On 28 February 2018 I formally made myself available to serve our country as President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria come 2019. I intend to be a candidate for President in 2019 because:
a) Progressively increasing poverty, unemployment and insecurity are threatening our very existence as a country and our lives as citizens of Nigeria; we must turn our future around to one of stability and prosperity for the sake of our youth and children;
b) Our recycled political leaders who brought us to this point have clearly failed, and we must send them into retirement at the ballot box in a democratic revolution in 2019;
c) With our traditional politicians having failed us so badly, I believe we now need a technocrat with vision, character, competence and track record as President to begin the process of solving our problems with competent leadership, governance and economic management. It is time.
d) My experience and track record at senior leadership levels in reconstructing broken countries in my United Nations career, in economic management in Nigeria, in international diplomacy, and as a professor who has taught public policy and economic development to students from various countries at Tufts University’s prestigious Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy in the USA, and as an entrepreneur has given me a unique combination of concrete leadership experience that has prepared me well to lead Nigeria.
That I have not previously been a Nigerian politician is precisely why, against the background of the kind of experience above, I am well placed to lead Nigeria effectively. We have many politicians but no real leaders, and that is why we are now the poverty capital of the world with the highest numbers of absolutely poor people of any country on earth.
We need to understand that dislodging the old order in our country will not be a walk-over. But, with our collective determination and participation, IT CAN BE DONE. Do you have your Permanent Voters Card (PVC)?. If not, please go and get one. Don’t let any obstacle stop you. That is PVC#1. After that comes PVC#2: Please Vote Carefully.
I intend to win the 2019 presidential election. As I write, we (the movement of citizens that I am a part of) are organizing across the country, north, south, east and west to accomplish this. With your determination and participation as citizens, it will happen and we can begin a new and better chapter in our national history.
Disregard the pretensions of our failed and recycled politicians that they are indispensable just because they have (mostly stolen public) funds and structures. That is how they have maintained their hold on power in the service of their vested interests instead of serving the people — by intimidating citizens. It’s just like the biblical encounter between David and Goliath. We know how that ended.
I will announce the party platform on which I intend to contest the election in a few weeks. I do not intend to contest the election on the platform of the two parties of the old political order, APC and PDP, that have brought our country to its present sorry state. We need something truly new and different, not old wine in seemingly new wine-skin. We need a new way of organizing and doing things that answers to the talent and aspirations of our youth and our women. Both demographics make up most of our population but have no voice in the scheme of things. But for this to become reality, we all need to become more confident and participate actively by voting for the right leadership choices.
We don’t need messiahs and should be wary of anyone who pretends he or she will be one — as recent experience has taught us! But a government that I will lead will be radically different and will achieve radically different outcomes that will lead our citizens and our country to prosperity. What will be different? A sampler, but there is much more. We will:
Run a merit-based but inclusive government that will heal our country and build a nation, and be ready to work from Day One.
Ensure full implementation of the National Youth Policy to empower our youth in governance and as private citizens.
Implement a gender parity policy of 50:50 ratio in political appointments for women and men, but will go beyond that to undertake massive social education that will attack the underlying roots of gender bias.
Complete, in collaboration with the National and State Assemblies, a constitutional restructuring of Nigeria that restores true federalism for stability and prosperity within two years of taking office.
Create an innovation-led economy and establish a public-private venture capital fund to provide equity funding to unemployed youth to start new businesses that will in turn employ other Nigerians as these businesses grow; the minimum capital of this fund will be N500 billion but with counterpart private sector funding it could be up to N1 trillion in size.
Introduce legislation for compulsory voting by Nigerian citizens in elections; this will empower Nigerians and deepen the culture of democracy in Nigeria.
We have seen the power of the people yield electoral outcomes that disrupted the status quo in countries like France (Emmanuel Macron), United States (Barack Obama, Donald Trump) and some African countries like our neighboring Gambia. Together, we can do it in our country Nigeria too. But it requires your will and action. You and I can and will form the structures necessary to make it happen. Don’t say: “this would be good for Nigeria but will ‘they’ let him win? Who is “they”? It’s you and me if you, the people, so decide. Bad leaders come to office only when good people do nothing. Let’s prevent that in 2019. It is time.