Oby Ezekwesili Speaks On Plans For Security And How She Will Create 80 Million Jobs If Elected President In 2019.
The Co-founder of Bring Back our Girls who was speaking in an interview programme called Politico Politica, also revealed her plans on how she would rid Nigeria of ‘Internal terrorism’ , insecurity issues and Poverty.
On political literay level of Nigerians, she rated Nigeria as three out of impossible 10 because we sufferer many years of militarization and so we knew military rule more than we knew Democracy. It is now a very young democracy in the sense that the younger generation that is those born in 1999 will come to 20 years, they will be first time voters, they are still an insignificant portion of the populations and so the literacy level of democracy or what democracy requires is pretty low. So a lot of civic engagement is necessary to take us to say seven out of ten. She Said
See Excerpt of the interview below:
Interviewer: What is responsible for Political Illiteracy?
Ezekwesili: Apathy, citizens have felt that Government really doesn’t play much of a role in their life, they have the thinking that let me mind my business and do the things that are important to me, forgetting that there is nothing more important than having a Government that functions . Also people forget that for you to have a role in governance. Another thing is that the understanding of governance as concept is still a bit distorted; People believe that for you to have a role, you must be an appointed official of government or be somebody who is working in government but government as a construct is something that requires the engagement of the citizens, there is a demand side and there is a supply side. if those who are citizens don’t play their active citizenship role well, there is no demand side for governance the supply side will do anything they like, they will behave like monopolist, they have no pressure
Interviewer: What can the media do:
Ezekwesili : we often say that the media is a purveyor of public policy it really is at the heart of democratic accountability by the way it focuses on the issues of governance and by the way it focuses on matters of public interest, it can create the necessary momentum for democracy to work and that is why of all professions, it is only the media that find themselves mentioned in the constitution of the country.
The three arms, the executive, the legislative, the judiciary and then the media, the media is expected to help advance the knowledge of democracy and political systems but sometimes i think it is a tough responsibility to simply give the media the responsibility without the tools to do these effectively
civic organizations who have the content on what needs to be known by the populace can actually partner, partnerships are important so that media can use its platform to distribute and who ensured develops the content and who ensure the costs involved, how do you sort of balance the costs because Media need to be profitable for it to continue to go.
Interviewer: How did you come about your Ambition: When did you decide that you want to become the president of Nigeria?
Ezekwesili: (laughs) i remember asking my Dad why are we not like countries that i see on television and my dad said, one country is governed well and the other country is not governed well, and that there is something called good governance and then as child i was privileged to be one of those that founded Transparency international, it was consistent with this issue of fixing bad governance and promoting good governance and at the end of 2017, it wasn’t about running, it was about political consciousness. i came to the understanding that our citizens not being politically conscious were leaving the space wide open for our political class to define it the way they liked, i decided that i would spend much time talking about politics and how politics relates to governance, how it relates to economic development and to really get the citixxens wjho follow me to see that we really need to do more
By the beginning of 2018 a tragedy occurred that got me off that journey, something got me , Benue killings hit us in the early hours of the new year, at that time i thought to myself the reaction of the government was similar to what one had seen in the previous administration, the fact that the way that the Nigerian life was being devalued as if to say nothing happened, the next thing was that they were saying was how they were preparing to launch the re-election bid of the president. On a day that we were seeing pictures of Nigerians gruesomely murdered, grandmothers, children, father, mother and all kinds of things, it was horrific, it was really horrific!
So I say I am giving the red card to the political class, and I started tweeting about red card and many Nigerians also said we are giving a red card to the Political class, because there is no difference whether it’s like APC and PDP we don’t see the difference, it’s like six and half a dozen
From the twitter engagement came an organic move and that there is need for our political system to re-invent itself and to bring in the kinds of mind that will look at politics differently from this bad leadership, self aggrandizement, incompetency mediocrity and every other thing that shows a lack of understanding that governance must be to improve the quality of life of the citizen.
It was from that we went on to do a summit of the alternative, to sort of say, if you gave red card to some people you who are the credible substitute of those that you gave red card to and so that process was on and people were saying they were getting ready to go and choose between the lesser of two evils (BUTIKU) so we were back again to what had happened in previous elections so I I said Nigeria does not have four years to experiment at this momentum of failure, especially when you juxtaposed it with the fact that a report came out showing that , we have become the world capital of poverty and our political class did not stop to say, ‘these victims are the group of people that we governed’
Interviewer: When at any point in time did you feel your gender was going to be a disadvantage?
My gender has never been a factor in believing that I could solve problems otherwise it would have held me back. I have track record of having solved problems in different context. You can see my life story and career part as one where I had to solved problems
I have worked in Private sector, civil society, worked in the international level, helped leaders to build their nation, helped leaders to build economic prosperity in countries, solved governance issues, I’ve done things which brought me face to face with the regular citizens and those skills and character, especially the steadfastness of character which makes me to subscribe to fundamental values , they all stand me out
Interviewer: You have talked about the problems, how you plan to solve them, we want to hear the solution, your vision
Ezekwesili: Number one is solving the poverty Crisis that we became the world capital of poverty, 87 million of our citizens in pernicious, extreme poverty. We overtook India, a country that is seven times our population in that regard. We must tackle the poverty challenge immediately, that is why in my Manifesto, we talk about lifting 80 million Nigerians out of poverty is a centrality of what we want to achieve of course while achieving.
Of course while achieving that, we want to create the environment for the prosperity of every other Nigeria, our handle for doing so is putting the private sector at the centre of economic progress while the government does what it does well, what it should do well, we are going to be very effective on the policy side of things, whether the whole macro-economic policy; Monetary Policy by an independent Central Bank, Fiscal policy by an administration that understands that we need to have run healthy Budget, we need to have structure of budget that focuses very well on the development of critical capital around physical capital of infrastructure human capital of human beings who are healthy who then get the opportunity for the right kind of skills and knowledge and resilience, a government that understands the limit of what it can do in the economy and deregulate as many sectors as possible so that private sector has an e-road into those sectors that has opportunity for growth.
What we are going to get is an economy that works when that economy works, it works on the basis of advanced progress, in productivity and competitiveness, when that happens, what you have is jobs, jobs and more jobs. That means that you are solving the poverty problem because as people earn income they take themselves out of poverty
The third part of it is the conversation that Oil has had its days, and we are probably in post oil economy, In Nigeria we are doing a sea change where we are saying that education will be the new oil and human capital will be the new economy. That changes the mindset, it changes the set of people that want to go into politics; It is no longer politics of indolence of waiting for price of oil to increase and when it falls they say ‘why am I unfortunate which is what our president did.
Interviewer: What about the Issue of Insecurity, How will you bring our Girls back?
Ezekwesili: The primacy of the Nigerian life is based on the fact that if the citizens are not alive, you are not able to convert them from just human beings to world-class capital. So you have got to have a security system that safeguards the lives of your citizens. That primacy, that dignity-the ‘Nigerian life matters’ kind of position in our administration means that we will broaden the concept of security of the Nigerian life to human security where we are focused to on ensuring that the signal we give is that Nigerian citizens cannot be left to this kind of what will be will be. Just think of people who can kill our people, easily live in our country and we have not figured out what to do with it. No, This kind of internal terrorism will not happen under my command as President and commander in chief of the armed offices we will do a very strong SWORT team that will focus on ridding our territory of those who hate us so much that all they do is to inflict pain and killings.
The second thing is Reforming our military establishment, we would focus on professionalizing systems, and commands and structures and then we look at preventive measures, where intelligence assets have to be stacked up in our favour, intelligence asset when it is built up as well as it should; collaborating and sharing systems with our neighbours and others, what will happen is that you will be preemptive and pro-active and ultimately you will be preventive.
The final thing is broadening, It means that the economy growing will provide job opportunities, linking the rural communities that feel completely cut off from what the rest are doing. Come to think about it, when you go so some communities in the north east, you find that there is an absence of governance and because of this any other person can come and promise anything they will be a substitute for government. So we want to make sure that the rural parts of our country feel connected to governance and so Jobs, jobs and more jobs. we are going to figure out a way where in our economic policies will attract kind of businesses even to the rural environment.
Interviewer: What is the funniest thing you have read about yourself online?
Ezekwesili: Whn someone said ‘She is very much in love with her Husband” and people react, so she has a soft side, I am in love with my Husband, I am actually a soft body, people who know me, know that that soft part of me is still there.
Interviewer: What is your Final word to Nigerians?
Every generation has a duty that is set up on it in the United States of America, JFK woke up one day and said to the Americans of that generation, ‘we are going to the moon’. It appeared like something impossible and some people mocked cause the couldn’t see it happening but it did happen. For our country and even for our continent, Nigeria really reflects as the largest black country in the world. We are at a place where the world wonders why we fail so much. It is time for this young generation, the young people and the women of the continent to say enough of the failure; just making up the mind that the continent and the country will stop failing and to say that Nigeria can claim the 21st century and from claiming the 21st century to building a massive stock of human capital that will pull the rest pf the country with us and that mediocrity does not have to define us anymore. So as a final word, i say to the young people and to the women, this is your season, this is your time to redefine which kind of politics takes us there. Plato was right. He said if you say that Politics is beneath you, you will be ruled by your inferiors, i put it as you will be governed by your inferiors. We can see that what we have had as political class, if they were a foot ball team will not make the FA or Premier League so line up behind a person that you know represents a change of direction for the country; governance for the people, by the people and of the people.