Fela Durotoye, presidential candidate of the Alliance for New Nigeria (ANN) reveals to Udora Orizu his campaign plans and why Nigerians need a new orientation
What policies will you bring on board if elected president of Nigeria?
Looking around the entire spectrum of our nation, it’s clear our nation’s biggest problem is lack of vision and leadership. Unfortunately, we have a lot of career politicians who haven’t added any benefit to the Nigerian people, and are too involved in playing politics to be involved in governance. We have a nation that is incredibly blessed with amazing potential, but its people are broke. It’s an irony. Nigeria needs true selfless leadership, not only in the presidency, but in all elective offices across the country. I offered myself to serve as a symbol of a new Nigeria, where everyone; from the market woman, to the child in school, to the entrepreneur has an opportunity to pursue happiness.
My three major policies are to reduce the size of government and its attendant wastage. Second, we would be creating economic zones across all 774 local government areas. Third, we would be facilitating national reorientation programmes for all Nigerians.
We must reduce the size of our government. No economy that wishes to be globally competitive spends as much as 70 per cent of its national budget on recurrent expenditure. We have an enormous wage bill given to our law makers, while the government says it can’t pay the minimum wage of N30,000 that is causing so much debate. We have police officers and service men living in dumps and we have legislators paying for expensive hotels and rooms for a whole year. It doesn’t make any sense. When we get elected, our administration will run a lean and effective government that focuses on getting things done. Next, we would create economic zones across all LGAs. Our nation is incredibly blessed, but the people are poor, and unfortunately, we have conditioned our governors to wait to receive federal allocations from the centre at the end of the month, without adding value to their state economies. At the moment, we give 13 per cent derivative as resource control. My administration proposes a 20/20/20/40 formula. That’s 20 per cent to the community that the resources are mined, 20 per cent to the local government area, 20 per cent to the state where resources are mined, and 40 per cent to the federal government. The 60 per cent will not be directly accessed by the state governors, but it will be placed in an independent Infrastructure Fund whose job it is to build roads, hospitals and schools at the same time across the country according to the federal government standard. Lastly, we will have a national reorientation programme to define who a Nigerian is and share the values of who we are. Once we get our values right, we will become a more productive people.
From 1999 to date, what is it that you think the government has not done that you can do differently?
I believe vision is incredibly important. No administration has painted a vision of the kind of nation we want to build. When you want to build a house, you may be surrounded by the best carpenters, builders, masons, architects or bricklayers; valuable as they are, they can’t work effectively if there’s no vision of the type of house you want to build. That has been one of our problems. We have bricklayers building according to what they want, masons doing what they want and so on. There is no clear goal, so everyone is going their own way. What my administration will do is to first define the nation we want to build; and I’ve clearly defined it to be the most desirable nation to live, work and do business by December 31, 2025. Next is to get all ministries to define their visions in line with our corporate goal. For example, the Ministry of Education will have a goal that Nigeria’s educational system will be the first choice for Nigerians and Africans to educate their children and the most preferred destination for global universities to invest in by December 31, 2025. This goal will automatically affect the policies we create, the universities we build, the curriculum we create, the lecturers we hire and so on to attract the kind of people who will choose to educate their children in Nigeria.
Money politics has become a norm in the Nigerian political space. What is the implication of such on the chances of youths contesting for elective positions?
I believe that money politics has eaten deeply into the fibre of our politics, where today, the ruling class has impoverished the electorates, not only using economics, but by also refusing to educate them. Education sets people free, it causes people to ask questions. The more ignorant the electorate, the easier it is to impoverish them. Today, we have people asking you to shake body for them after you have engaged with them. But I believe that in 2019, money will fail the ruling class because Nigerians are tired of being poor and enslaved and all they want is a New Nigeria with opportunities for all. I’m glad to see that more young people have taken responsibility to aspire for elective offices under new party platforms simply because the cost of running on either the APC or PDP is too high. My party, the Alliance for New Nigeria (ANN) has 141 candidates running across all offices in the nation and it was easier for them to pick up nomination forms, and because this is a social media savvy generation, they are able to share their messages online and also engage the grassroots, so I believe it’s a welcome development
What’s your party’s ideology and what’s your trump card?
Our ideology is simple: A New Nigeria. We don’t want a better Nigeria. We want a 180-degree turn from what we currently have. We want a nation where light is present and generators are absent. We want a nation where the government partners with businesses and doesn’t prey on them. We want a nation that educates our children, not just to find jobs, but shows them how to create jobs. We want a nation where our many doctors and nurses who have left our shores to practice abroad can come back and build a new healthcare system. We want a nation where our police officers and law enforcement agencies are the most professional and distinguished professionals in the world. We want a nation that is the prosperity capital of the world. Our trump card is being authentic and showing Nigerians that we are just like them and that they can trust us to give them a nation they would be proud of.