Former EFCC chairman, Nuhu Ribadu, has declared in a meeting with some media chiefs today in Abuja that he does not plan to wait till 2015 before remaking a new Nigeria. He shot back at political pundits who said he lacks the " experience" to govern Nigeria. This is a raw transcript of the encounter.
Which platform will you use to contest for 2011 poll?
I will rather ask that you give me time please.
Are you still consulting?
Yes, I am still consulting but it is going to be very soon because there is no time. It is going to be very, very soon that we are going to make a decision on that. Like I said, my believe is that the possibility of all of us coming together must be exhausted full blast to see the chance for us to move a way in which we will give our country a platform that is going to be national.
Is the platform PDP or not?
Have you ever had any offer from PDP?
But which party?
It is not the time to make this thing out yet. There will be a lot of time to talk and so much to talk about PDP. We will educate Nigeria about PDP and what I consider the future of our country. I have a dream of a new Nigeria; I have the dream of a changed Nigeria. I want to see if there is a possibility of opening a new chapter, for the country. And those who are in charge somehow certainly need to give chance for the country to move forward.
As a former EFCC chairman, won’t those corrupt elements fight you back and prevent you from becoming the nation’s President?
I have always been fighting in my life. When I was in the Police Force, I fought armed robbers, I survived. I fought gangsters, I fought 419 fraudsters, big time corrupt people and I have survived. I am still standing as Nuhu Ribadu; I believe I will also survive this.
Can you confirm or deny that you have written to the Labour Party to be its presidential candidate?
Are you carrying any party card now?
Are you planning to be President in 2011 or 2015?
For God’s sake, what is the issue about 2015? Are we yet there? Have we conducted the 2011 elections? How can you talk about 2015? You think the country should continue sleeping till 2015. You think that you are comfortable with the situation today. I love my country; Nigeria has no time to wait anymore.
Are you saying the old brigade politicians should give way?
My coming is going to be like the best Nigerian should come forward whether you are old or new or woman or man. It has to be all of us and I want to be part of that team that would certainly save our country and give it a new lease of life.
I won’t want to categorize it as a generational thing. But certainly, you know what I am now, and if you want to judge it on the basis of that.
I want to see the possibility of capturing the vision of majority of Nigerians who today are the young ones. And I certainly belong to that.
Aren’t you afraid of political Goliaths like President Goodluck Jonathan, ex-President Ibrahim Babangida, ex-Head of State Muhammadu Buhari and ex-VP Atiku Abubakar?
But David won goliath eventually. Pray that I will be the David.
Can you be more forthcoming on the elective post you are vying for in 2011?
Ribadu: What do you think I am fit for? I have always been a Federal person. I have experience in public service. I had put 25 years of my life into the service of the Federal Government of Nigeria in the Executive capacity. After that, of course, I served outside Nigeria. I have worked and acquired international experience. It is for you to decide where I fit in best.
Is it presidency?
Of course. What else because I have served 25 years of my life, I have given it to the nation. I had the chance to set up an agency (EFCC); I ran it for five years. I was in an Economic Team. I was a Federal Prosecutor, probably more than any other person in that capacity. I was a police officer, a community worker, I put all my life into public service at the Federal Government level. It is only natural for you to really put that into where the experience can best count.
What will be your number one priority if you become the President? Or, what are your priorities?
I want to remake Nigeria.
I want to remake Nigeria. The point is: Remake means a new thing, a fresh thing, a fresh hub, a chance for us to love ourselves to build a nation out of our own country. I want to immediately, instantly provide those basic things. They are so important to us. I must insist that we must have security immediately, instantly there is no time to waste on that. I want to see that we can immediately solve the problem of power.
How can you address power problem?
I will do it; I will come out with my programme and policy. It is not something you can give in one word. I want to make a full stop to corruption finally. I want to ensure from now on that Nigerians are going to enjoy free and fair Education. I want to ensure that we will have good and decent hospitals. We will have hospitals, we don’t have to go out of the country and spend our money to build others like in India, Egypt and Ghana. Time has come for us to build our own. I want to make sure that this money that goes out as school fees that we go to pay in the UK, Ghana, and everywhere is going to stop immediately. We must have the schools that will give us the best in our own country. I want to see that Nigeria will be able to give jobs to its young ones. I want to see a Nigeria that probably will have the chance to industrialize. I want to see a Nigeria that will give justice to its own people; justice across; justice that can give a chance to us to have peace and stability for us to grow. I want to see the possibility of giving our country opportunity of equal treatment, fairness, respect to people. I want to see if it is possible for us to give a leadership that can listen; leadership that can take advice; leadership that is going to be collective.
In other words, I want a new Nigeria. A new Nigeria is possible and there is no time to waste at all. Like I said the detailed programmes will come out. We are going to be precise and very clear programmes and policies on how to go about it.
But the intention is there. Something is burning in all of us to save our own country. We love our country, we must fight for our country, we must work for our country. We want to bring out the energy in all of us and see if we can make a country that all of us will be proud of, a Nigeria that will be respected by the world, a Nigeria that will have a voice, a Nigeria that will play its own role assigned to it by God and destiny.
What of Nigerians in the Diaspora?
They must come in and participate fully because they constitute some of our best. Nigeria educated them, spent money on them.