Dr. Elishama Rosemary Ideh, a chieftain of the Alliance for New Nigeria (ANN), is a female presidential aspirant. In this interview, speaks on her aspiration. BOLA BADMUS brings excerpts.
There is too much impunity in the land. Against the background of what is happening at the National Assembly, if you are elected the next president of this country, how would you handle it?
You should look at my 7-point agenda; the top on my list is security, law and order. That is the greatest problem we are presently facing as a nation. I believe law and order has totally broken down. There are three arms of government, but right now, only one arm is giving orders and not allowing other arms to operate the way the constitution has mandated them to. If I become president of Nigeria, I am going to have separation of office, and allow each other so that we can have a peaceful nation. In my government, there will be law and order. We will follow everything written in the constitution and we will make sure it is being executed to bring proper security and law into our nation.
Do you think you can win the race on the ANN platform?
Right now I am contesting on a fairly young party, but there are a lot of moves out there because I also belong to a group where the new generation, all the presidential aspirants are collaborating to be able to form a stronger base to operate. That is why I said when I started off that presently I am in ANN but there are a lot of moves in the political terrain. It is when we finish our different meetings and aligning that we will all really know where we stand in the next couple of weeks. But a lot of collaborations are going on.
Do you think Nigeria is ripe for a female president?
Nigeria needs a female president right now because a lot of nations in the world have proven that women are able to come into crisis situation and bring sanity. We have a history with Liberia. You know that country was totally disintegrated years ago; we all know that a woman came into the system and she was able to bring sociopolitical stability. Rwanda, just a couple of years ago, was totally, disintegrated and they injected over 68 per cent women into their system, the highest number in global statistics, and before we knew it, before our very eyes, all over the world, we are seeing it, we are seeing the record. Rwanda became revived again.
We are supposed to have 35 per cent representation of women in Nigeria, but how many of them do we have in the system? Yes, there has to be a balance for us to have a healthy nation.
I have been saying it and will continue to say it, that women have things that men would not easily pick up.
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But some have argued that women should start at the local level first before eyeing the presidential seat.
No, you can’t; the problem we have in Nigeria right now is too big for me to go into regional area of the government and try to effect a change. For the impact of a change to be felt, we need it at the highest level; at the office of the president where I can have the power of our constitution backing me up to cause a major shift. Nigeria needs a transformational leader right now. That is what we need to cause a shift from the norm. We need somebody with a vision that is totally different from what we have been having; the vision of a new Nigeria, backed up by the power of the constitution of our country to cause a radical change at the top. That is why I am going in there. That is what Nigeria needs right now.
What is your view about the submission that Nigeria’s problem is failure to build institutions?
We all know that; we have bad leadership. It has been established.
Aspirants make a list of promises while seeking office, but when they get to positions, they do different things. What accounts for this?
You know that when you want something new to come into your nation, you must shift from what you used to know to something new and begin to investigate the people you want to vote for. What have they done before now? Have they been impacting their communities? What interest do they have concerning the nation? I am a woman that has impacted lives with my meager resources. I was not elected into any office; it was out of my personal love for humanity. Going out there, finding out what is wrong with my people, identifying their situation and proffering solutions grew into national passion for me.