‘I am on a mission to retire recycled politicians permanently’


He is a youthful and dynamic political economist, lawyer, professor, former United Nations official, entrepreneur and a former banker. His name is Professor Kingsley Moghalu. Educated at Government College Umuahia, Federal Government Enugu and University of Nigeria, Nsukka where he studied law.

At The Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University in Massachusetts, USA, he obtained a Masters Degree in International Relations. He moved to the London School of Economics to obtain a doctoral degree in International Relations.

He also studied Risk Management at the Institute of Risk Management in London, UK and became a certified manager. He worked in the United Nations system for 17 years, including in the area of nation-building, strategy and risk management and executive leadership roles in Cambodia, New York, Croatia, Tanzania and Switzerland, rising from entry level officer to the highest career rank.

After founding and leading a risk management and strategy consultancy based in Switzerland, he was headhunted to serve as a Deputy Governor, Central Bank of Nigeria from 2009 to 2014. He led the successful implementation of far-reaching banking sector reforms.

After his five-year tenure at the CBN, Moghalu was appointed Professor of Practice in International Business and Public Policy at the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University.

Following his quest to serve his country in political leadership, Moghalu returned to Nigeria in November 2017 and announced his decision to run for President in 2019 in February 2018. Since then, he has not rested on his oars in a bid to actualise his presidential ambition.

Recently, he was elected the Presidential candidate of his Young Progressive Party (YPP).In this interview with SAMSON EZEA, he spoke on his 2019 ambition, leadership problems and other topical issues.

What informed your decision to join Nigerian politics that many consider dirty and risky?

I am a Nigerian who is deeply passionate about the country and someone who is worried about why we have been such a political and economic failure after nearly 60 years of independence.

I am very upset about the divisiveness and level of poverty in this country. I am pregnant with a vision for a new country that we seek to give birth to.

That is why I have decided to offer myself to serve Nigeria as President in order to bring the kind of leadership and competence that will change our narrative.

The new narrative I am working to birth is one of a united nation, economic development that improves quality of life of the poor and restores our standing in the world.

As President I would bring a worldview of national transformation into the minds of our citizens and into our society and drive it with governance based on strategy, risk management, performance management and human capital development.

I am a child of several worlds having grown up, schooled and worked both at home in Nigeria and abroad.

So, I understand our local realities while being globally exposed enough to understand the gap between us and many other countries and what we must do to close that gap.

Having worked in CBN as Deputy Governor for five years, what do you think is the major problem of leadership in Nigeria?

The greatest problem of leadership in Nigeria is that we have many politicians, but no real leaders.

To lead effectively you need to understand what leadership really means, and the vast majority of our politicians simply don’t.

This is why they have failed to deliver real progress to our lives and Nigerians are getting poorer with each passing year.

Our politicians are also extremely selfish, and because of that they keep our people in the bondage of poverty because they can always buy the votes of the poor to be reelected into office.

We also have the problem of the political apathy of the middle class who simply enjoy their success, but do not bother to vote to enthrone good leaders.

My experience as a Deputy Governor of the CBN was a great one.

Sanusi Lamido Sanusi, the Governor at the time was very focused and determined to reposition the banking system.

It was very demanding and high pressure because of the wide scope of reforms we had to deliver over a relatively short period of three or four years. As Deputy Governor in charge of Financial System Stability.

I was in the eye of the storm. But it was fulfilling because we succeeded and left a strong legacy not only in the Nigerian economy, but also globally because our efforts and achievements in stabilising the financial system were admired around the world by other central banks and global investors.

It is this mindset that I want to take into the Office of the President.

You are one of the young presidential aspirants, who came together to form Presidential Aspirants Coming Together (PACT). At what point do you pull out of the group and what informed your decision to do so?

PACT was a missed opportunity by Nigerian youth.

Its purpose of producing a strong consensus candidate that would be perceived by the broad electorate as credible was subverted and the group was simply used to pursue the personal agenda of a small clique within the group.

I left the group on grounds of principle because the process that produced its outcomes was deeply flawed.

The group had practically collapsed especially towards the end as more and more participants pulled out.

It became clear to me at the end that I could not allow my credibility to be used to advance hidden agendas.

So I triggered the exit clause in the memorandum of understanding.

That was the right thing to do although I know that some persons who have far less information than I have at my disposal, or others with vested interests, would want to misrepresent my decisive action.

The fact that out of respect for our youth and members of the group I participated until the voting period does not legitimise a fundamentally flawed process.

After all, do people who participate in real elections not reserve the right to reject the results and go to court if they feel the electoral process was flawed or compromised?

My decision has been vindicated by the recent admission by some drivers of the group that they made serious mistakes.

They realised that they have hit a brick wall, and would like to start afresh. Some others who participated until the end of the process have also revived their campaigns. What more is there to say?

I am now the presidential candidate of the Young Progressives Party (YPP) having won the party presidential primary. I am no longer an aspirant. I and my supporters are preparing for the elections without further distraction.

Let me close by asking the millions of youth who support my vision for a paradigm shift in our country to remain steadfast in their support.

The presidency of Nigeria is a very serious responsibility.

In my own humble view, it requires a certain level of competence, experience and preparedness for the job of a President to led Nigeria to transformation. I am tested, trusted and ready to serve.

What impact do you think your party (YPP) will make in 2019 elections, considering that the party is new, lacks structures and following at the grassroots and across the country?

YPP has the nationwide structures across the states of Nigeria down to ward levels, so your question is based on a mistaken assumption rather than reality.

We are mobilising and progressively reaching Nigerians at the grassroots.

To advance this strategy, we will also be fielding good candidates for positions up and down the ballot- governors, senate and representatives as well as state houses of assembly and local government councillors.

With the way things are going, are you not worried that 2019 presidential election will be a two-way race between the PDP and APC?

Majority of Nigerians are already tired of the APC and the PDP because their lives have not gotten better.

Their lives have gotten worse. Our compatriots now increasingly see me and YPP as the credible alternative.

The greatest enemy to achieving a disruption of the failed status quo is the thinking that has surrendered to the bondage in which the politicians have put us and beliefs that nothing can change. But surprises lie in store in 2019.

Considering that PDP and APC have tactically zoned their presidential tickets to the North, won’t it affect your chances and that of other youthful presidential candidates from the South in the election?

Zoning is an anachronism. It has only produced leadership failure, because it recycles mediocrity.

We need to move on and find a leader that can effectively lead us now in the 21st century.

I have gone round this country in consultations and you will be surprised that most people are no longer interested in zoning which is unconstitutional anyway.

Please note that a great majority of the voters in 2019 are likely to be young people who do not think along such antiquated lines. 2019 is zoned to competence.

We need to transform our economy and fight poverty and unemployment successfully.

It is time for a President with the skills and experience to solve our practical problems.

Being an Igbo man from Anambra where APGA has a stronghold, why didn’t use the APGA platform to launch your presidential ambition? Why the choice of YPP when APGA has no presidential aspirants?

I am sorry to disappoint this stereotype. I am not an Igbo candidate for the Office of the President.

I am a Nigerian candidate for the Nigerian presidency.

That what we need now is neither tribalism nor religious chauvinists. I chose YPP for ideological reasons.

And if you observe carefully you will see that support for my candidacy cuts across all parts of the country.

Is it true that most of the young presidential aspirants are covertly working for the APC and PDP, hoping to be compensated with appointments after the elections?

I am in this race to win and retire the recycled candidates of the APC and PDP permanently.

So I cannot possibly be working for any or either of them.

I know some people have very vivid imaginations that cook up juicy conspiracy theories but again I am sorry to disappoint them.

I am running for President for love of country and the long suffering masses.

So I am not looking to be “settled” with a job. I have had a very distinguished career of many achievements nationally and globally.

I am not looking for a job like many politicians who cannot survive or be relevant without government appointments.

Who is your godfather and how have you been able to pick your bills, knowing that electioneering in Nigeria is capital-intensive?

I have 200 millions godfathers comprising of all Nigerians.

That means that if they support me including financially, the “returns” will go to them.

Unlike the corrupt politicians who spend billions of our national resources they have stolen in the first place.

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