Obong Victor Attah, a former Governor of Akwa Ibom State on Friday said it is time for old generation politicians, including himself to vacate the scene and groom younger Nigerians with fresh ideas to take Nigeria to its rightful place in the comity of nations.
Speaking in an exclusive interview with Saturday INDEPENDENT, at his residence in Lagos, 80- year old Attah also said he will champion a movement now with people of like minds to ensure that new set of younger leaders take charge of the nation’s affairs from 2023.
The elder statesman said the search for younger Nigerians with the ability and integrity to lead the country must begin now that the 2019 elections is over and not when the 2023 is just around the corner like it happened during the just concluded general elections.
According to him, the consequence of the 2019 elections is that power has returned to the common man and they can freely elect their leaders without being influenced or coerced by godfathers as witnessed in Ogun, Imo, Kwara, Oyo and other states.
“My conclusion was that the 2019 elections is the triumph of the common man. The consequence of the election has brought about certain things that Nigeria badly needed. Power has come back to the people.
“All the arrangements that used to be made in Abuja, Lagos and other places came to nothing. The people insisted that this is what they want and that is what they had. It is obvious. A governor will stand up and say ‘this is my preferred candidate but the people said ‘No’! Look at Ogun, Kwara, Oyo, Imo and even Akwa Ibom. Before now, people make arrangements and forced it down people’s throat, but now they couldn’t do that again.
“So for me, the consequence of the 2019 elections is that power has returned to the common man, the average Nigerian. More than that, I believe it is going to spell the death of APC, PDP and the military influence that we have always had.
“It is a new beginning. Those of us in the old formation have been wiped off from the political scene. Let a new Nigeria grow now. Let a new Nigerian spring forth with fresh hands to administer things properly but it has to be a federal system that is given them to administer, not this fractured system.
“A new order must begin now to take over from APC and PDP in 2023 and that new order must begin now. You have to form two movements. The first movement is to reestablish this country as a federal system and it must be nationwide, supported by the international community.
“Second, you begin to search for somebody outside of the establishment, not the ones brought about by the establishment. If this country will search for a president, with all due respect and honour for the dead, would we have selected a person like the late Umaru Yar’Adua whom we knew was sick almost to the point of death. But the system brought him up. Now, that system is gone.
“So, the country must now look for people they believe have the ability and integrity to rule this country. By the time Buhari’s second tenure is coming to an end, certain names will become household names and we will know from these names, the person that will become our next president. We will begin to groom them from now, not when election is approaching.”