In this exclusive interview with POSTERITY MEDIA, Tope Fasua, chairman of the Abundant Nigeria Renewal Party (ANRP), one of the parties recently registered by INEC, talks about his party, its ideology and how it is different from the APC or PDP.
In this first part of the interview, Fasua, a former banker and CEO, Global Analytics Consulting, a firm with international offices, says ANRP is passionate about nation-building and tasks upwardly mobile executives to get involved in politics instead of always complaining about how the country is run.
The ANRP has embarked on publicity and mobilisations towards attracting new members and to source for funds after its successful registration by INEC. What really does your party stand for? What’s ANRP’s ideology?
The party’s ideology is termed CONSTRUCTIVE AND PROGRESSIVE PRAGMATISM. What we mean by that is that we are pragmatists and we take the best only from all existing ideologies, while considering keenly how such works for Nigeria. We are fiercely Nigerian and we believe this country can work, if we remove all our hang-ups like greed, myopia, egocentrism and the mismanagement of our diversity.
So, we take what is best from capitalism because we know that people have to be encouraged to do their businesses and make money. But we also know that Nigeria has the highest proportion, and the second highest sheer numbers of desperately poor people in the world (82million) and we are predicted to overtake India which has 85million this year.
Therefore, we cannot tell all that number to go and sort themselves out. To that extent, we believe in a responsible government and in fiscal responsibility. Nigeria is the worst run country in the world given the choices that people in government put our lean resources. We also are conservative in some respects, and liberal in others. We are not necessarily centrists.
We don’t want to impress anyone and we are not afraid of taking positions. We are all about the progress of this country, and we know that we have almost left it too late. Nigeria has been gutted by the kind of leadership and visionlessness it has been saddled with for decades now. We are beyond the pale and have been left so vulnerable. All true patriots know this.
We stand for accountability, modernity, global best practices in governance, we abhor waste of any form, we stand for speed and accuracy in delivering governance to our people, we stand for the youth, we encourage the youth to take leadership positions, we stand for a breakaway from Nigeria’s sordid past, we stand for respect.
“We believe that a nation is judged by how it treats its most vulnerable. Good governance entails strong institutions that protect citizens.”
Respect for ourselves and for those around us. We abhor stealing and corruption and mindless looting of Nigeria’s commonwealth as has been going on. We stand for inclusiveness. We give ourselves and others a chance to be heard. We stand for the most vulnerable.
We believe that a nation is judged by how it treats its most vulnerable. We want businesses to thrive. We promote entrepreneurship. We want markets to take hold but at our stage of national development and the non-governance that has been Nigeria’s lot for decades, we cannot abandon Nigerians and Nigeria to the market. Good governance entails strong institutions that protect citizens.
We have over 150 out of 180 million Nigerians to back up and ensure they aren’t thrown to the fangs of the market. We stand for the environment and environmental sustainability. We believe we can achieve the ambience for our country like what we see when we go abroad or watch in movies. We stand for the people because that is the final essence of government. We are about rehumanising our people who have been dehumanised by decades of misgovernance.
We are committed to SERVICE and SACRIFICE. We believe Nigerians can live much better lives than this and that we have all the resources we need, our Human Capital being the most important. We stand for authentic and mindful leadership that is propelled by honesty and example. We are eclectic and nuanced and refined and versatile. We are therefore post-ideological in that you cannot put us in a box and go to sleep. We are out of the box already. We are the ones Nigeria has been waiting for.
You run a business. You are a professional. At what point did you decide you were going into politics, especially what many Nigerians describe as the ‘dirty politics’ being played in the country?
I believe politics is what we make of it. I believe politics is what we bring to it. Yes Nigerians may call it dirty politics but that dirty politics continues to stain our lives with grime and drag us into the gutter, until we do something about it. I reckon I’m not just one of those who love to complain about everything and anything while not doing anything about it. I have grown up knowing that nobody owes me anything. And that life is what I use my own hands to make of it.
“Like Plato said, the price that right thinking people pay for not getting involved In nation-building is that they are led and oppressed by people who have lower IQ and emotional intelligence than them. Nigeria is a typical example.”
As a professional running a couple of businesses and being resident in Abuja, I have seen what politics, as played presently, does to the whole country and to businesses in particular. I have seen where even politicians and civil servants find themselves in a bind, running a system that kills the country and they wished someone will point a way out. Where nobody does, they just coast through, stealing their own. And the system has got worse since that time.
So, I really am not interested in politics, but in nation-building. And I believe we all should be concerned about nation-building, especially as we transit through Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs. There is what he called self-actualization.
When I look at upwardly mobile executives who believe they have no business with how the country is run, and will not do anything about it, yet they complain about how things are bad, or they sometimes fall victim to the ‘jagajaga-ness’, I just smile and it occurs to me that somehow, our education is incomplete.
Those countries we like to travel to, and take pictures from there and wow at what they have, they didn’t get to those points by complaining and sitting on their hands.
Even Plato said the price that right thinking people pay for not getting involved, in nation-building, is that they are led and oppressed by people who have lower IQ and emotional intelligence than them. Nigeria is a typical example. I get a lot of that ‘politics is dirty’ business especially in the South West. Other regions embrace politics and people get involved. People must get rid of that lethargy.
What are the three things you consider to be Nigeria’s major challenges? How do you and your party intend to tackle these in practical ways?
Our Disunity, which many times fuel our Corruption, which in turn has damaged our Infrastructure! Nigeria’s problems are a question for the ages. So, I will deal with those three issues; DISUNITY, CORRUPTION OR IMPUNITY, and INFRASTRUCTURE. Permit me to add a fourth; the INFRASTRUCTURE OF THE MIND!
No one should expect that these problems will be easy to solve and resolve. And some of them are quite deep that when you pursue them, you can get lost in a maze. Yet, we must try. I believe we are not united and have become more so in recent years. Any nation that works at cross purposes is dead.
“Nigeria has been gutted by the kind of leadership and visionlessness it has been saddled with for decades now. All true patriots know this.”
In truth, the only tribes and religions in Nigeria are the tribes and religions of haves and have-nots. Anything else is semantics. Yet, those who oppress Nigeria are quick to dispatch tribe and religion in their own favours because they know how emotional our people are. They tap into that primitive state of mind.
Between top politicians and top public servants, a report in 2010 showed that they corner 25 of the national budget for themselves. The problem with Nigeria is that some people have so much and keep acquiring even what they have no use for. If only Nigeria could agree and we could be united in knowing that we are not each others’ enemies, then, we can start forging forward in solving Nigeria’s problem.
Even those who steal from Nigeria have this adversarial mindset against the rest. People steal mainly to show off. And many have this poverty mentality that they cannot get rid of. For some others it is a poverty or scarcity mentality; a belief that if they don’t steal it now, they will never get any other opportunity, or that with the honest work of their hands they cannot make anything of themselves. Many Nigerians are like this since they were in school. They are the ones who cheated through school, and forged certificates etc.
So, tackling these problems is an almost insurmountable task. I believe a communicative, visionary leadership at the presidential and state levels will assist greatlyon these though, and at least get Nigerians going.
Nigeria needs leaders who have a view of the entire country and what is going on in the world, not those whose visions have been tunnelised. If we could raise our unity and show just how meaningless, and indeed criminal it is to pack the entire commonwealth of a people, and if we are firm in making examples of those who err, we may just be able to curb corruption.
Nigeria also needs a new economic model, where people are satisfied working and no one is involved in a mad rat race.
Today, every 20-year old is looking for untold riches, and the adults have not shown better examples. So, if we can hopefully bring back our unity, corruption will drop and Nigerians will cooperate first not to vandalize infrastructure, but to ensure that more is built and maintained.
“if we are firm in making examples of those who err, we may just be able to curb corruption.”
Even Nigeria’s perennial electricity problems will have to be fixed by our students. They have to use what they have learnt to solve the problems of their own country. All other problems are intertwined in these. While working on these, we shall be working on the infrastructure of the mind. A lot of what is wrong with Nigeria comes from the debasement of our minds.