Ayo Da-Silva is the founder and Presidential candidate of Save Nigeria Congress, SNC. With a mission to eliminate hunger, end employment and establish a structure for all Nigerians from all works of life .He has a 14 point agenda in fixing the problem confronting Nigeria. He is planning to provide energy/electricity 24-7, employment and job security for all, national security of lives and properties, social welfare system, investment economy among others. In this interview, he spoke passionately about his plan for Nigerians and why he is the right candidate.
How did you start your Political journey?
While I was in school, I was a student activist. In my final year also, I was the president of the student union. I was also a youth leader in Unity Party under Chief Bisi Onabanjo. I was also part of SDP during Chief M.K.O Abiola, we worked to get him elected ,not long after his election, the military took over and people who were behind Chief MKO were easy target for the military Government.
That was what led me to the United States, where I continued my education and became a nurse and health care administrator. In 2007, I decided to run for the Senate under the PDP so I can help make laws that are people friendly that would move the economy forward. But unfortunately, money politics had started, people were not interested in programs, manifestos and ideals, they were interested in what politicians can give them. In 2011, I contested as house of Rep member in Amuwo Odofin, I won the election but it was disqualified, after that, I decided to go back to my practice.
But the news that was filtering in from Nigeria was disheartening, on Whatsapp, social media people were complaining of hunger, coupled with the killings and insurgency, when all these are happening, we wonder what the Government in power are doing. Over there, if things like these happen, the Government is the first to respond, they would take their citizen out of danger and harm’s way. We hope things would get better , we felt the problem was with PDP, thinking another party would make things better but it is still the same, old wine in a new bottle stuff, recycling the same thing. It looks like our leaders ideas are old fashioned.
Nigeria’s problem has developed in such a way that only those who have the know-how can do it. Every aspirant wants to fix it but people are not asking how and when the problem would be fixed, that is why I am different from them all. When I saw that there are no credible alternatives to what we have, a few friends in the diaspora said it is time to join the race.
Looking at the constitution of all the parties; there is no clear cut ideology. I have looked at 68 political parties; they are all in the socialist democratic ideology, which is why I registered a new party “Save Nigeria Congress” SNC. I have a 14 points agenda of solving Nigeria’s problem. Within 8 years, we want Nigeria to become an advanced country; there is no sector we wouldn’t work on. We are Conservative Democrat, we believe in conserving and reserving the country’s resources. We would also offer social services to the people.
Our present Government is not a Conservative democrat, the rate at which they borrow money is alarming, and there is nothing free. If you ask us what we stand for, we would say we are conservative democrat. We will shrink government and will expand social services. We will have six world class hospitals in all social political zone, there will be free education to secondary school and our lecturers would be paid at pal with their counterpart in international world, we would harness electricity, we would subsidize tertiary education, we would focus on agriculture, boost our export capacity so we will not continue to totally depend on oil. If we can grow our cocoa, rice, millet, we would start exporting them, we would have self-sustenance. The question is how to source those funds. When we start the campaign proper, we would let the world know our strategy. We don’t want our opponent to start building on it now. We want to let the world know that we have a solution to Nigeria’s problem and we are ready to run for elections so we can solve them.
One would think you would start from the lower or upper chamber so as to win your way into the heart of the people since you have not been around for a while in Nigeria’s political atmosphere?
That is the problem with Nigeria, everybody think you have to start from the bottom. Talent is not measured in a particular way of hierarchy, if you have it, you have it. Anybody can aspire for any position if you can do it. The point is, do I qualify for the highest office? Yes. Do I have what it takes to do it? Yes. Have I done something like that before? Yes, for example in year 2000, I ran the Yoruba-American community organisation in the United States. We have managed immigration, welfare services for our members; we have infiltrated the banking system of the United States because we have businesses that are stabilized. We use the organisation as leverage; they come to us to seek for our votes during election. If you can manage resources outside Nigeria successfully, you can manage any resources in Nigeria successfully.
Those that have ruled the world don’t have to start from the grassroots. Obama moved from law school to the senate then the presidency. Macron, the president of France didn’t have to become the chairman of one local government, we have leaders who have shown that they have what it takes and it has worked for them, those are exactly what I have and even more.
The political atmosphere in Nigeria is such that they believe so much in god fatherism. It is time to say enough is enough, it is time to say no to god fatherism and vote buying. God fatherism is nothing more than vote buying, you can sponsor me, I contest and win, after I won, I have to refund the money you spend on me instead of me fixing the road, creating jobs, I have to be busy paying my debts. That is why we are sensitizing people so as to know their place; it is time to educate the masses. The reason Nigerians go to bed without food is because they collect N5,000 on election day, their leaders expect them to share that N5,000 for four years. If they know the money cannot be enough for them, they should vote for leaders who will provide food for them, provide electricity and employment to earn money.
Illiteracy in Nigeria is 65%. We are on number 4 of the hunger list where people cannot afford to eat a square meal, which is the statistics. One of my cardinal points is the Nigeria dream, it states that every graduate should be able to get a job after school then should be able to buy a car, start a family and own a house. I have not heard of it anywhere or seen anything done about the Nigeria dream. When I studied the American dream, it is the same with the Nigerian dream. Give them food, shelter, cloth, security; they would be satisfied and find their way up. Nigerians don’t ask for much, just the basic things of life. When you have stable electricity, price of products would fall and people would be able to afford them. In this government, the minister of housing is a lawyer, is he going to quote law on electricity? Nigerians are excelling abroad, why not in their Nigeria? It is because the enabling environment is not there. If leaders are not matching the right key, it wouldn’t work. You cannot make a medical practitioner the minister of transportation.
Your ambition is capital intensive, how do you intend getting capital to shoulder it?
I intend to get grassroots support, I am not a billionaire, I know that if Nigerians are tired of APC and PDP, they have a candidate that has not soil himself. I went to a media house one day and they wanted to write my job description as politician, that is the problem in Nigeria. Politics is not a job description, you must have a career, I am a health practitioner if I am through with the presidency, I will go back to my practice.
Politician would continue to steal because they don’t have what to fall back on, that is why they always seek for godfathers, I don’t plan to have one .We need to educate our people, and winning election in Nigeria shouldn’t be a do or die affair, which is why greed comes in. That is why the media have a lot of works to do, don’t hero worship corrupt leaders, say the truth in their faces. I intend to talk to my people every day, market people, okada riders. If the people are truly tired of the situation at hand, I believe it is time to act. If we are doing something one way and we don’t get the right result, we should change our method, let us try someone else that has not done it before, and let us try a new hand. Those countries that are worse than us started on this route but they didn’t find their way on time that is why things degenerate so much. We don’t have to watch Nigeria go down the drain.
I came to offer Nigeria a credible alternative, let us take a fresh face; a fresh idea to the people SNC is the new party.
How do you intend flexing muscles with popular parities?
I intend to talk to them just as I am talking to you when campaign starts, I would go from door to door to campaign, I will tell them I am here for them, I will spread the message through the media, the media should help us, they shouldn’t charge us millions for coming to them, they should give us a level playing field.
The second way is to register from door to door, we will go from one place to another for volunteers, we wouldn’t buy people’s conscience by giving money, it is a slap on Nigerians to offer then money during election, we wouldn’t join them. I know the people are fed up with the system; they should come out and vote with their PVC, they should also stand by their votes. On Feb 16, if they can do that, the INEC officials would count the vote in front of the people, let them record it, put it on social media so that they can know that the people have spoken.
We have had people in the past promising us heaven on earth and didn’t fulfil it, what medium are you putting in place to ensure that all your dreams for the people come to pass?
We have not been asking those that promised us in the past questions and it is the job of the media, they should ask how they would fulfil the mandate, where will they get the money, they should indicate the time frame they would fulfil it. If they are able to break it down into smaller pieces to the last kobo, then he has done his homework. If you ask me those questions, I have the solutions because I will tell you the timeframe, resources and all my plans and I will implement them. The implementation part is where most candidates fails because of god fatherism and money play. When they install them in government, the godfather hold them to ransom, they choose ministers for them, local government chairman for them, commissioners as well. When they do that, you put the wrong people in places but when I get there, I would source for credible people and put them. The white man used to say ‘to get something done, put the right people in the right place’.
How long where you outside the country?
I didn’t go completely out of the country, I came back for medical missions with my fellow medical practitioners, plant businesses here and there, I have an NGO that we work with. I go abroad to work and bring the experience to my people to help them. Now, I want to take that to a higher level.
Nigerians don’t know how to trust anybody with their votes because past leaders have failed them. You are trying to get into their hearts with just words, do you see that realistic?
Every leader in the world offered expression first, it is even clear, you said they have failed us, have they retired, No. they keep coming back since 1960, they have been recycling themselves except for Dr Goodluck Jonathan, every other person is an old horse, they should go and retire, we need something new, a fresh start. Politicians are holding Nigerians bondage, they would throw crumbs at them and Nigerians would shout that such a person is working. Nigerians don’t listen, we need to listen to what new faces have to say and reason with them. If you need a loan from a bank, you have to go with your words to convince them, and then present your proposals, they will ask you questions. It is your words you use, but if you want to catch a fish, you must use bait, that is what they have been using for Nigerians. Anyone who gives you gratification before election is using you as a bait. We are the fish, they bait us and we become their dinner. The person that will hook you with a bait will look for a good one, give you iPhone and you will vote for them, is it the iPhone they would use for 8 years? Nigerians should not be the fish again, because we will only grumble on social media. It is a matter of choice; we shouldn’t repeat the same mistake again. PDP said they want to retake power again, ask them what they did when they were there. APC said they can do it as well, so far they have not offered us anything good, why don’t we try a new face, assuming I have tried it once and failed they will say they shouldn’t try me again. Seeing is believing. When campaigns start, they would try to throw the bait. It is a choice, either to look for alternatives or become dinner for politicians.
Can we meet you?
I am Ayo Da Silva, a Nigerian; born in Lagos state and the presidential candidate of Save Nigeria Congress (SNC). I am a health care practitioner in the United State of America, but I schooled in Nigeria. I am the last of five children.