By Femi E. Gabriel
In 2003, Senator Datti Baba-Ahmed was elected into the House of Representatives, and that marked the beginning of his sojourn into the world of politics.
While there, he made significant contributions to law-making through logical reasoning and convincing arguments. The astute Businessman, Founder and Pro-Chancellor of the prestigious Baze University, Abuja who holds two Masters degrees and a PhD, has declared his intention to run for the presidency of Nigeria on the platform of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) come 2019.
In this interview with TheBoss in Calabar, Cross River State, the Presidential hopeful stated why he should be Nigeria’s president, putting forward cerebral ideas. Excerpts:
Why do you want to be the President of Nigeria
It’s very obvious. The situation that Nigeria is in today is not a good one. The future of Nigeria is scary, and it is only us, Nigeriansthat can provide our own solutions. Amongst us, there are those that God has set aside to work for others. I happen to be one of them.
We have had many heavy weights that have occupied that position but disappointed Nigerians in their delivery. Are you not scared of what you want to go into
No I’m not scared. The powers in that exalted office are commensurate to the challenges of Nigeria. I need the power of that office to address the enormous challenges that we have. The previous occupants of that exalted office are entitled to their own opinion as regards their challenges. I have not been into that office to know how difficult it is but I am never scared by difficulties, rather I am encouraged by results that are positive.
What and who have you identified as major actors responsible for Nigeria’s underdevelopment over the years
I don’t want to put all our former leaders in one category. I will rather address the current situation. Do me justice by allowing me to address the current situation. Now, if you want to know why this government is finding it difficult to run Nigeria’s affairs; the reasons are not farfetched. One, APC was an accident. Strange bird fellows felt they had to quickly form an alliance. Two, PDP committed a strategic error that was cashed on by the APC. Three, a government that claimed it was coming to fight corruption must avoid looted funds – APC has not been able to do that. Four, no responsible political organisation plays politics with insecurity. Five, you must never come to power without vision, without plans. These are among issues I can adduce as the reasons for the failure of APC.
Having identify all these factors, do you have plans to correct them, if you become the president
Absolutely! Take them one after another. If I don’t really recall the order, but I can assure you that I will never use looted funds to run my government and I will never be indebted to corrupt individuals and questionable business interests. I will not be forced to make appointments that are suspicious, which will have attendant consequences on the affairs of government. I will never play politics with insecurity. I have a clear vision and strategies for achieving the vision. Note that our movement is not by accident; we have carefully chosen ourselves. We are not picking losers who are hungry for power. There are principles we are strictly following in our movement.
“Let us look at what you are bringing to the table. Many strategies have been applied, with unimpressive results. What are you going to do differently”
It may be contrary to public opinion. We have not tried many. We have only tried a few. Among these few, we keep saying fighting corruption, fighting corruption. How are they fighting corruption? Nobody knows. Arresting people? But before I come to corruption, let me state how I intend to do things differently. Let us take insecurity for example. Like I told you, we are not playing politics with insecurity. It is too important. I want to keep it short and simple. We will account for every square metre in the Nigerian territory, and I beg not to say more than that. By accounting for, it covers everything else. Some people would play politics with it, but I won’t. I want a Nigeria where citizens will move freely, any time of the day, from any origin to any destination whatsoever. I want a Nigeria, where remuneration of all public servants irrespective of status will take them from the first day of the month to the last day of the month.
I want to redefine and rearrange Nigeria’s economic order, and take it away from the system where success is tied to who you are or who you know in government.
I want to redefine and rearrange Nigeria’s economic order, and take it away from the system where success is tied to who you are or who you know in government. Success and wealth will hence forth be adjudged based on how well one identifies and utilises opportunities; how industrious the person is. By so doing, the procurement system in Nigeria which is largely responsible for corruption will stop. Inflating government contracts will stop immediately. Technology would be used to capture all possible revenues for the government. Again, extortion by public servants would be brought down to the barest minimum, and it will trickle down to the private sector. Then education is the zenith of service to humanity and I have been participating in the highest level. I will bring this experience to bear in my government.
Tell us more about your antecedent
Well, I have been able to develop myself and many things before I dabbled into government. I was into consultancy, construction and real estate before I launched myself into higher education. By the special grace and power of the Almighty God, I have established one of the best private universities in Nigeria, where graduates who can stand the test of time are produced. Education is the very zenith; it is the height of service you can offer to your society and I have been privileged to participate in Nigerian education at the highest level. I have also been donating cash and materials to secondary schools in my constituency.
And if you would like to know what I did while I was in the parliament, of course, I will tell you. You know what the parliament is meant for. We make laws. I was the first, and I recall the only one to fight against inflation of government contracts; that was in 2004. You can go to the National Assembly to confirm this. I also passed a resolution or rather, I sponsored the resolution which allows victims of accidents and violent crimes to be treated in our hospitals without police reports. This is among many others as I can recall.
Again, I sponsored the resolution against wrong or false medical diagnosis in addition to sponsoring a bill against environmental degradation of the Niger Delta though I am not from that region.
Now what’s your message to Nigerians
My message is simple. In 2019, we must make a real change, and vote in Datti Baba-Ahmed for president. We must shun religious and ethnic politics, and vote for the right person which I represent – which I am.