The Presidential aspirant under the platform of the Labour Party, (LP) in 2019 election, Comrade Eragbe Anslem has informed that God blessed Nigeria with all that it requires to be a great country but that what has eluded the country is good leadership.
In this explosive interview with Sundiata Post Assistant News Editor, Chibuike Nwabuko, the Labour Party Presidential aspirant who is presently the National Organizing Secretary, Academic Staff Union of Research Institutions in Nigeria and first Executive President of Student Union Government (SUG) of Ahmadu Bello University (ABU) said his is coming into politics to fill the leadership gap in Nigeria.
Follow me as he unfolds his road map.
Question: Please who are you and what is the purpose of the delegates convention
I am Comrade Eragbe Anslem, presidential aspirant on the platform of Labour Party. On 25th September is the date for my presidential declaration- that date doubles as both presidential declaration and delegate convention. Our political movement called “Generational Power Shift and Leadership Movement in Nigeria” – the movement that brought us up to this point before we went into a platform of a political party, the Labour Party to aspire. Now on that platform, we are inviting 30 delegates from each local government in Nigeria and we have 774 LGAs so that will give us 23,19. So it’s believed that we are expecting roughly 25,000 Nigerians for this declaration and delegate’s convention.
Now why the delegates convention? Generational Power Shift and Leadership Movement in Nigeria is a political movement that takes special consideration for Nigerians from 18 to 55 years. So it is this generation that we desire to take over the mantle of leadership in Nigeria. So ideally we are inviting this group of Nigerians from all walks of life. So you must not be a member of GPS to be part of the delegate’s convention. What we are saying is that right now in Labour Party, GPS wants to be able to ensure that Labour Party produces political leaders across board in Nigeria. From your ward, from your local government, if you have aspiration for Councilor, Chairman, Vice Chairman, State Assembly, House of Rep, Senate, Governor, Deputy Governor, President Vice President, all of this positions put together, all we are saying now is, let the communities across board in Nigeria seat down and identify people who can serve them irrespective of the political lineage, people who they believe can represent them. What we are saying is: we are going to help these communities with these persons they feel can help them in leadership position, whether or not they have the money to buy form, it is not important to us. But because you have the mental ability and capacity to lead but you lack the financial muscle. We are saying come, be part of that 30 delegates that will come from your local government so that you tell your people where ever they are in the country that this is what we are saying.
On that day when they come here, we are going to ratify local government by local government- example we are expecting that the list coming from Isako LG will contain 10 councilors saying I want to be councilor. Again that list should be able to contain somebody who said I want to be local government chairman, etc similarly House of Rep like that up to governorship. But now I have declared for President and as a southerner I must look for a northerner as Vice President. If I am a Christian I must look for a muslim and vice versa- these are the political balance in Nigeria. So these are the issues we are coming to resolve in this delegate convention so by the time we are done with the convention, Labour Party would have streamlined our own activities for party primaries. That way we can position for 2019 election.
The challenge we have had in Nigeria is that political parties hike the price of their form and the reason they do that is that those of you that have capacity and mental ability, because your pockets are so shallow because of deprivation, then you cannot contest. So it is those who have served previously and have stolen enough that can serve. What we are saying is, come to Labour Party. We have made arrangement to ensure that regardless of whether you have money or not, you will get form so long as you are ready and you will contest in 2019 election by the grace of God.
Question: Labour Party today is factionalised, how do you intent to resolve this so that it will not hamper your aspiration. Again, so many parties are springing up and working towards merger, is Labour Party part of this arrangement or you are standing alone. Finally, do you have a god-father?
I will begin with the third question, which is on god-father. I have a God-father and my god-father is God Almighty Himself. He is my God and God-father and I go to him through Jesus Christ. That is that about god-father. But the contemporary issue about god-fatherism in Nigeria is who are those people are close to. But those who know me by the grace of God, I am friendly and close to virtually all Nigerians, both low and high but that does not translate to god-father.
My father is late, he died late, my father died this year, January 30th, May his soul rest in peace. Outside that, you can be a mentor to me, you can be an adviser to me, I can look up to you because of the things you do and do right- then am motivated.
Outside doing and doing right, keep god-father. There are people I have related with and keep relating with people; there are people that have impacted my life but it depends on what people want to call such people but actually not god-father. They are role models, mentors, role models; they are fathers to me, mothers and sisters to me.
So, politically as we move ahead, if you bring the context of god-fatherism, who are the god-fathers. Those who are relevant in the scheme of things in politics are those who can give you vote are the most relevant people. So how do we endear ourselves to the grassroots? So endearing ourselves to the grassroots, we must tell the grassroots what we have for them. How has the grassroots fared since 1960 because we must have these bases for comparison to say ok, this is how we feel you have fared since 1960 and this is how we believe you should fare from 2019 to 2023/4 during the tenure of our government?
On merger, we are aware politically that the other parties needed to merge, politics is a game of interest, and interest in politics they say is thicker than blood. So it then means if you find yourself in power, every other person who is not in power with you must be on the opposition. The reason why they are in opposition is because they want to take that power from you- they too want it. So today Buhari is the President, politically it is only natural that PDP, Labour Party, every other person want that power. If they cannot take it singly, as standing alone, they will want to take it coming together and that is what APC did- that is the wisdom of politics. When ACN and the rest realized that their small small numbers cannot do, they came into a merger, added their strength and resources together and fought and what happened, they got the presidency.
Today, people say ok, let’s do the same thing that APC did and take the presidency and I am believing God because Labour Party joined the CUPP alliance before I came on board, but now that I am on board by the grace of God, firstly, I have come to run the race the full circle to the polls. But I believe even while the alliance not merger (because merger is when the parties forfeit their identity and assume a common identity as they did to form APC but with the understanding to share power when they got it, but however they shared, I don’t know). So now that we are here, by the grace of God, Eragbe Anslem intends to run this race to the last. And I believe that the CUPP, ultimately by the time we got to the field, they will have every reason to adopt Eragbe Anslem as presidential candidate to beat the incumbent in the 2019 poll. I have said two things in one-that I have come to run the race to the end, two because Labour Party was part of that alliance, and if the alliance succeed, I believe when the chips are down Labour Party’s Eragbe Anslem will be the beneficiary of that CUPP alliance to defeat the incumbent president at the polls in 2019 by the grace of God.
The third question is on the crisis in Labour Party. Well, in politics there are conventional and constitutional ways of doing issues of life, and politically equally. The laws are very clear- political party laws are in manifesto. Aggrieved parties equally have the means to ventilate their grievances in politics, either by way of direct opposition to the constituted laws just like you saw in the PDP- elements in the party came out and created newPDP (nPDP) and they moved to APC. Now we have seen it again, elements in APC recently came out and created Reformed APC (RAPC) because they felt disenchanted with some of the happening in the party. Now, if I am answering this question, before I came into Labour Party, no doubt in the leadership, issues may have arisen and there are disenchantment causing the creation of a faction.
Listen, faction does not remove constitutionality; faction does not remove what is right. Faction results from grievances, the constitutional entrenched order and hierarchy of Labour Labour in party in Nigeria is headed by Alhaji A A Salam. So as it stands today, Alhaji A.A Salam is the Chairman of Labour party in Nigeria. That doesn’t remove the fact that one or two or three persons are aggrieved or may be aggrieved but we have a responsibility and what is our responsibility?
Today as the presidential aspirant of the Labour Party, I have a responsibility. It then means as I become a candidate I have become virtually the leader of that party, by extension, I have a duty as we prepare for election. I have to harmonise my platform and I will do that by the grace of God because I will bring everybody together but before I do that what is about to happen must happen now.
This meeting is meant for declaration, delegate convention, harmonization and familiarization so that we bring Labour Party however little or big it is across the country and we sit down and begin to fashion a way, we will get there in less than no time.
Question: What are your Jokers. Is it because it is the Labour Party that you are contesting or what is missing in leadership that you think can be found in Labour Party. Do you have the sphere, if Eragbe Anslim is mentioned in Jigawa, Does your name ring a bell?
I want to believe I am known in Nigeria to a level and I am about to be known at the other level. Now at the level of the elite in Nigeria, I am the first executive president of the student union government in Ahmadu Bello University Zaria, I become the first executive president, when I say first executive, I mean I am the first person to have presided over the entire Ahmadu Bello University Student Union Government because we used to have about three unions. But in 2002 there was a merger. For seven years there was no union- we embarked on that struggle, I called it ”renaissance struggle” and eventually we won and I became the first executive president.
Now what is the relevance of the ABU to what we are doing today? ABU Zaria is about the most cosmopolitan society in Nigeria – what that means is that if there is another Nigeria, a smaller Nigeria somewhere, that Nigeria is in ABU. Because it only in ABU that you come and if there is one person in your community that is in University, go and find out, that person is in ABU. What that means is that ABU offers you true test of what Nigeria is and it has afforded me that opportunity. So today I can beat my chest as I am seated here , the GPS that you see today, I can prove to you with facts – we have our members, followers from all nooks and crannies of the country and from across the globe. So that is the structure we have built over time.
On your question about what is missing in leadership. Now let me tell you that “everything is missing in the Nigerian leadership”. We are coming to fill the missing gap. Labour party is a vehicle, you need a driver. Labour party has been at its lowest ebb since it was created now we are coming with our clout to Labour party. What do I mean by clout? For the past 18 years, I have had everything to do with students’ activities in Nigeria – Polytechnics, College of Education, Universities up till today and you will be wondering how is this guy doing it? I have everything to do because, like I said, I was former SUG President, Nans Senator for two years and as I talk with you, I am the National Organizing Secretary of Academic Staff Union of Research Institution in Nigeria. We have about 148 research institution in Nigeria and I am the national organizing secretary. I am a civil servant, I’m a labour leader. Now what that means is that the labour sector in Nigeria I am a stakeholder by that fact.
Like I said everything is missing in Nigeria’s leadership. How do you know a leadership that is found wanting? If you compare and contrast our age mates in Nigeria with our age mates in UK, with our age mates in all African countries, you will find out that in all indices, we are found wanting in terms of welfare, well-being, housing, gainful employment, productive employment (because an Engineer productive employment and gainful employment mean different things a lawyer may see it differently). Now in terms of social infrastructure, even your take-home, in short in everything! So everything is missing in Nigeria.
Now, we here have identified these missing links and we have come out, by the grace of God, that will be unveiled upon my declaration. But as I said in three (3) years from 2019, by 2023 our government coming in 2019 by the grace of God, would have created successfully 89, 730,000 new and sustainable jobs in Nigeria under a philosophy called “productivity optimization”. It is this productivity optimization that accounts for why our government will by 2020 January 1, the least paid worker in Nigeria will be on salary scale of N67, 300 based on productivity optimization. Our government is coming up with a housing policy to deliver a minimum of 89, 730,000 housing units and what that means is this-God keep us alive, every shanty that has ever been built in this country, in villages and cities will give way . We are coming up with the policy of mortgage home ownership – we are going to build and deliver to you because we’ll create the means of productivity engagement for you. We have redesigned Nigerian economy basically to be anchored on agricultural mechanization – plants, animal husbandry and processes. It has been revealed to us that a minimum of $2trillion (equivalent of N760 trillion) will be generated annually effective from 2021. Now these are job creation strategy in the ratio of 2:1.5. If we come in May 29, 2019, between this time and May 2020, we would have created a ratio of 2/5 x 89, 730,000 jobs.
All of these things are captured in their naira and kobo – how the funds will be sourced, deployed and how these jobs will be created and what these jobs will generate; what savings these persons will make; what savings Nigeria will make as a country and what distribution of income to your ward, local government and states and to geo-political Zones for redistribution and to the federal government.
Now we have redesigned economically the revenue distribution for Nigeria. Again, we are not taking into consideration oil because that has been the mismatch in Nigeria. We missed it as a country when we emphasized oil over every other thing God has given us. So when we come as a government, we are going to use oil but it is not accounted for in our road map. However, every resource of oil will be shared equally on the on-shore. If you read our manifesto you would have seen that oil coming from the onshore is shared in 55 places at 1.78%, Zamfara will get equal part with Bayelsa, Edo and Kano will get same equal part. This is the extent we have de-emphasized oil. Therefore our government will generate minimum of $2 trillion annually and the money will not fall from the sky. The way and manners the money will come have been soughted out.
This is a CIS for $195billion project funding in Nigeria, Nigeria has been fully redesigned, a minimum of $3.5billion is meant on this project for each of the states in Nigeria. The housing I talked about, the job creation, hospitals, the programs etc. So we are not speculating where we are going to, it is a foundation that have been fully laid and because you can see it waiting to fully take off. It is a private business that will become a nation business, as you can see his is a foundation for Nigeria.
We have a thirty years road map, but I tell you in 4 years by God’s grace, we intent to exhaust this road map in 4 years. We into to have a different Nigeria that cannot be pictured now even on this table but a picture of Nigeria we have has been painted and we have displayed it. The houses we are talking about have already been designed and we have them. The hospitals and kind of roads we will build are all known. This is the kind of Nigeria we are talking about so that those coming after us will be clear where they are going. Because like I said, everything about Nigeria before today, for all I care, there has not been a Nigeria because we had a Nigeria without a road map. Everybody comes, does his own budget and budgets are never implemented- what do you get, the monies are stolen and they buy houses and lodge the rest in abroad.