Those who are waiting for 2023 are wasting their time because we have heard that there is an arrangement to hand over power to somebody who is not an Igbo man in 2023.

Olakunle Olafioye

Dr John Kennedy Osuala, presidential candidate, Re-Build Nigeria Party (RBNP) is of the firm belief that the Igbo nation must seize the opportunity of the 2019 election to realise its ambition of ruling Nigeria, urging the people not to fall for the dummy of 2023 Igbo presidency. 

He recalled that a similar unfulfilled promise was made to them when they were promised that the late Chief Alex Ekwueme would succeed Alhaji Shehu Shagari in 1987 and warned Ndigbo against repeating the same mistake.

He also spoke on other issues of national importance, as well as the motive behind his ambition to aspire to rule Nigeria in this interview.

What would you say counted in your favour to be elected as the presidential candidate of Re-Build Nigeria Party, RBNP?

I think it is my passion for rebuilding Nigeria as the best nation on earth. I asserted that and it sounded very strongly. My logic is that one: we are the seventh largest country in the world. Two, we are also, by a survey carried out by some organisations, the happiest people on earth in spite of all the poverty and the miseries in the country. And thirdly, Nigeria is the only country in the world with mineral resources in each of the 724 local government areas in the country. Fourthly, all the mineral resources we have in the world are the best; our crude oil is the best, our cassava is the best in the world. Whatever we have is the best in the world. So, what it means is that if we can put ourselves together, we can become the best nation on earth. I said that we needed something also that can be a rallying point for all Nigerians. In our desire to be the best in the world no section of the country will be left out. Nobody in Nigeria will complain about marginalization. I also told the convention that to actualise our dream to be the best nation on earth, we must do three things. We have to exercise the culture of excellence, the culture of efficiency and the culture of effectiveness. When we apply these to our talent, our time and our treasure, we will be the best nation on earth. My opponent said he wanted to make an impact in 2019, but I told the audience that I want to defeat President Buhari and become the president of Nigeria in 2019. We are contesting for power not to make an impact. And the people understood that. We are a new party and by the name of our party, Rebuild Nigeria, and our slogan is all hands on deck. If all hands are on deck we will rebuild Nigeria to be the best nation on earth. That was my logic and they bought that logic.

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As you said, your party is a new political party. How would you assess the chances of your party against the already established ones in 2019?

APC came into power almost after six months. But most importantly, our party is new in name, but not new in content. We used to answer the name the PDP National Grassroots Forum and it was formed on 4th of August, 2000, barely two years after the formation of the party. And we have been the political mobile force of the PDP in winning all the elections up until they lost the election. So, the PDP National Grassroots Forum is all over the country. In 2016, when Makarfi and Sheriff were having problem in PDP, many leaders thought it wise that we should move out and float a political party. We were actually the political soul and the foot soldiers of the PDP. We pulled out because we wanted to be ideologically pure. We answer Rebuild Nigeria Party as a first name, but we have been continuously and consistently a strong political force for 16 years. We are new in name, but we are not new by experience.

There is insinuation that most of these new political parties are appendages of the established ones. RBNP, being an offshoot of the PDP, how do you convince Nigerians that your party has been able to totally severe its bond with the PDP?

We are not an appendage. We have clear vision different from that of the PDP and that is why we call our own Nigeria’s global one vision. PDP is not saying that, right? PDP is not aiming at making Nigeria the best nation on earth. Even though we are in Coalition of United Political Parties (CUPP) Rebuild Nigeria Party is distinct, with clear ideology. We believe in national unity, equity and fairness to all the people in Nigeria. We also believe in the productivity of Nigeria because Nigeria is not producing and that is the difference between us and any other party. We believe that Nigeria must start producing to become the international workshop of the world. To make Nigeria the best nation on earth we must be production-driven, we want to surpass China and the US. That is the type of range of the ideas and ambitions we have. So, we don’t have bond with any political party now.

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You mentioned earlier that your party is also part of the Coalition of United Political Parties, CUPP. Would be ready to surrender your ambition to any candidate picked by the coalition?

When you see superior logic, you bow to it. But we must know that there is no logic that is better than making Nigeria the best nation on earth. I am sure you have never heard any political party say that, not even the ruling party. The PDP is saying power to the people, but we don’t just want power to the people but we are passionate about making Nigeria the best nation on earth. We represent what Nigeria wants at this point in time.

In specific terms, what do Nigerians and Nigeria set to benefit if you are elected the next president of this country?

Our target is that within the first one thousand days in office we should start manufacturing at worst 60 per cent of what we need because those who will do it are there, the point is that nobody is encouraging them. Secondly, we have a programme, which we adopted from the Bank of Industry, which is one community, one industry. But our own will be one community, three manufacturing industries. There will also be almost 100 per cent employment for the youth. This will be done by using the existing instruments of the Central Bank of Nigeria, Youth Entrepreneur Development Scheme. University graduates will use their certificates as collateral to get a loan of about N3 million to start and if they perform well, they will have access to bigger loans. It is an existing instrument, but nobody is using it. What the youth need is to have a bankable feasibility plans. And we have consultants who would produce these for our youths. For those who are already into business, but who are having issues with their business, we will use as another instrument panel the Central Bank called Real Sector Facility Support, the minimum they can get is from N500 million to N10 billion. We will give this to existing business with interest of about one per cent payable in 15 years period. These instruments are there, but the APC government is not saying anything about them. We will also revamp the economy with massive employment for the youth and industrialization. Industrialization is the key to development. Nigeria won’t develop if we continue to export our raw materials. I have studied the origins of 25 industrialized countries in the world. We will remain a third world country if we don’t industrialize. They laugh at us when we export crude oil. Why can’t America export its own crude oil? Why do they buy in addition to the one they have? We export it instead of processing it. When we come to power we will ensure every state, at the minimum, get a refinery. We have partners who will do that. Electricity, we will stabilize within our first 1000 days. It was done in India. India has 600,000 villages and within 1000 days all the villages were connected to electricity. We have made contact with Peacock Energy, United Kingdom.

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Nigeria is believed to practice multi-party electoral system, but during major elections what we witness are the two dominant parties. Isn’t this an indication that the nation is more disposed to two-party system?

The answer is yes. We have 91 political parties now and if you look at the coalition, it has 56 parties, but eventually we will gravitate to that. But in Nigeria, everybody wants to demonstrate what he can do. And our democracy is practiced to the extreme so you will allow people. At the end of the day, parties that are not moved by ideals of national development many not survival. Within the next 10 year you will see that Nigeria will gravitate to two major alliances or parties. For us Nigeria is not running away, in the next couple of years we will be seeing about two parties. And I will prefer that. But for now allow the thing open, those who will survive will survive, those who will not, will fizzle out. But it is certain that Rebuild Nigeria Party will outlive others because our ideal embodies what is in the innermost of most Nigerians.

History of elections in Nigeria is fraught with allegations of fraud. How prepared are you to contend with this monster in 2019?

Our party has a unique arrangement. All the parties in the country end at the ward level; but our own ends at the polling unit. We have polling unit executives. We have about 16 officers at the polling units and they are party members not agent of the party; they are officers of the party, committed to the ideals of the party. They will never be there to sell their conscience because you can never buy a committed party member, but you can buy an agent. So, they can’t buy our members. At the start of the presidential election, in the first 10 minutes we will get 15 times 150, 000 votes nationwide and we will start leading. That is how we will beat APC. They will get the shock of their life. We are not a new party. We are a party of solid, consolidated and experienced politicians.

The Southeast appeared divided over the appropriate time to aspire for the presidency. While a section believes 2023 is the most auspicious time, there are those who believe the Igbo should fight for the position in 2019. Don’t you think that this division could affect the chances of Igbo candidates seeking to be president in 2019?

Those who are waiting for 2023 are wasting their time because we have heard that there is an arrangement to hand over power to somebody who is not an Igbo man in 2023. That was how they said Ekwueme would become the president in 1987 after Shagari’s second term. But in 1983, the same people overthrew Shagari and installed themselves. So, in 1987 nobody handed over to Ekwueme and 1999 the same thing happened. So, we are only playing politics because we are proper politicians. So, we will not look at anybody in the face. We are contesting for power in 2019 we are not waiting until 2023. Those who are divided are those who don’t understand the dynamics of politics. As far as we are concerned, our party has no zoning arrangement. This is a party for Nigeria. We are in the 58th year of our independence and the Southeast had only been there for six months.

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