By Clifford Ndujihe and Gab Ejuwa
Dr. Sam Nwanti is a presidential aspirant on the platform of Chief Anthony Enahoro-led National Reformation Party, NRP. With 18 years experience as a detective in the United States, Nwanti has a Masters Degree in Law Enforcement Management and a Bachelors degree in Criminal Justice Management.
During a courtesy visit to Vanguard weekend, he spoke on his aspiration, how to combat graft and ensure credible polls. Excerpts:
Your name does not ring a bell in Nigeria’s political firmament. Who is Dr. Sam Nwanti?
I am a detective by profession, a criminalist. I was born and brought up in Nigeria. I am a native of Mbieri in Mbaitolu Local Government Area of Imo State. I attended Emuku High School and passed out in 1980, started importation business and left for the United States in 1984. I am married with four kids.
In 2003, I was to come out for the governorship of my state but withdrew for some reasons. In 2007, I had also wanted to come out for the presidency but my supporters and associates in the U.S said I should wait till 2011. Also, we were looking at the platform to use. Fortunately, we have a got a party, the NRP, led by Chief Anthony Enahoro.
How long have you been in the NRP?
I have been a member of the NRP for more than six years. Why did you withdraw from the governorship race in 2003?
I stepped down because I was in the United States and I did not think it was a good opportunity to run.
From governorship, which you did not contest you are going for the presidency? Why are you in the race?
I want my kids and Nigerians living abroad to come home. One of the reasons I am running is to rebuild this country immediately I step in as president. I have a team of civil engineers, urban designers, etc that want to come in. They have much interest in rebuilding Nigeria.
Can’t your associates, as it were, come if you were not the president?
They can’t come because they don’t trust Nigerians. The only reason they are trusting me is because I have worked as a detective in the U.S for 20 years. They figure that I am the only person that can bring law and justice in this country and that is basically the truth.
With your experience, have you tried to partner with the government in the past?
In 2004, I made a proposal to then Governor of Rivers State (Dr. Peter Odili). If he had listened to me, the problem of militancy in the Niger Delta would not have escalated. I brought a proposal for secret guards to stop the problems but for some reasons, they turned they turned down my proposal. If they had listened to me, by now, there wouldn’t be militants, kidnapping, etc. That is one of the reasons I am running for the presidency.
What was the proposal like?
Then, in Rivers State and Niger Delta, I sensed that there were a lot of youths. Most of them left the colleges and Universities and they don’t have jobs. When I sensed that, I sent a proposal to the governor that as a criminalist based in the States that I have a proposal that could eliminate the imminent problems before they got out of hand. My intention was to use the same jobless youths to implement the proposal but it was turned down. If Odili had listened to me from the beginning, the problem would not have gone out of hand.
How prepared are you for the presidential race given the glut of strong aspirants like President Goodluck Jonathan, Gen. Muhammadu Buhari, Alh.Atiku Abubakar, etc?
I am ready for the contest and fully prepared. I will campaign and let people know my intentions. I am prepared to rebuild this country like the United States.
What should Nigerians expect from your administration, if elected?
As a criminalist, I will stop corruption. I will build and rehabilitate industries, which is part of the causes of 419 and fraud going on. Our youths graduating from schools have no jobs. Another thing is modification of our criminal justice system. I will also ensure constant power supply, good roads, free education, healthcare and security.
How do you see the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC’s preparations for the elections and how can we ensure credible polls in 2011?
The Government approved nearly N90 billion for the INEC to conduct free and fair election. I think they will do their best to conduct credible elections. Apart from the INEC, we should sanction election riggers. Any person that tampers with any election or aids and abets tampering with any election should be jailed for nothing less than 10 years because this election is our future.
What are your plans to address the issues of the economy?
My intention is to bring experts from different areas to move this country forward while I focus on my specialty, which is to stop corruption. Corruption has become so deep-seated in this country that it has stunted growth in all sectors and has been the primary reason behind the country’s difficulties in development. Oil rich Nigeria has been long hobbled by corrupt politicians, inadequate infrastructure and poor macro-economic management. The government has spent money without oversight or control.
They have allowed corruption to hold and spiral out of control. Huge contracts were awarded without regard to due process. Nigerian leaders have stolen over N70 trillion from 1998 – 2009 and about N800 trillion since 1960. Nigerian leaders have looted over N700 billion in foreign aid. Nigeria has lost over $150 billion in oil revenue due to violence and theft. With N800 trillion we will re-build the country. My administration will create 80 million jobs apart other areas in law enforcement.
What is your advice to Nigerians ahead the polls?
Do not vote in any person or persons that are corrupt. Don’t people who try to entice you with money. Vote in credible people who can do the job and move the country forward.