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YPP: Kogi prince’s quest to defeat Tinubu, Atiku, others

For Malik Ado-Ibrahim, the son of the paramount ruler and Ohinoyi of Ebira land, Dr AbdulRahman Ado-Ibrahim in Kogi State, this is the best time…

For Malik Ado-Ibrahim, the son of the paramount ruler and Ohinoyi of Ebira land, Dr AbdulRahman Ado-Ibrahim in Kogi State, this is the best time to lead Nigeria. The Young People’s Party (YPP) presidential candidate believes the country’s political trajectory is overdue for a paradigm shift.

 In this doing, the Prince who described himself as a “fiercely patriotic” Nigerian while speaking with Daily Trust on Sunday believes there is a need for a fundamental change of guard at the country’s leadership stratum to retire the “old guards”.

Emergence

 Out of the blue, Malik emerged as the presidential candidate of the YPP during the presidential primary conducted in June. The renowned civil rights activist and founder of the Reset Nigeria Initiative polled 66 votes to defeat his rival, Mrs Ruby Isaac, who had four votes. Since then, he has thrust his personality into the psyche of Nigerians bashing the government and the “old order” at every opportunity in disapproval of the leadership failures foisted on the country by the ruling class.

At the same time, as the first black man to invest in Formula 1, he has not failed to tell the electorate, especially the youth, what he is bringing to the table if elected. He said his decision to join the fray was prompted by what he described as a “leadership vacuum.”

“We have had two parties for a while and the conversation has always remained the same. Nigerians believe this is an opportunity with the right person, an intellectual mind with a call for action to change things. I don’t think any political veteran in Nigeria today is going to do anything different. The circle of insanity is there and we may reinforce it with the present system. Our next president should consider himself the CEO of Nigeria Incorporated with real-time solutions to tackle numerous problems bedevilling us,” he said.

Why YPP

 Unlike others of his ilk, Malik is convinced that YPP will afford him the opportunity to be heard, which is not possible with the big parties.

“Discussion now is centered on the Muslim-Muslim ticket, Wike and Ayu; no one is talking about power, security and economy. Nigerians need to hear my voice and YPP gave me that opportunity instead of being in the older parties to be recycled and become part of the problem.

“No Nigerian veteran politician is going to do anything other than to reinforce the circle of insanity and we are going to carry it over except we change it now. In my opinion, the next president of the country has to consider himself as the CEO of Nigeria Incorporated and come up with real-time solutions to tackle the myriad of our problems bedevilling the country,” he said.

Strengths/weaknesses

At 59, Malik, from North Central, is already a global brand and a very successful technocrat who is already a grandfather. That status underscored the importance he attached to family values. Though his first marriage hit the rocks, he has since picked up the pieces by moving on with Adama, the daughter of Nigeria billionaire industrialist from Maiduguri, Alhaji Indimi. Apologists believe such a move will give him moral stability if elected. Although he is nearing 60, he seems to connect more with the youth, a prism through which many people view him.

With his exposure and education, Malik can be a super technocrat with the necessary experience and expertise to energise the country with his “radical” approach. Fluent in English, pidgin and his native dialect, the US and UK-trained technocrat thinks he can convince the electorate by reaching them directly rather than depending on any party structure as a typical partisan Nigerian politician.

 “What people don’t know about me is that I am not a “politician”. Anybody that wants to play politics in Nigeria must flaunt wealth but I was taught to be modest. Being quiet means you are part of the problem but my quietness or not wanting to show off is what has made people think I am not serious. But it goes against everything good about my upbringing. I am very aware, conscious and involved in political situations around the world. I have been hosted by presidents and prime ministers because of my intellect, not riches. What I have not done right yet is to go on stage and tell the people who I am,“ he said.

 But that principle may be subject to change soon as “he is prepared to tell young Nigerians especially “what I’ve done, where I have been and who I am. But I just don’t want it to be about money; this is what scared me the most. I cannot afford to go against my upbringing, it is the biggest problem in my political career,” he noted.

 It remains to be seen, however, if Nigerians are ready to make history with him by going the North Central route. Though making inroads in the political space in the country, some believe the YPP lacked the requisite national spread compared to the established parties.

A father of four with eight brothers, Malik has 22-year-old twins who are entrepreneurs like him. His eldest son is 33 and already has a son that will be 10 in January 2023. The youngest daughter is in university.

 Slow momentum

 Already there is disquiet about him “slowing down” the “YPP momentum” after his emergence which led to a recent “summoned” by the YPP. In a statement by the party’s national secretary, Egbeola Wale-Martins, at the end of its 20th National Working Committee (NWC) meeting in Abuja, “the party was displeased at the slow build-up of political activities due to gaps in communication between the presidential candidate and the appropriate organs of the party “having done so much to build a political capital that should have made us the third force.” While the “summon” was in October, not much appears to have changed.

 But Malik told our correspondent that this is the first foray into the murky waters of Nigerian politics without any contemporaries in the system. “This is my first entry and I went for the top job. I am going to be 60 years old now though people think I am young. I don’t have any political contemporaries and am not tainted by any negativity. We need a fresh reset,” he said.

Leadership ideas

Malik believes a leader must have a game plan and bring like minds on board to help implement the vision. He said he knows “they” are not ready for his style “but that doesn’t mean I shouldn’t give them an alternative with YPP, the third largest party in governance now with eight House of Reps and two senators.

 Glimpses how he may operate

 The country and its citizens, Malik said, are suffering because our old politicians lack the exposure, education and expertise to identify numerous goldmines begging to be exploited. Away from over-reliance on oil and gas, he believes that more money can come from technology, sports, entertainment, aviation and our “rich nuclear deposits like uranium. The government doesn’t know how to encourage and tax those industries where young Nigerians are making $20m just from streaming. Nollywood/Kannywood can give us our Silicon Valley in Africa with the right person.

“70% of our budget is servicing a million people; 9 trillion naira is spent on recurrent expenses. If we reduce that by 60%, we will have 4 trillion naira for schools, healthcare, education, agriculture and SMEs. There is a one-trillion-dollar economy here. We are still an AK-47 nation and instead of buying fighter jets and helicopters from Pakistan, Chinese, French, Italian, USA and Russia with their huge servicing cost. These countries provide technical support and parts and if they decide not to, our aircraft will be grounded. We should fix that by buying from a country that will allow us to operate freely; few people know who that is. There is too much money given to the military all in the name of consultants,” he said.

Chances

 The national president of the Nigeria Political Science Association (NPSA), Prof. Hassan Soliu, said people like Malik with the YPP belong to the class of political parties that “are not so assertive, but not less active. People expect such personalities to liberate Nigeria because of the disappointment suffered from the dominant parties in the past.

“Their chances are very bright but people believe there is a need for them to come together to make the necessary impact rather than standing independently.”

 On his part, the Head of Department of Political Science, University of Ilorin, Dr Muhammed Alada, said: “Malik should concentrate efforts on reducing the support base of the traditional parties/candidates rather than trying to win.”

“It will be foolhardy and smacks of unseriousness for “new” candidates who contested now to disappear after the election if they lose,” he added.

 

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