In this interview with TUNDE OGUNTOLA, a presidential aspirant Lady Angela Johnson, who is a Master of Law from the University of Hertfordshire UK, claims that the nation’s economy will compete globally under her leadership. She said that as a nation, Nigeria must increase capital expenditure in the national budget. She added that she will also ensure adequate funds are not only allocated to capital expenditure but also disbursed timely and utilised as budgeted.
Angela Johnson in brief
Lady Angela Johnson hails from Amuvi village Arochukwu in Abia state. She was born in Umuahia, where she also had her primary and secondary education.
Angela attended Methodist Primary and School Road primary School, she continued her secondary school education at Ibeku High School and Umuokpara Secondary School. Shortly after her West Africa Certificate Examination (WAEC) the quest for economic empowerment pushed her to start her business (a hair dressing salon) in Umuahia, which she ran for about 10 years and travelled to Europe to import textiles and other goods in the country.
In 1986, she had an encounter with Jesus Christ, in a youth for Christ programme, she accepted Jesus Christ into her life and became born again but was still into business. However, her perception and ways of thinking changed, her direction of things and business changed also. When the Lord Jesus called her to preach the gospel, she had to leave for UK in 1991, where she founded and registered a charity organisation (Compassion Ministries) in 1994. She has preached the word of God ever since both on London Christian televisions and conferences across the globe. She is a graduate and a Master’s Degree holder in Law from University of Hertfordshire, UK.
My motivation to become the next president of Nigeria is inspired by the Lord God
Growing up as a child, I saw things that were not really the way they ought to be, after the civil war, we experienced so much backwardness in finances and there was so much suffering. In my heart I always said I was going to delve into politics, I had this auction in me and I knew one day I was going to be the president. That aspiration was just a sincere willingness to help humanity, to alleviate the problems and sufferings I saw while growing up. When I got born again I pushed politics aside. I was captivated with what the Lord was doing not knowing that the dream I had as a child was actually the inspiration that God was giving me as my destiny.
So, on the 7th May 2017, when the Lord said He needed me to be back to Nigeria, He said in His word, ‘You will be the next president of Nigeria’. I was dumb founded. I got up from my knees and sat at the edge of my bed and listened while He talked to me about Nigeria. How the masses are suffering. I was convinced that God will use me to salvage the situation in Nigeria. That was a summary of what made me take a 360 degree turn from the ministry and stopped the pursuit of my PhD in law programme to focus on the will of God. Here I am in Nigeria to fulfil my God given dream.
After many years of being away from Nigeria, I came back and found out that many industries that should have created job opportunities have been closed down. Sea ports are not working effectively, no rails, roads not constructed. I knew that Nigeria needs immediate intervention to continue to exist and flourish.
A country can only progress when basic amenities are provided
Young Nigerians are suffering, this suffering started way back before now. The youths are denied access to become leaders of tomorrow. I looked at the constitution and found that there are right provisions but there is no zeal to make things work. There is no one willing to push it out for our dear country. Youths are frustrated in every way, they have to struggle to be educated, to even get employment and make a living except those who are well connected to people at the top. This hardship should not be. I have travelled wide, Europe, US, South Africa, Zimbabwe and everywhere I have gone, I observed that they have a working structure that helps youths. We are blessed with many resources, human resources that are denied use, natural resources are also not being used efficiently.
Nigeria economy will compete globally
What I am going to do when elected is that I will first of all put a structure to see that our GDP tops the list in the international market because we have sufficient economic resources. People depend on the oil sector when we have agriculture and inventors. I will also make sure that electricity is supplied steadily. I will declare a state of emergency in the power sector; our roads must be in place. When I think about these things I say Lord, these resources are already available but there is no governmental willingness to enforce implementation. I will also look into the industries we owned that are dormant. They will have to be revamped, these will create employment opportunities and generate revenue, hence improve GDP. To achieve these, I will have to set up a committee or team to follow up and ensure that whatever projects the government allocates is duly carried out. This will be a proper monitoring structure. Nigeria economy will compete globally under my leadership. Nigeria deserves a robust economy. There are urgent needs to diversify the nation’s economy, especially now that the economy is said to have come out of recession caused by poor policies. Many reasons have been adduced for the contraction of the economy, from corruption challenges to low level of employment, high oil prices and lack of saving buffers. There is an assumption that inflation has reduced. In truth, inflation increased by 50 per cent from 9.8 per cent since 2015.
In my opinion, one of such areas that readily comes to my mind and in which Nigeria has or can develop comparative advantage is agriculture and manufacturing industries. Nigeria’s oil reserves are estimated to run out before the end of 2030. But we seem to continuously adopt policies whose goal is to avoid the gains of specialisation. Specialisation based on a clear understanding of where and how firms in Nigeria can compete profitably and sustainably in the global market is long overdue. The economic policies being deployed by the Government has made life difficult for the common man in Nigeria. The middle class is being systematically wiped out as more and more, hardworking Nigerians join the poverty lane.
Nations do not build sound economies on insecurity, inequalities and nepotism, rather concert should be made to make the economy work for the common man. Thus, that every Nigerian has the assurance of benefiting from the common weal, is in the bid to bring change and succour to the Nigerian people. I ask every Nigerian citizen to rally around me for a responsive democratic administration under my leadership. Our plan for Nigeria is to achieve a budget Capital to Recurrent ratio of at least 60 to 40 per cent within our first two years in office. We will cut cost of running government and eliminate all forms of wastages like we are used to in the banking sector. It is possible. It is achievable.
Nigeria constitution will become more democratic to boost the nation’s economy
There are some salient parts of the constitution limiting the nation’s progress, those constitutions that the military brought in does not really have the democratic structure that could boost the nation. I will bring in a committee that will make sure that whatever we are going to do will be monitored in a democratic way so that people can benefit.
Eliminating corruption requires strong institutions
My government will eliminate corruption that has eaten deep into the fabric of our system in Nigeria by God’s grace, with the active help of security agencies and the citizenry. Under my leadership Nigeria will be strategic and purposeful in encouraging and facilitating sustainable growth, employment, wealth creation and good quality of life through focus on areas of comparative advantage, in collaboration with the private sector. Many Nigerians are crying that things are not working and corruption is here but corruption is just a word that people bought into, it’s an ideology people embraced. If we are going to move this Country forward, we have to set up a committee that will understand that Nigeria is the only Country we have and that we have to leave a legacy for our children. We want to leave something that our children will see and know that we fought for them. Travelling to different nations in the world, you will find that this structure has been, for example, in UK and other European states, after the Second World War they sat down and put good structure in place. They didn’t want more problems because they realized they had a future. So, from studying the laws of other nations we know that the army remove some things to suit them but when we are running a democratic government we have to put democratic laws into place. The impunity with which corruption is being perpetrated, promoted, and protected in Nigeria indicates that the present government does not have the mechanism to uproot corruption. To rid the system of corruption requires strong institutions, political will of the leadership, as well as cooperation of the citizenry. Except for the CCB that has its own tribunal, we need special Courts to try EFCC and ICPC cases because of unnecessary delays and adjournments in the usual Courts. A special Court, will give speedy trial in corruption and financial crimes cases and give justice faster. This, we are determined to do. Our antecedent testifies that we have the capacity and political will to do so. And towards this, we must stand up together as one people to eliminate corruption, impunity and division.
To combat insecurity, we will tackle it looking at the causes and effect
Considering the spate of insecurity due to crimes, senseless killings, lawlessness, banditry and incessant clashes between farmers and herders in various parts of the country, the security system is in doubt that there is need for constant retooling and rallying of stakeholders to evolve effective strategies to combat the menace.
The security challenges of our times are obvious and the security agencies seem to be rising up to the occasion in order to stem the tide and we will combat this by tackling the cause and effect of the menace. When you look at it carefully, most of the people involved in threatening the security of Nigeria are naïve unemployed citizens who are being brain washed by some politicians and other people who have influence on them.
It is obvious that people involved in acts that threaten the peace of our nation are unemployed citizens who would do anything to eat. Some of these unemployed are youths, graduates with the potential to do well on jobs but have not been employed for several years after their education. As a government we will engage the youths in productive ventures that will add value to their lives and insecurity will reduce. Also, in the Niger Delta region there is an unfair distribution of wealth; Nigeria is a large nation with diverse ethnic groups that expect the government to pay equal attention to them. If this is not done, one part of the country rises up to protest against the perceived injustice. My government will lead with fairness, equity and transparency. However, people who threaten the peace of the nation will be prosecuted.
Nigeria’s infrastructure will come under huge pressure if nothing is done
With the population estimated to hit 397 million by 2050, Nigeria’s infrastructure will come under huge pressure, hinder economic development and deny citizens of the much-desired national prosperity except something drastic is done. For decades, Nigeria failed to develop its infrastructure. We have just a nation that we have to protect, if we destroy Nigeria there’s no other haven that we can go to, you know, no matter the foreign Country you may reside in, their citizens at a time may ask you go to your own nation. I’m just praying that Nigerians should know that if we work together for the good of our nation, we will make Nigeria stand. Other nations will respect and appreciate us as a reputable people. As mentioned earlier, Nigeria must increase capital expenditure in the national budget. We will also ensure adequate funds are not only allocated to capital expenditure but also disbursed timely and utilised as budgeted.
I am dialoguing with relevant stakeholders
I have a party in mind that would fit with my ideologies. At the moment, I am dialoguing with relevant stakeholders and I will disclose the party name in due time.
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