Nasir el-Rufai, governor of Kaduna, has urged Nigerians to take more active interest in politics — rather than focus on protests — if they really want to contribute to the country’s development.
Speaking when he appeared on ‘Urgent Conversations’, a programme organised by Radio Now 95.3, in partnership with Nextier, and with the support of Channels TV, the governor said protests cannot bring about solutions to the problems confronting Nigeria.
El-Rufai urged “good people” in the country to leave the private sector and come into politics to make the county better.
“I am of the view that the reason why we have the sort of party we have now in the republic — the fourth republic — which essentially are platforms rather than ideologically-consistent kind of organisations, was the nature of the emergence of the fourth republic and what happened before,” he said.
“Many people in 1998 did not believe that after the death of late general Abacha, the military would leave. This is because of the endless transition programmes that the country went through, and maybe by then, the better people, the best politicians, the more honest politicians got exhausted and dropped by the wayside.
“But I think the best people in Nigeria, the professionals, the bright guys, public service orientation, those that really believe that politics should not be about personal interest kept away. Now, once those first set of governors and others went in, it’s very difficult to dislodge them.
“Good people must offer themselves for public service and suffer the indignity that we all suffer. We get abused every day; we get insulted; we get accused, but we must have our best people in public service. We must have our best people in politics. We must not have them in banks, in telecoms companies, in oil companies and in civil societies protesting. Protesting what? Protesting will take you nowhere unless you have a seat at the table and the most important table is that political table.”
He also urged youths to ensure that they embrace politics, but also be patient while contesting for political positions, as governance is a process.
“My call to Nigerians is, if you want to see better governance, be part of the selection process of those that offer themselves for public service and politics. And the only way to do so is to join political parties, and be active, and influence the leadership that emerges in the political parties. There is no other way; no shortcut to it,” the governor said.
“The pastors and imams that have made money, the bankers, the telecoms guys, leave that thing, come and make Nigeria work, because if it doesn’t work you will not sleep at night no matter how much money you make. I believe that if we have more and more young people, and we have five million of them attaining the age of 18 every year, they can come and overwhelm the parties and chase out the old men like me and take over.
“But they must come and not stand on the sidelines and keep criticising. Any fool can criticise. Solutions are what this country needs. You can only propose these solutions, fight for them if you are in the system.
“I have said this before and I will say it again. Young people think that because the not-too-young-to-run bill has been passed and they join a political party yesterday, they will go for elections tomorrow. It doesn’t work that way. You must not come into any organisation with a sense of entitlement. We are all young too. We worked through the ladder to get to where we are.”