Datti Baba-Ahmed is the founder of Baze University in Abuja and he talked about issues affecting the polity including the lack of confidence in the Buhari administration to conduct a free and fair election.
Baba-Ahmed is also one of the presidential aspirants on the platform of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).
In this interview, he beamed light on a number of critical issues bedevilling the country in the run-up to the elections next year.
Do you think democracy has given Nigeria the much-expected dividends?
In terms of social welfare and economic well-being, no. But, democracy as a concept has developed itself. The only thing is that it has not translated into the development of the country.
What do you think about next year’s election?
There is no option it must hold, but whether it is going to be free and fair, we will live to witness that by the grace of God Almighty. I don’t have that confidence that it would be credible from the way President Buhari and his people are running the affairs of the country and from the election we have seen so far. But there is no option, it must hold. It is a constitutional thing.
If you are to guide the Nigerian electorate, what are the crucial things they should look out for during leadership selection?
They should search for the true meaning of credibility in an individual, the kind of life style s/he has lived, in the true sense of it not in the imagined or managed form of it. The electorate are responsible for themselves not to be deceived by clever politicians, they have to find out who is playing around with the people’s sentiment, they should identify religious bigots and do away with them, they should find out who is differentiating between the rich and the poor and disregard them.
The critical issues are about development, by what parameters do you consider yourself as the best candidate?
I have checked all constitutional, political and social criteria; if you pick any one of them to compare me with any candidate I tend to score more on those points. I have risen to a career and elective position to the level that the presidency is next. You will notice that in advanced democracies, senators are far higher than governors, but in Nigeria, governors are richer and control delegates.
Also, I have demonstrated capacity in developing Nigeria through my involvement in education and it is with education that you build countries. In my little way, in my life I have been able to contribute to the education of 11,000 people without federal might, with federal might I can contribute to the education of at least 110 million Nigerians. Last, but not the least, I don’t have any known corruption case, what you call baggage. I have never held any position in government or looted public fund.
Zoning has become a moot issue, but people wonder if it is possible to get the best. Among the 12 or 14 presidential aspirants for the PDP ticket, on a close examination who do you consider is credible enough?
I would say only about two persons are credible to take governance and leadership to the next level among the presidential aspirants. On the issue of zoning and getting the best, it is possible to get the best from any part of the country. What happens is that we should endeavour to respect the constitution the constitution, is supreme. Nobody should be excluded.
If elected president, what are the first things you would do?
I will unite the country, strengthen the naira and stabilise the economy and ensure that the killings stop immediately.