Budding politician and grassroots leader, Femi Ajadi a.k. a CEH is man with tall dreams. And one of it is to take up a political role at the top. In this interview with our correspondent, he shares some of his thoughts. Excerpts:
You are the leader of the All Nigerian Youth Re-oriented Movement, could you please give us a background of the organisation
The All Nigerian Youth Re-oriented Movement has a purposeful pursuit, which is providing education for the people, especially the youths. The movement acts as a voice for the defenseless while also putting a check and balance on government.
We believe that we can achieve much in the country if we re-orientate the youths on their rights as stated in the constitution.
The aim of the group therefore, is to re-orient Nigerian youths, create opportunities for them, by putting in place necessary structures that would keep them from social ills. It is a movement that will be instrumental to the making of laws and policies that will benefit the Nigerian Youth, while also standing opposed to injustice.
We would appreciate if you could provide us a background relating to its formation?
The idea was conceived in 2013, when some pragmatic and resourceful individuals spearheaded by my humble self and other members like Mr. Olugbenga Eyo, Mr. Olukoya and Mr. Ezekiel Peter came together and did an analysis of things in the country.
At that time, a football competition was to be hosted in Osun State, and we came up with the title ‘U-19 Independence Day Soccer Trophy’, the idea being to help the youths discover their talents. It was also to promote individual creativity. Right now, we have a platform on social media where we interact and share ideas.
From Your Account, The Organisation Has Been In Existence Now For Four Years; What Would You Say Are The Achievements It Has Been Able To Make?
Anyone who must achieve great feats must start little. Yes, we have made achievements in areas of community dispute resolution, soccer empowerment, job creation and youth welfare. We have a number of youths that benefit from our ‘Free Meal Programme” daily. There was a case of torture and manhandling of a woman and her little child because she owed a micro finance bank.
She could not meet up with her promised date of repayment, so she was beaten and given a bag to go begging with an inscription written across her chest and her little baby on her back. She was crying profusely that she had not eaten and her baby was hungry too, but they wouldn’t listen. We intervened through our legal department and everything was settled amicably. That is just one of our interventions and we give the Glory to God Almighty.
Nigeria Just Had A General Election That Left A Left Of People Commenting; What Are Your Observations In Terms Of The General Process?
For me, there were several lapses. And from those lapses, it is clear that the Independent National Electoral Commission needs to improve in its conduct of the elections.
There is need to restructure the voting process, in collation of results and in announcing winners. INEC needs to borrow ideas from developed countries like the United Kingdom and United States of America where there is a standard of fairness and credibility in election process.
It is high time Nigeria upgraded to an electronic system of electioneering and this should be put in place before the 2023 general elections. It will help to curb the menace of ballot box theft, snatching and hooliganism during and after elections.
Furthermore, it will reduce cost of deploying security personnel and troops to polling units, which, sometimes creates fear and intimidation in the mind of voters. We have, in the past, witnessed voters leaving the polling areas because of intimidation by security personnel.
Also, the media should be allowed according to their constitutional rights to carry out their obligation during elections. There is no reason to debar journalists so long there is nothing to hide.
Given All That Have Happened, What For You Is The Way Forward In The Conduct Of Elections In The Country?
The way forward for Nigerians is to change our mindset from mental slavery to decision makers, knowing that our future lies in our hands, what do we really want for ourselves, our children and generation yet unborn? We have to decide the kind of leaders we want, we have to stay united under the umbrella that will shelter us from hardship and free us from bondage.
Also, let Nigerians begin to hold their leaders accountable, then things will change.
Nigerians need to make their leaders to provide us basic amenities, electricity, hospital treatment, free education up to university level, good roads, shelter, pipe- borne water and jobs – these are our constitutional rights. And also, there is need for quick trial of inmates. There is need for stable electricity for businesses to grow and expand.
Bank loans should be made available for citizens who intend doing business and interest rate should be relatively low. Homes and shelter should be made a fundamental human right in Nigeria. Citizen wellness should be a priority to every government in Nigeria. I believe that everyone must have a roof over his head.
Are There Other Things You Would Want To Add That I May Not Have Covered In My Questions?
I think that Nigerians should begin to look at the kind of leaders that they elect into office. And beyond that, they should begin to make demands on their leaders come 2023.
There should be a kind of agreement between the leaders and the people, in which case leaders would be made to provide a list of what they want to do in office. And should they fail to fulfill their promise, they should be summoned and prosecuted.
There should be stable power supply in Nigeria. Banks should give out loans to capable entrepreneurs at a low interest rate, and housing provision should be considered a human right in Nigeria, as shelter is part of the basic amenities of every citizen of a nation.
What Would You Want To Say Concerning Access To Medicare In The Country?
That is also very important. In fact, education and healthcare are among the areas where I believe a lot still needs to be done. What I am saying is that education and medical treatments should be free, with modern facilities that no Nigerian would need to fly abroad for treatment no matter the severity of the ailment.
Should I find myself in public office in Nigeria, those are the things I would fight to put in place. Farmers would be given free lands, fertilizer, equipment and seeds to kick-start their farming careers.
Do You Really Think That This Issue Of Assured Employment Upon Graduation Could Be Possible In Nigeria?
Why not? The point is that there are many areas that need hands for Nigeria to produce more and have more money. Look at agriculture for example; there is so much opportunity there. This is because Nigeria has much land that have not been cultivated, and yet the weather is also good for agricultural practices. We have the right population that can be employed to cultivate these lands, so why are we not looking in that direction?
What I am saying is that with the right policy, more and more employment opportunities would be created and unemployment can be tackled.
It is not impossible for a Nigerian graduate to get employment upon graduation. On the other hand, the state would pay the average salary of the profession as if he or she is unemployed until employment is found.
Another thing that one would like to accomplish in public office is to see that the price of foodstuffs is regulated. This is the only way to make it affordable by the generality of the people.
In fact, it is not just foodstuff but even things like the price of automobile and petrol. Why should possession of car be a luxury in the country? It is possible to draw a payment plan whereby even teachers can buy their cars. But you know that such is not easy with the current arrangement.
These are some of the things my mind is working on.
Have You Thought About The State Of Insecurity In The Country, What Do You Think Is The Way Out Of It?
First is that the conditions of service of the security men, especially the police has to be looked into. If we do not do this, it would be difficult to motivate them to work.
You can also think about the issue of Boko Haram. I am one of those who believe that the borders of the country are not well secured, and it is causing problem of insecurity. Our borders should have CCTV cameras mounted there and other strategic locations.
It will help the security men to do their jobs well.