Adamu Garba 11, an entrepreneur-turned politician, is a presidential aspirant on the platform of the All Progressives Congress (APC). During his visit to the BusinessDay’s corporate head office in Apapa, Lagos, he spoke to senior editorial staff on his mission and the Nigeria of his dream. INIOBONG IWOK, political correspondent, was at the session. Excerpts:
May we know the political party platform you wish to contest on, and how confident are you that you would get the party’s ticket?
I am a member of the APC, and I am contesting on the platform of the party as president. We have been assured and given guarantee that they would do the right thing, we want to see the way the primaries will go first, before thinking of the next move.
The APC made a lot of promises before the 2015 general election and most of them have remained unfulfilled; what would you do differently?
It is simple; we are going to do structural reform and to do that you have to liberalise the economy; it would be a complete turnaround, even the appointment of the ministers would be handled by a consulting firm McKenzie or KPMG. The economy may not be moving in the right direction in the present administration, but you have to realise that confronting the system is not easy, the system is corrupt and the kind of politics we play here is based on ethnicity and religion; I would discourage religion being used as an object to divide the country; I would discourage my religious life being made public issues. It should be private and I may sue anyone who brings my religion life into a public discourse.
Most of the people here focus on themselves but we would discourage that, we are going to focus on the system and when we do that you would still change.
It is the political will; the country is always bigger than any individual; it is my idea to run for the president; it is not for the country to serve you; you serve the country so that it can work.
What about funding; how do you intend to fund your campaigns?
Yes, I realise it is important, and we are trying to look at crowd funding and advertising; we would speak with BusinessDay to help us do the marketing; we are also thinking of exploring other sources; we hope to get money.
How would you deal with issues of land use act in tackling the housing needs of Nigerians?
I don’t think we would put stringent land laws in the country, but I would give the ownership of land to their owners, naturally if you buy a land it is your own; there is no need for unnecessary documentation giving you power of the land. Our Land Use Act is a big problem; before anybody can review it, it must be removed from the constitution.
Most of the time, it is just the political will to get it out of constitution; most of the time we have back water deal negotiations; ones we have political will that can be done through credible media, fair and sincere objective. There must be that sincere political will to talk to the mind of the people; if it is my responsibility to make the people know that this is my challenges so that they can talk to the people. It is going to come out with the right process.
You have limited experience in terms of managing people, how do you intend to manage the country?
We manage over 200 companies, who manage thousand others, those thousands also manage thousands. Then we are in a digitalised world where managing staff is easy; my job is to formulate policies and make sure they work so that the ministers can implement the policies. We would also build a citizen services centre so that the people can download and monitor what is happening in the country. As president, I have to monitor the process.
How would you deal with corruption in the country?
On the issue of corruption, we would put transparent e-governance system; we would not just put people in jail, we put in a mechanism to monitor people, to prevent people from stealing in the first place; there are some bad money around; we would not just put this toxic money there. We have to push toxic money out of the economy.
We would be the chief task officers to market Nigeria to Nigerians; and the reason is to market, let Nigerians see the country as their own, so that we can together build and protect it.
Former President Obasanjo tried, but I think Obasanjo rushed the process because they did not have time to think things over. They did not measure the competency of the people, they did not look if the people they were selling the things to had the capital and capacity and even their technical partnership to deliver to the country.
What is your view on raging agitations for the restructuring of the country?
There are several stages of restructuring that need to be natural especially like state of residence, federal character. The only area I have concern is the area of resource control; because we need power, we need to build industries and we can’t do this by concentrating power in the regions; for example in Enugu we have large deposit of coal that we need to develop; but that cannot be done by concentrating power in the regions. We need to privatise the port; all of us want to survive from what is coming and accruing to the country and not grant from the regions.
The word is moving focus away from oil, even Saudi Arabia has moved from oil, we need money to diversify the economy, implement programmes, policies and all that.
What is your view on the security situation in the country?
The problem started long ago. Just after the civil war we had identity crisis; we had militant problems shortly after returning to democracy in 1999, and presently we have herdsmen attack that is where the country is going because we have identity crisis. We need to move away from leaders who are there for their personal interest; we need to make Nigerians realise that Nigeria is their personal project and not the country.
Look at Benue, it has more fruits that could be used to produce fruits by juice-producing companies; even shops like Shoprite instead of buying from here are importing several of their wares from South Africa. We need to change this and build relationship between the farmers and herdsmen so that when this happens, the farmers can think there is something he can depend on the herdsmen for; then there would not be need for him to fight with the herdsmen because they would see themselves as partners in progress.
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