiments through impact projects, an aggressive and positive national reorientation and tampering with laws that reinforces our negative attitudes.
I will promote one called Nigeria and every retrogressive force amidst us would be tagged as primitive. Seriously, anyone that dare speak against one religion or tribe or dare promote the superiority of one religion or tribe will be robed in indignity and tagged uncivilised.
Negative racial comments or attitude can lead one into serious trouble in the UK; a country, gradually gaining reputation as the most racially inclusive and religious tolerant nation in the world.
Talking about the economy, I will build railways and airports across Nigeria to promote transportation, commerce, industry, employment and national cohesion. I will build Industrial parks in every local government in Nigeria, fully equipped with electricity, water, security and other essential amenities to promote commerce, industry and employment. We will no longer import whatever we can produce.
I will establish cooperative banks that would give members between N20,000 and N100,000 micro loans for their businesses at single digit interests. These banks will be mandated to disburse loans to a minimum of one million applicants per month.
We should have given up to thirty million of such loans before the end of my first term in office. N1.5 trillion will be committed to this micro finance within 4 years.
I will establish sectoral development banks like Energy Bank, Transportation Bank, Education Bank, Construction Banks etcetera to address the finance needs of specific sectors of the economy.
In the area of education and youth development, my government will use education as a vehicle for entrepreneurship training, self-employment, national cohesion, industrial and social development, rural development and urban- rural migration.
Every local government area will have at least 4 private-led monotechnics and colleges of Technology.
Within four years of my administration, we should have nothing less than 3000 of such private-funded, Federal Government approved and supported institutions running in several villages across the nation, attracting students from different parts of the country.
We would have enhanced our human capital, reduce unemployment, promote unity, reduce pressure on our universities, and reduce crime and restlessness emanating from youths as a result of failure to gain admission.
Each Monotechnic that could provide adequate security or bank guarantee would be given a N10 million single-digit interest loan with a ten-year tenor.
A paltry N30 billion will be devoted to this.
The rural development and urban- rural migration, number of youths that would be affected and the jobs that would be created and general multiplier effect on the country will be unimaginable.
What do you think is the major problem militating against Nigeria?
It is unfortunate that a country so much endowed with enviable human and natural resources is a dreg in the global realm; the poverty capital of the world.
We lack national consciousness, patriotism, selflessness, vision, entrepreneurship, dignity, inclusiveness, unity, sense of legacy and civility in our national lexicon and culture.
My government will inculcate these missing values in our people and our nation. My government will make Nigerians the most admirable people and Nigeria, the most desirable place on earth.