I Will Become Nigeria’s Next Elected President in 2019

Tope Fasua, President, Institute for Service Excellence and Good Governance

…’Old, Recycled Politicians Are Tired Hands’

*Lament: “I believe Nigeria is being run aground because of large egos of people”

*Says: ‘Our Focus is on the Economy to Revive it”

*States: ‘Hope is Fast Disappearing, We Will Bring back Renewal, Renaissance and Respect’

* “We Will Make Nigeria’s Naira Strong Again”

TOPE FASUA is a sound and intelligent economic expert, holders of Masters degree in Financial Markets and Derivatives from a famous University in United Kingdom, having earlier bagged a BSc in Economics in 1991 from the old Ondo State University. This PhD program student in Public Policy and Leadership with vast experiences in the nation’s banking sector is leading Nigerian youths to take over power through the ballot box on the political platform of Abundant Nigeria Renewal Party, ANRP. In this maiden Exclusive Interview with GEORGE ELIJAH OTUMU, Tope, Chief Executive Officer of Global Analytics Consulting Limited in Abuja opened up on plans already in place for him to legally win the 2019 election backed fully by the generality of Nigerian youths, how he intends to bring back the value of Naira, liberate Nigeria’s economy, ensure that Kidnapping, Terrorism, Armed Robbery and Assassination are no longer found in the country.

Q: What inspired you into taking this position of contesting for the Presidency of Nigeria?

A: I was inspired by the need to stop complaining about how bad things are, or how badly Nigeria is run, and to be responsible enough to do something about this country myself. Plus I have many strong ideas about how things should be run. As an economist, that is all i think about. i have written four books on the Nigerian socio-economy, and perhaps over 2,000 articles.

Q: How do you plan to outdo the old, used and recycled politicians running the governance of the country?

A: Well, first let us show respect to them. Our party the ANRP (Abundant Nigeria Renewal Party), is based on RESPECT. Respect for ourselves, for our elders, younger ones, children unborn, the environment, Nigeria and the world at large. Respect to humanity and to God. So let us forgive the current morass we have been put into by a combination of factors, including the tired ideas that some of our old politicians bring, while we cannot forget that we are here and must do something about the situation. We intend to go into this strictly on the basis of ideas. Ideas, well articulated and beautifully couched, workable ideas not pies in the sky. Then if indeed in any country – and especially in Nigeria – the youth represent the majority of voters, we would certainly make an impact. 

Q: What financial muscles have you got to contest this capital political campaign?

A: Where finance ends, intelligence begins. You will notice that one thinks better when one is broke. That is why the greatest achievers in the world are not those who had all the money they ‘needed’ at their beck and call, but those who – because they had nothing – had to think of ingenious ways of doing things. We would never have the financial muscle of those who run the status quo. We would never be able to play the politics of buying rice for poor people who are then left to remain poor afterward. But we have other strategies. 

Q: Tell us about your political structures that is a cutting edge over all other presidential candidates?

A: The structure is growing. But the structure is bottom-up. Check out our party logo… it is a sprouting plant. That will grow into an oak. That is the way the structure will evolve. Everyone will kick in.

Q: What virtues have you got to lead as a good President?

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A: How does one start blowing one’s own trumpet. I wouldn’t say i have ‘virtues’. That belongs to the realm of holy ones and to God. But i do have attributes. They say passion is the sin of youth, pride, the sin of middle age and prejudice the sin of old age. I don’t like pride and prejudice. I could live with the sin of passion; passion for humanity, passion for one’s own country, passion for excellence. So i am a passionate person and thankfully, i still have the energy to lead a country like Nigeria. it will never be easy. Has never been easy. Many times, like they say, posterity forgives someone who tries and fails than someone who does nothing at all. So in today’s supersonic world, and a globalized, unified one at that, speed is of utmost importance. I understand something about how the world works and some of the hidden tricks that has kept African countries flailing about. Asides from this, i have absolutely no sense of entitlement. I am a simple person, a servant leader type of personality. I believe Nigeria is being run aground because of large egos that need to be constantly fed.

Q: How do you intend to stop corruption among institutions and politicians?

A: It will be a long and arduous process but the first thing we have done is to embed our ideas on anti-corruption and resource management into our constitution. And we are also screening anyone who intends to contest on our platform for any of the old ways of doing things. We want to work with people who have verifiable jobs and businesses not professional politicians, many of whom are confusionists. If we are able to find people who believe in and can commit to these fundamental ideals of ours which will be written into our constitution, that will be a great first step. Then, when we come into government we will have to adopt a multi-pronged approach. Some of the corruption comes from a culture gone awry. People need N50million to organize weddings, N30million to bury their parents. People want to show off even the money they don’t have. Media focuses much attention on those who have money and thus redefines morality. First is to let our people know that this approach will lead Nigeria into perdition, because we cannot all be billionaires. What they have achieved in other countries is the dignity of labour, and a certain contentment that assures one that one is not missing anything by not being a billionaire. But here in Nigeria, the rhetoric on the streets, our music, even our religious preaching is sometimes about getting rich or dying trying. Communication will be beamed in that direction. For it is unsustainable. Anyone who then intends to dare government’s resolve will see quick results. Like Mahatma Gandhi used to say “there is enough for our needs, but never enough for our greed’”. It is that greed that has almost destroyed Nigeria.

Q: Will you encourage Nigeria’s Economics and Financial Crime Commission, EFCC, to probe corrupt politicians found to have stolen the nation’s wealth?

A: Certainly. They must do their jobs. The judiciary must also be above board, without executive interference. I will paint the picture to show them vividly that that which they do will benefit everyone. Seriously Nigeria can be great again.

Q: What is the focus of your political campaign?

A: The Economy. President Buhari came in on the platform or Anti-corruption, Security, and the Economy. Minister Fashola confirmed that strategy at UNIBEN recently. But almost two years on, the issue now is the economy, the economy, the economy and more of the economy. The rich are crying, even if some of them stole their ways into fame. Yes some of them are spoilt with cheap Nigerian money but we cannot criminalize the rich just because they are rich. Sometimes, it’s their luck or hardwork. The middle class are being squeezed out of existence. Banks and Telecoms and Oil companies are laying off by the droves. Businesses are closing down, hope is fast disappearing. The poor are even poorer. People are being laid off like ants, and those who are managing to cling to their jobs by the skin on their teeth, those ones are being owed sometimes for two years. Hope is fast disappearing. But our party mantra for now, is RENEWAL. RENAISSANCE. RESPECT!

Q: How will you fight Insecurity, Terrorism, Kidnapping and arrest fallen Naira in the Foreign exchange market?

A: Our security problems are by every means, intelligence problems. We were and are still fighting Boko Haram who came like a thief in the night. Till date, they morph around and hit us where it hurts and disappear into thin air. Over 30,000 people have died by their hands. That is an intelligence operation. No one has told the story. How can a bunch of supposedly illiterate people appear from somewhere and be strong than all our intelligence agencies including our army. We need the truth on that before we can forge ahead. As regards other security issues like terrorism, and armed robbery… tackle the youth. I recall writing a painful article to President Buhari around that title. Of course nothing is ever acknowledged and i understand. Constant dialogue is required in solving the security issues. we must keep talking. One of the traps that governments fall into is that they go daggers-drawn once they get into position. They label critiques with funny names and stop listening to other opinions. We will strive never to get into that trap. Only the youth of Nigeria can secure their country. Even in Maiduguri and environments, the civilian JTF tried their best. I am not advocating vigilanteism, but a youth with jobs, with hopes, who are seeing how they are contributing to the growth and development of their country, who have a sense of belonging, who are constantly communicated with by their leaders, who live in sane environments, who have sense of responsibility not merely sense of entitlement about what they can grab from their country, will soundly secure their own environments. it’s their country after all.

Regarding the Naira, the only way to really bring back value is by increasing economic complexity of our products. Naira will continue to be weak so long as we hope to export cassava or cocoa and import Toyota Landcruiser SUV Full Option, bullet proof etc for N150million each like we’ve always done. It is no rocket science. If the value of your goods are nothing compared with what you import, you are in constant trouble and heading for the abyss. That has been Nigeria’s fate. Nigeria has run deficit budgeting since 1981 with the exception of 1997! That means we have always borrowed money to balance the budget, from at home and abroad. Only a very very irresponsible father will run his home like that; constantly borrowing above his wages for all sorts of fancy projects, including throwing parties, while his children are suffering. It is that simple. Which takes me to the issue of crude oil. Crude oil is an illusion. If we produce 2million barrels on a good day with little disruptions, ours is only 1million equivalent because we cannot even produce without assistance from major oil companies and we have to sign contracts with them. Nigeria is presently canceling its Joint Venture agreements, perhaps because it has dawned on those running the economy that we get little from these things. Yet the guys on the Nigerian end of the spectrum spare no expenses in making themselves extremely comfortable. Crude oil is an illusion. It costs about 10 -15 barrels of crude oil to buy a Samsung phone which many Nigerian children of ‘big men’ will not be caught dead using. It costs maybe 40 barrels to buy an I-phone even at the recovered price of say $50 per barrel of crude oil. Every time they buy those huge SUVs for which Nigeria is famous (with government money), they should know that they have like 40,000 barrels of crude oil on wheels per SUV. There isn’t enough daily production to go round and finance this madness. That is where the change must start from. Government people cannot afford to overprotect and overindulge themselves while the country goes to Hades. The way we spend is certainly irresponsible given the kind of existential challenges we have. In my government, God willing, anyone who will serve will bring their own cars or make do with what we inherit. For at least two years. And we will make it constitutional that on no occasion would a government official use siren to chase away the taxpayers off the road. If it’s about security i believe there are more intelligent ways of deploying effective security. The world has since moved on to greater things. We are against people getting voted or appointed and immediately dashing for the pantry looking for what to ‘eat’ off a dying country.

In the current scenario of the falling Naira – if i may go back to the subject – a bit of mismanagement came into play. I believe that the Central Bank cannot afford to keep selling money to Bureaux de Change every week in a predictable manner because their are many hungry lions in Nigeria who just want to keep gaming the system. I believe what they should do is silent interventions and they could undertake moral suasion with the major players in a way that can assist the Naira gain value. I believe that unfortunately, the young., smart guys are many times not helping Nigeria the way they should. Not everything is about money. The city of New York, the last time i checked, has all of 45 Currency Exchanges (BDCs), and that is a tourist centre and a financial centre. That figure includes branches. The whole of UK has about 120 different BDCs or Currency Exchanges. So, please God help us, what is Nigeria doing with 4,000 BDCs all milking the system, yesterday, today and tomorrow? We will divert the attention of these smart Nigerians to other more profitable business areas. That will be the real diversification. Diversification is about a country’s economy interacting with itself and it being self-sustaining with little assistance from abroad. It is about playing the globalisation game, but not always being on the losing team.

Q: In what areas do you think President Buhari’s administration has failed Nigerians?

A: Again, I would approach any question about the president with respect and care. Yes it is absolutely not easy to lead Nigeria. But i agonized at his snail speed on many issues, lateness in forming a cabinet, several inconsistencies in policies, not many new ideas coming on board, very terrible communication with the public, non-mobilisation of the youth who supported a change in government, and perhaps lastly, Nigeria has become even dirtier everywhere. Nigerians were ready to conform with what was good and right when the president came in, but in no time, it seemed even he was distracted or not interested. So Nigerians went back to status quo ante, with a vengeance… because this time, they are financially squeezed and angry.

Q: On what political platforms are you running for Presidency in 2019?

A: On the platform of the ANRP – Abundant Nigeria Renewal Party. We have two positive words there. We want an ABUNDANT NIGERIA. We know Nigeria is abundant in every human and material resources. So why are 90% of Nigerians suffering? Then whatever we do, our mandate is to RENEW Nigeria. We cannot get rid of any word in our party’s name.

Q: What spur your childhood during your youthful days that someday you will become the President of Nigeria?

A: Well, I am not very political. But I have always had an acute sense of social justice. Plus I believe that there is nothing positive that anyone can do that i cannot do as well. I am not a perfect person, but i do listen and take corrections. I have always said i could be Nigeria’s president. This time, having been disappointed by many older people, I started agonizing to people of my generation that we can do this. Nobody stepped forward, so i did. I don’t know how to leave problems for other people to solve, or how to keep complaining and not lift a finger.

Q: Finally, take us through your biography and academic accomplishments

A: Born in 1971 in Lagos. I did my primary school there and also my form 1 in secondary in a Jakande School, then I transferred to Akure Ondo State, where I hail from. I attended Army Comprehensive High School, Akure. I proceeded to the old Ondo State University where i bagged a BSc in Economics in 1991. I started work in 1992 at Citizens Bank, worked in three other banks before i proceeded to the United Kingdom for a Masters in Financial Markets and Derivatives in 2005. But i was already a Chartered Accountant since 1996. I am on a PhD program on Public Policy and Leadership right now. I have written four strong books about Nigeria. I have written perhaps 2,000 articles. It’s as if this is what I’ve ever lived for. I am also president of the Institute for Service Excellence and Good Governance. I create startups, and more and more, I am seeing that a start-up state of mind is what is required to move Nigeria forward. A start-up person will understand the URGENCY OF NOW!

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