FROM PUBLIC SERVICE AT AGE 6 TO PRESIDENTIAL ASPIRANT: HON. SAMUEL MBONU
On September 12, 1962, at Rice Stadium in Houston, Texas, John F. Kennedy said ‘We choose to go to the moon in this decade and to do the other things, not because they are easy, but because they are hard’ and that statement would change the world forever.
At His Presidential declaration, Honorable Samuel Mbonu said ‘We do not back down, as we assert our political rights in pursuit of something far bigger than ourselves, a far better and more respectable Nigeria’
This, I believe would be the statement that would change the course of Nigeria and Africa as a whole. He shares with us his experience so far, his inspiration, core values and the four major areas he would concentrate on if elected into office.
DA: The projects you’ve embarked on show your dedication towards the youths of the country. What fuels that dedication and passion?
Hon. Mbonu: My dedication and passion for the youth of our country, stems from my thorough understanding, that preparing the youth to take the reins of the economy, and our policy; is what it takes to stabilize Nigeria today and in the future.
The value of the youth is completely misunderstood by the “status quo or ruling class”, in today’s Nigeria. One wonders how these leaders contemplate leading a new 21st Century Nigeria which has over 60% of its population as youths, with their outdated 20th Century mindset and ideas. They have evidently failed everyone including their own kids.
Our youths are inevitably the engine that will pull a “new 21st Century Nigeria” out of a dying “old 20th Century old Nigeria”, if they are properly harnessed. Our youth are amazingly talented, energetic, and creative, they are performing wonders with low quality education, little or no electricity, poor communications infrastructure, and zero assistance from the government. From 2019, my government will fix all that.
DA: Was there any incident of note in your early years that fueled your passion for politics?
Hon. Mbonu: My earliest memory of public service is from between the ages of 6-8, when I assisted my father in distributing relief materials to starving families. In fact, I remember one incident when the Relief Center officially ran out of food, and I had to poach food from my mothers own kitchen, to give to a starving family (shh….my family probably didn’t know about this..lol).
From that point I was drawn to studying Biographies of famous leaders from around the world. Between the ages of 10 and 12, I had read about 20 Biographies of famous leaders in Africa, and beyond. The fallout with reading so much at a young age was that I developed superior communications skills by default, which has served me well to this day.
To keep a long story short, I was very popular in high school, but became more intensely aware of my leadership traits when I ended up in Washington DC for university education. In Washington I became a popular student leader and was elected a “Senator” to represent students with the Governing Board of the University of the District of Columbia, becoming the first foreign-born student to be elected to that role.
By the time I finished Law School in Washington, I had established so many relationships in the political arena, that my core competences as a bridge-builder among diverse persons became quite evident. I was ultimately appointed a “Commissioner, for Housing & Community Development” in Prince George’s Maryland, a suburb of Washington, DC, in the US, also becoming the first African-born to be appointed to such a sensitive policy-making role, in that public service arena.
At the end of my term as Commissioner, I built a Real Estate & Escrow Investment firm in the Washington DC metropolitan area. Shortly after that, I returned to the public arena to co-found the “Nigeria-American Council”, which became at one time, one of the most influential think-tanks, providing policy guidance to US institutions on Nigeria & Sub-Saharan Africa. In running the Council as Executive Director, I developed expertise in policy matters and became a resource to powerful institutions in the US.
Based on my unique experiences and training, many have determined that I am the most uniquely qualified candidate to bring peace to Nigeria, set Nigeria on a path of growth by ridding the nation of incessant strife, diversifying the economy away from oil, and harnessing the youth talent, to power the country into a 21st Century global powerhouse.
I am probably the first presidential candidate not to be branded ethnically, because the whole country is my constituency, from Sokoto to Calabar. I will restore a fair playing ground to “all” Nigerians and not to a clan.
I have a unique and hybrid governance experience, on a practical level. My main expertise was gained while serving as “Commissioner for Housing & Community Development”, but I have also explored Nigeria from the outside and from the inside.
The other candidates in comparison don’t have this peculiar experience, whether they’re young or old pale. Nigerians will not want to go anywhere else, after my first term in office.
DA: Nigeria is a Country blessed with rich human and Natural resources, what do you think is responsible for our almost declining development over the years?
Hon. Mbonu: Poor leadership, greed, and lack of serious deterrent for crimes against the people of Nigeria. The leaders also do not recognize that intellectual property has become superior to resources under the ground like Crude Oil.
Even Saudi Arabia is running as far away as they can from Crude Oil and diversifying into other areas. The Saudis even created a “Ministry for Entertainment” recently; this is an area that we as Nigerians have superior talent in, more than any other region of the world.
Entertainment (offline and online) is one area that Nigeria can dominate the world in. Entertainment alone, if properly facilitated by the political and business leaders could earn Nigeria more reliable steady international revenue than Crude Oil. These people in power now don’t have a clue on how to make that happen.
DA: You recently indicated your interest to run for the Presidency of our great country, what solutions are you proposing?
Hon. Mbonu: I will focus on 4 critical areas:
(1) Secure the nation against internal terrorism – this will translate into renewed investments and economic growth.
(2) Build-out the Electric Energy and reform the Communications Infrastructure (Cell Phones, fast-speed Internet)-this will translates into newer intellectual resources to market inform, and entertain the world and grow the economy.
(3) Roll-out massive “Youth & Women Empowerment Programs”-this will enhance productivity and grow the economy (GDP), including reforming the education system to prepare for the 21st Century economy.
(4) Reform Healthcare-A healthy Country is a prosperous country.
DA: The youths are a vital part of every economy and nation, how do you intend to support the youths further, if elected?
Hon. Mbonu: Youth Empowerment is my passion. I plan to reform the educational system to provide for skills that are talent based, which enables the average youth to meet the needs of industry; or start their own business immediately upon the acquisition of skills.
The Community Development programs I helped develop in the US, included certain grants that can enable Youth start their own business with the skills they acquired. You will not find Youth endangering their lives, by crossing the Sahara Desert or swimming across the Mediterranean Sea in desperation under my watch.
DA: What core values would you attribute your success to?
Hon. Mbonu: I am wired for fairness, a worldly rather than an insular view, value for diversity, and an avid lover of humanity. I’m also an incredibly rounded person, with deep appreciation for Art (Music, Entertainment, Fashion, Rhythm, Novels & Biographies, and all things cool), if I didn’t have professional legal training, or was not drawn to Public Service I’d be a Music Producer or Professional Writer.
I may have a second career after my term as President Ends.
DA: What is your advice to the youths of this great country?
Hon. Mbonu: Be a little patient, slow-down your hustle, build a reputation for integrity or excellence, don’t see money as the ultimate end-game, follow your passion and ultimately the money will come, the planet is a phenomenal place, slow down and enjoy the ride, if you go too fast you may crash beyond redemption.
Finally, do not sell yourself to political slavery by selling your vote for 4k or 5k, you’re worth more than that. 4k or 5k buys you only 2 plates of food in an eatery, and then you’re enslaved for 4 to 8 years.
If they force the money on you, it’s your money anyway, nobody gives away hard-earned money, take it then vote your conscience. Do not let the status quo back in, they’ll steal the little that is left.