By Victoria Ojeme
Young Progressives Party (YPP) governorship aspirant in Lagos State, Peter Folajimi Buraimoh, has said insecurity and voter apathy may mar the 2023 general elections.
Amongst other issues, the former Senior Special Assistant to the President of the National Youth Council of Nigeria on Youth and Student Matters, explained the type of leadership the nation deserves in 2023. He also spoke on his blueprint for a new Lagos if elected governor in 2023.
Preparation for the 2023 general elections are in top gear and the United Nations has said the choices Nigerians make in 2023 will determine the quality of leadership and governance in the country for the next four years, including Nigeria’s global position. What type of leadership and governance do you expect in 2023?
Nigeria suffered in the hands of military administrations who ruled the country at various times. Upon return to democracy in 1999, it was expected that issues militating against the growth and progress of the country would be laid to rest. But looking at happenings in the country, the country is even worse when you take a look at the state of insecurity, economy, corruption, maladministration, et cetera.
As the nation prepares for the 2023 general elections, I am looking forward to seeing that leader who will take the country out of the woods. I am earnestly looking forward to seeing a change in the political and leadership dynamics of the country in which every Nigerian can be proud of their country.
In conjunction with other well-meaning Nigerians, I am looking forward to a country where the basic social amenities will be available to all Nigerians, including the security of lives and property.
What is the best way of achieving the desired leadership and governance of the country in 2023? Is it by zoning, consensus arrangement or that the presidency be thrown open to all interested persons from the six geopolitical zones to participate?
I believe that the bank of knowledge available in Nigeria is big enough to solve Nigeria’s current problem and in that light, I think Nigerians should be given ample opportunities to choose a formidable leader that would champion the affairs of the country openly to anybody who seems fit and capable to lead Nigeria.
Going by happenings in the country, do you have fears regarding the 2023 elections?
My greatest fear is that of insecurity and voter apathy. I think the government of the day and Nigeria as a whole should rise up against the insecurity situation in the country.
For example, situations in Imo and Borno recently say it all, particularly where INEC officials were attacked. This is a threat to our democracy which gives me a lot of concern regarding the 2023 general election.
The position of women and youths in the leadership of this country is also very crucial. This has been the subject of discussion at different fora in recent times. What roles do you see women and youths playing in 2023?
Well, in YPP, we have a slogan for the women’s wing: “No woman, no nation.” Women are the producers of youth, while on the other hand, youths are the future of every nation.
Therefore, we, the youths and women, need to rise up and send a clear signal to our ancestors to rest so we can take leadership positions and responsibility in order to sail the boat of this country to a successful and safe harbour.
President Muhammadu Buhari will be seven years in office next month. What is your assessment of his administration?
Total failure! Any government that cannot protect the lives of its citizens is not qualified to be called a success. The current security situation in Nigeria is nothing to write about. Most Nigerian roads are still not fixed, air and sea security aren’t safe for the citizens to carry out their daily and usual activities without the threat to life.
Imagine having infrastructure that citizens aren’t guaranteed of utilizing due to the insecurity in the country, particularly banditry, kidnapping, armed robbery, etc. For example, see the recent carnage that took place in Kaduna both at the airport and even the rail attack by bandits. The current administration came in without the knowledge of governance.
How best can Nigeria tackle the issue of security, economy and corruption which were the three areas the current administration promised to elevate the country?
It is all about readiness. The people and government have to be ready to tackle these issues mentioned. Insecurity is gradually becoming a business in Nigeria, likewise corruption. Some former corrupt governors were pardoned recently and some went to pick up a form for the 2023 general election; terrorist pardoned and returned to the society, while their victims are in the IDP camps.
Corruption and insecurity is our major challenge and if effectively tackled, we would watch our economy boost back. But a country that can accommodate both foreign and local investors without the fear or threat to their investment would gradually experience a paradigm shift from a poor incapacitated state to a flourishing economy.
How far have you gone with your governorship ambition in Lagos State?
To start with, I am a registered member of a political party and I have declared my intentions to run in my party, the Young Progressive Party(YPP).
I’m currently trying to connect with the grassroots all over Lagos, trying to open their eyes to the fact that there is a need for a paradigm shift for whoever would emerge as a leader in the state in 2023.
Is it something that is realizable, considering the influence of APC in the state?
No condition is permanent. APC has not ruled Lagos from time immemorial. They came and we have seen what they have done and what they can do. We have seen how our children who graduated from 1999 till date are struggling to get jobs and are resorting to fraud.
The electorate should check their age from the beginning of the administration till date and have a record of achievements and they should have that in mind when going to the polls.
What will be your focus if elected into office?
My focus is making Lagos work again because currently, Lagos state is comatose. Technically, Lagos state is in the pocket of somebody who claims to be the owner of Lagos. I was not born to be in the pocket of anybody.
There are lots of opportunities for everyone to own their life and I would make sure all the potentials of Lagos state would be activated for Lagosians and Lagosians who want to work would be given job opportunity in areas of tourism and all our sea ports would become a fantastic and tourist destination the world would love to travel to.
In the area of keeping Lagos clean, we also have various job opportunities for Lagosians. Transportation, recycling, and many other aspects of opportunities which my government would open up to the public when we emerge in office.
As we move closer to 2023, what message do you have for your primary constituency, the Nigerian youths?
Liberate yourself from these adults who have been lying to us for years. We are growing older daily and things that we are entitled to as citizens of Nigeria are not given to us. The same man who told us that if we vote for the current president, we would get constant electricity is coming back to tell us today that if we vote for him, we are going to get constant electricity.
If Nigerian youths want to read between the lines, it would be an opportunity to retire all our ancestors and give the youth a chance to take control of our future.