By Moses Nosike
Dr. Sam Ohuabunwa is the Convener, The New Nigeria Group, a group with a vision to make Nigeria become a first world nation, where all the citizens live in harmony, treated equally to achieve peace and prosperity for all.
In pursuit of that vision for a better Nigeria that would compete globally, Ohuabunwa has been into advocacy, written several books, organised seminars, conferences nationally and internationally; became chairman, president of institutions, organisations, groups to ensure that these efforts yield desired results, but he discovered that the more effort he makes, the more his struggle and matter worsen, hence he has decided to take a bolder steps to lead Nigerians come 2023 under the platform and flagship of PDP.
In the course of being a leader to several bodies in the private sector, Ohuabunwa has travelled to many countries of the world and saw political leaders planned and developed their environment and things are working for the good of every citizen. Back here, Ohuabunwa wonders why things are not working in his country, Nigeria.
Following this, he has identified four major challenges Nigeria is facing in which he has prepared himself to tackle for the country to move forward if Nigerians would allow him to lead this country come 2023. These challenges include, poverty, corruption, injustice and insecurity.
In a media chart with journalists in Lagos during his meeting with South West Campaign Committee Mazi Ohuabunwa appreciated the efforts and hardwork of the committee, and said, “we are here to champion a good course that would liberate Nigerian masses”.
According to him, we have been into advocacy discussing how Nigeria will move forward, but finally we are leaving the advocacy part to go into the real action.
Ohuabunwa said, “I wouldn’t have been here today if our country had attained the global competitiveness I have worked for. Since 1986 I was group sales manager for Pfizer International, and I attended sales conference in New York city. We had 160 countries that came to that conference and 160 managers and directors. At the end of the one week programme I was surprised on a Friday midday when it was announced that I was the best participating sales manager in the meeting. I was surprised because we were actually three of us from Africa.
While participants were congratulating me, one of them around and asked me, sir which University did I attend and I answered him University of Ife. He said where, I repeated University of Ife, and he asked me where is the University located, I said in Nigeria. He asked, do you have good universities in Nigeria, I said many, and he said you are a smart guy and that means there are other smart guys in your country, I said yes, there many guys more smarter than me. Then the man asked, why is your country the way it is?
Since that day, this problem on how to change Nigeria started in my spirit. And for the first time I became conscious that my country is not globally competitive, my country is not measuring up. To drive that matter home, as I returned my trip that week, I landed at Muhammed Airport here, I entered the hall, the heat hit me, I looked the aircondition is not working enough.
Starting from the airport, things are not working. When I came out to wait for my luggage, I spent almost an hour waiting for my luggage and when it finally came out the bag was tampered. As I went out to get into my car, taxi drivers were all calling, Oga where you dey go, I told them I know where I’m going.
It wasn’t so in New York where I’m coming from. Things were organised at their airport, and everything is working in their country. I asked myself, can’t my country work this way?
Ohuabunwa said that between then, I have gone to 59 other countries, I have gone to 60 countries in my life time. Each time I arrived any country, unconsciously what I begin to do is to measure the country against Nigeria. “I will look at their roads, environment, transportation, compare their buses and I will remember our Danfo and Molue in Lagos.
I will look at their educational system, healthcare system and how they treat human beings, the dignity with which people move around. If you are travelling in any street in the New York, Atlanta or Georgia, you see people driving in beautiful new cars. Among people driving those beautiful cars are plumbers, carpenters, students etc.
There you see people living in beautiful houses, among those living in those houses are teachers, artisans, shop keepers, and I said, what is wrong with my country, why can’t we be like them?
So, that set me into advocacy. I thought that the way to change Nigeria being a private sector leader was through advocacy, and that was why you saw me becoming President of MAN Ikeja, President of NECA, Chairman of Nigerian Economic Summit Group. Every private sector Organisation I went to, I became a leader, not because I don’t have anything doing or I want something to do, but I was ceased with a passion to see how we can change Nigeria.
For the hunger to change Nigeria, we go out to preach, make presentation, run summit, run conferences. Some of you know economic summit where we run conferences every year. In October, we gather everybody in the world, come to Nigeria, tell us how you have achieved your own economic reverse and we bring our own people, politicians, political office holders to come and listen to see if they can emulate them.
That is why I said we need to have a vision for our country, so we started Vision 2010 even though at first, Abacha didn’t allow us to start it. But when he began to think of transmuting he allowed us. As we finished the vision he died, then we took the vision document to the succeeding President who in his picture said he will not look at the document.
In the interim running these businesses as chairman, Pfizer, President of NECA and others, I got to travel frequently, attended international meetings and it will shock to know that comparative statistics shown about Nigeria, we are at the bottom; in human development index, we are on the bottom, and others.