Chris Emejuru is a United States of America-based Nigerian politician, currently a member of the Action Democratic Party (ADP) and managing partner for America at Lowase Management Consulting. In this interview with select journalists, he spoke on the performance of the ruling APC in the last seven years, how government should address issue of poverty and why Nigerians should settle for Peter Obi in the 2023 presidential election. JAMES KWEN, brings the excerpts:
You supported APC and President Muhammadu Buhari in 2015; do you have any regret looking back?
I supported the APC in 2015 at the time because like most Nigerians, we wanted to see the incoming administration do well. Unfortunately, as you can see, they have lived woefully below expectations. There aren’t relevant implementation of policies to tackle inflation where the average Nigerian citizen can barely afford to eat or put fuel in their car, persistent strikes in critical sectors like health and education where medical professionals are leaving the country for greener pastures and the dreams of future lawyers, doctors, scientists, and many more career paths are put on hold due to government complacency.
There is increase in poverty, and lack of economic opportunities are devastating individuals and families throughout Nigeria, then inconsistent power and electricity which no Nigerian should have to experience in the first place, and insecurity from secessionists threats in parts of the country, to terrorists’ activity, jail breaks through attacks on maximum security prisons, kidnappings, etc. Buhari rose on the platform of change but will end up having one of the most corrupt, incompetent, and unprepared administrations in Nigeria’s history.
You were reported to be nursing a presidential ambition, how far with that?
I planned on running for President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria in 2023 general election under the political party platform of the Action Democratic Party. I wholeheartedly embraced the manifesto and believed in its ideals. Unfortunately, during the primaries I could not proceed due to technical issues and had to withdraw my ambitions this election cycle. But I still love Nigeria and always will and will continue to fight for a better country where every citizen’s voice is heard and where rights are respected. Whether in the private or public sector, my only ambition is to reduce suffering and when that happens, I am truly fulfilled.
The Presidential election is coming up early next year, what qualities do you think Nigerians should look out for in a presidential candidate?
Some of the qualities I believe every Nigerian citizen should look for in a Presidential candidate is character. Character, compassion, and intellect. Character is being who you are when no one else sees it. Being upright and being a good person. Being the best person you can be. This leads to compassion. Caring about your citizens, caring about people regardless of who they are or where they are from. Finally, with these two traits, you need intellect to deliver. Having knowledge and wisdom acquired, you are well equipped to tackle any of the challenges you may confront. But let me add one more virtue and that is humility. Be humble. Understand your role and that is to serve the people. To help, assist, and make their lives easier. A presidential candidate or anyone for that matter that embodies such qualities will surely make an effective leader.
The country’s economic situation is not encouraging and so many are living in abject poverty. What do you see as a solution to the crisis?
From a Federal Government perspective, there are certain things that can be done today to solve the crisis if there was the will to do so. Three things. Cut government costs and bureaucracy. Block leakages. Diversify the economy. So much money is being wasted on the creation as well as establishment of MDA’s that either provide the same function or aren’t as effective. Once you reduce these costs, more money would be available to improve the economy. Number two, block leakages. Increase ICT (Information Communication Technology) throughout every Ministry, Department, and Agency. This will increase transparency, increase the efficiency of checks and balances, and allow for every dime or kobo to be accounted for; thus minimising the actions of bad actors. Finally, diversify the economy. I explain this in my book titled, ‘A Pledge for the Establishment of a Sustainable Future.’
There are ways to increase revenue generation from three major sectors which include Financial Technology, Agriculture, and Solid Minerals. There are ways for revenue creation from these sectors that would allow for us to pay our debts, provide critical infrastructure, and create social nets like monthly cash payments and opportunities for individuals living in poverty to start a business. From a Private perspective, many are stepping up to the challenge. Last year, myself and my business partner established Lowase Management Consulting. We have three subsidiaries one of which is to primarily focus on human capital development arm known as the LMC School of Practice. We recently launched the first inaugural African Truecaller Leadership Fellowship Programme 2022 which is a programme that provides youths and women both at home and in the Diaspora with professional training, graduate mentorship, corporate mentorship, and leadership coaching opportunities from well known international organisations and institutions. Our mission is to empower Nigerian as well as African youths with the power to get their nations working back better again. We are also engaged in capacity building contracts for the economic and political security in different parts of Nigeria. And finally, amongst other endeavours, I am in the process of sponsoring Non Governmental Organisations like the Entrepreneurs Platform Initiative which supports female/women entrepreneurs in 10 states throughout the country including my home town in Rivers State. I will personally donate N100,000 every week until we achieve the desired results.
Did you think age of a presidential candidate matters in terms of performance in office?
Age of a presidential candidate does not matter as much as how competent you are. You can look at Nelson Mandela for example. However, in Nigeria, the youth have been neglected for so long, especially in politics. So, to have a young president who brings energy, compassion, intellect and other leadership qualities is a welcome development.
Who is your ideal presidential candidate among the top contenders?
My ideal candidate is someone who is ethical, someone who has common sense, and someone who truly, genuinely cares about the masses. A candidate who doesn’t judge based on what part of the country you are from and who’s interest is to unite and not divide. Someone who wants to bring an end to police brutality, an end to bad governance, and an end to poverty. I believe the candidate who, although not perfect, comes close to these ideals is Peter Obi.
What’s your take on the much-talked about Muslim-Muslim ticket by the ruling APC?
Although, in a more conducive environment, an individual should be judged on merit. Now, having said this, I do believe the next President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria should come from the South. This is important as many Nigerians both from the North and South believe, for the sake of fairness and unity, this is the best result.
What is your advice for Nigerians as the political campaigns commence in September?
My advice for Nigerians as the political campaign commences is to remember your choice. Remember who it is that has your interest at heart. Someone who has character. Someone who cares about creating a better life for you and your family. Someone who cares about every Nigerian citizen and wants to create more jobs and tackle insecurity. Don’t be swayed by political jingles and adverts. Vote your conscience. This is your future. This is your life. Make the right decision.