Prof Iyorwuese Hagher, a former Nigerian envoy, minister and Senator of the federal republic, in this interview with LEADERSHIP, offers solutions to the incessant farmers/herders clash.
What does the death of Justice Aloysius Katsina -Alu mean to you? The late Justice Katsina-Alu was a great man who will be remembered by this country for landmark judgments that have helped the integrity of the country’s judiciary and deepened democracy. He was a friend of over forty-five years, a father, a confidant and a leader on whose advice I have depended for crucial decisions. He is a huge loss to me, especially at this time as I prepare to lead Nigeria to greatness.
Your State (Benue) is the worst hit by the farmers/herders clashes.What have successive regimes not been doing right in addressing the menace?
What is happening in Benue-Plateau and other states of the Middle-Belt is not farmers and herders clashes. It is pure and simple pre-meditated ethnic cleansing by an ethnic trans-border Fulani militia. Successive regimes have refused to identify the herdsmen militia as a terrorist organization despite the fact that the rest of the world recognizes them as a such. The Nigeria government and the state security agencies look the other way as these atrocities happen. No meaningful arrests of the perpetrators and fewer trials. These foreign herdsmen terrorists have outlived their welcome and should now be told to leave Nigerian boundaries and the internally displaced people should be resettled back in their ancestral homes.
What is the way forward in addressing Killings in the country?
First and foremost we need justice in order to have peace. The Nigerian government must close national borders and then cordon and search all areas of suspected militia activity. These can be combatted and defeated. Swift dispensing of justice to all affected communities is necessary for peace. We need to establish truth and reconciliation bodies to investigate and find out the truth and then apply even handed justice. Crimes against humanity should be punished. Punishment and sanctions should follow crime.
As a former envoy, what would you say about the persistent xenophobic attacks on Nigerians in South Africa?
The blame is both ways, the South Africans of today do not have sufficient historical memory that without Nigeria it would have been very difficult for South Africa to dismantle apartheid. If only they had remembered that without Nigeria it would have been difficult for apartheid to be defeated then, the South African government would not look the other way when Nigerians are attacked and are victims of xenophobia. But on the other hand some Nigerians especially the not so educated class wreak havoc on the South African society with criminality. These also have dragged Nigerian’s image in the mud and so must also share the blame. There are hundreds of Nigerians in the University system, the medical and civil society contributing enormously in building south Africa.
You are aspiring to govern Nigeria. What are your chances of winning the race?
I do not think I have a tough presidential contest. Nigerians seem to have been waiting for a good leader. They have prayed for someone to come and make Nigeria great. I am destined to fill in that leadership gap Nigeria needs to be a great nation. Our country is a disappointment to itself, to Africa and the international community. It has failed to keep its promise to be the leading African nation. It has disappointed the international community.I love this nation and stand prepared to answer her distress call to help her from collapse.
What is your selling point?
I am perhaps the only candidate who has prepared myself experientially, intellectually and spiritually to move Nigeria: a disunited country of diverse ethnic and religious identifies, warring against each other, to a new, better , united and cohesive nation of highly motivated, highly educated people with a common destiny of greatness. I am well prepared, having sufficient experience in the legislature, executive and diplomatic services. I have been senator, minister, ambassador and member of the constitution conference. I also spent three decades as academic molding young men who are today holding leadership positions. I knew our youth and I am determined to mentor them to greatness.
About my character, I believe that I am totally averse to corruption and my public service records attest to this. Moreover. I live a strictly ascetic life devoid of the cravings for material possessions. But I offer to Nigeria a very significant difference in leadership. I am a servant leader who is goal-driven and my one point agenda is to make Nigeria great using the holistic multi-sectorial approach to rapid development and the improvement of the lives of our ordinary people that live like animals.
What are your plans for youths and women?
Bad leaders have destroyed our country. Nigeria has the fastest youth population growth in the world. This is an asset if there are educational and training mentorship programs. Unfortunately toxic leadership has denied our youth education. There are 13.2 million Nigeria children not enrolled in any schooling, making Nigeria to have the dubious world record. Our educated youth are unemployed and some wander the streets and are regarded as illegal immigrants in other countries. The Nigerian environment has caused many to run away and die attempting to migrate by sea to European and Arab destinations and uncertain futures as slaves.
Our youth will be equipped with the highest educational experience in science Technology, Engineering and Mathematics with Philosophy. Our youth will be employers of labour and others will compete with the best anywhere in the world. Our women will be given parity with our men and we will match together forward to create a great Nigeria.
What are you bringing on board to improve Nigeria’s economic rating and also her image in the international circle?
A solid internal affair is based on justice, equality and equity. Our foreign policy is an extension of our domestic policy. I will instigate a productivity revolution that will give employment to our teeming youth and will be competitive across the globe. I will make Nigerians to be proud citizens of their Nigerian citizenship and drive foreign direct investment by providing peaceful enabling environment to attract industrialization. My administration will offer the best in good governance and also infrastructure for effective industrialization.
As for Nigeria’s image my government will embark on different aspect of cultural diplomacy to promote a better understanding of who we are to eliminate the global stigma and the profile of the bad Nigerian. The world will see Nigeria as a great nation of great people endowed with special resilience and Nigeria’s excellence in education, sports, culture and in hospitality.
How will you tackle unemployment if elected?
I will tackle through massive educational programming, training and retraining and open up mechanized farming and agricultural industries value chains. I will also expand the solid mineral industries. But my flagship project is to bring Nigeria to enter the knowledge based economy that depends on intellectual property resources rather than natural resources. I will focus on our dynamic youth and give human resource development the highest priority.
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