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Yabagi Sani: Resilient presidential candidate defying odds

Yabagi Yusuf Sani, the presidential candidate of the Action Democratic Party (ADP) for this year’s election, is a seasoned politician, engineer, career civil servant and…

Yabagi Yusuf Sani, the presidential candidate of the Action Democratic Party (ADP) for this year’s election, is a seasoned politician, engineer, career civil servant and businessman.

He is one of the 18 vying for the coveted office of the president. He was also a candidate in the 2019 presidential election.

Born on July 1, 1957 in Bida, Niger State, Sani holds the traditional title of Jakadan Nupe (ambassador of the Nupe Kingdom).

The ADP presidential candidate started his education from East School Bida and later went to Technical College, Kontagora, completing it in 1970.

He is a 1978 B.Sc. Management Engineering graduate of Columbia University, New York. He also attended Harvard University and the Institute of Technology, also in New York.

Sani started his working career at the defunct Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), now Nigerian Petroleum Company (NNPC) Limited, at the Kano PPMC depot in 1980 as an administrative officer.

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His political career started in the early 1990s when he served as the financial secretary of the then National Republican Convention (NRC) in 1991.

He was the North Central coordinator for the late Alhaji Bashir Tofa when he contested for the position of the president on the platform of the National Republican Convention (NRC) against the late MKO Abiola of the Social Democratic Party (SDP) in 1993.

The ADP presidential candidate was also a founding member of the defunct All Peoples Party (APP), which later became All Nigerian Peoples Party (ANPP), where he served a member of the Board of Trustees (BoT). He was also the Niger State APP governorship candidate in 1999.

He became the new national chairman of Inter-party Advisory Council (IPAC) in 2021 when he succeeded Dr Leonard Nzenwa.

He is working alongside his deputy, Mgbudem Maxwell of the Accord Party (AP), the national secretary, Alhaji Yusuf Dantalle of the Allied Peoples Movement (APM), and other officials.

Sani, who was hitherto the ADP national chairman, emerged as its presidential candidate through a consensus at a special national convention of the party in Abuja on May 31, 2022.

The candidate, who is from Bida Emirate, Niger State, has achievements in business, politics and civil service.

Speaking to our reporter on telephone about his ambition and plan for the country, the ADP presidential candidate said he had garnered enough experience to pilot the country’s affairs.

He said the party was ready to provide the needed leadership to place the country on the right pedestal for development, which was stalled due to the absence of right leaders in positions of authority at various levels.

He said, “We want to establish a government of rule of law. That is what we are looking at because the moment you can anchor everything on the rule of law, arbitrariness is out. We will be able to tackle the issue of corruption, insecurity and what have you.

“The right leadership will emerge and there will be effective governance. Everybody, by and large, is equal in the eyes of the law and then, as a leader, if you are not upright and firm, you cannot assert the rule of law. So, we believe that this is what has been lacking.

“We believe in social capitalism. And then, as policy thrust, we are looking at three plans – climate change, energy transition and information technology, being the anchor of the industrial revolution. Look at it critically and you will find out that these are the narratives globally.

“That will enable us to key into the global economic ecosystem so that we can take the advantage. These are the areas we are looking at, and that is what our manifesto will show you. We will have it in a systematic diagram that people can see.”

He continued, “We have a seven-point agenda, which include education, agriculture, health, infrastructure, security, as well as oil and gas sector development.

“We also hope to key into the available intervention funds and entrench climate change mitigation programmes. We will also look at energy transition, which of course is interwoven with climate change because fossil fuel usage leads to global warming, which created things like flood, bushfires and other disasters we are suffering today.

“I believe our government will use the three plans as our policy thrust. Like you know, Nigeria appears big in all of these. When you take the energy transition, we are number six in reserve; we are number four when you talk about gas. Whatever you do, as far as transition is concerned, globally, Nigeria is already in the forefront and ahead of other countries.

“Take the example of what is happening between Russia and Ukraine, which has affected Europe now; finding them at the backside of energy supply, particularly gas. So, we believe that in Nigeria, if we simply get our acts together, we can fill in the gap. So, we believe we occupy a very strategic position in the global economic system.

“All the three things I mentioned are the narratives today in the global economic circle. Nigeria is number one; we are ahead really. And we have a young dynamic population that is doing wonderful things in startups, attracting almost $760billion investment into the Nigerian economy.

“Believe me, Nigeria is a giant that will definitely wake up and take its rightful place in the scheme of things. We are supposed to be among the 20 most advanced economies in the world because we have what it takes.

“What is stalling this greatness is bad leadership. But we are going to provide good leadership because we have the knowledge and experience. That is the outlook of our manifesto.”

It would be recalled that when he declared to contest for the post of the president in 2019 on the ADP platform, he proposed that fuel subsidy should be paid at the point of consumption; not to middlemen who round trip cargoes to shortchange the government and citizens.

He also promised to commercialise the NNPC to transform the oil and gas sector and make the country’s economy stronger.

Similarly, he promised to pay Nigerian workers N100,000 as minimum or living wage to make things easier for them instead of the paltry amount they are presently collecting, which is not enough to take care of even their immediate needs.

He also promised to move 70million Nigerians out of poverty and address unemployment by creating five million public and private sector jobs for Nigerians through sound policies and provision of stable electricity, an export-oriented economy that would focus more on the non-oil sector.

Political struggles

The ADP presidential candidate has been an opposition politician who has experienced political struggles and power play.

His most notable experience was the leadership struggle in his current party, which dragged on for quite a long time.

Prior to the 2019 general elections, some ADP leaders suspended him at a time he was the national chairman and presidential candidate of the party, a situation that sparked crisis.

As a result, a former minister of state for agriculture, who was also the ADP deputy national chairman (South), Najeem Awodele, was made the acting national chairman of the party by its National Working Committee (NWC).

Being the chairman of the Inter-Party Advisory Council (IPAC) and an opposition politician, he has been very vocal in his criticism of the supposed negative APC government’s policies, especially the ones that will undermine the country’s democracy.

His political experience over the years is believed to have equipped him with the dexterity he approaches issues and galvanises the opposition to speak with one voice.

Pundits said his emergence as the ADP standard bearer was not surprising because he has been a resilient member of the party, who defied the odds and dedicated his loyalty over the years.


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