Unemployment is probably between 70% and 80%
Muhammadu Buhari ran for office on two main problems: security and corruption. You can only judge him based on what he said. Corruption, where are we? We are still as corrupt as ever. In fact, if we use the [Transparency International] integrity index, we are worse. We need to understand police in the totality of policing […]. Incidences of kidnapping are still rampant, the herdsmen problem has reared its head even more under President Buhari’s watch. Boko Haram: President Buhari has announced about three times that it is over, but it is still there. He didn’t say much about the economy; he said he will make the naira stronger, but we all
know it couldn’t happen. What people are looking at is not the value of the currency but the stability of the currency […]. Because you are a mono-economy, you need to engage the International Monetary Fund, you need to have a buffer with them and create a confidence that, come what may, we are giving you a guarantee that we have reached a deal whereby the price of the naira will remain at 350 naira to a dollar for the next 10 years. In the United States, President Buhari was asked how he will deal with the Niger Delta, the south-east etc. He made a statement that those who did not vote for him should not expect as much as those who voted for him. That’s not leadership. If you don’t vote for him, it is more reason why he should win your heart and soul next time. I will use my example. In 1999, I got only 19,000 votes from an entire senatorial district, Cross River North. If you took out the vote from that district, I still won the election. What did I do? I focused on them, I invested heavily. You are a leader of not just part of the country, you are a leader of the entire country. To me, that was a failure of leadership. The cry for Biafra is a cry of marginalisation. The people feel that you don’t care for them. Each time a section of the country doesn’t feel carried along, they are going to react. I don’t believe in the statistics that say unemployment in Nigeria is 15%. It is probably between 70% and 80%. Even those who are employed are underemployed and underpaid. So you find that it puts a lot pressure on those who are employed
“The cry for Biafra is a cry of marginalisation. The people feel you don’t care for them”
because they have to support those who are unemployed. The advantage of a developing country is that it opens up opportunities for people because so many things have not been done. In Nigeria, which has a 20m-unit housing shortage, that is a big opportunity. Schools have to be built. We have a lot of people who are out of school. Even the student-teacher ratio is inadequate, so you need to recruit more teachers. We should be bustling with opportunities, but we are not. You have a credit system that does not allow for small and medium-scale industries. Even for the large-scale industries, [banks] charge interest in the upper 20%. In a nutshell, my focus will be to create as many jobs and include as many people into the economy as possible. That will douse a lot of things. That will even douse corruption. That will douse security threats.