The Audacity of a Grassroots Candidate

Davidson Isibor Akhimien

By Frank Oshanugor

Once again, Nigeria is searching for a leader to pilot her affairs, beginning from May 29, 2019. One man among many who have officially declared their intention to run for the nation’s presidential seat in the forthcoming elections is Dr. Davidson Isibor Akhimien.

His name is not among those in the list of old and familiar presidential candidates and possibly does not ring a very loud bell in the comity of gladiators already jostling for the position of the President and Commander-in-chief of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, but he certainly stands out as a man with the potentials and the much needed Midas.

Over the years, Nigeria has witnessed so much rural-urban drift whereby we have over-bloated urban centres suffocated by populations that far outstrip the available employment opportunities and basic social infrastructure.

The system on the other hand has so much promoted the interest of economic cum political elite who are demographically fewer in number than the under-privileged masses who constitute greater number out of the nation’s estimated 200 million citizens. This elite-centred philosophy has done more harm than good as each succeeding leadership has evidently cared much for its class members with little or no attention on the less privileged.

It is the realisation of this great injustice that the Grassroots Development Party of Nigeria (GDPN) has chosen to situate its philosophy within the context of advancing the great interest of the common man, with a strong belief that Nigeria should not be for the rich alone but for every citizen across all strata of the society.

It was therefore not surprising that Dr. Davidson Isibor Akhimien (DIA) while declaring his intention a few days ago in Abuja to run for the office of the President on the platform of GDPN, was in sync with the party’s philosophy as his declaration speech was an encapsulation of what the party is set out to achieve under his presidency if voted into power. Eventually, he has successfully emerged as the GDPN’s presidential candidate for the 2019 election, seeking to take over leadership come 2019.

The GDPN presidential candidate may not have held any known political office over the years, but he is unarguably not an apprentice president-in-waiting. His profile speaks volumes and there is no doubt that given a level playing field, Akhimien has what it takes to lead a modern Nigeria.

A cerebral entity with several university degrees in foreign languages, international law and diplomacy, strategic and conflict management in addition to several years of military service and post military engagement as private security service provider, Akhimien is certainly not a pedestrian candidate for the office of the President, Federal Republic of Nigeria.

As the National President, Association of Licensed Private Security Practitioners of Nigeria and chairman of a group of companies with thousands of Nigerians in his employment across the states, the GDPN flag bearer is not new to human and material management challenges that go with same.

Though, leading a plural society like Nigeria, is in no way synonymous with managing a personal business, yet certain qualities and characteristics needed to drive the dynamics that would generate value addition to any business also find some space in what it takes for a nation’s leadership to be proactive.

In today’s Nigeria, the inactivity or misapplication of governmental policies that have greatly reduced the confidence level of the citizenry in the leadership is ostensibly a fall out of inefficiency. Otherwise, how do we continue to believe that after many years in office with little or no value addition to the life of the average common man, there is still hope that the same leadership would take us to the promised land.

As a presidential candidate on the platform of a party with grassroots appeal, Akhimien makes no pretense about his passion and vision to see that Nigeria’s less privileged class, largely made up of youth, uneducated rural dwellers, the jobless in every nook and cranny and so on, would be the thrust of his administration if voted into power. This, however, is not to say that the elite are excluded from his policy agenda since majority of the elite are the major owners of means of production either directly or through proxy. They are necessary evil that cannot be wished away.

If I got Akhimien right, his administration’s policy agenda is to run an inclusive government where the poor would have as much stake as the rich in terms of resource allocation and accessibility to those essentials of life that would portray ours as an egalitarian society. He promises a strategic return to agriculture, massive industrialisation of the rural areas, and engagement of the jobless youths.

His feeling is that over the years, the grassroots largely made up of the less privileged have remained unsung as no government as a matter of state policy, has meaningfully given them the opportunity to exhibit their natural potentials which would unarguably be a catalyst in our journey to greatness as a nation.

With some deep knowledge of Nigeria’s major languages of Hausa, Igbo and Yoruba including his native Ishan, Akhimien comfortably coasts home with a great advantage of easy communication with people of the grassroots where-ever he goes. Besides understanding the languages, he has lived in these major parts of Nigeria, at one time or the other, being an offspring of a military officer father who in his service days traversed the length and breadth of the country.

As a polyglot versed in no less than four international languages of Portuguese, English, Spanish and French, the GDPN flag bearer as Nigeria’s next president would save us a lot of resources needed to keep some interpreters always with him during official assignments in those countries.

With respect to the nation’s security which has posed endless challenges in the last decade, he is equally not lacking in understanding the interplay of certain dynamics that obviously place enormous challenge on the president as commander-in-chief of the armed forces to act appropriately as occasions demand. He is a product of the military and has had the privilege of serving in various units including the Directorate of Military Intelligence – an elite corp. Akhimien is therefore, literary a round peg in a round hole.

The audacity of his ambition to lead Nigeria is not pedestrian, but deep rooted and etched on a solid blue print that draws strength from some divine arrangement and personal conviction that he can square up to the challenges of leadership.

As the campaigns are about to start, it is greatly hoped that his party – the GDPN would take the message of salvaging Nigeria from the hands of the old hawks to a new generation of leadership where Nigeria would truly belong not only to the rich.

Oshanugor writes from Lagos