•My path to the presidency is clear
•Jonathan has case to answer on Adamawa
SAM Nda- Isaiah, who until recently resigned his position as the Publisher of Leadership Newspapers, in this interview, wants all democratic arsenals to be deployed towards ensuring that President Goodluck Jonathan does not continue till 2019.
Nda-Isaiah’s grouse is hinged on his believe that the perceived incompetence of the administration, is responsible for the current disorderly state of the nation. He also says his decision to run for the presidency on the platform of the All Progressives Congress, APC, was informed by the desire to arrest Nigeria’s descent to doom. Excerpts:
BY CHARLES KUMOLU
YOUR decision to run for the presidency has attracted mixed reactions. In the mind of some people, you are probably acting out a script while others don’t consider you a serious aspirant. Are you really serious about running?
I don’t think any body will say so. Maybe some people said so at the beginning but by now,I think it has become very clear to those people. Whose script are my acting? I am glad that you read my articles and I am sure that you and many of those who know me, understand my passion for this country and my desire to see it work.
I don’t need to act a script. Before deciding to run, l had a good job which I was enjoying. I have always said that it is a better paying job than the presidency.
Running for the presidency is not something I jumped into without giving it a serious thought. It is not a job to be enjoyed. It does not make sense to say that I am acting a script. I think some people always judge by their standards. If I did not see a path to victory, I would not waste my time by getting involved in the process. I had a job that I was enjoying and l believe it pays better than the presidency. The presidency appears lucrative for those who want to steal public funds.
Two prominent leaders in your party, Bola Tinubu and Gen Mohammadu Buhari, rtd, are being touted as possible presidential candidates. Don’t you think that their rumored ambition might affect your chances?
Buhari has not said that he will contest even though that it is most likely that he will. For Asiwaju, there was a rumour that he will contest but that has died down. Every body has a strategy. I have the one that will give me victory. I think that every body that intends to contest in the APC should have his own strategy.
I don’t think that anybody will be a threat to anyone. I think that anybody that will win would be someone with superior advantages because there is going to be primaries. It is not as if somebody is going to be imposed on the party. And if there is going to be consensus, it is going to be a real consensus. Such consensus will have the blessing of everyone.
Would you support Buhari if he the consensus favours him?
By the constitution of the party, even if there will be a consensus, there will still be primaries. Consensus does not overrule primaries. I am in this race to win. So far I am the only person who has declared publicly and I don’t think I will be the only person ultimately. And I am doing all I need to ensure that we win.
Would you decamp if you lose out in the party selection?
A real consensus is a situation where everyone has agreed on one person. And it is still open to be contested by a few aspirants who may not agree with consensus. Those candidates will still go ahead and contest in the primaries. I was in CPC before it joined other parties to form the APC. I have never jumped the ship. I cannot leave my party for another one because of desperation for power.
Everybody in the APC has agreed on the need to step careful when choosing our presidential candidate because Nigerians are watching us. APC is not the defunct CPC, ACN or ANPP where one powerful person can impose candidates on the party. Nobody is big enough to impose candidates on the APC.
So nobody has been imposed on the party. People are free to strategise on who to be their running mate. It is all part of the strategies that I told you about. I will not be telling you my own strategy.
What is your plan to revive Nigeria?
We intend to start afresh as a nation because every thing is wrong. This is not how to run a nation. Our message is on two legs. Unity of the nation has to come first.
Nigerians have to come together and act as one strong indivisible nation if we intend to make progress. If we intend to move from where we are now to a better future, we must do that as one strong indivisible nation. Countries that are better than us did that to get to where they are now.
It is sad that we see ourselves as northerners, southerners, Christians, Muslims, Pentecostals or Catholics.
We are too divided in this country. We can’t continue like that as a nation. The division is happening because the leaders want it to happen. To unite this country is easy. You don’t need a budget to unite this country. All you need is to be sincere and ensure justice and fairness for all. If as president, you treat the nation the way you treat your family, we will be united. But that is not how Nigeria is being run.
You don’t become desperate for power at the expense of the future of the nation. Ultimately, it will backfire. Our second message is on security. I would not have added this to what we intend to do if not that the security situation has become so bad. The primary function of any president is to secure the lives of his people.
Whether you are a democrat or a monarch the first job of any leader is to secure his people. The leader that we have now has failed. It is not difficult to achieve.
Don’t forget that our police men and security forces used to be adjudged as one of the best in the world in those days when we used to go for peacekeeping. But corruption has changed it all. When you send two hundred guns without bullets to four hundred soldiers, what do you expect? The state governments now get fifty percent of their monthly allocations instead of hundred because the money that would be made has all been stolen today. So there is no money to do any thing.
There was a time that Fashola used to give a billion Naira yearly to the police, but that is no longer done. Other state governments also contributed to their state police commands even though there is no state police but many of them cant be able to do that any more because they get only fifty percent of their allocation. That is also an impeachable offense.
Some governors have gone to court several times but nothing came out of it. As long as you tackle corruption as the president, you will have money to carry out developmental functions. As we speak now there is no money to do anything.
In the past we used to send our troops for peace keeping in African countries, now Ghana has said that they would be gracious to send us troops to fight Boko Haram. That is an insult. We are the giant of Africa and should be strong enough to protect ourselves and other African nations. Nigeria is not a small country, so we should not belittle the country because of our incompetence and corruption.
Your party has been having serious reverses in Ekiti, Adamawa and now Nasarawa. Is there any problem with the party?
Somebody decided to take the law into his hands by bribing the House of Assembly members with $300,000 each. The alleged offense of Nyako was committed five years ago when he was still in PDP. The president should be asked why he thinks it is possible to run a state like this.
Knowing the history
I keep saying that the president has to be careful. This is Nigeria, and if you know the history very well you will know that you don’t just take the people for a ride. If you think that you can do something and say that you are not the one, you will not go free in Nigeria. Many APC governors have been penciled down for impeachment.
One thing that is clear to me is that no matter what Jonathan does, it is not possible to continue in the state that we are now. We can’t continue in this state of disorder, insecurity, corruption and theft beyond 2015.
Nigerians are going to rescue themselves, the president should not think that he will do all these and continue till 2019. Nigerians will rescue their country. It is not the APC that should be asked about the impeachment.
If you don’t emerge as the candidate, what happens?
We intend to win. Wait and see our strategies. We are not planning for failure, because we are sure of victory. The APC is not going to anoint any candidate. We will conduct our primaries.
The APC is not like the PDP where Jonathan will decide not to conduct primaries. The APC is the most democratic party in Nigeria today. We know what is happening in the PDP.
All the governors that decamped from the PDP did that because they knew there was no equity and justice in the PDP. They are here because they know there will be fairness even though the President wants to impeach every body. Maybe the controversial twenty billion dollars was enmarked for the purpose of sponsoring impeachments. They are using corruption to fight alleged corruption.