Dr. SKC Ogbonnia, Enugu born All Progressives Congress, APC chieftain runs Texas, United States based First Texas Energy Corporation. He is arguably the first former supporter of President Muhammadu Buhari to openly declare his intention to vie for the APC presidential ticket.
In this interview, he gives reasons why he is backing a man he openly mobilized support and resources for in past elections. Excerpts:
By Emmanuel Aziken, Political Editor
What prompted you into supporting Buhari in the 2015 election?
I had been a fervent fan of Buhari since his war against indiscipline years. I also supported him in 2003, 2007 and 2011 races.SKC Ogbonnia
Are you satisfied with his achievements in office?
Well, yes, and no. Yes, in the sense that Buhari’s worst is better than the best PDP people can offer. No, in the sense that Buhari blew an opportunity to become the greatest Nigerian leader ever.
What was your expectation from him?
The masses and the international community had expected President Buhari to demonstrate serious consequences for bad behavior in our country without minding whose ox is gored. Further, though Buhari inherited hell from PDP, including empty treasury, Nigeria still has enormous resources for the president to fulfil his core promises.
How far has he met those expectations?
President Muhammadu Buhari has shown a measure of improvement in the fight against corruption when compared to the PDP era. At least, corruption is once again being viewed as stealing. But I can do much better. I have always succeeded where others failed.
What factors would you say have contributed to his failure to meet your expectations?
First, President Buhari started biting the fingers that fed him by turning the defining theme of his inauguration speech upside down. “I belong to no one” was crafted to mean an upright president wholly committed to the greater good.
Instead, Buhari naively replaced the brain trust that brought him to power with primitive loyalists who have no clue about the core change agenda of the APC.
Second, I pity Buhari. Because of his dictatorial military background, a punch-line of the opposition, the Daura-born general surprisingly took the posture of a recruit in running the affairs of the nation. Notice that he appears confused on the perceived freedoms of democracy, including separation of power and his role in the ruling party and governance as a whole.
As a result, Nigeria has found itself in a paradox where a virally corrupt opposition party controls virtually all structures of government.
Third, Buhari fell into a brazen trap set by the PDP. The president allowed himself to be perceived as an enemy of the South-East and the South-South zones by the way of careless utterances.
To make matters worse, instead of chasing the real enemy, which remains the corrupt club of PDP that looted major development projects in the East, President Buhari started overheating the polity by chasing Nnamdi Kanu and IPOB. Prescribing IPOB as terrorists is far from the solution.
You are a member of the APC based in the United States. A number of APC officials have alleged a right of first refusal being given to the president as reportedly practised in the United States, is there any philosophy like that?
First of all, President Buhari has not declared any intention to seek a second term. I am currently the only APC candidate in the race. Second, leadership is contingent upon the environment. But if we must emulate the Americans, President Buhari might as well emulate President Lyndon Johnson and decide not to run based on health reasons and public opinions. See, there is no Nigerian who wants Buhari to succeed more than myself.
That is why I am wishing him to emulate the Mandela manner instead of the Mugabe muggle. That calls for him to quickly consolidate on the gains of his democratic power and hand over to me a capable, detribalized, and dynamic new breed with no linkage with any corrupt oligarchy.
You have recently opted to contest the presidency, what prompted you?
I have always envisioned presiding over the affairs of Nigeria, and I have truly planned. I have a bullet-proof solution to the country’s problems. Most of my works have been about making Nigeria great. Even my latest book, Effective Leadership Formula, is a philosophical foundation for my presidency. Now is the time to bring the vision to fruition.
Moreover, my winning the APC nomination alone will sanitize the presidential race. Because of my background, people with corrupt history will not dare to stay in the race. The likes of Atiku Abubarkar, Ayo Fayose, and Sule Lamido will see reason to withdraw.
What do you have in stock for Nigerians?
I have a messianic will to unleash the abundant potential of the Nigerian to greatness. In short, I have the capacity and strategic formula to generate the resources to make Nigeria great. The formula will create overflowing employment opportunities for all. Our education system will return to world-class. I will equip at least eight teaching hospitals to world standard within one year of being in office. I know exactly what to do to end epileptic electric supply and fuel scarcity.
The problems of poverty, bad roads, herdsmen, and separatist agitations will be swept away with corrupt people. Instead of our youths trooping out of the country, youths from other countries will be begging to come to Nigeria for better opportunities. I will do what my mother has prayed for me to do: “Make Nigeria look like America.”
Very importantly, I will demonstrate serious consequences for bad behavior regardless of who is involved. Corrupt people will not be swimming in ocean of affluence, flying private jets, maintaining huge bank accounts, and sending their children to overseas while the Nigerian youths are being sold off as slaves. Watch.
What policies or programmes of the party and the president do you think you would do better?
I have dedicated so much resources on the Nigerian problem. I can state with authority that our problem is not lack of programmes or policies or lack of the funds.
The problem is the perpetual failure to implement numerous existing policies and programmes, most of which are fully funded but abandoned, because there appears to be no consequences for bad behavior in our country. For example, there is nothing wrong with our steel policy initiated under Yakubu Gowon or the Power Roadmap initiated under Goodluck Jonathan.
There is nothing wrong with most of the policies and projects initiated under different regimes. What the country needs is a dynamic leader who has the capacity to truly account for these projects and implement them to the admiration of the people. That is where I come in. The ability to influence the rapid implementation of these policies is what sets me apart from any Nigerian dead or alive.
Some would say that the APC is not an Igbo party and that you have no chance of pushing your aspiration through the party, do you agree?
First of all, I am not running for Igbo presidency. However, if my tribe must be an issue, the Igbo ought to see APC as the lone option. Of course, there are two national parties in Nigeria today.
But the other party, PDP, cannot possibly make a case why the Igbo must trust it again. The PDP, remember, squandered the huge oil boom from 1999 to 2014, and the Igbo were well represented within those years. Yet, there is nothing to show in the East besides primitive accumulation of wealth by the Igbo PDP politicians themselves.
The Igbo are not fools. Put it this way: Only a Zombie Igbo will vote for PDP again. That is why a new generation of Igbo leaders, anchored by a mega-philanthropist Emperor Chris Baywood Ibe, is galvanizing the youth towards the APC. That is why just about every credible Igbo politician is now thronging to the APC fold.