Thirty five-year-old Adamu Garuba from Adamawa State is a Lagos-based businessman. In this interview with TAIWO OMILANI, he declared his intension to contest for President in the 2019 general elections
Why do you want to contest for the position of President looking at the enormous task involved?
I want to contest for this position because of the proposal I have for Nigeria. I don’t believe Nigeria has bad people especially those in the political offices, our senators, the president and governors. Most times, if you check their pedigree before they joined politics, they are good people but along the line, they get corrupted. So, the problem is not only by the people, it is the system. I have a specific programme called structural reform. This is a programme you can only do at the presidency especially in Nigeria where 80 per cent power is concentrated in the presidency; this has never happen in any country.
Could you please expatiate on your structural reform programme?
It is a programme that economy is open for the benefit of all. We love the rich and the poor because we believe we don’t have enough of them and the billionaires are bad ones. We also love the poor because we want them to have opportunity of purchasing power so that they can be rich. The economy is tiny, we need to unbundle it and also build infrastructure. The money governors people travel to Abuja to collect would be channelled to build infrastructure.
We want to position the country for productivity and take advantage of our shoreline; from Calabar down to Badagry are capable of having port facilities among others. You don’t need containers to be coming to Lagos; they can go to other areas. We also need to dredge our River Niger and River Benue, so our containers berthing along our shorelines, can pass waterways in Nigeria to come into the country instead of spoiling the roads. We want to build port facilities in place like Kogi, Jeba, Kanji, Benue, and Adamawa amongst others, all those places have potential for port facilities but abandoned. Few enjoyed the money gotten from the government and this is a very serious problem we have and it needs to be addressed. Our NNPC is a very strategic asset; it is something we need to deregulate. We need to invest more into the economy for more jobs to be created. The economy has been growing while people remain poor because it grows to benefit very few of people.
Our investment portfolio into the economy is about less than 10 per cent of our Gross Domestic product (GDP); this is very small. We need to have 35 to 40 per cent investment. Within the 10 per cent, 75 per cent goes to private pockets. The money we suppose to use to build the country, we are spending it to build individual pockets. The only thing we need to do effective restructural reform to open economy to benefit Nigerians.
Would you say this contributes to why our leaders failed to get it right?
Absolutely; that is the only reason why we failed to get it right, we operate an economy system that is patronage-driven. The centre controls everything instead of putting check and balances and entrust institutionalisation. Once somebody sits at the presidency, he controls everything without any checks and balances. Until we ensure transparency and accountability across governance system, the country will not be good for everyone but for few. All these will result to drug abuse and other crimes as a result of unemployment; because people have lost hope. Poor people are now going out to sell themselves for slavery because the country which supposes to be the platform is being sold out to the few people. We need to engineer the system because Nigeria is like economic integrated area where British called it Nigeria. That is why we want to destroy political zones and change it geo-economic zone and we are going to increase the number to nine where Lagos will be the 10th special economic zone to power the entire economy.
We have had individuals from different political parties who promised heaven and earth but failed; won’t this be your story too?
It is not going to be because I have a programme which every Nigerian can tag me with. The past and present administrations also promised to build roads, provide jobs and fight corruption but nobody ask them how? But our own proposal is giving how because we have specific process. 160 million Nigerians will go above 10 dollars a day if we properly restructure our reform programme over the period of 15 years. Nigeria is a very blessed country; all we need to do is to build the economy and share the resources to all.
How can the country tackle the problem of insecurity amongst others?
The biggest problem we have is lack of economic empowerment. When you make people redundant and you don’t give them the reason to do the right thing; they will always find reason to do it in wrong way. Even in the midst of the insecurity; the situation can still be corrected. We had countries that have gone worse than us because of this kind of things but yet it got corrected. Simply because people have reason to drop their guns and pick up their tools, when you don’t grow economy for people, it will be difficult for people to live in such land.
Do you have a godfather?
Election has gone beyond godfatherism. In 2015 downward, election is about somebody that will help you but now everybody has access to information. If Nigeria really wants a president that can deliver, they should not look for somebody that has godfather somewhere. They should go for a candidate that has everybody as his godfather.
With the likes of people that will contest in 2019, do you think you can have an edge?
We should not blame those that are coming out because no young ones have come to challenge them. So they feel more ready than us and some of them thinking they are helping us by leading us. It is our nation in Africa, so if we stand up to take up the mantle, they will not have any reason to contest but give the young ones chance.
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