Nige­rian 2019 pres­i­den­tial elec­tion: Zoned to com­pe­tence

Let's be clear: The move­ment of those that want a bet­ter and dif­fer­ent Nige­ria – to which I be­long – in­tends to win the 2019 pres­i­den­tial elec­tion.

Financial Nigeria Magazine - - Contents -

The choice that faces Nige­ria in the 2019 pres­i­den­tial elec­tion is one be­tween progress and ret­ro­gres­sion, be­tween scary poverty and the prospect of pros­per­ity for mil­lions of our cit­i­zens – not just the elite few, be­tween our free­dom and our con­tin­u­ing false im­pris­on­ment by the po­lit­i­cal elite that have brought us to our present sorry pass. It is time to Build, In­no­vate and Grow (BIG)!

On cur­rent trends of what passes for gov­er­nance in Nige­ria, de­spite our dy­namism and re­source­ful­ness as a peo­ple, the fu­ture is bleak. Ex­cept, of course, some­thing rad­i­cally new, dif­fer­ent and bold hap­pens in our pol­i­tics, lead­er­ship se­lec­tion process and its out­come. Mil­lions of our coun­try­men and women share this view. In this re­gard, my vi­sion for our fu­ture rep­re­sents the op­por­tu­nity to move our coun­try in the new and dif­fer­ent di­rec­tion from the in­evitable lim­i­ta­tions of our re­cy­cled and failed politi­cians. It is time!

Nige­ria is now the poverty cap­i­tal of the world. Ac­cord­ing to the World Poverty Clock, we over­took In­dia in Fe­bru­ary as the coun­try with the great­est num­ber of peo­ple liv­ing in ex­treme poverty. This is in spite of the fact that In­dia has a pop­u­la­tion six times the size of Nige­ria's. Mean­while, the In­ter­na­tional Mone­tary Fund has noted that poverty is in­creas­ing in our coun­try and that our eco­nomic pol­icy is “mud­dled”.

We re­main the world's great­est im­porter of Premium Mo­tor Spirit (petrol) while we ex­port crude oil. How else shall we de­fine mad­ness? Be­cause of in­com­pe­tent lead­er­ship, our gov­ern­ment in­sists on con­trol­ling and sub­si­diz­ing the im­por­ta­tion and pric­ing of PMS. In­stead of dereg­u­lat­ing the down­stream petroleum in­dus­try, Nige­ri­ans sleep at fuel sta­tions as a re­sult of ar­ti­fi­cial scarcity when­ever the sub­sidy scam is threat­ened. This has gone on for 40 years.

Let's be frank with our­selves. We should be ashamed of our­selves when we elect and re­elect into of­fice politi­cians whose failed lead­er­ship is di­rectly re­spon­si­ble for our poverty. It doesn’t mat­ter the eth­nic or re­li­gious ba­sis of our woe­ful elec­toral de­ci­sions. Poverty and un­em­ploy­ment know no tribe or re­li­gion. We need a par­a­digm shift. It is time!

A healthy de­bate has en­sued since I for­mally of­fered my­self to serve our coun­try by lead­ing it to­wards a very dif­fer­ent and bet­ter fu­ture. That de­bate is about the pos­si­bil­i­ties for the vic­tory of a “non-politi­cian” and about the “in­evitabil­ity” of our ca­reer politi­cians and their fi­nan­cial and po­lit­i­cal be­he­moth struc­tures as rep­re­sented by the rul­ing APC party and the PDP. Nige­ri­ans have be­come a con­quered peo­ple, with our dy­namism and po­ten­tials neu­tral­ized by politi­cians who are adept at ob­tain­ing power for its own sake but in­ept at gov­er­nance and eco­nomic man­age­ment. These politi­cians have in­tim­i­dated us into be­liev­ing TINA (There is No Al­ter­na­tive), to them. Not true. We are now awake. The ground is shift­ing. It is time!

Let's be clear: The move­ment of those that want a bet­ter and dif­fer­ent Nige­ria – to which I be­long – in­tends to win the 2019 pres­i­den­tial elec­tion. True, we should not and can­not dis­coun­te­nance the ob­sta­cles. But we will ex­e­cute a win­ning strat­egy and ground game across the coun­try, with dis­ci­pline and de­ter­mi­na­tion. I will an­nounce in the com­ing weeks the party plat­form on which I in­tend to con­test the elec­tion.

We should now elect in Nige­ria lead­ers with a vi­sion, char­ac­ter, and the in­tel­lec­tual and tech­no­cratic com­pe­tence re­quired to con­front our myr­iad prob­lems of na­tion-build­ing, poverty and in­se­cu­rity. My vi­sion stands on a tri­pod: first, to heal our coun­try and build a na­tion; sec­ond, to wage a de­ci­sive war against poverty and un­em­ploy­ment, and; third, to re­store Nige­ria's stand­ing in the world.

I have of­fered my­self for the task at hand be­cause I have a pas­sion for our coun­try's progress and be­cause I be­lieve I have been well pre­pared for that task by the level, quan­tum and qual­ity of my lead­er­ship ex­pe­ri­ence. From na­tion-build­ing around the world to eco­nomic man­age­ment at home; from in­ter­na­tional diplo­macy to the global academia; I have demon­strated a track-record of cre­at­ing su­pe­rior value.

Some have ques­tioned my lack of the du­bi­ous cre­den­tial of hav­ing been mired be­fore now in the sleaze that passes for pol­i­tics in Nige­ria. That mind­set is ex­actly the prob­lem: we have too many politi­cians but very few real lead­ers. It has been all pol­i­tics and no lead­er­ship. This is pre­cisely why we are a poor and dys­func­tional coun­try.

We must over­come our prob­lems of poverty in a struc­tural man­ner that moves mil­lions of our poor and un­em­ployed cit­i­zens into the mid­dle class over the next decade. This re­quires a cer­tain type of mind­set, in­tel­lec­tual ca­pa­bil­ity and philo­soph­i­cal in­sight, and the abil­ity to as­sem­ble a com­pe­tent team in the

gov­ern­ment. Com­bined with the dis­ci­pline of ex­e­cu­tion, we will find that ad­dress­ing Nige­ria's prob­lems is not ex­actly rocket science.

Our na­tion can­not be built by eth­nore­li­gious ir­re­den­tists who live in the past and whose in­stincts are based on ex­tremely nar­row world­views. As Pres­i­dent of Nige­ria, I will pro­vide in­clu­sive lead­er­ship that is an­chored on a Big Hairy Au­da­cious Goal that unites us all to face the fu­ture. We are aware of the ret­ro­gres­sive think­ing and talk about “zon­ing” – the eth­nic turn-by-turn that has hith­erto in­flu­enced who be­comes pres­i­dent. Af­ter nearly two decades of democ­racy since 1999, the re­port card on the out­comes of this un­con­sti­tu­tional prac­tice that fos­ters me­di­ocrity is sim­ple: our cit­i­zens have got­ten poorer and poverty is in­creas­ing.

But as Seun Opal­eye, a young Nige­rian com­mented re­cently on so­cial me­dia, “we have zoned 2019 to com­pe­tence.” Those who wish to dwell in the past may do so. The world is mov­ing on and, like it or not, Nige­ria will move with it.

We who seek a bet­ter fu­ture for our chil­dren and youth are hav­ing none of the ret­ro­gres­sion and me­di­ocrity of “zon­ing.” In any case, it is prac­ticed in­side just one or two po­lit­i­cal par­ties. Our pop­u­la­tion in the New Tribe who are fo­cused on cit­i­zen­ship, rather than eth­nic tribe and tongue, is in­creas­ing be­cause a new gen­er­a­tion of adults is com­ing of age. Thus, I am not and will never be an eth­nic can­di­date for the pres­i­dency of our coun­try. I am un­apolo­get­i­cally a Nige­rian can­di­date for the Nige­rian pres­i­dency. We must cre­ate a ris­ing tide that lifts all boats, not just those of rel­a­tives and tribes­men and tribeswomen.

A Kings­ley Moghalu pres­i­dency would be very dif­fer­ent from those be­fore it. At a fun­da­men­tal level, this is be­cause we would bring a prob­lem-solv­ing mind­set to the pres­i­dency. We will con­sciously gov­ern with strat­egy, a world­view that we will in­cul­cate in our cit­i­zens through the ed­u­ca­tional sys­tem and other chan­nels, and a clear un­der­stand­ing and ap­pli­ca­tion of the re­quire­ments of good gov­er­nance. Our strate­gic ap­proach en­com­passes ef­fec­tive­ness, ac­count­abil­ity, trans­parency and in­clu­sive­ness. We will be ready on Day One, with the most se­nior ap­point­ments and nom­i­na­tions in the ex­ec­u­tive branch an­nounced within 48 hours.

We will se­cure Nige­ria with the ef­fec­tive im­ple­men­ta­tion of na­tional se­cu­rity pol­icy, in­clud­ing re­form­ing the Po­lice to be­come an agency that can guar­an­tee law and or­der and safe com­mu­ni­ties. We will do this through mas­sive in­creases in the nu­mer­i­cal strength and ef­fec­tive train­ing.

I have the po­lit­i­cal will that is cur­rently ab­sent to en­sure the ef­fec­tive con­trol of Nige­ria's por­ous bor­ders with Niger, Chad and Cameroon. The cur­rent sit­u­a­tion com­pro­mises our na­tional se­cu­rity. Also, on se­cu­rity, we will ranch the herds­men and ad­dress the root causes of the herds­men cri­sis, which in­clude amongst other fac­tors the de­ser­ti­fi­ca­tion of north­ern Nige­ria.

A gov­ern­ment that I lead will im­ple­ment the Na­tional Youth Pol­icy and the Na­tional Gen­der Pol­icy ef­fec­tively. This will en­sure that we go be­yond to­kenism in em­pow­er­ing these two sub­stan­tial parts of our pop­u­la­tion. Women make up 49 per cent of our pop­u­la­tion of 186 mil­lion peo­ple, and there are 60 mil­lion youth aged be­tween 18 and 35. Both groups will play a mus­cu­lar role in my gov­ern­ment. We will im­ple­ment a 50:50 gen­der par­ity ra­tio in po­lit­i­cal ap­point­ments, well above the Na­tional Gen­der Pol­icy rec­om­men­da­tion of 30 per cent for women. Com­pe­tent youth with rel­e­vant qual­i­fi­ca­tions and ex­pe­ri­ence will play im­por­tant lead­er­ship roles in the gov­ern­ment, en­sur­ing the much-needed in­ter-gen­er­a­tional change of ba­ton in lead­er­ship with­out which any so­ci­ety will en­ter de­cline.

Our eco­nomic vi­sion of an in­no­va­tion­driven econ­omy will tap into the tal­ents of our youth. This will cre­ate the wealth of na­tions for Nige­ria and shield us from the de­bil­i­tat­ing boom and bust cy­cles of an econ­omy on fis­cal life sup­port from in­come from nat­u­ral re­sources. We will cre­ate an en­vi­ron­ment for the pri­vate sec­tor to cre­ate jobs with a pub­licpri­vate part­ner­ship ven­ture cap­i­tal fund of a min­i­mum cap­i­tal of N500 bil­lion that will in­vest in new, jobcre­at­ing start-up busi­nesses to be es­tab­lished by mil­lions of un­em­ployed Nige­ri­ans.

Our pro­gramme of eco­nomic re­birth will de­cen­tral­ize the na­tional grid and shift power gen­er­a­tion to­wards re­new­able en­ergy sources. We will un­der­take a fun­da­men­tal re­form of our health­care and ed­u­ca­tion sys­tems. The Nige­rian Di­as­pora will play a cen­tral, in­sti­tu­tion­al­ized role in the build­ing of our hu­man cap­i­tal.

We will com­mence a con­sul­ta­tive process in col­lab­o­ra­tion with the Na­tional As­sem­bly and State As­sem­blies to achieve a con­sti­tu­tional re­struc­tur­ing of Nige­ria back to true fed­er­al­ism for sta­bil­ity and pros­per­ity within two years of my tak­ing of­fice.

No one says all of this will be easy or will hap­pen in a mat­ter of days or a few weeks. I do not claim to be a ma­gi­cian with a wand, or a per­fect per­son. But, like many other Nige­ri­ans, I love my coun­try. I care about the daily suf­fer­ing of our coun­try­men and women, and the fu­ture of our youth, our chil­dren, and even the un­born. To­gether, we all can work to cre­ate a bet­ter fu­ture for us all. It is time!

Prof. Kings­ley Moghalu, a for­mer Deputy Gov­er­nor of the Cen­tral Bank of Nige­ria, is a pres­i­den­tial as­pi­rant for the 2019 elec­tions and the au­thor of the new book, Build, In­no­vate and Grow: My Vi­sion for our Coun­try (Bookcraft, 2018).

Moghalu and wife hold­ing a wreath at the grave-side of some of the vic­tims of the Jan. 2018 herds­men at­tacks in Benue State, pay­ing their re­spect as part of his pro­gramme of na­tion-wide Lis­ten­ing Tour

Pres­i­den­tial as­pi­rant Prof. Kings­ley Moghalu (2nd from left) at the March 22 con­fer­ence on Women in Pol­i­tics by Women in Business (WIMBIZ)

A town hall meet­ing in Makurdi last month, which flagged off Moghalu’s na­tion-wide Lis­ten­ing Tour

Pres­i­den­tial as­pi­rant Prof. Kings­ley Moghalu

Kings­ley Moghalu

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