By Frank Oshanugor
His name may not ring a bell in Nigeria’s comity of contemporary politicians like those we have known over the years because all along, he has not immersed himself in the waters of the nation’s politics of leadership, rather, he has quietly pursued other interests which cumulatively are fundamental to building the economy. As an entrepreneur, he has made valuable contributions in various spheres to the growth of the nation’s economy. However, tired of the rhetoric of recycled politicians who keep promising what they cannot offer, the man Davidson Isibor Akhimien is now set to challenge the old order by bringing freshness into the leadership of Nigeria.
In a system with over 80 registered political parties, Akhimien is careful in the choice of which platform to actualize his ambition as the president of Nigeria, come 2019. His ideological persuasion cum conviction finds a meeting point in no other place than in the manifesto of one of the youngest political parties registered by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC). It is the Grassroots Development Party of Nigeria (GDPN). He is not hesitating to blend his aspiration with the party’s determination to create a new Nigeria where mere good fortune, oil money or other natural resources would not be sufficient to make a successful country unless accompanied by good resource management, modesty and accountability.
With a pedigree that largely appeals to intellectualism, charismatic and committed participation and leadership in his spheres of activities over the years, there is certainly no doubt that Akhimien clearly understands the task ahead as future president of Nigeria. Born in1965 into the family of Captain David Akhimien (retired) of Ekpoma, Edo State, Davidson Isibor Akhimien, perhaps borrowing from his father, showed early likeness for the military and para-military establishments. This obviously was the reason; his parents enrolled him at the Army Children School, Kakuri, Kaduna from where he moved to Nigerian Military School, Zaria for his secondary education.
In 1990, he gained admission into the NigerianDefence Academy, Kaduna as a member of the 29thShort Service Course and graduated from there with Presidential Parchment of Combatant Commission. As a young man with didactic instinct, he saw his military training as just a stepping stone for greater intellectual activities as he was set to pursue learning at higher levels. At different times, he attended several universities within and outside Nigeria, amongst them are the Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife, Babcock University, Ilishan-Remo and the University of Lagos. Outside the country, at varioustimes, he attended the Universite du Benin, Cotonou, Universite National du Benin, Lome, Togo and Universidade de Brasilia, Brazil. He holds a first degree in Modern European Languages and he is a polyglot with fluency in Hausa, Ibo, Yoruba, Ishan, French, Portuguese and English.
His other qualifications include a Post-Graduate Diploma in Theology (with emphasis on pastoral ministry), a Masters degree in International Law and Diplomacy and a second Master’s degree in Criminology. He is currently completing his doctoral thesis in Political Science with specialty in Peace and Conflict Management. Akhimien is an author of several inspirational books, one of which is titled Poverty and Governance.
As a young military officer, he attended several professional courses including the Young Officers Intelligence Course, Young Officers Infantry Course at Jaji, Kaduna and Tactical Intelligence Officers’ Course while serving at the Directorate of Military Intelligence (DMI). At a time, he served as an analyst for Africa and Middle East Affairs in the Strategic Intelligence Group of the Directorate of Military Intelligence in 1988. He was in the Nigerian Army till 1996 when he retired as an Admin Officer (AO) in the headquarters camp of the Nigerian Army Intelligence Corps (NAIC).
On his disengagement from military service, he began his life as a civilian employee serving as the Manager, Central Security Control of Pacific Group of Companies in 1997 and later moved to Babcock University as Director of Security Services before he founded his own group of companies with interests in private security, logistics and hospitality. He has thousands of Nigerians currently in the employment of his companies in no less than 20 states of the federation. Currently, Davidson Akhimien is the National President of the Association of Licensed Private Security Practitioners of Nigeria (ALPSPN), the umbrella body of all registered and licensed private security companies in Nigeria.
Ask him how he feels about political governance in contemporary Nigeria and why he wants to become Nigeria’s president, come 2019, he would tell you that political parties and politicians have not been able to satisfy the minimum aspiration of the citizenry, as problems of insecurity, lack of social justice, unemployment, abject poverty and others have left people disillusioned. People find it difficult to survive. Akhimien would also readily tell whoever cares to know that, there is no cohesion, no proper integration of the different peoples of Nigeria as a result of primordial sentiments.
Like some Nigerians with the mind for freshness in our politics, the polyglot strongly believes that the 21st Century Nigeria has come with the emergence of a new crop of Nigerians who do not care about ethnicity, religion and all those things that the political class use in holding the nation back. He is certainly one of those with fresh ideas set to make a difference.
The former military officer who is disenchanted with the performance of old political parties is propelled by the fact that real transformation for the country is possible. He believes that building strong and virile economy, creating a secure environment for the citizenrycan be realized. This transformation can be achieved on the platform of his party, the Grassroots Development Party of Nigeria (GDPN) which is already mobilizing the Nigerian people to the consciousness and awareness that they have the power to bring about the transformation that they need.
This transformation begins with the liberation and renewal of people’s minds as poverty overtime has held many Nigerians hostage courtesy of the existing old parties with recycled politicians. As a party, GDPN has the tendency to de-emphasise money politics because its interest is to have the people at heart, because money politics over the years, has sold the people’s destiny out. The GDPN’s ideology is rural or grassroot development and with the likes of Davidson Akhimien emerging as the President, industrialization in Nigeria will tilt more to the rural areas rather than the current concentration in urban areas. With a shift of the industries to rural communities, there will be a drastic reduction in the rural-urban migration.
The resultant positive effect of this, would also be a reduction in the rate at which Nigerian youths sell themselves into slavery in small countries like Libya or die in the Mediterranean in attempt to get to Europe for want of a better life. The GDPN as a party believes that if Nigeria is properly managed, youths from other countries would flock the country and not what obtains now.
As a presidential aspirant with enormous belief in the ability of the young ones to take Nigeria to a higher level, Akhimien as a strong believer in God, is hugely convinced that his GDPN is coming with a divine mandate and fresh men with fresh ideas for the liberation of Nigeria from politicians who have continued to recycle themselves in office with sterile ideas, narrow ambition and spirit of primitive accumulation at the expense of the greater majority of Nigerians.
The GDPN as a party believes that the people voted into power in the past are the same people who castrate the economy, cause capital flight and use ethnicity and religion to bring division among the populace and create disaffection and ill-will. The Party does not find it funny that even after the current leadership of the country has reportedly recovered huge sums of stolen money from political office holders, nobody is convicted in the court to serve as deterrent to others. Impunity still persists and there is no justice for the poor.
With respect to insecurity, Akhimien though may give some pat on the back of the present administration in its effort to end Boko Haram insurgency but President Buhari’s inability to stem the ride of serial killings across the various states of the federation by suspected herdsmen is a minus for the administration and Nigerians are getting more worried by the day.
****Oshanugor writes from Lagos