James Adeshina, an internationally trained IT consultant, and entrepreneur, candidate of the African Action Congress (AAC) for the 2023 gubernatorial in Lagos State.
In this exclusive interview with Iniobong Iwok, he speaks on the state of the nation, highlighting what President Tinubu must do to check the harsh economic situation and high cost of living.
Considering the prevailing economic situation, many Nigerians celebrate yuletide on empty stomach, what is your take?
It’s heart-breaking to see Nigerians facing such hardship during a time that should be filled with joy. The harsh economic realities and high cost of living have undoubtedly dampened the festive spirit for many. As a political stakeholder, I believe we must acknowledge this suffering and work towards alleviating it.
We need proactive measures to address inflation, stimulate job creation, and ensure food security. This requires collaboration between government, private sector, and civil society to implement sustainable economic policies that benefit the most vulnerable.
What is your assessment of the year 2023 for Nigeria?
2023 has been a year of significant events for Nigeria, marked by the general elections and ongoing socio-economic challenges. While the elections brought about a peaceful transfer of power, the road ahead remains challenging.
We face issues like insecurity, economic instability, and social unrest. However, I remain optimistic about Nigeria’s potential. We have a resilient population and a wealth of resources. If we can harness our collective strength and address these challenges head-on, I believe 2024 can be a year of progress and positive change.
What is your assessment of Tinubu’s administration and priorities in 2024?
It’s still early to make a definitive assessment of the Tinubu administration. However, I believe some key priorities for 2024 should include:
Tackling insecurity; urgent steps are needed to address the escalating violence across the country. This requires strengthening security agencies, improving intelligence gathering, and addressing underlying social and economic factors that fuel conflict.
Revitalizing the economy; there is the need for diversifying the economy, promoting job creation, and controlling inflation are crucial to improving livelihoods and alleviating poverty.
The government should also fight corruption, upholding transparency and accountability in governance is essential to build trust and ensure efficient resource allocation.
Strengthening social programs by investing in education, healthcare, and social safety nets is vital to protect vulnerable populations and foster inclusive development.”
As a former leader, Nigerians say that IPAC’s seem to have lost direction. What is your take?
As a former leader of IPAC, I am deeply concerned about the perception that the organization has strayed from its original principles. IPAC has a long history of advocating for independent, credible elections and promoting good governance. Maintaining its independence and integrity is crucial to its credibility and effectiveness. I urge the current leadership to re-evaluate their priorities and ensure that IPAC remains a true voice for the people.
What is your reaction to the death of two prominent politicians, Governor Akeredolu and Ghali Na’Abba?
The deaths of Governor Akeredolu and Ghali Na’Abba are a profound loss to Nigeria. Both were respected leaders who made significant contributions to our nation. Governor Akeredolu’s dedicated leadership in Ondo State and his unwavering commitment to good governance will be long remembered.
He is widely regarded as one of the most effective governors in the Southwest, particularly for his strong stance on protecting his people from security threats.
Similarly, Ghali Na’Abba’s role in shaping Nigeria’s democracy as Speaker of the House of Representatives deserves enduring recognition. Their legacies serve as a powerful reminder to current leaders of their responsibility to serve the people and deliver the dividends of democracy.
Ultimately, we will all face judgment, and what truly matters is the legacy we leave behind. I offer my deepest condolences to their families and loved ones during this difficult time.
What can be done to solve the spate of insecurity in the country?
The recent massacre in Plateau State highlights the urgency of addressing insecurity. The Tinubu administration must implement a comprehensive strategy that combines:
Enhanced intelligence gathering and proactive identification and neutralization of threats, improved coordination among security agencies Breaking down silos and fostering effective collaboration.
Also there is a need for addressing root causes; which is tackling poverty, inequality, and lack of access to opportunities that fuel recruitment by criminal groups.
Also there is a need for community engagement, building trust and cooperation with local communities to combat crime and provide support.
What is your take on agitation for restructuring of the country?
The calls for restructuring are a legitimate expression of concerns about the current state of the Nigerian federation. While there are varying opinions on the specific approach, the need for a national conversation about restructuring is undeniable.
The Tinubu administration should demonstrate openness to engaging in this dialogue and exploring options that address issues of equity, justice, and effective governance.
What is your take on INEC’s handling of Bayelsa, Kogi, and Imo gubernatorial elections recently?
INEC’s performance in the recent gubernatorial elections has been met with mixed reactions. While some commend improvements in logistics and voter turnout, concerns remain about allegations of irregularities and voter intimidation.
It is crucial for INEC to continue improving its transparency and accountability to ensure public trust in the electoral process. Thorough investigations into any credible allegations of misconduct are essential to upholding the integrity of the elections.