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Pastor Chris Okotie and Nigerian presidency

“For me, personally, it is an honour to seize the opportunity presented by this (2011) election to run for the exalted office of the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, inspired first and foremost by a divine call to duty, to salvage our beloved country from the inept, corrupt and purposeless leadership of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP.-Chris Okotie

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As Chris Okotie bids once again for the country’s presidential position come 2011, he believes that he is just not another politician involved in politics but a leader who is keen to offer leadership to individual Nigerians

It was like a carnival. Members of Household of God Fellowship were all over the place controlling and directing traffic. Others were in the compound, sitting in groups. But a greater number were in the conference hall of the Lagos State chapter of the Fresh Democratic Party (FDP) in Ikeja, Lagos.

What marked them out were the white T-shirts they wore showing they were campaigning for Chris Okotie, founder/pastor of Household of God Fellowship. The occasion was Okotie’s presidential declaration for the 2011 election on the platform of the Fresh Democratic Party. If he goes ahead to run for the 2011 election, it will be his third attempt since the advent of the fourth republic. His ran in 2003 and 2007.

Chris Okotie

“Also, I am motivated by a patriotic zeal and love of my country to be at the vanguard of a much needed change to transform our nation into a viable, self-accounting, representative democracy where everyone is free to enjoy the full dividend of democracy.

“Without any doubt, I remain fully persuaded that only the emergence of a credible, visionary and progressive government can usher in a new Nigeria of our dream. And I am confident that I represent these ideals and, with my fresh agenda, we can create a new nation, a new Nigeria, which would take its rightful place in the comity of nations,” Okotie said.

He said the ruling People’s Democratic Party (PDP) had been “unable to hold (itself) together despite having majority in both chambers of the National Assembly, and controlling majority of the states of the federation.

” He said the ruling party was torn apart by internal squabbles and contradictions because it is populated by a motley crowd of politicians with divergent philosophies which are largely self-serving.

Okotie, who hopes to run on the platform of FDP, said despite the seven-point agenda of the PDP government, the socio-economic and political situation in the country had gone from bad to worse. He cited as example the crisis in the power and oil and gas sectors, which, he said, had resulted in deterioration of power output and aggravation of corrupt practices in the oil industry.

“Today, the on-grid power generated is about 2,500mw out of which about 2,000mw comes from Shell, AEI and Mobil, while the PHCN produces a paltry 500mw. The failure of the much touted National Integrated Power Project (NIPP), underscores the dilemma of a nation whose economy continues to run on generators”, he said.

The presidential aspirant said private individuals and corporate bodies using alternative energy sources like diesel-run generators, produce 5,000 to 6,000mw to keep their factories running and meet the power needs in private homes and institutions.

He said the crisis in the energy sector had made many blue chip companies to close down and relocate to neighbouring West African countries, where there is stable power. “This accounts for the growing unemployment and its by-product of diverse crimes, prostitution, drug trafficking, kidnapping, illegal migration and ethno-religious unrest rocking the nation.

Sadly, after almost 12 years of PDP government, Nigeria remains a mono-product economy. We still depend mainly on oil for our national incomes, such that any slight slump in world oil market immediately impacts negatively on our national budgets and fiscal projections, leading to abandoned projects, delayed payments to contractors, late allocations to government agencies in all the three tiers of government.

“Yet, in 2010, only five percent economic growth is expected and this is driven mainly by oil and gas. With our economy so badly eroded, capacity utilisation in the manufacturing sector is at an all-time low of about 30 per cent.

In the absence of a viable, realistic blue print of economic revival, the PDP has embarked on a grandiose plan it label Vision 20:20/20, which it hopes to launch Nigeria into the enviable club of 20 industrialized countries by the year 2020”, Okotie said.

He declared that Vision 20:20/20 was an illusion because the nation’s 104 universities were hampered by poor quality teachers, maladministration and cultism. In answer to a question, he said what differentiates him from other aspirants or politicians, is his idea of leadership. He made a distinction between politics and leadership, saying while politics deals with the state, leadership deals with the individual, saying that he focuses more on the individual.

He disagreed that being a pastor would alienate other religious group. He argued that his is a pan-Nigerian group and that it was not his intention to create a religious provincialism. He said the problems of bad roads, insecurity, etc are common to all Nigerians and to restricted to either Muslims and Christians. “You have to judge me on the strength of my character.

I have honesty and compassion, which are absent in PDP,” he said. He cited as example the Moshood Abiola/Babagana Kingibe all Muslim ticket that won the annulled June 12, 1993 election, to buttress his view that Nigerians had gone beyond such thinking. “The problem is not that the Nigerian people don’t know what to do but that they are powerless. God has heard the cries of Nigerians and has come to set them free”, he declared.

He said what Nigeria needed was a political architect that would design the country’s future and that he was well placed to do that. He stressed the need for electoral reform, saying that without it, the 2011 general election would not be free and fair, no matter the good intention of the umpire, represented by the new chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commissioner (INEC), Attahiru Jega.