Dr. Onwubuya Abraham Breakforth is the Freedom and Justice Party (FJP) presidential candidate in the forthcoming general elections and secretary of the Coalition of Presidential Candidates’ Forum. In this interview with PATRICK ANDREW, he speaks on the security situation in the country, insisting that the ministry of defence should be scrapped as it forms the bulk of corruption and unnecessary waste of resources, among others.
I am a two-time deputy chairman of Inter Party Advisory Council (IPAC), an umbrella body of all registered political parties in Nigeria. I was among the founding fathers of ACD, ACN in 2005, 2006 with Bola Ahmed Tinubu and Atiku Abubakar.
We founded the ACD in 2005 because of the internal misunderstanding between Tinubu and the founding father of ACD, late Chief Sani Ayelo, who wanted Bisi Akande to be the chairman of ACD. Due to the crisis, we left ACD to form AC in 2006. It was the platform that Atiku used to run for presidency in 2007.
In 2009, the name was changed to ACN, when Boss Mustapha, the current Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF), became the deputy chairman of ACN, while Bisi Akande returned as the chairman.
I have been in politics for some time. I am also a founding member of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in 1998.
I used to ask myself where these people were when we founded the PDP at Bolingo Hotel. We didn’t even have money to eat or pay our bills.
The first N1 million we got was from Chief Rochas Okorocha as far back as 1998. In 2005, because of the problem President Obasanjo was giving to us: I, Audu Ogbeh and many of us decided to leave the PDP to form the ACD when Audu Ogbeh was sacked in 2004 as chairman.
I left the All Progressives Congress (APC) and we founded the Freedom and Justice Party (FJP) in 2017 because many of us didn’t like what was happening in the APC. We left the APC because the structure did not accommodate us, even though we were founding members. You can’t be in a place where you are not welcome; you have to move to a place where you are celebrated.
When we left the APC, we rejoined the ACD, which was still in existence, and I became the acting national chairman and two-time deputy national chairman of the IPAC. I resigned from ACD to form FJP.
We formed the FJP because we found out that democracy is all about freedom and justice. Where there is impunity and imposition and people are not given freedom of expression to choose their leaders, then there is no democracy.
The APC, PDP and other parties are driven by impunity and imposition and many of the members are being displaced in the process. There is no justice. We have laboured all this while with nothing to show for it. We formed the FJP because we have suffered a lot in the political terrain. Even Nigeria as a nation is suffering from lack of freedom and democracy.
Insecurity is the order of the day, as people sleep without knowing if they will survive the next day; whether herdsmen will kill them and burn down their houses. People are living in fear. They fear that they will be arrested by the DSS if they speak up. The nation is in bondage. People are being suppressed, impunity, lack of respect for court order and all manner of things reign supreme.
Our objective is to rescue Nigeria from her prolonged bad leadership, insecurity, lack of development, injustice and all forms of inadequacies in government by democratically taking over power at all levels and sustain same for the purpose of electing government that will pursue social democratic programmes as basis for good governance, and for the sustenance of democracy and national development. Our mission is to have a Nigeria without tears. Our mandate is to give freedom to the people and justice for all.
Plans to win elections
Any man who wants to face a task must be ready for the consequences. Our membership strength, nationwide, is over seven million. We have told each member to mobilise five persons with PVCs. Some may get two, three or four, but on average that will be over 21 million votes.
I am an old driver in a new car as I have a lot of experience. It is not all about holding rallies and shouting yourself hoarse, it is about listening to the people. The people are aggrieved. They are not happy. They feel disenfranchised and in tears. We have a 10-point national agenda we plan to do in the next eight years. We cannot reach them in four years. We can achieve three or four in the first tenure and then achieve the rest if we return the next tenure.
We will tackle the issue of power in our first 100 days in office. Nothing can drive a nation without adequate energy. We will tackle power and insecurity. We will audit and review the privatization process in the energy sector and cancel all the process and give way to direct foreign investors to handle the power sector.
The people that are importing generators are the same people handling our power sector. We will set up a taskforce on the abolition of generating sets. We cannot achieve this until we put a stop to the importation of generators. They are Mafias who will not allow the energy sector to thrive because they are making huge profit from the importation of generators.
If you give Nigerians enough power supply, they will do business. So, the presidential task force will mop up all generators nationwide. Government will pay for the generator and collect it from you, while we abolish its importation. We will allow the multinationals in the energy sector to take over. That is what is happening in South Africa.
Government has no business in doing business, but to give an enabling environment for business to thrive. Once we take care of the processes of generating and transmitting electricity, power supply will be 24 hours.For instance, I went to South Africa with my wife for a two-week holiday and there was.uninterrupted power supply in the hotel we stayed in Pretoria. I learnt that there was no place that generators are sold in the country.
After the power sector, we will tackle security by overhauling the entire security apparatus in the country. We will edit, train and upgrade them. We will scrap the Ministry of Defence, because it forms the bulk of corruption. We have the Chief of Army Staff, Chief of Air Staff, Chief of Navy Staff and the Police, so we don’t need the ministries again; they are unnecessary waste of resources.
We will look into government expenditures and reduce cost of running government by 50 per cent. We spend 70 per cent of annual budget in running overhead and concurrent expenditure of government, while 30 per cent goes to capital project, which is quite unfortunate.
We will give Nigerians adequate security. The issue of Boko Haram is business and we will put an end to that. If Boko Haram ceases to exist, some people will not make money. That’s why we will overhaul the security apparatus and scrap the ministry of defence. We will rearrange the process after scrapping the ministry.
The economy is in a bad shape. Over 82 million graduates are unemployed according to National Bureau of Statistics (NBS). We will do agro economy revolution. Nigeria is blessed with good weather and abundant natural resources. We will establish 12 farm settlements in each local government. It is all about having the political will. We will recruit 10 million youth graduates, both OND, BSC and HND holders. We will send them to different countries for training on mechanised farming.
Some will be trained on the operation and repair of tractors, because money is spent on operation and repairs in mechanised farming. Others will be trained on animal husbandry and other types of agriculture.
After training, we will have ten trained youths and 50 others in each farm settlement. We don’t need the Ministry of Agriculture. What we need is an agency that will regulate the farms. We will build the farm settlement, house, then give them tractors and leave them. 60 youths multiplied by 12 farms in a local government multiplied by 774 local governments.
Government will push an agenda that every elected official receives 50 per cent allowances and salary, because cost of running government is very high. We will also abolish security votes for governors. The leader of a nation must have a vision of what to do. We will make sure that most of the farm projects we embark on will get foreign grants.
The national farm regulatory authority will be set up to monitor the farms. Government will have equity on return on investment. In every farm, 45 per cent of profit will return to government to service the loan. The other 55 per cent will be used to take care of the farm, workers and other expenses, so the farm will pay back the loan.
We will embark on economic industrialisation. In every local government, we will have one cotton industry. When I lived in the Netherlands, I lived in a small village with 15 cottage industries.
They will import materials from Africa, package and export again.
The cotton industries will buy off 75 per cent produce in each of the farms. The farmers have no resources to package their produce. It is the cotton industries that buy, package and export them and then pay the farmer, so he doesn’t disturb himself with where to sell this or that. The government will buy off 25 per cent. We will have national food storage bank in each local government to buy, store and sell to the public at cheaper rates. Distributors will buy and resell so that people don’t have to go to the farms.
In Europe, food is the cheapest commodity. They don’t have good weather. They are below sea level with no sunlight for agriculture, yet they have massive farms. They cover their farms and install electric bulbs to generate heat and they have enough to eat and export. Government buys off the farm produce for national food security. No matter how poor you are, you will eat three square meals.
But here in Nigeria, everything is very expensive. In Europe, wealthy men stay in the village to farm and make money, but reverse is the case in Nigeria. Agro economy and industrialisation is the major focus of our government and we will revive all our dead industries. We will have 774 cotton industries.
I am the Chairman of Nigeria Forum of Political Parties and I am not aware of any Coalition. Some political parties under Coalition for United Political Parties (CUPP) don’t have money, ideas or innovations. I have been asked severally to join the CUPP, but I declined because our party has a national programme for Nigeria. If I join the CUPP, our vision and agenda to rescue Nigeria will die. We have started. If we don’t get 2019, we will get 2023. We are planning a presidential dinner and unveiling to tell Nigerians our manifesto. This party is a party to free Nigeria and we cannot surrender to PDP or CUPP. We will continue to push until we get into power to implement our agenda.
Alliance with APC
If we are going to align with the APC for any reason, it will be to allow them serve their four years and leave, so that we can take over power. For now, we are watching events as they unfold, while we stick to our programme and agenda.
Assent on Electoral Amendment Bill
Buhari is wise in refusing to assent to the 2018 Electoral Amendment Bill. It would have derailed the 2019 general elections. There are sections of the Electoral Act that would have affected INEC schedule and they would have shifted the election. If he had signed it earlier than now, INEC would have had time to adjust. We have less than 60 (28) days to the 2019 general elections, so postponing the elections would lead to crisis and manipulation.
It is better he doesn’t sign it or sign it to take effect after 2019 election. I am a political analyst and I have looked at the Bill vis-a-vis the 2019 elections. INEC is operating with an existing law.
If Buhari signs today, INEC will go to that law to either shift the election to April or May. We should also bear in mind that May 29 is sacrosanct.
If INEC shifts the election and they run into crisis, the National Assembly may invoke their powers of necessity and establish a national interim government, which will lead to an illegal government. The army may come in. We have analysed the situation as political gurus who have been in the game for a long time and we know what the National Assembly is planning. They are afraid that Buhari will rig the election and come back to power, so they want to cripple him with the electoral act.
The National Assembly is in session till June, the president is in power till May 29; so, if INEC runs into crisis, the interim government will conduct election. The military may come in and the Senate President will become the interim president. We know the game.
So, Mr. President is being patriotic by refusing to assent to the electoral bill. I am not speaking for Buhari, but as a nationalist and patriotic Nigerian.
The health sector will be privatised. This is to attract indigenous and foreign investors. We want to give Nigerians free medical health care. If we privatise all government-owned hospitals, we will invoke National Health Insurance Policy. Every Nigerian that has national ID card will be insured. We will get 10 or 15 multinational companies in each state to carry out the National Health Insurance policy for Nigerians in categories. The government will pay premium on the life of every Nigerian. It is easier to pay premium to insure the life of citizens than to spend billions to run hospitals. Once you insure your life, if you die, the insurance company will pay to your family.