Buhari on sabbatical, can’t move Nigeria beyond his vision of Daura

Professor Iyorwuese Hagher is a presidential aspirant of the Social Democratic Party (SDP). The one-time minister and Nigeria’s ambassador to Canada, in this interview, boasts that he will defeat President Muhammadu Buhari in the 2019 elections. He also says that he will initiate a revolution that will bring back Nigeria’s past glory. Hagher Why do you want to be President? In this country, we have witnessed how Nigeria has failed to keep its promise to be a great country that the rest of African nations can look up to, that the rest of the black world can look up to; that the international community can see that truly there is nothing wrong with having African genes. The founding fathers of Nigeria fought for our independence from the colonial government because they had a big vision. It was after the Second World War in which our troops had fought. When they came back home, they said ‘what is this that we have here, what are these people doing here?’ And the contradiction of colonialism became apparent. They started fighting for independence and the struggle led to the 23-year-old man, Anthony Enahoro, moving the motion for the independence of Nigeria. We got our independence in 1960 and we became a republic in 1963. The promise was that we were now free people, all the ethnic groups in Nigeria were one and same, we were not a theocracy, we were not a kingdom, we are a Federal Republic of Nigeria and had a Constitution that guaranteed quality, justice, freedom. 58 years down the line today, Nigeria is still promising to be a great nation with potentials but that promise is yet to be realised, something worse is happening, Nigeria is threatening to be a failed state. By simple definition, a failed state is a state that is no longer able to protect the lives and property. This is what we are today. Nigeria is the most risky place to be. We have two of the world’s greatest terrorist groups operating in full steam in Nigeria: Boko Haram and herdsmen. So we see the promise going down the drain, we see Nigeria on the verge of plunging into the abyss to become a totally failed state. The indicators are not good, our universities are not counted among the best 500 universities in the world, our health indicators show infant morbidity and maternal deaths that are preventable. Nigerians are dying from preventable diseases; we don’t have any infrastructure that should usher Nigeria into the 21st century. Meanwhile, Nigeria has the fastest population growth of young people. These young people are not regarded as a critical resource as a result of which the educational system is weighed against them. Nigeria is preparing itself to be a country with the highest interest rate on earth because, as of today, there are 13.2 million Nigerian kids not registered in the school system. Charade Nigerians have been forced to endure a political system that is a charade. Our democracy is not sustainable because it is a government that protects the interest of a small elite of not more than three million people who are civil servants, politicians, who have acquired positions in the executive, in the legislature. They eat the totality of the Nigerian wealth, the oil wealth, leaving very little for the country to develop the infrastructure. The consequence is that we have no light, no water in three quarter of our cities, agriculture is at a very low level because Nigerians in the rural areas are no better than slaves. Colossal failure of leadership What I am saying is that there is a colossal failure of leadership in this country. We do not have a leadership that has a vision to make Nigeria a great country. I have decided that my one agenda is to make Nigeria a great country and our journey to greatness will begin with fundamental restructuring of everything and, therefore, I am going beyond restructuring. What we need is a revolution and I am instigating that peaceful revolution and that is why my campaign is called ‘The Revolution of Hope’. Many people have given up hope. They have given up hope that any good thing can come out of Nigeria. They have given up hope that our politics will give anything but bad leadership, they have given up hope that it is impossible to do decent business in Nigeria without giving bribes, they have given up hope that the war on corruption cannot be won in Nigeria, but I have hope and I am bringing hope that Nigeria can break away from mediocrity. How do you think you will match President Buhari? Do you think you have a chance especially coming from the minority tribe? I will defeat Buhari very easily and I do not accept those who feel that a professor is inferior to a money bag. We have never had a professor as a President, try one.Hagher.png Ghana has had it, they jumped out of poverty. We need somebody who can go out to the world and face the best there and challenge them. We need somebody who can stand his ground and defend his country from economic hit men. We need somebody who is not intimidated because he has had other experiences as a diplomat in highly developed countries. I am not a minority. I am a majority because I am running for President on behalf of all the women, I am running for President on behalf of all the youths from the farthest corner of Sokoto to the farthest corner of Port Harcourt or Calabar. I want to challenge anybody, all those people who say ‘oh, if the parties have zoned it to the North it has to go to the far North, so that we can draw the kind of crowd President Buhari got in the last election in the North’. Well, they are wrong. In 1979, Shehu Shagari won and the states that gave him the President were the minority states. If you mention Benue as a minority state, tell me how come that any presidential candidate that Benue votes for wins? Anybody Benue votes as a presidential candidate wins and, this time, Benue has already declared its votes, they are voting for Prof. Iyorwuese Hagher, that is why you have not heard any other candidate coming from there in spite of the fact that they have many people highly qualified. Paradigm The paradigm has shifted. Nigeria is sick of having a country that is not functioning. The President of a country is faced with genocide on his people and he throws his hands in the air and he said there is nothing he can do about it. That means you are in deep trouble. So nobody is thinking ‘let us go to the core North’. The whole idea of core and periphery is a shameful, exclusionary device from the imaginaries of people who are sick. We are a federation. If you say core Muslim states, say it, but don’t say core North. I am from the core North as any other person. There is no periphery of the North and there is no core North that is different from mine. And that held notion that for four times that we have elected President, it had to be somebody from the North West has been the same imaginary exclusionary device where we feel that certain sections must be in power and certain sections must not be in power. It is a folly, it is a travesty, it is ignorance of gargantuan proportions that Nigeria has now suddenly become far too aware to allow Professor Hagher to be denied the presidency merely because he is not from one part of the country nor he speaks not one type of language nor he prays in a different fashion.

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