Nigerians are tired of the APC and SDP is the alternative, SDP will win, govern well, unify Nigerians and Nigeria will be at peace again.
Romanus Ugwu, Abuja
Prof. Jerry Gana, has warned that any attempt to unleash the anti-corruption forces on him by the current administration will be tantamount to witch-hunting for indicating interest to run against President Muhammadu Buhari in the 2019 presidential election.
The former chieftain of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) is running on the platform of the Social Democratic Party (SDP).
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Why are you running for the presidency in 2019?
I want to assure the people of the federal republic of Nigeria that my seeking to run for the office of the president is not driven by ambition. I have been in politics for nearly 40 years, I have been a senator, I had the opportunity of been the chairman of MAMSA, mobilising Nigerians for democracy and I succeeded in doing that in 1993 when we had the freest, fairest and most credible election on June 12, 1993. I had the opportunity of serving the minister of Agriculture and Natural Resources, minister of Information and Culture, minister of Co-operation and Integration in Africa and Political Adviser to the president of Nigeria. Having advised other presidents, I now want to advice myself.
Every patriotic Nigerian with the sense of compassion knows that the country needs to be rescued. The nation is going through a very difficult time, unprecedented insecurity across the land, people killing with such horrible intensity, and the inhuman ways in which it is done. We however want to assure Nigerians that if we work together, we can give the country the right leadership, Nigerians are wonderful people that want to live together, the security will not only improve but also be a thing of the past. We lived together and related together in the past but today, we claim to love God and our religion but don’t love our neighbours. What is going on now is not religious, but a real horrible contest for control of resources in Nigeria, particularly the land resources and the people of Nigeria will not take it. We are firm and resolute because there are no second class citizens. We are all first class citizens of the federal republic of Nigeria. Our Constitution says that the security and welfare of the people is the primary purpose of government. Any government under any rulership that cannot secure Nigerians and ensure that Nigeria is peaceful and secured, is not worthy to even be called a government. Therefore, Nigerians are tired of the APC and SDP is the alternative, SDP will win, govern well, unify Nigerians and Nigeria will be at peace again.
Don’t you think that others with similar ambition from the coalition of political parties which your party is signatory to will be a threat to your ambition?
Asking this question means that you have not really studied the meaning of that coalition. The coalition is not a fusion of the parties; it is not even a merger of the parties but an alliance of the parties. What it means is that the parties are still distinct. Because we want to capture a number of states, the parties decided to cooperate. We feel that this administration under the APC has performed woefully, they also know that Nigerians are waiting to vote them out based on their performance, they design all kinds of things so that sometime somewhere, and they may escape. We want to make it so robustly massive, a mass movement, so that it can only take the devil itself to rig the elections in 2019.
The solution and answer is that we are coming together to ensure victory for the Nigerian masses because they are tired of this incompetent, insensitive, no direction, and no development government, just nothing. All the other presidential aspirants from other political parties shall meet to agree on a candidate in a yet to be determined format. The coalition will support the best and only the best of the best.
Having been in government for long, how unblemished are you if the present administration decides to beam its anti-corruption searchlight on you?
I thank God that I served and served wonderfully well with integrity, unless somebody is going to manufacture lies against me. I left government since 2006, so 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, till date and they are not able to find anything in my records after over 10 years until now that I want to be president, Nigerians will know that they are fraudulent persons.
I am not afraid of anything by the grace of God, unless it is going to be blackmail but I am sure that Nigerians will resist that kind of blackmail this time around. I served with distinction and we must try to honour those that have served with dignity because not all Nigerians are crooks. I am not a crook. I served with integrity, dignity and honour.
I served as a Professor and my students are wonderful, I served in MAMSA, Information, and other places and anyone who would come up now is on a mission to blackmail people. We are not here to send people to jail but to celebrate those that served with integrity. I am a good man.
What is your take on restructuring?
If we don’t want the national economy to die, we must give it infrastructure like roads, railways, waterways, highways including transmission lines. We will give Nigeria the best infrastructure we can afford, and believe it we can afford lots because Nigerians love it because they have seen it in another places. They want us to do it and we can afford and do it. We have solid minerals but we are not developing them. We will achieve serious development with solid minerals in Nigeria. God has given us the minerals in every part of the country. We are going to ensure that the resources are developed for the betterment of the people of Nigeria.
But we cannot do it unless we restructure this federation so that there is justice, fairness and balanced development. Once the SPD government is elected into office, it has the courage, wisdom, and the determination to restructure Nigeria in such a way that there will be stability and peace. The federating units will be given their powers and resources to do the thing for the people. What is the federal government doing in primary education, primary healthcare? They are primary and should be left for the states. We will ensure a gradation of functions in the federation. Security is another thing that should be in a hierarchy. We will support the new move but we don’t want to pretend that it is impossible to secure every community in Nigeria sitting down here in Abuja. We are going to restructure the police so that there will be state and even community police. Nigerians must be secured and must live in peace. We want to stop all these killings, we are tired of insecurity.
Tell us about the SDP 12 point agenda?
Yes, the SDP has 12 points agenda for the country but I am taking seven because we cannot do all things at once. Wisdom demands that every good leader must have a sense of priority. We are guided by doing the fundamentals for other things to follow. We are development specialists that know what to do, when to do, where to do, and how to do it. The next thing is agriculture and rural development.
Over 70 per cent of our people live in the rural areas. And agriculture is a major source of job creation and prosperity. I use to tell my people that wealth is in the bush. If we really want Nigeria to be rich, we must go into agricultural production. We want to show to Nigerians that it is possible and can be done. Before anybody begins to think that this Professor is talking theory, I left school and went to a village in Niger State to take over sugar plantation, sourced loan from those who have the money to grow the company. I have partners currently developing the largest sugar plantation in Nigeria and the best sugar factory in the whole of Africa. It was developed by small me how much more when I become the president. We are not like others because we know what to do. Give us the mandate to fly the flag of the party. We strongly believe they will give us because we have the fear of God, we have the love of the people, the knowledge and skill to get things done and the leadership quality that will really give credibility to leadership. We shall govern well, preside well and do well.