Muslim-Muslim ticket: Let’s consider character and capacity, says Ibrahim Bello Dauda

Posted by Vanguard | 2 weeks ago


As the All Progressives Congress, APC, thinks of Ashiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu’s running mate, stakeholders of the party are beginning to focus on Dr. Ibrahim Bello Dauda as a good, most credible and most qualified candidate for the slot.

Since Ashiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu is from the South-West, in his 70s, keen observers and political pundits insist that he, Tinubu needs a younger person and brilliant person to beat Alhaji Atiku Abubakar of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, in the 2023 presidential poll.

Pundits insist the fear expressed about a Muslim-muslim ticket has no meaning if the personalities involved are men of capacity, capability, competence and cognitive excellence. The story of Bola Tinubu, the standard bearer is well known. Below is an interview with Dr. Ibrahim Bello Dauda, 50, a management consultant, who was in the trenches with President Buhari in the All Nigerian Peoples Party, ANPP, and CPC. A Kanuri from Gora town in Shani Local Government Area of Borno State, Dauda has been one of the intellectual power house of the APC, involved in policy formulation and packaging.

Eminently educated more than anybody in the race, Bello is a brilliant youth this nation must not miss. He is a highly motivated and passionate professional. As an accountant and an administrator, he specializes in public and corporate administration, accounting and financial management, risk management, project management, development planning, change management and business development. His CV is remarkable.

His experience is a stuff presidential candidates of serious nations are made of. People like him give a country great hope, if he gets to power. In this interview, Dauda fielded many questions on what he has seen as a Nigerian, the challenges facing Nigeria and how he intends to tackle them given an opportunity as the nation’s president.

You are aware of the fears attending to the Muslim-Muslim ticket APC is floating. How do you speak to Nigerians on religion and competence in electing a leader?

I think it has to come to a time in Nigeria where we should look at content of one’s character and capacity, in as much as religion is important. Religion itself is a guide towards shaping, moulding and finetuning one’s character towards every other thing involving leadership.

So, if at all we’re bringing the two together competence and capacity is as critical as religion itself. But if we separate the two and pick religion only as a yardstick for political processes, it increases our problems because the world has changed, shifting towards capacity and credibility. That is why the mayor of London is a Muslim.

What they are after is capacity. They have grown above the sentiment of my faith defines who I am or what I become. I think we have grown overtime in Nigeria that we should start looking for capacity, character, competence or his ability to deliver value in terms of service rather than the faith anybody represents.

Even in the faith, a true Christian or Muslim stands firm on the path of equity, fairness, justice. If the person represents his faith as it should be, there will be no fear of victimization or any other thing we fear. Once we go above this, Nigeria will begin to progress.

You used the word “true Muslim”,  how do you react to the issue of Boko Haram who have been giving Islam a wrong image. How do you allay the fear of Christians having two Muslims as President and Vice president?

I think one’s antecedent goes far to define who he is. My relationship with the Christian community is solid. As I said earlier, from my family to my office where we have eighty per-cent Christians from the south and the north, my relationship with them is solid. If I am negative, there is no way my workforce will be eighty per-cent Christians. 

That should tell people about me. And my relationship from the time I’ve managed my political processes from Buhari administration, I have worked more with Christians from my aides and associates. I look for competence. I don’t want to know what faith the person belongs. I pick the best regardless.

People’s antecedence should judge their present and the content of their character towards their society and environment. My relationship with people who have related with me over the years will attest to my relationship with my brothers and sisters in the other faith.

Finally, I want my fellow brothers and sisters who are Christians to understand that when we belive in each other and give that chance, then we can grow. The On Boko Haram insurgency, no where in Islam gives them the right to do what they’re doing. They are not true Muslims. They don’t represent us. These people are terrorists. Their lives and attitude does not represent Islam. No true muslim would do what they’re doing.

You are largely seen as a Nigerian youth and the youth wing of APC has endorsed your candidature for the running mate. If elected as the vice-president, what would be your attitude to the Nigerian youth that many people including President Muhammadu Buhari described as lazy? What is your reading of the Nigerian Youth?

The problem we’ve been having in the system is their exclusion rather than inclusion of the youth. And if you look at when we got independence, most of the leaders were youths. The role Sardauna played as the premier of northern Nigeria from 1960 to 1966 is exemplary.

He went to the nooks and crannies of Northern Nigeria, and without regard for religion, he would engage them as long as they come from the North. They often told him that this young man or lady have no requisite experience, and he would say, ok, go and train them.

His reason was that if you don’t train them, how will they have the necessary experience. So, he emphasized on recruiting younger Nigerians and training them to become leaders. Some of the leaders we have today are products of those pieces of training. If a segment of the society has failed, it’s rather not the youths because they will not train themselves.

They will not educate themselves, and they will not give themselves the requisite experience needed in life, except if those in the system bring them on board give them a chance and the opportunity to acquire that knowledge and experience.

If that is done and they’re still not responsible, you can qualify them in whatever nomenclature you think they should qualify. I will rather deal with it in this context rather than be called lazy.

How pathetic is the state of the youth and how do you hope to correct such perceptions if you are elected?

Could you take a look at our procurement act? If you registered a company today, you’ll be required to produce three years accounts and then register with NSITF  and other government institutions as a requisite for procurement.

Among those is evidence of previous jobs done. The young man has just started the company, and you are telling them to bring proof of three years’ accounts and previous jobs done.

Most of the startup companies are from younger Nigerians. The system has not been conditioned enough to enable youths in the public and private sectors. So, before we categorize them as lazy or not, we need to look at the system and our programs’ architecture and see how complicated it is.

SMEDAN today is supposed to provide loans for small and medium scale enterprises. Still, the young Nigerian wakes up today and goes to SMEDAN because they are a graduate who has a viable initiative. The first thing they will tell you is to go and bring a business plan.

A business plan costs money to produce. If they had such money, it’s enough for them to start something. So, you discover that the same government that negatively looks at the youth has not provided an enabling environment for them to thrive!

Can we look at how other countries assist their younger generation?

Yes, let’s look at the Chinese model. The government of China will call the young persons and ask them what they have in their heads in terms of initiative and intellectual capacity.

The government will support them unconditionally, and when they produce those ideas, the government will help them buy them. When you go from country to country, you find Chinatown. The Chinese government goes from country to country to establish China towns to replicate the Chinese environment. They bring goods from China and domicile them in Chinese Towns and market the goods to the people of that country.

These are some of the Chinese government’s initiatives for the youth. As a government, we need to do more. After we have done all this and they fail, we can qualify them in whatever way we want.

You have featured somewhat prominently in Buhari’s regime or, let me say, the APC government. As one of their thinkers, how would you rate this regime today? Has this regime not failed Nigerians?

I agree with you that the government has not achieved many promises made. And I have always cautioned our politicians not to promise from the outside because if they do, they will be playing with specific indices that you do not know until you get there.

I have promised to provide credible leadership that does the right things, makes the right decisions, and is not emotional and not sentimental. The government has fallen short of people’s expectations in many dimensions. Even though the same government has achieved certain things, expectations drop when people expect so much in an area and are not well managed.

For instance, the issue of power, security, food sufficiency, job creation and corruption.

These are some of the significant areas Nigerians were expecting … let me say it in quotes… “miracles” within the shortest possible time.

One of the significant reasons the president was voted for was his stand on discipline. He was dogged on ensuring discipline is entrenched in the system because, essentially, 90% of our challenge is indiscipline.

Yes, I participated in the political processes. Still, I am not within the executive arm of government to know why certain decisions are made, appointments done, certain individuals preferred over others, certain policies rolled out and certain things were not done. I am not in the power decision-making process or within the power corridors.

As one of their thinkers, what went wrong with the power sector, the most critical area successive governments failed to date?

Before this government came in, certain wrong things were done on selling the discos. If truth be told, the proper procedures were not followed; the right people who were supposed to buy the discos were not the people to whom the discos were sold.

As a government, you are supposed to remove sentiments and if necessary, reverse the process and make sure that the real people are put in place to buy and manage the discos.

Like I said before, no matter how much money you sink into power, it will vanish. The reason is simple: the mechanism our architecture was set up was wrong. Starting from power generation, most of the generation companies are not linked to our gas supply channel, and those that are connected will have the same problem because our pipelines are 30 years old and above.

The worst are the distribution companies. They have entirely collapsed in terms of facilities. The technical people who were supposed to buy these discos did not carry out the feasibilities studies in real terms.

They were sold as junks to the people who bought them because GTE and other globally certified power companies will never purchase the discos as they are today because the infrastructure supporting the supply and distribution has collapsed.

So, the government was supposed to take everything out. The power lines and the KVA are down and weak. In most cases, they are outdated in technology. So we need to update our technology, the owner of these technologies should have come in. Let us face reality, no Nigerian power company is globally recognized.

What Nigerians should have done was to go back to the drawing board. And put in some discipline and sanity in the system and move in to ensure that the right is taken in. But when you have people who partake in the ownership of these discos as part of the government’s decision-making process, then the system has been compromised from day one.

As l said in one of our discussions, if I am in government today, there is one thing l must remind the ministers and those that are going to work with me: you are not the one that went around Nigerians to canvass for votes. I was the one that made promises to all Nigerians, and I  was elected and sworn. So you have to believe in my vision.

You are here to execute my dream, and not your vision. If you’re here to perform your vision, you have to be the one in power. Of course, you can contribute to the vision and add value to it, but you cannot change it because Nigeria needs it. It is based on that that this government was elected.

We have heard these words repeatedly from politicians who, when they come to power, things change. What is in the power corridor that makes people with great vision become clueless once they get there?

It starts from politicking, from you and I. I am aspiring to be president, and you are doing everything possible for me to get there. In my quest to become president, I will be using the right people from the right source.

And then some people who have been part of the system, who have acquired their money in a way that can not be justified who, come, promising to fund your campaign, make commitments, extract promises for you to get into power.

You have to pay them back somehow when you get there, either by giving them ministerial positions or contracts to compensate them for their contributions. That is where the problems come in. Once you give them a little space to recoup their investments, they move ahead to maximize their benefits. Nigeria is not their priority.

So, we as a people are partly responsible for the failure of the leaders. Why? Because when we don’t make sure the campaigns of credible leaders are funded by credible individuals who demand nothing after elections but credible leadership, we are getting it wrong from the start. That is why most governments lose the capability to become upright because they have compromised the process from day one.

If you allow a credible candidate to compromise by forcefully dealing with the wrong individuals who fund campaigns and make unrealistic commitments and when they get to power by means of compensation, give them a piece of the government, then we are in trouble.

Secondly, emotions. Many people canvas for votes using pretences and project credibility, which is not realistic in the depth of their hearts. Some pander to religious, regional, or selfish emotions, and once you play that game, you will have problems.

The people you are dealing with will play on it, use it on you, and compromise the system. And because you have been compromised, they will continue to hold you responsible.

There are several people with great ideas, but they hardly get to power because our people will say there are some cabals or owners of Nigeria who make things happen. Some people will say ‘they’ won’t allow him to get to power. The question is, who are the ‘they’ that will not allow good things happen in Nigeria?

Excellent question. The “they” are why everyone you see in government gets into trouble. Because we allow “they” to fund the process, we allow ‘they’ to determine who gets to power, whereas this ‘they’ are just less than one per cent. Each one of us sits back and reneges on our responsibility. If we can all come together, believe me, the ‘they’ are finished.

These people who wonder about the power of this ‘they’, does anyone of them volunteer to become party agents? Do they volunteer to guide a ballot box as an agent of a political party? Do they volunteer to be a returning officer of their party? Have they canvassed and voted for one of the candidates? Have they organized political rallies as youth canvassers?

Politicking are in two phases: you have party politics and general elections. Many elites and intellectuals stay away from party politics, and that is where these “they” come in because “they” control the political parties. They fund political parties, fund candidates, fund aspirants. And when these people get to power, they own them. And elites Nigerians will standby and say they have hijacked, they will not allow.

The system sincerely has failed Nigerians. The majority of the electorates, a combination of the elites and the masses, stayed away from doing the right thing. And what is the right thing? When you identify a viable candidate from day one, you will rally around the person to ensure that those “they”do not participate in funding the person. The “they” are in the minority.

It should get to the stage where people like you or the so-called intelligentsia around should sit down and develop a kind of template. On how to defeat the so-called “they” because one of the challenges we have in this part of the world is that people don’t want to die for whatever they believe in.

Source: Vanguard


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