In one of the most extensive interviews yet, the Publisher of Sahara Reporters, Mr. Omoyele Sowore, told us why he is taking a shot at Nigeria’s #1 job and what Nigerians should expect. The audacity of his courage is as compelling as the interview
You supported Buhari’s candidacy in 2015. At what point did you begin to think he wasn’t doing a good job?
To be clear, I never campaigned for Buhari as being alleged, I vigorously exposed Goodluck Jonathan’s shenanigans as Nigeria’s President, but as a citizen reporting platform, Sahara Reporters amplified voices of dissenters and I could understand which comments, articles, and opinions expressed were attributed to me.
However, I will address the two issues that made all patriots very concerned about Buhari directly. Firstly, Buhari came in when Nigeria was facing a major economic crisis. Nigerians were losing their jobs and struggling to put food on the table. Yet for six months, Buhari did not name a cabinet. It’s like being at war and refusing to fire a single bullet in your own defence for six months. That made it clear that the president clearly did not seem to have the same sense of urgency about Nigeria’s issues, as I did.
Secondly, the President sold us on his personal integrity. He was supposed to be the man who did what he said. Buhari promised to declare his assets publicly. It did not take him long to renege on that sacred promise and begin hiding behind legalese about only needing to make secret declarations of his assets. He made a solemn vow and a sacred promise and failed to deliver. That made it clear that the President was no different from those who had come before him.
You have said in a number of interviews that you want to become President because the present government under Buhari has let the country down. Is it only by becoming President that you can make consequential change?
The reality is that in our system of government, the Presidency is the most important vehicle for national transformation and more importantly when Nigeria’s rot began, it started at the top. The rebirth of our nation must also begin at the top.
I have heard some people say, “Why doesn’t Sowore start in the National Assembly – as a senator or a member of the House of Representatives.” Here’s what I say: Nigeria has had a few solitary voices in the national assembly – whether in the house of reps or the senate. But what happened to them? They were suspended, or arcane rules were used to silence them. I don’t want to be just another solitary voice in the wilderness. I have very clear ideas about how to move this great nation forward.
I have been involved in politics at the national level for almost 30 years. No one suggested that I should limit my political activities to my local government area when as President of the University of Lagos Students’ Union government, I joined with other activists to lead the students and youth movements in fighting against the annulment of the June 12, 1993 elections. No one said anything when the federal government at and its agents were arresting, torturing and harassing me. Our struggles and the principled actions of other activists led eventually to the restoration of democracy in Nigeria in 1999.
Since 1999 I have been focused on helping to make Nigeria’s democracy grow and to protect it from leaders who believe they are too powerful to be held accountable. I have done this through my platform – Sahara Reporters.
I helped to stop Obasanjo from becoming another Mugabe in 2006. I helped to ensure that Jonathan was sworn in as the President in 2010, in accordance with the constitutional order; and in 2015, my work through Sahara Reporters, in reporting elections results in real time helped to ease an opposition party - Buhari’s APC to power.
Everything I have done has been at the national level. I am convinced that the mission of national rebirth must also begin at the very top.
You have often cited Mandela and Obama as two examples of leaders who became presidents with zero experience in government. But they were members of strong political movements/parties, which enriched their experience and expanded their support base. How do you intend to overcome your narrow support base?
We must not confuse a lack of experience in government to mean a lack of experience in politics. Obama did not become president because he was a member of the Democratic Party. Yes – he ran on the platform of the Democratic Party, but he brought a unique set of skills honed during his time as a community organizer to the campaign. He won by building a coalition. It’s the same with Mandela. Yes, he had no experience in government, but he had been the leader of the Anti-Apartheid movement. We must not forget that Mandela’s ANC had never been in government. In fact the 1994 elections were the first elections in which they ever participated.
In 30 years of political activism I have built a network of support across this nation. My support base is not narrow. At all. I have been a voice for the voiceless. I have been and continue to be voice for the student, the worker, the trader, the vulcanizer, the electrician, the farmer, the teacher, the herdsman, the businessman and woman. I am not starting from ground zero – I have had a 30 years head start.
My movement – #TakeItBack is working on building a broad coalition. We are not doing politics as usual. Majority of Nigerians have never had their voices heard or listed to in the political conversation in this nation. Those are the people that I am focused on. The dispossessed, the ignored, the abandoned – we are the majority in Nigeria. My base is not narrow. We are building the broadest coalition ever developed in Nigerian politics.
There are people who say Buhari is a victim of high expectations; that given his health challenges in his first term, he has done reasonably well. Do you think he could do better in a second term?
Buhari has run for President since 2003. The last elections were his 4th attempt. He did not have high expectations. He told Nigerians what he was going to do, and that is what he is being judged on.
He said he would tackle Boko Haram in 6 months and that as a former General he knew exactly how to tackle that menace. Boko Haram is still cruising around Nigeria abducting our sisters and daughters – just a few weeks ago over a hundred girls were taken from Dapchi.
He said he would turn the economy around. His lack of urgency and refusal to listen to experts worsened the crisis and slowed down the recovery.
He told us he would tackle corruption. Yet not one single major case of corruption has been concluded. The Senate President in the president’s own party is under trial for corrupt practices. The party that he leads continues to be a haven for corrupt persons. Buhari nominated Magu to be EFCC Chairman and it was Buhari’s own DSS organization that derailed Magu’s confirmation.
I do not know what it is that Buhari has done reasonably well. I challenge anyone to tell Nigerians what he has actually done to make the lives of Nigerians better.
Today, the herdsmen–farmer conflicts are getting worse, with killings and attacks becoming a daily occurrence. Kidnapping is rampant across the country. The economy is in a shambles.
How can anyone expect that Buhari will do better in a second term? The first term is when you are supposed to show your true potential. He has failed to show any potential.
It’s like saying a student failed his promotion exams but that we believe he has the potential to do better in the next class. Nigeria’s problems will not grow less in 2019-2023. My advice to the President is for him to take time to tend to himself and his health, and leave the administration of Nigeria to people who have clear vision for the nation and the political will to see that vision come to fruition. That is what I bring to the table – a clear vision, and the courage to implement it.
Nigeria’s constitution makes running for a national office/winning, very expensive and complicated. Are you part of an alliance and under what terms?
We are in conversations with like-minded progressive groups, People oriented parties, trade and labour groups, student and youth movements, and other political organizations. When the time is right we will announce what platform we will be running under.
I can tell you right now that we will have nothing to do with the APC or PDP. Never, ever.
A number of other young candidates have indicated interest to challenge Buhari next year. Are you in talks with any or all of them?
I am excited that many young Nigerians are joining the race. It means that more people are starting to find their voice. It also goes to show how terribly this government has done. Nigerians now know there is no difference between the APC and the PDP. The old order has failed us and it is time for a real people’s government to emerge.
I am in conversation with some of the other young candidates. At the end of the day – we are all seeking the same thing: The rebirth of our great nation.
I want us to be cautious about throwing around this term “young candidates”. The status quo politicians are starting to cleverly use this to mean immature and inexperienced. I am 47 years old. Gowon was 32 when he became head of State, Buhari was 33 when he became Governor of the North East State, and he was 41 years old in 1983, when he became Head of State.
Would you, at any stage, consider stepping down for any of the so-called outliers, say, Fela Durotoye or Kingsley Moghalu or Tope Fasua?
I have a clear vision and mission. Those of us who fought for the democratic order made the error of trusting borrowed voices in the past. I can at least vouch for myself. I know what I want to see happen in Nigeria, and I trust in my ability to deliver on those promises.
I encourage everyone to run their race. Ultimately, the Nigerian people should be the ones to decide who they want to represent them.
I would love to have a Moghalu man the Central Bank of Nigeria if a thorough background check on him shows is kosher, Fela organizing capabilities can fit within our national space and Tope Fasua’s clarity of mind is something I have noted over these years.
The most important thing is that we now have a political space filled with great young aspirants with a degree of competency unmatched by the old gerontocratic order. It is a win-win for Nigeria.
You have branded yourself as the face of dispossessed and betrayed youths. Do you think that the age of a leader is more important to young people in Nigeria today, than competence, character and capacity?
Experience, competence and character must count for something. As I said before, I have been involved in the Nigerian political process for 30 years. In all that time I have shown consistency and principled commitment to one thing and one thing alone - moving Nigeria forward, most times at the risk of my life, comfort and liberty.
I dare say that no one in the race for President today has a track record as consistent as mine in terms of principled engagement in Nigeria’s political process, as well as integrity and character.
I do not believe that power should be handed over to anyone simply because of their age. You must prove yourself to be worthy of power. Presidential power should never to be willed to anyone whose only credential of a sense of entitlement. That’s worth zoning, ethicist and religious rotation of power is all about. I am not asking anyone to vote for me because of my age. I am asking to them to vote for me because of my track record of consistency, courage and sacrifice. I am going to serve.
How would you tackle corruption differently?
Some of us are not surprised that Buhari became beholden to the same forces that funded his campaign. He might have claimed that he did not personally steal money – but those same people that now surround him and are members of his government paid delegates thousands of dollars each at the APC primaries. Where did they get the money from? It is therefore not surprising that Buhari’s fight against corruption is being run without any vigour or seriousness.
I have no godfathers or godmothers, and so I am not beholden to anyone. I will start by declaring my assets before I get into office – publicly. And then I will move to ensure that every one that has stolen from this nation is brought to book. I honestly believe that Buhari lost the moral advantage when he reneged on his sacred vow to publicly declare his assets. It was a signal to the looters that nothing was going to change – and nothing has changed.
Over the last 50 years, almost $500 Billion – about $10 Billion per year, has been stolen from this nation.
In my fight against corruption, there will be no sacred cows. There will be no untouchables. Thieves in the political class and thieves in the civil service will give back everything they have taken from this nation. There will be a reckoning.
The anti-corruption police should have free hand to go after anyone that is corrupt and looting the resources of the commonwealth. Right now, the EFCC can’t touch anyone of the big kahunas until a Presidential order is sought and given. That’s the reason you find them releasing ludicrous corruption lists from left and right
Sahara Reporters has step on many powerful toes. Do you think this will work against you in anyway?
I have no regrets for stepping on toes. My life’s mission has been to serve the Nigerian people. We have exposed and will continue to expose the thieving political class to the Nigerian people.
If anything, the fact that we have been consistent in our work has endeared us to the people who matter – the Nigerian masses. They know that they can rely on Sahara Reporters for the truth – no matter whose ox is gored.
I know that the political class will fight tooth and nail to try to make sure that our movement falters. But they cannot stop us. Nigerians are now awake. We are tired of being taken for a ride. I am not new to these types of gang up, when I was a university undergraduate activist I was expelled twice for political reason, I was attacked and injected and left for dead. It didn’t stop from graduating from the University of Lagos; I went ahead to obtain a Master’s degree from an Ivy League university in the US. I mean, nothing can stop an idea whose time has come.
Some say SR’s coverage of Buhari’s illness didn’t give him any chance of recovery – or even survival. Do you think you got it wrong at some point and are similar stories you look back to with regret?
We do not report what is not based on verifiable facts. Whether it was stories about Umaru Yar’adua’s health, or Buhari’s health, or Buratai’s homes in Dubai – we always publish only what we know to be factually correct.
I challenge those who criticise our reporting on Buhari’s health to disclose to the public the true state of Buhari’s health contrary to what we report about his health, so that they let us know what specific issues they have with the work we have done. I am proud of the work that myself and the wonderful citizen journalists that I work with do, day in, and day out.
I recall reporting about former First Lady, Patience Jonathan’s health when she was secretly flown to Germany. First it was denied and later she returned to Nigeria and openly confessed that she was in coma for months, but when we broke the series of stories about her health status we were called names. Same for President Buhari’s son shortly after he had a freak biking accident, we reported accurately about his condition and while others were told he’d been discharged from an Abuja hospital, we reported that he was flown to Germany and even named the hospital, it turned out to be true.
Truth is that President Buhari is sick, he is still sick and have returned back to the UK for treatment.
You recently said that the $1billion signed off by Buhari for security will be diverted to his presidential bid. Why do you think so?
“Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me.” We must not forget that Jonathan used a $2 billion security fund managed by Sambo Dasuki as the cover for generating funds for his campaign. Almost every kobo of the $2 billion that was claimed to be for security were used for the 2015 elections by the PDP.
The APC is doing the same thing. What happened to all the billions of dollars previously allocated for the battle against Boko Haram? Where are the billions allocated for addressing all of the various security crises Nigeria has had?
Why do these thieves like using security funds as the perfect cover? It is simple. They can come back and tell us whatever stories they want to about how the money was spent.
We have heard claims that millions of dollars were spent on ransoms for the Dapchi and Chibok girls. Boko Haram does not issue invoices or receipts – so we cannot tell the truth about any of these payments.
What is the government not getting right in its fight against insecurity? And how would you do it differently?
We have several major security crises in Nigeria. The Boko Haram crisis, the farmer–herdsmen conflicts, armed robbery, kidnapping and a low level insurgency still raging in the Niger Delta region.
We are not serious about combating Boko Haram. Boko Haram does not operate with the same impunity that it does in Nigeria in Cameroon and Chad. Why is that?
How can a convoy of Boko Haram fighters drive into Dapchi and drive out again – with ease, in a nation that has an army and an air force? This isn’t rocket science. The ball is being dropped. Nigeria has paid millions of dollars in ransom money to Boko Haram – we are in a sense the biggest funders of Boko Haram. I will get to the root of what is going on, and my government will ensure that we have a strategy not just for winning the war, but also for keeping the peace. These include appropriately overhauling our security architecture and outing competent officers in charge of our armed forces not based on ethnic and provincial consideration.
Why have our young men joined this backward movement? We cannot ignore the socio-political and economic conditions that have made it easy for Boko Haram to gain converts.
With regards to the herdsmen–farmer conflicts, what is playing out is essentially a resource conflict. While it is true that there are aspects of the conflict that is being driven by brigandage – a genuine resource conflict underlines the problem. Nigeria has about 20 million cows. In the past these cows roamed across Nigeria. Now they cannot go toe North East because of Boko Haram. Rustling is becoming more of an issue in the North West. Climate change is leading to desertification in the far north. Overall, these large numbers of cows are being forced into about 50% of the territories that they accessed in the past.
At the same time, farmlands are reducing due to development and population growth. Water is becoming a scare resource. The solution must include commercial ranching. My government will treat the farmer-herdsmen conflict as a food security as well as a criminal issue.
Out of 85million employable Nigerians, 16million are unemployed. What is your job plan?
The reality is even worse than that. In addition to the unemployed a large number of Nigerians – about 18 million are underemployed. What does this mean? Underemployment is when a graduate is working as a Danfo, Uber or security guard. The combined unemployment and underemployment numbers is about 40% of the Nigerian labor force.
I have a clear program that will create 5 million new jobs. I will be employing 200,000 new teachers. To address the challenges in the health care sector, I will be employing 160,000 new public health center workers. This will add 200 new health workers to each of the 774 Local Government Authorities in Nigeria.
As part of my economic programme, I am committing to pay a minimum wage of at least N100,000 to Federal Civil Servants. We estimate that this might affect as many as 60% or so of the almost 900,000 people in the civil service. We will be creating the balance of the 5 million jobs in infrastructure development in roads, rail, housing, sewage, drinking water and agriculture. With an aggressive 24/7 power supply agenda, we are on to becoming a tech hub in Africa. Technology is the new gold in a global knowledge-based economy. A lot of Nigerians based abroad are just waiting in the wings to see a well governed nation that guarantees them regular supply of electricity and security, in no time we will be supplying the world first class health, education, entertainment, agricultural produce, sports and so many other products that will generate employment across board
As I said before, I view the herdsmen–farmer conflicts as an economic and security issue, I mean without defeating the current order those aiding and arming herdsmen within our security forces cannot be uprooted. Commercial ranching is a key part of that solution. My plans will lead to the creation of at least 250,000 new agricultural sector jobs related to commercial ranching operations that involve 20 million cows.
I will be rolling out a simple six-point agenda that will address Security, Power, Infrastructure, Corruption, Employment and Restructuring.
Security is one of the most critical issues we are dealing with as a nation. Nigerians really expected a lot from Buhari – after all one of his main selling points was his claim that he would deal with the Boko Haram crisis within six months. Now, almost three years after becoming President, Boko Haram is still active. The terrorists operate in Nigeria with impunity. How can a band of terrorists driving around in pickup trucks just stroll in and out of Nigeria, picking up and dropping off over 100 girls at Dapchi, in a nation with an army and an air force?
The herdsmen–farmer conflicts are now worse – and from Enugu to Benue to Kaduna, the casualties continue to pile up, and yet Buhari does nothing. This is a president who is himself Fulani and should understand the root causes of the problem. I will address the security challenges decisively. I can assure you that my government will not be negotiating with terrorists. The Nigerian government is now the biggest sponsor of Boko Haram with the millions of dollars, that have been paid to them since Buhari came to office.
I will not be announcing my strategy to Boko Haram – but I will say this much. They operate in an area that is without forest cover and there are technologies that can be used to monitor every move that Boko Haram makes. I will be deploying every tool against Boko Haram. They will fall.
Power is a key focus area for me. It is embarrassing that for the last thirty years we are still dealing with rampant blackouts. Our generation, transmission and distribution infrastructure are abysmally insufficient. Blackouts remain rampant. Businesses continue to be burdened by the cost of providing power by themselves. How can our local businesses compete with products that are coming from other markets where their competitors are paying a fraction of what we pay for power in Nigeria? A South African or Ghanaian company would not need to buy their own generator or worry about purchasing diesel, or get shut down because of fuel shortage. They would focus on their core business and nothing more.
We need about 20,000 MW of power – and right now we barely have 7,000 MW. We can put in 17,000 MW over a four-year time frame. I will strive to diversify the energy mix. We will add solar, wind, biomass to the portfolio. I will also be creating a virtual pipeline of trucks and rail cars that can transport LNG to gas fired power plants, so that our power infrastructure is no longer vulnerable to pipeline sabotage. We will be building localized, modular power plants that are about 10-50 MW across the country to speed up the roll out of new power generation, transmission and distribution assets across the country.
Infrastructure is a critical area. A serious economy runs on solid infrastructure. The infrastructure we have in Nigeria is not just insufficient, the limited amount we currently have is crumbling. I plan to turn Nigeria into a construction site from Day one. We need about 200,000 km of new roads, 3,500 km of a new modern rail system, and 17 million new housing units.
We require new drinking water and sewage infrastructure of about 3,500 million gallons per day. We have crunched the numbers, and we estimate that the infrastructure gap that we currently have will cost almost $500 billion to address. We are currently thinking about innovative ways to raise the monies necessary to address these issues. Closing leakages and loopholes will be one way to raise the funds. Leveraging public – private – partnerships (PPP) will be another. We will also be laser focused on ensuring that federally mandated taxes are judiciously collected.
Corruption is a cancer. So far, not one government that we have in the last 20 years has taken this corruption issue seriously. They’ve all been playing politics with corruption. You don’t take Panadol for cancer. You don’t massage cancer. You don’t cover it up. You fight it with everything you’ve got. The current government’s anti-corruption efforts are a cruel, joke. Things have gotten so bad that even monkeys and snakes have joined politicians and civil servants in stealing millions of Naira.
I have fought corruption with my social media platform at Sahara Reporters. I have fought corruption on the streets. With the force of the Nigeria state and the powers of the constitution at my disposal, I can assure Nigerians that we will destroy this national disease once and for all.
Employment and economic growth is what matters most to the Nigerian man and woman that is working hard to make ends meet, put a roof over their children’s heads, put food on the table and pay school fees. Getting good jobs is what matters to the graduate that has been walking around for 5, sometimes even as many as 10 years with no job opportunities.
To the engineer who is underemployed and is working as a security guard; to the hard working Danfo or Okada rider grappling with increasing fuel prices and exorbitant car and motor cycle spare parts costs; to the small business owner – the trader at the market, the hair dresser – whose costs are rising because of the lack of power – what they want is to see economic growth.
I have already provided a clear indication for the number of jobs that I expect to create – about 5 million new jobs. The numbers seem high – but adding 5 million jobs when you have about 16 million unemployed only reduces the unemployment numbers by about 30%. Remember also that we graduate about 300,000 students annually from tertiary institutions – so in just 4 years, about 1.2 million graduates will be added to the work force. We must strengthen small businesses. That will be the engine that will drive growth and create even more employment opportunities.
Why should small business person not have access to loans? Why should they pay 20, 25, 30% percent interest rates when the wealthy can borrow billions and billions from the same banks, at little to no cost? And when these loans fail, it is the Nigerian people that then have to bail out the wealthy. Yet – the barber cannot get a loan to buy a new barbing kit, or purchase a generating set? Farmers cannot get money to buy tractors and seedlings because of the archaic land use laws.
I am focused on ensuring that we create an enabling environment for businesses to grow and thrive.
Restructuring is an issue that many Nigerians are passionate about. I believe that many of the problems that Nigerians worry about can and should be addressed with a constitutional review initiative. We must address questions about what it means to be a true Federation. We must address issues such as the devolution of powers. Which powers and how much? We must address questions such as whether states should have their own police force and paramilitary units? Should more of the responsibility for development be passed on to local authorities that are closest to the issues and the people, with appropriate oversight and monitoring from the state and federal authorities. Should states have more rights and controls over the resources that they are blessed with? What type of legislative systems should we have? Does our over bloated bicameral national assembly need reform? These are germane and legitimate issues that can and must be addressed if Nigeria is to make progress. I commit to instituting a constitutional review effort that will lead to the emergence of a true people’s constitution.
To defray the cost of your election you are trying to raise $20m by asking 100,000 Nigerians to donate $200 each. How much have you raised so far?
Our announced target is for 10,000 Nigerians to donate $200 each. That is $2 million. We do not count contributions only in terms of monies donated, our highly digitalized and innovative campaign came on the stream with a lot of political capital.
I tell this story every opportunity that I get because it illustrates how this movement is disrupting the political space. We have hundreds of volunteers all over the world that are developing policy documents, working on media and communication strategy, staging town hall events. They are donating their time and skills for free. Each of these people are giving 5, 10, 20, 30 hours of their time weekly to this cause. If you monetize the donation of time and resources, each of these individuals giving us 10 hours per week would have donated 520 hours to the campaign between now and the elections next year. You know what they would have been paid for that time?
These are experts in their professional fields, world class lawyers, policy experts, engineers, computer scientists, educators – worth well over $30-50 per hour. 520 hours is $15,600 of time donation at just $30 per hour. This is N5.4 million naira of donations in kind by each of these remarkable volunteers. Just 1,000 of these volunteers would have contributed about N5.4 billion in kind to the movement and my campaign by the time of the elections next year. These are monies we don’t have to spend.
So already, since we will not be spending billions on buying votes at party primaries, I have over N6 billion advantage over my opponents from the traditional parties. We will also not be playing the mercantilist politics of giving out bags of rice and grinding machines to sway votes. We will not be doling out 200, 500 or 1,000-naira bills on election day.
I have already staged 5 town halls and we have scheduled about 30 more. All of these have been paid for, not by our campaign but by Nigerians that are passionate about effecting a true transformation in their nation.
Traditional politicians pay for everything. In our case, the Nigerian people have claimed this campaign and this movement as their own, and they are powering it forward with their passion and their generosity.
We are revolutionizing the way politics is done in this country. Amala, tuwo and fufu politics is dead. We will bury that mercantilist brand of politics once and for all in 2019.
What other funding options are you considering apart from crowd funding?
We will be funded by the Nigerian people. I do not need any godfathers or godfathers. We will receive donations from people whose goals is simply the genuine transformation of Nigeria. We welcome donations and support from all Nigerians that are passionate for true national rebirth – as long as they do not expect that their contributions qualify them for any special treatment. We are also launching a full website in a few weeks that is capable of dealing with cryptocurrencies. That’s new money!
Looking at the field of candidates who have either declared their interest in the Presidency or are on the verge of doing so, who do you consider your most difficult opponents and why?
I am focused on running my own race and sharing my vision for the future with the Nigerian people. My opponent is the status quo. Whether it is the APC or PDP – they are one and the same. It is the system that has held Nigeria back, a system that has been nurtured and sustained by both parties that have been in government since 1999.The reality is that if we were not offering Nigerians a true alternative through the Take Back Nigeria movement in 2019, one of those two associations of looters – the PDP and APC - would be providing the next President of this nation. If I turn this around philosophically, I’d say that the only people I’ll be worried about are those young people who once again will be to reticent and complacent about seizing this moment. This is Nigeria’s Uhuru moment.
What’s your message to anyone out there who still thinks your candidacy is a joke?
I hope they continue to think this movement is a joke till the elections next year. My sense is that after having seen how far we have come in such a short time, they are starting to realize that what they were hearing is the thunder before the storm. We know they are keeping tabs. They were shocked when hundreds of Nigerians packed into town halls in Maryland, Detroit and in Ibadan. They were shocked to see that over 70,000 people were live streaming our events across the world. They were shocked when hundred of our movement’s supporters turned up to welcome me at the Lagos airport last week. They were shocked when they saw the large numbers that turned up to meet with us in Ibadan on Saturday. And the surge of young people that came to Nnamdi Azikiwe airport in Abuja earlier this week. On February 14, 2019 the joke will be on those who do not believe that the Nigerian people are about to Take Back their nation from the thieves, mediocre rulers and the rogues that have turned our nation into a waling carcass.
What would you do on your first day in office?
I will announce my cabinet on Day 1; roll up my sleeves and get to work for the Nigerian people. From day one I will announce a four-year development plan to turn Nigeria around, a new wage structure, a security overhaul, a blueprint for infrastructural development, a diaspora voting initiative, a declaration of emergency in power, education and health sectors.
Do you think Buhari still has any chance to shore up public confidence in his government?
You cannot give what you do not have. Buhari is done. If in three years he could not tackle Boko Haram, restore economic growth, create jobs, tackle the farmer – herdsmen conflicts, provide 10,000 MW of additional power generation and transmission or successfully prosecute even one major corruption case, what makes anyone think Buhari can pull anything off in one year? I am sure the Buhari government and the APC would run around making dramatic arrests here and there to make it seem like they are doing something, Nigerians are no fools. We will see through their charade. Buhari has been tested and he has been failed. There is no point in recycling failure or rewarding incompetence.