Politicians in Nigeria have set the ball rolling with preparations towards 2019, Young individuals have thrown their hats in the ring, putting themselves up for elective offices.
Mr Mathias Tsado is one of the young Nigerians with eyes on the Presidential seat in Abuja. Mr Tsado, an engineer and a professional member of Institute for service excellence and good governance (ISEGG) spoke to NF247 about his plans for Nigeria.
NF247: How would you describe the Nigerian situation at this time?
MT: Despondency, hunger and poverty ravaged nation, poor infrastructures, collapsed education system, dysfunctional healthcare system and bad economic weather, job loss is on the rise, insecurity is on the rise and corruption is unabated. So the situation is unfortunately negative at the moment, the people are angry especially with insensitivity of those in power.
The recent spate of killings in the country especially as perpetrated by marauding herdsmen in the middle belt is putting pressure on our national sinews that if not delicately handle may lead to some avoidable regrets, the government seem to be far removed from the people, there is hardly any link between the people and the government, which is fueling agitation from different parts of the country, so the situation is awful for the lack of better word.
NF247: The problems of Nigeria are enormous, do you think these problems are surmountable?
MT: The enormous problems of Nigeria were self-inflicted, failed leadership over the years is one culprit for this problem, from insecurity to unemployment and negative balance of trade, every single one of them is as a result of failed leadership, so the answer is affirmative, these problems are surmountable, what we need is vision in leadership, enough political will, deep understanding of these issues and exposure to comparative solutions, but first of all we must end neocolonialism and gain total freedom in the area of our nation’s economy.
We need to begin at least to start producing the things we need in our country for the citizens. Our focus should be on economic revolution, industrialization and job creation for our people to take a lot of our young people off the street so that we can begin to reduce the number that’s being fed to the insecurity, we should declare a state of emergency on our education sector and embark on aggressive reforms and model our education system after finland which currently has the best education system in the world, electricity, healthcare etc are not new challenges in the world, so we should adopt solutions that have been tested and are in used in countries that have had same challenges and have overcome.
So we have lots of problems but these problems are not peculiar to us, some nations have had worst of it and came through, we do not have to reinvent the wheel, solutions are everywhere, we just have to look with intention.
NF247: Many have blamed the recycling of leaders across the country, do you believe this is a hindrance to development?
MT: one thing is certain, and that is the fact that leadership has failed in Nigeria, the vision that is needed to propel development and the will to achieve it has been lacking over the years, there are many national development plans that are lying down in our shelves simply because those in government lack the willpower to pursue such.
Leaders in Nigeria are yet to come up with the complete package required to drive the process of nation building, so it is not just because we recycle leaders but because the criteria for leadership recruitment has been based of personalities rather than ideologies, the sentimental approach has made it impossible for us assess the capacity, competence and character of those we elect into offices.
The recruitment process is also very expensive and that scares away people with sound mind and capacity to drive development, so we get same people who have been in power for years, those who have amassed wealth from themselves to buy the election processes and choke out those with good ideas and plans for national development
NF247: Brings us to your ambition, what would you do differently from what the current leader is doing at the helm?
MT: I think majority of leaders in Nigeria do not understand how leadership works, they often come with this messianic attitude, like super humans, trying to solve the problems of a country alone without engaging the people, they often act like strongmen with all the solutions, this makes leadership very cumbersome, what I would do differently is to engage the Nigerian people and assemble the best in different fields reach out to professionals in and outside Nigeria but of course with due respect to the federal character in our constitution, I believe once we can assemble an A-Team to tackle our issues, it would definitely be resolved.
The number one task before the government today is the issue of disunity and distrust, I would work to rebuild the trust link between the people and the government first, once the people can trust you as their leaders, you can sell the idea of working together as a team to them, then the issue of providing basic amenities like water, good roads, quality healthcare and sound education system becomes our national priority, so the vison is properly packaged and the citizen are engaged in the process of delivering them.
There is a need for certain structural reforms, especially in our government structure, these should be dealt with as quickly as possible, our local government must begin to function as the should be, being the closest government to the people, they should function autonomously, the revenue allocation to the local government should be reviewed upward while that of the federal government be reviewed downward, but firstly, we must have capable and selfless leaders man such seats before this rearrangement, elections to local government should be done properly to allow some of our finest minds occupy these strategic offices.
In the case of insecurity, we need to embark on aggressive data collection, we need to have a form of identification for all citizens and also have forensic labs, to be able to adequately provide information about perpetrators of crimes, we also need to check light weapon proliferation, and secure our borders tightly to ensure invaders are not allowed space to have a field day in the country.
One of the major issues in the country is that of our economy, Economic revolution and massive industrialization should be our focus now as a country, processing our raw materials to finished goods, creating jobs in millions for our teeming youth in large numbers in the area of manufacturing, construction, services and agro-allied businesses and lifting majority of our people out of poverty to give them meaningful life, My economic policy is Make In Nigeria (MIN) this policy shall be implemented to the later, every jot of it, it simply means that organizations that are currently importing finished goods to Nigeria must set up their manufacturing outfit in Nigeria to produce whatever they sell to Nigerians in Nigeria, this would create jobs, improve the economy, and generally affect the wellbeing of the people.
Corruption is big challenge but executive transparency and technology would help us to deal with that issue, strict adherence to the rule of law even by the people in high offices would help to check this, massive pay cut also one of my agendas, there is no way we can continue to run the most expensive government in the whole world while over 80% of our people are living below the united nation poverty line of 1$/day
NF247: Nigeria is largely a Muslim/Christain Nation, prayers go on daily, do you think these prayers have achieved much in terms of development and good governance?
MT: Prayers are good, but even the good book says that faith without work is dead, so while I believe god has answered our prayers, I also think there is a place of activating our faith, we cannot pray for electricity when man has the solution, we cannot pray for industries when we know what to do to bring them in, we cannot pray for good road when there are bulldozers, development responds to action taken by a visionary leadership who galvanizes the energies of the people to achieve it.
China wasn’t built on prayers, neither was japan or Singapore, there are basic development principles that must be followed if we want a developed country, pray isn’t one of the principles, that we have faith in God should make us work hard for God to bless it.
NF247: We keep hearing about “What” people want to do when they come into office, how do you hope to tackle the hurdles in the Power, Education and Health sectors?
MT: like I said before, these problems are alien to us, nations have passed through these phases, we must take advantage of existing solutions, we have to dismantle the power sector completely, and stop the monogrid system, we have to have aggressive reforms in the power sectors, liberalized the sector and allow genuine investors to come in, people talk about the cabal in power sector, I believe if a government is not able to deal with a cabal in any sector, that government is compromised, we need to come up with a plan that works for everyone, the unions in power sector must be made to understand what the government is doing, priority must be on getting the solution in the end with a very considerable agreements, Kenyan does not have power problem, south Africa is generating over 40,000MW, Companies have relocated to Ghana siting power challenges, Nigeria should learn from this nations, we should also take advantage of the mobile power system provided by GE, Indonesia just did.
As for the education sector, UBE should be made to function effectively with free compulsory primary and secondary education for all Nigerian children, we can work together with the corporate Nigeria to rebuild our education system, PTF should stop funding tertiary institutions and concentrate on provision of basic qualitative primary and secondary education, our technical schools should be made very attractive for skill acquisition and technical know-how.
I have been studying the health sector in Dubai, they have turn healthcare into tourism, its fascinating to see the technological breakthrough that are coming from these nations, we need to invest massively in this sector and also make it attractive for businesses to come in, we should make NHIS a compulsory and attractive scheme for all citizen to be ran by very transparent and accountable service providers, our government officials would be BANNED from receiving any form of treatment outside Nigeria
NF247: How ready is the Nigerian youth in your estimation to take on leadership roles?
MT: the telecommunication sector, banking sector, oil sector are all powered by the young people, entertainment and sport are all powered by the young people and are doing extremely well, why then cant they do well in leadership? The issue has been that majority of people misunderstand political leadership with traditional or cultural leadership, political leadership is about responsibility, it is about delivering the basic things for the people, while cultural leadership has a lot to do with cultural preservation, hence most cultural leadership is always conferred on the oldest people in a linage, at the moment what is needed in Nigeria is leadership revolution, which should be powered by the best of minds and very agile, formidable people.
Vision, competence, capacity and ability to inspire the people has nothing to do with how old a man is, all over the world, leadership in 21st century is being redefined, the leadership crisis in Nigeria has to be addressed, mostly by very sound and vibrant Nigerians.
NF247: what processes can truly guarantee that the right persons vie for and are elected into positions?
MT: I believe we need to demonetize the political process, we also need to reduce the gains of power in Nigeria, make government attractive to only those who are motivated by the opportunity to serve the people, they should be treated equally before the law, voters should be educated, and vote trading should be prohibited, stricter electoral laws to deal with defaulters.
NF247: Has Nigeria benefitted from the Kind of politics she has played since 1999?
MT: the only benefit we have so far is the fact that the country is still intact as one nation, aside from that, benefits are in rare sight.
NF247: What remarkable projects differentiates the GEJ led Government and the Buhari administration?
MT: Remarkable?? I cant lay my finger on any particular one at the moment, but I think the renovation of Abuja international airport, the cleaning of Ogoni land by president buhari if its being done are both commendable, as for GEJ I would say the idea of youth empowerment through YouWin is commendable, but nothing remarkable, remarkable in my view, would have been, steady power supply, fantastic healthcare, names of industries that came up, unemployment figures etc, we are yet to see anything in these direction.
NF247: Continuity seems to be a major issue when it comes to politics in Nigeria, how can that gap be bridged?
MT: Certain foundations have been laid in some key areas like the TSA, youth empowerment of GEJ, other major national project all should be followed through, one way we can bridge the gap is to have national development plan that is a vision of a leader that is adequately sold to majority of the people, such that change of leadership would not necessary affect the development processes, we need to empower our institutions so that they function within the national plan and not under the caprices of whoever is the leader.
NF247: Where do we draw the line between Godfatherism and political mentorship in Nigerian politics?
MT: In my views, godfatherism is when a more powerful figure put an individual in office to carry out the biddings of the godfather, when individuals are used as stooges, this often times result to conflict of interest, the interest to return the favour done by the god father and the state or the national interest, mentoring may just be someone who one models one life after, in this case you are loyal only to the persons values.
NF247: How do we re-ignite the spirit of patriotism?
MT: The easiest way to inspire patriotism is to be patriotic as a leader, is to lead the people by example, be able to inspire the people with ones speeches, frequent communication, be accountable, be transparent and show genuine care, live a simple life, leaders must be approachable, give people sincere hope, give the people a vision and convince them to buy into the vision, be a good man manager, recognize and reward patriotism and engage the people, let them feel part of the project, let them take ownership of the country. Be a statesman and live an upright life citizen would love you and once they can love you they would love your country.
NF247: Why do you think Nigeria needs you?
MT: Nigeria is in need of a compass, a man with a clear mental picture of what he wants to achieve and who is able to communicate his vision and get the buying in of the people, Nigerians need someone who knows how to get the economy working, who is able to provide basic things for the people, someone who is able to assemble a very good squad who would not give them excuses but deliver results, someone who knows how to create jobs, and bring about meaningful development to the country, someone who is able to galvanize the citizens, who is able to inspire them, someone who sincerely cares for them.
Someone who is able to secure their lives. I have spent many years in passive politics, I have been an advocate of good governance for years, I have used the past few years on personal development.
I believe its time for Nigerians to make a good assessment of those of us that want to lead them devoid of sentiment. I believe I have what it takes to make Nigeria work and take it from third world to a first world nation make our nation’s economy to grow in double digits, leverage on SMEs and build an economy that is powered by our brains rather than oil.