Sunday Oluwafemi Adenuga is one of the 18 candidates seeking to take over power from President Muhammadu Buhari in 2023. Sonny, as he is fondly called, is the presidential candidate of BOOT (Because Of Our Tomorrow) party registered by the Independent National Electoral Commission in 2019.
Adenuga, 48, who doubles as the national chairman of the party, is a technology expert and has degrees in Mathematics, Statistics as well as diplomas in project management, among other professional qualifications. He has also consulted for several organisations in Nigeria, Africa and Europe.
Sonny’s goal for running for the office of the president is to “develop Nigerians and Nigeria,” banking largely on his expertise in technology.
“Through technology, we can make a difference in our society,” he told Daily Trust. “If I am elected as the president of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, I am going to pursue one working Nigeria.”
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Adenuga said the mantra ‘one Nigeria’ was not enough, noting that he threw his hat into the ring to become president to ensure “one working Nigeria.”
He said, “If Nigeria is working, nobody will agitate for a breakup. Nobody will say I’m Igbo, Hausa or Yoruba. Nigerians will see themselves as Nigerians. But what we have today is a deception called one Nigeria without really working in our consciousness to make Nigeria one. We should think of projects that will work for every Nigerian and generations to come.
“For instance, if you dredge River Niger and Benue, the sand taken from the river can be used to build tourism infrastructure along those coasts and you can have commerce and tourism ships.
“The youths are also paramount. More than half of the Nigeria population is youths. The minimum I expect of any Nigerian leader is to be patient with the youths, especially now that successive governments have created a nation we don’t desire. All of us want a better nation.
“In my manifesto, I placed a lot of emphasis on the youth in terms of technology. If I become president, I would create a technology hub where youths’ energy and resilience will be used to bring more foreign reserves to our country. It is achievable within four years of a government.”
Tackling climate change
One of the major tasks before Nigeria’s next president is mitigating effects of climate change on millions of Nigerians. Adenuga, who admitted that climate change posed great challenges, said he was affected by the recent flooding in most parts of the country which claimed over 600 lives, displaced over one million people and destroyed property as well as livelihoods, especially crops and livestock.
He explained that high dependence on fossil fuel is a major human factor that has contributed to climate change, adding that he planned to address it through investment in renewable energy.
Adenuga stated, “We keep burning carbons and we are not planting enough trees to harvest those carbons from the atmosphere. Energy wise, my government will go through renewable energy. And this is very doable. Nigeria is one of the best places you can harvest solar energy. I am going to make sure that most homes are powered by solar energy. This can be done in less than a year.
“I used to live in Lagos up till 2007. As at 2006, the inverter I used in my house was built by a Nigerian from Osun State. We have people who can build inverters. All we need to do is to encourage them. To ensure that the production is cost-effective and affordable to people, we will partner with banks because the current revenue is not great enough.
“We keep relying on revenue from oil, but there is about N2trn VAT gap. This means there is government money through VAT not remitted to the government purse. And the government is not doing enough to make sure it has a better tax connection system.”
To achieve the mass solar energy system, the BOOT Party presidential candidate said he would rely on his associates in energy companies such as Siemens.
“Once you have the right policy, the money will flow into the country. Locally, tax will be reduced on renewable energy so that it becomes easy for people to buy home solar system. I can assure you that batteries will be manufactured in Nigeria. The only technology that may be a challenge is how to build solar panels. But most solar panels can be developed in Nigeria. We can buy the raw materials and the machines for manufacturing. This will reduce the cost of producing those items.
“If I’m able to power most homes through solar energy, what it means is that energy being generated from Egbin power station, our gas-powered source, Shiroro and Kainji dams, can be directed towards production in factories. And we will not see the likes of Dunlop running away from our country.
“Dredging River Niger and Benue will also help to mitigate the direct impact of climate change on people. We will also do a lot of sensitization so that people will know we all have a responsibility to live responsibly,” he added.
Adenuga stated that there is a need to address the problem of insecurity and not its symptoms, arguing that stakeholders mostly talked about the latter.
He cited banditry and the secessionist agenda of Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) as the fallout of the failure to meet social needs of the people.
He said, “My approach to solve insecurity will be to unbundle Nigeria policing into at least three-tier levels – community, state and federal policing. Look at the judiciary. How many people have complained that we don’t need state high courts or customary courts? They are there for a purpose. Just imagine we only have federal courts; they will be overwhelmed.
“Just like politics, policing is also local. If you don’t live in a particular area and they take you there as a police officer, if a crime is happening, lack of knowledge of the area won’t enable you to make good progress.
“Policing is local and the only way to make it as such is to unbundle the Nigeria police. We should not be afraid it will be abused. It will be abused if it is not done by people who have the thinking cap.”
Fuel subsidy debacle
Adenuga said the arguments for and against the removal of petrol subsidy are both right, but said he would take practical steps at addressing it if he emerged president.
“The key thing is to have a clear path and plans. For me, fuel subsidy will still remain. Fuel in Nigeria affects all our daily life. If we want to take it away, there must be a progression. We will have to track the volume of fuel consumed in the country through technology.
“Also, the tone at the top will be clear. It is not enough to just say you want to remove the subsidy. It won’t be fair on people. There must be discussions around it so that people will know that my government knows what it is talking about and they will be able to trust me,” he said.
Asked how he would lead Nigeria if he becomes president without having prior experience in governance, Adenuga said, “I have been asked this question many times, but it makes me laugh. With due respect to those who have led us up till now, what can a Nigerian president do that a Nigerian in their private life cannot do? If you have money to build a bridge, can’t you build it?”
He added, “There are countries led by people who have not been in government before. However, experiences in the private sector should not be thrown away. They are transferable when it comes to leadership, especially for someone like me who has worked with successful establishments in Africa and Europe.”
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