Ibrahim Abdullahi contends that Jack-Rich is capable of transforming the nation

“If I, who was a 10-year-old village orphan, a canoe paddler and fisher boy from the womb of a 42-year- old village garri and tomatoes hawker, who died because she couldn’t afford her medical bills can get here, you too can” – Jack-Rich

It was not exactly the same kind of event compared with that of Barack Obama’s 2004 “my presence on this stage is pretty unlikely” Democratic National Convention speech in Boston, Massachusetts. Yet the narratives bear similarity in the context of coming from relative obscurity to stardom, blazing the trail of extraordinary accomplishments. While one actually made it to the presidency, the other is still in the womb of time. The All Progressives Congress (APC) presidential aspirant and industrialist, Mr. Tein T.S Jack-Rich, who is quoted above relieved such emotional recollections about his background in relation to his aspirations, leadership and indeed human development and societal renewal during his formal declaration for president at the Congress Hall of the Transcorp Hillton, Abuja, recently.  

As he told his supporters, party leaders, friends and associated who graced the event, at the end of his travails, the sense of purpose and determination and hard work to succeed triumphed and fortune smiled on him, not only attending some of the best schools in the world including Harvard, Stanford and  LSE but also climbed the ladder of progress as one of Nigeria’s most successful industrialists being the President of Belemaoil Producing Limited, the first indigenous oil exploration and production in the country. 

Jack-Rich, a renowned philanthropist, affirmed that his is a success story the nation needs for transformation, to duly rejig our collective reality in tandem with a sense of purpose and move forward. It was indeed a timely admonition to the people especially the youths who should not allow their prevailing circumstances determine their aspirations to be successful in life.  Like Obama, we now see a man who had literally lost everything, having lost his parents at age 10, becoming a man of the moment, running for president with burgeoning name recognition and popularity, calling on Nigerians to trust his leadership and judgment because he has the solutions to our problems.

 Of course, that will be decided by the APC delegates at their convention at the end of May but the truth is that the young, affable and patriotic Tein Jack-Rich would be a good president if given the opportunity judging by the depth of his presentation on that night, intellectual enterprise and tack record on the basic steps to take in reinventing and reviving our nation. He spoke with candour and sounded so convincing as he cautioned Nigerians that 2023 would be a critical year for the country.

Aside the grass to grace story, however, it was a night of deep insights into the Nigerian condition, which he said required urgent action to re-order our realities and change course for national development. It won’t be easy but as the presidential hopeful poured through the gamut of our national woes, even with comparative analysis with the western world, particularly on the critical socio-economic indices, he gave some promising overview of what he could do to turn things around with his dynamic and strategic leadership.  Jack-Rich manifesto concentrates on the economy, security, empowerment, affordable health and education where technology and innovation will be a priority.  Inherent in Jack-Rich postulation here is the need to have our young boys and girls who go to the university have certain skills to provide the needed knowledge base and value to grow the local economy.

Jack-Rich presented a comparative evaluation of how precarious our situation stands thus: ”The global economy is about $83tn and the continent of Africa is just three percent of the global value chain. That’s about $2.5tn…it is struggling with the economy of California which has a GDP of $3.6tn. “California is about the size of Lagos and Ogun states in South West, Nigeria and Nigeria is just 19.8 percent of Africa’s GDP. That’s worrisome”. As a trained economist, the 47-year old outlined several of the economic steps to take in this direction:  massive job creation, building a strong currency, engaging the G7 economies and negotiating our place in the comity of nations as well as making Nigerians respected abroad once again. Others are consistent fiscal policies and pro-private sector policies that will engender productivity and becoming an export-based economy by producing what we eat rather than being a dumping ground for imported goods.

 Jack-Rich promised to create 26,000 jobs in every local government in his first one year in office, totaling 20 million jobs, open up the economy and ensure an end to the unbridled loans. Also in some specific terms, the presidential hopeful enunciated some zonal industrial enterprises to further create jobs and boost the national economy. In this respect, he gave insight into the creation of certain economic entities like the Digital City and Health Tech Centre in the South West and Technology Hub in the South East and similar enterprises in the North East, North West and North Central with relative comparative advantages based on local peculiarities.  On the issue of insecurity, he also proffered an economic-based solution, premising the challenge on lack of opportunities, adding that with opportunities widely spread out to the perpetrators, insecurity will die naturally. Jack-Rich observed: “I don’t believe in assault or missiles. I believe in economic bombardment. Youths, boys and girls are doing wrong things to survive. That’s because opportunity has shrunk.

To discerning observers who listened to his presentation and familiar with his track record, when Jack-Rich said his heart is for humanity, he actually meant it. Of course, this can better be understood with regard to the extent and impact of his unusual philanthropy over the years covering education through local and foreign scholarships, qualitative healthcare, infrastructure and some innovative and strategic economic empowerment across the country. He’s is truly a patriot and Nigerian for all Nigerians. Jack-Rich, hopefully, is on the cusp of history at the APC presidential primaries.

Abdullahi writes from Abuja

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