From Fred Ezeh, Abuja
Prof. Imumolen is a renowned academic, philanthropist and politician. He is the presidential aspirant of The Accord Party. In this interview, he highlighted his chances in the forthcoming presidential election among other issues
What prompted you to join the race for the office of the President
I joined the race because it’s time for young people to take over the leadership affairs of Nigeria and pull the country from the dungeon of underdevelopment and backwardness. I am in the race because I know I have a lot to offer Nigerians knowing the fact that the country is being faced with lots of problems that are threatening its existence. At individual level for years, I have been offering solutions to several societal problems ranging from education, human capital development and several other areas. For instance, I am providing solution to tertiary education problem in Nigeria. I have been doing that for years now without shouting or looking for glory. I strongly believe that both ASUU and other problems confronting our nation including security issues can be solved with the right persons in place, in addition to political will, and that’s why I am presenting myself for the job. There are issues of value system problem, infrastructures and several other issues which I will tackle head on immediately I assume office as President. I have solved problems in the past in different forms and organizations. There’s need to get Nigeria back on its feet because, evidently, things are not going well at all.
What are your chances in this contest compared to other “big weights” that are in the race too?
My chances in this contest is high and bright, and I am confident of my victory in the polls. My party, the Accord Party, has the strength and structure to give other parties run for their money and, possibly, unseat them. Age, strength, experience, exposure and several other factors are in my favour, and Nigerian youths are on my side too. My profile is there for all to access and assess. Besides, Nigerians have been clamouring for a young President, here I am to serve Nigerians. From all indications, I may be the youngest presidential candidate by the time all parties might have selected their candidates. I have all the necessary experiences that would make governance easier for me when I eventually take oath of office as the President of Nigeria. Let’s not forget that most of the people that fought for the independence of Nigeria and ran its affairs for decades did that in their youthful ages. It’s time the youths take over the affairs of Nigeria and reposition it for greatness.
What is your confidence that the electoral system will guarantee free and fair opportunity for all?
The electoral system is a process that everyone must abide by for the election. We are all in the system and whatever it offers, we will go through or by it. However, we would do our best to ensure that we monitor the system and our votes. You might not know what we are doing behind closed doors and our plans. We might be very quiet now but we are doing great things behind the scene. We won’t make a noise until the right time comes. By the time the election campaign starts properly, Nigerians would see what we have in stock for them, and perhaps, they would have confidence and trust in us to rescue them from the myriad of challenges confronting the country.
What have you done in the past to earn you the prestigious Office of the President?
My work is there for all to see. Many people who are seeking political offices in Nigeria this time have not done anything for the people. Those who attempted have not done half or quarter of what I have done. Obviously, many of them are mere ‘jokers’ looking for opportunities to satisfy their personal needs. Check their records and mine, none of them has affected the lives of the people with great impact as I had done. Presently, I have over 200, 000 people under my scholarship programme in Nigeria, and many others have benefitted from the gesture over the years. The intervention has been running for years now without me shouting about it, simply because I don’t want glory from anyone. In 2019, I empowered over 6, 000 Nigerians with between N200, 000 to N5 million, and I didn’t make a noise about it. No Nigerian does such thing and keeps quiet. He or she must shout to high heavens for people to celebrate him.
What kind of government should Nigerians expect from you?
Government of service, result and dedication to the repositioning of Nigeria. I will assemble a team of Ministers and other cabinet members who are young Nigerians with relevant skills, competencies and knowledge to change the narratives in the affairs of Nigeria. I have lined up people who have values, right educational qualifications and experience, and not the wrong placements that have been the case in Nigeria over the years. My brother, there is hope for us in Nigeria. Unfortunately, many Nigerians have given up on the system, and are just waiting for whatever the outcome of the country will be. I want them to have a change of mind and see hope and opportunities ahead in Nigeria. Nigerian youths should queue behind my aspiration to better the fortunes of this country.
What is your assessment of INEC’s readiness for the election?
I have great confidence in the ability and capacity of INEC to conduct credible elections. I think they have done very well as could be seen and they should be commended. They have made great inputs into the new electoral act which, expectedly, will guarantee free, fair and credible elections. Nevertheless, we need to protect our votes to ensure that it counts. From all indications, 2023 elections will be a shocker to Nigerians especially to those who might have lost hope and confidence in the Nigerian project. I will become the President of Nigeria, and that will mark the beginning of end of underdevelopment and backwardness in Nigeria.
How ready is your political party for this forthcoming race?
My party, the Accord Party, is ready for the primary elections, and the main elections come next year. My party is one of the leading parties in Nigeria with structures across the country; let me tell you now that the first party on the ballot paper will be the winning party.
Why did you choose to go into public service?
I have passion for human service that has been burning in me for very long time. Public service gives me the opportunity to touch the lives of millions of people, though, I have been using my personal funds to provide education and other empowerment programmes for people over the years. So, with public office, more people would be reached with dividends of democracy. I have observed that many politicians make promises that they don’t fulfill. But my case is different. I have done it in the past and my records are there for assessment. I have used my hard-earned reputation to attract many things for different people of Nigeria.
Give us insight on your recent announcement for tertiary education in Nigeria
Education is a very important aspect of national development. As a matter of fact, it is key to national development. I personally had challenges accessing education in early years of my life because I lost my father at the age of 12. It became very difficult for me to have first degree. So, I made a vow that I will use my resources to provide education for less privileged people in the society, and I have been doing that. In the past 15 years, I have been able to give 500, 000 Nigerians scholarship to access degree programmes in partnerships with universities across the world. We have expanded our tentacles by opening the window for more people to access education through the window of scholarship that was opened some days ago.
What is the nature of the scholarship?
The scholarship is an opportunity for thousands of people interested in undergraduate and postgraduate programmes in various foreign universities across the world to get the necessary education for empowerment. It is a pure digital learning scholarship with foreign universities accredited in their own countries to offer various academic programmes.
Who is bankrolling it?
It’s my personal intervention to education and human capital development in Nigeria. We are doing it with our private funds now but I expect that would be done with more resources. These scholarships are being attracted through our goodwill and support from people we have worked with in the past. We have integrity, hence we enjoy partnership, goodwill and support of the Universities, and we want our people to enjoy the quality education that they offer. The opportunity will provide alternative to students whose academic pursuit might have been affected by the periodic strike by University lecturers in Nigeria under the umbrella of Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU).
What is the uniqueness of the scholarship and is it free?
The scholarship is unique in the sense that it is completely free. Students can maximize the digital education opportunity being offered by the universities to acquire the knowledge and skills. I have done this human services for years now, and over 500, 000 Nigerian students have benefitted from it in various fields. I choose not to make it known in the past because I wasn’t looking for glory or people to commend me for my passion for service to humanity. However, I choose otherwise this time because I want to reassure Nigerians of my commitment to educational and human capital development. We understand the importance of education in the liberation of people and nation building. Millions of students are at home because of ASUU problem or inability to secure admission. However, opportunity is here for them to get education from the comfort of their homes using the various digital tools available.
What is your goal for this intervention?
Evidently, Nigeria is one of the undeveloped countries in the world, hence education should either be subsidized or free. That’s one of my goals when I become Nigeria’s President. It’s doable and not a rocket science. There is need to digitalize our education system to conform with the global practice. Institutions in Nigeria must have access to digital learning tools which is the standard practice nationwide, and I am championing that push.
How many people are you targeting with your scholarship and the criteria?
The scholarship is leveraging on digital education. So, we encouraged as many as possible to apply through the online portal so they can stand a better chance of getting the opportunity. The criteria is just the basic academic criteria for admission into tertiary institutions, that is five Credits in five subjects, including English and Mathematics, in some cases. It’s as simple as that. There’s also an opportunity for undergraduate and postgraduate students in the Nigerian universities to switch or enjoy the scholarship as another opportunity. Once they finish the programme, they can graduate either in their country of origin or the country where the school is located. It’s an opportunity for exposure and enlightenment opportunity.
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