Engineer Mathias Baba Tsado is the managing director and Chief Executive offocer of Matstrutt Nig Ltd which renders Engineering Services. He is also a professional member of Institute for Service Excellence and Good Governance (ISEGG) and currently a student member of The Institute for National Transformation. He is the convener of Hope Platform Initiative a group that is committed to raising the next generation of value based leaders in building a new Nigeria. In this interview with ISAIAH BENJAMIN in Kaduna, Engineer Tsado who is also a Social Democrat in his Political ideals says he believes strongly that visionary leadership with requisite political will can make Nigeria become a first world nation.
Why are you seeking to be the President of Nigeria?
Yes. It has become important that young people, especially basically those who feels that they have what it takes to change the course occupation leadership in Nigeria to begin to get themselves ready forth job. So there’s this clamour everywhere. It is obvious that at the moment in the country, things are not going the proper direction they expect it to go. It is only a foolish man that does the same thing and expect different result. If we want a society that works for everybody. If we want a society that moves the same way other nations are moving, we should be thinking of doing awash with that type of sit tight leadership and focusing on responsible leadership.
One of the things that I discover is that we have people that did not have a clear understanding of what leadership meant. Because of that, I have looked at it and thought that what we need at the moment is an interruption of this fraud, this trajectory that will bring upon a kind of system where an average person in Nigeria can feel the effect, the impact of governance on the streets of this country. So I have decided to bring up my own ideas, sell it to Nigerians and let them make a decision on the basis of what we have for this country.
In clear terms, what is your motivating factor?
My motivating factor is the need for this country to experience something new. The desire to see the country that is up there in the world. A society that adequately put in to use the enormous natural resources that God has blessed this country with. These are the things that motivated me and which put ideas in me to bring myself out to say we can do better. That is what propelled me. Nigeria deserves 100 percent better than where we are today. An average person you see on the streets of this country does not have anything he can hold on today to say these are the benefits of being citizens of this country. It should not be and for that reason looking at the situation, looking at the rate the world is moving, how can we have a country, blessed nation, that is supposed to be on top of the ladder and it is still where it is. Nigeria should be on the same league with the United States of America, same league with China, Russia and Germany. How come our country became a nation being ridiculed by these people. Because I can’t take that and cannot continue to write on the pages of social media like many people are doing. I have decided that whatever it takes I would put myself on this platform and present myself to Nigerians. We have an alternative. We have an option. We have people that are passionate about this country. We have men who eager even though they are politicians yet committed to see country that works for everybody. That is what motivated me.
You must be aspiring under a political platform since there is no provision for independent candidature. So which political platform do you intend to run?
At the moment the discussion of political parties is ongoing. I am very close at concluding with one of the fast growing political parties in the country at the moment, the Action Democratic Party (ADP) however, the focus is not on the political party. The focus is on the need for Nigerians to have something that works. People come to me to say that I am the third force, such person that every one is clamouring for or even the past leaders are talking about. I think the confusion that you will from political watchers at the moment in country clearly points to the fact that clearly there is need for generational shift. For that reason I want us to focus on my ideas and implementation architecture of my ideas such that we are not going to present to the people a manifesto of a political party, but will be presenting to the people an idea and how it will work. So focus on Matthias, focus on my ideas, focus on things that we are bringing up to the table, and not on any political party.
Very recently, an elder statesman, a former President, Chief Olusegun Obasanjo in a press statement has advised the incumbent President Muhammadu Buhari not to run for the office again. Are you of the same school of thought?
No, I am not. I think it is his constitutional right to contest if he wishes to. Sometimes people tend to misundersand some of the things we are supposed to get right. As having good leadership or aspiring to be a leader in a society you should be judged on the basis of what you have promised the people but if you promised the people and they give you the opportunity to express the things you have promised. When you are asking the people to consider you again, they will be making their judgment based on what you have achieved. The present leadership obviously have not achieved but that should not stop them from contesting, because at the end of the day the decision will be left with the people of this country whether to keep them in power or not. We who are burdened with the idea of contesting will be willing to go head on with them. What we need to do is to have a robust political process where people and personality will take the back seat. Ideas will be the basis of their decision, because like majority of people you see in the country today that are unknown going by my interaction on social media. But yes, I might be relatively unknown but my ideas should open doors for me.
I will tell you how I will be able to transform the country from where it is today as an import dependent country to a nation that is self sufficient. Not only self sufficient, but be able to supply to sub- Saharan Africa. I heard the President or the government is pushing for a one Africa market. You cannot be functional, or one African market cannot favour you if you are not a productive economy. Because what are you going to sell in the market. If you have something to sell that is when you can be talking about single market. If you want to go to the market, you have 200 million people in population and the 200 million are not producing anything, so what are you going to sell in the market? All you are going to do in the market Is to buy. Your own country, your own economy, which is just a consuming economy without getting anything.
These are the ideas that we should be talking about. These are the things we should focus on.This same government that came into power with all manner of promises, but unfortunately I was one of those people on the streets of this country that was campaigning for this government to get to power because I believe that at that point we needed a change. However, at the moment this is not the change I expected and for that reason we should accommodate their coming into power and ideas saying ok we want to continue. We want to bring side by side the ideas of the new people. I always tell people, we as citizens of this country, are the only one with ability to change it to suit whichever music we want to play.
You said you have been in politics for the last 20 years, what has been your achievements?
In the last 20 years of my political activism right from students unionism to where we are today, I have been an advocate of this good leadership thing everyday. Leadership should not be misunderstood for rulership. When people talk about leadership in the country, often times people think in terms of being a ruler, not being a leader. This has been my music. This has been my song. When you become a leader in an environment you become a servant to serve the people.
Majority of the people you see in power, in government today are only fascinated by the opportunity they get and power that come around with political power. A lot of people are fascinated by the luxury. Some are fascinated by having lots of money to throw around. If you are fascinated by these kind of things you do not expect that you are going to function adequately in a 21st century leadership mentality. My experience is based on the level I have operated advocating for good governance. When unidentified certain people that I think have what it takes , I still have to push them. Now having waited for so many years to see this country experience something very new in the area of leadership early 2015, but that did not come.
Your Presidential aspiration, is it born out of personal conviction or spiritual conviction?
Very nice question. I am a man under authority. I believe strongly that there is God. I do not belong to class of people who say I heard from God. I am not a Prophet. But I have personal conviction that time has come for Nigeria to experience something new and for that reason I have thrown myself in there. Before this decision was made it was not just a joke. It was not something that I just say, me too I want to be President like majority of people are trying to do today. It was something that I subjected to serious pressure from my own views as well as from views of people around me.
So it went through processes. In the first place when I started some people said I have mentioned it to them about 10-15 years ago that I will be running up for presidency. In the recent past, it has been so much about me running for President but it has been about me seeing a new nation and having idea of how this would be solved. So for that reason this is my conviction that a new Nigeria is possible and I have a role to play in that area.
Nigeria is presently bedeviled with series of challenges, insurgency, herders/farmers clashes, how do you intend to address this should you get the opportunity?
First thing first. Who are Nigerians? We Nigerians need to have a document, a system where every citizen of this country must have an identity card. That is where to start from. We need to have a data. We need to have forensic systems where people as citizens of this country today can say I represent, so where ever clashes occur we can be able to march peoples information with whatever we have in the system so as to be able to curb the rising insecurity in the country. That’s one. The second thing is we need to ensure that we have an economy that works for everybody. Majority of people you see today in Nigeria that have become criminals were not supposed to be criminals. Most of them are pushed to the wall and do not have anywhere to survive than to take to the life of crime. So for that reason we intend to have a functional economic system that will be able to absorb many of the people from the streets of the country. If we can have a situation where 70-80 percent of young people are employed, how many of them are we going to have on the streets committing crimes.
Then we talk about the issue of herdsmen and farmers clash. I ask, how are these people getting their arms. This is where we should start from. How do we stop the importation of light weapons into Nigeria. If we can afford to deal with that issue, it will stop this problem once and for all.
Another issue is, we talk about desertification that the entire north east, north west region becoming desert. Shouldn’t that be an opportunity for the government to turn the area into lush area where a lot of agricultural activities will go on. I got this from Israel. Israel is doing all manner of things in agriculture today.
Do you know the kind of land they have. This people, Israel, are trapping water in the air. We need to think differently about how to solve our problems. Sokoto is becoming deserted because the trees are giving way. The people cannot afford to feed themselves. We are running to the middle belt because grass is lush there. That should not be the case. At the moment that area is in a state of emergency in the area of agriculture.
How do you grow grass in that area. Do irrigation? How do you supply water? Take for example, Dubai, a country that is supposed to be a desert. Today it is one of the countries that is leading in technology. You need to see the way they talk about their country in advertisement. A fountain in the desert. How are they able to do that? We need to think beyond what we think is the immmediate solutions and begin to think, to create, as opportunity present themselves to us as a country. As a matter of fact, first thing I will do is, I will focus on making Sokoto a forest, making Kebbi a forest. Focus of making those places very lush for agricultural purposes. It is not impossible. It is being done all over the world. Why is it when it come here it becomes a problem in Nigeria. I think that things we see as a problem as country are actually opportunity for us to grow.
What should the electorate expect from you?
A new Nigeria. A brand new country. To take this country somewhere we are today and make it into a first class world nation. In Singapore, Lingua Yu did that. Singapore was a country rejected by Malaysia. they were asked to leave. If we as a people, as a country, get serious, the opportunity are here. What are the five factors that contributes to make the nations eeconomy? We have the natural resources. We have the human resources. We have the techonology. We have political environment. We have capital resources. Now which of them do we lack as a country. None. Though we say our technology is not adequate. What about globalization.
We have every opportunity to make Nigeria a country that everybody in the world would want to visit. This is the kind of country that I want Nigeria to have. I am not one of those that are in the political space and will say ok you are just talking political talk. I have every empirical documents to put this together the plan for implementation architecturue on how this would be done.will is already on ground. So it is doable . It is already on ground. It is something that is actionable. I believe it will be done and I think we must do it to save Nigeria from being a country of ridicule, a nation that is about to collapse, a nation that they can call all manner of names.