Says Security Boss
For about two decades now, the man Davidson Akhimien has continued to move the stakes higher in many spheres. Since his disengagement from the military and involvement in private security practice, he has made some enviable marks as a professional who wants the private security industry Nigeria to take a pride of place like what obtains in advanced climes. Currently, he is the National President of the Association of Licensed Private Security Practitioners of Nigeria (ALPSPN). A polyglot with degrees in foreign languages, Akhimien has capped himself with more academic qualifications among which is a Master degree in International Law and Diplomacy from the University of Lagos, another Master’s degree in Criminology and now a Doctorate in Political Science from Backcock University.
Besides his active involvement in private security practice, he has also ventured into hospitality business, transportation and protocol businesses. Now with what one may call the leading of the Holy Spirit, Davidson Akhimien who also runs a ministry as an ordained pastor, is set to make a mark in politics. He is offering to serve along with other Nigerians who have some fresh ideas on how to move Nigeria away from the whims and caprice of recycled politicians. There is no other party that appeals to him for now than the Grassroot Democratic Party of Nigeria (GDPN). In this interview with ODITA SUNDAY he bares his mind on several issues. Excerpt.
What is your feeling about political governance in contemporary Nigeria?
I must say that political governance in Nigeria has been a challenging one for the political parties and politicians in the field because it would appear they have not been able to satisfy the minimum aspiration of the citizenry. The different problems of insecurity, lack of social justice, lack of equanimity in the administration of the country have left people disillusioned. People find it difficult to survive. Now, cohesion is also lacking. There is no cohesion, no proper integration of the different peoples of Nigeria as a result of primordial sentiments. This is 21st Century Nigeria and there is the emergence of new crop of Nigerians who do not care about tribalism, ethnicity and all those things that the political class appears to be using to hold us back as a nation. For God’s sake, a 22-year-old Nigerian of today is not concerned whether he is Ibo, Yoruba, Hausa or Urhobo. He is concerned about how his country can provide the basic necessities of life, how he can get a good job to sustain his family, how he can have hope for his own children and grand children in the future. He is not concerned about all the things members of the political class use in dividing us, such as religion, ethnicity and the rest. He went to school with people of different religious and political persuasion. We are looking a Nigeria which is stronger, integrated, positioned for greatness in the African continent and indeed the black world. Ethnic and primordial politics is holding us back. This is the time for a paradigm shift. We need to work towards the future, and to achieve it, is not a rocket science.
We understand you have ambition to be actively involved in the forthcoming political dispensation. What is propelling you?
I am propelled by the fact that real transformation for my country is possible. I am propelled by the failings of the political parties that we have on ground now because when you look at it in concrete terms, building a strong economy, creating a secure environment for the citizenry of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, are not rock science. We need no rock science to build nationhood. We can capitalize on the pluralism of Nigeria as a major strength, but on the contrary, people in the political class are capitalizing on our plural nature to divide the country in their own selfish interest.
Nigeria has potentials to be one of the strongest countries in the world given the resources that we are naturally endowed with by God, both human and material. We have the potential. All we need is proper harnessing of the resources and the unleashing of the human potential for productiveness.
In what capacity are you coming out as a political gladiator?
We are not talking about position for now but rather creating the awareness, sensitization of the people to know that real transformation is possible and it is within their hands. It is about bringing the consciousness of the average Nigerian to know that power belongs to the people and they can decide what happens to them and who governs them. So it is not about position now. The issue of position will come later. My party, the Grassroot Democratic Party of Nigeria (GDPN) is about mobilizing the Nigerian people to the consciousness and awareness that they have the power to bring about the transformation that they need. Everybody talks about the failure of government and political parties, but nobody is taking action. People need to be liberated in their minds, but unfortunately poverty has taken them to the brink. We need to liberate them and renew their mind. We have tried PDP and APC and the result has been the same. If you want a different result, we must try something else; by taking the risk and this why the GDPN is founded.
A lot of money is needed to achieve certain political ambitions in Nigeria of today. Do you think you can readily weather the storm financially speaking when the time comes?
As a party, we always try to de-emphasise money politics because this is a party that has the interest of the people at heart. We believe that once the message is passed to the people and they embrace it, the people themselves will know that money politics is actually what sells their destiny out. We are looking at a situation where the people themselves will own the party out of their belief in the party. Parties that bring money, rice, clothes and so on have failed them.
Elsewhere, politics thrives on ideology but that is not the case in our own clime. What is your take on this?
If you read the GDPN manifesto, our ideology is actually rural or grassroot development. We intend to see a situation where industrialization is taken to rural areas rather than urban areas. We want to ensure that the rural-urban migration is reduced to the barest minimum. By reducing rural migration, we are automatically reducing brain drain. A situation where our youths sell themselves into slavery in a country as small as Libya is not good. Our youths die in their thousands in the Mediterranean trying to get to Europe for want of a better life. Nigeria, if properly managed is the one that would be receiving youths from Europe. Our youths end up in Europe as mortuary attendants, or menial workers that thrive on stipends. It is a disgrace to Nigeria’s national image.
There is a Third Force coming in form of SDP. With your position as a GDPN person, what unique selling points do you think your party has over SDP?
From our evaluation, the Third Force is an offshoot of extant political parties that have existed; so Nigerians should not be deceived. The idea of having a Third Force as a political option is an excellent and very laudable one. It is born out of the conviction that the existing political parties have failed. The GDPN is coming with a divine mandate and fresh men with fresh ideas for the liberation of Nigeria. We are the solution to the nation’s problem.
Somebody may want to argue that before now there was a Fresh Party that went to the doldrums after raising the hope of Nigerians. How are we sure GDPN will not end up being the same?
There is a difference between the Fresh Party of Nigeria and the freshness of the GDPN movement. GDPN is a movement committed to the liberation of the average Nigerian; the marginalized majority who have no voice. This is the time for them to take their future into their own hands.
In what ways, do you think past and present leaders have short-changed the Nigerian masses politically speaking and in what ways do you think we can improve?
The evidence are there for all to see the people that you voted into power are the same people that castrate the economy, cause capital flight of the commonwealth in their selfish interest. The people you voted into power are the same that use ethnicity and religion to bring division among the populace to create disaffection and ill-will. Even after having recovered huge sums of money from people, nobody is convicted. Nobody is sent to jail. Impunity still persists. Where is the justice in the land? Where is the justice for the poor?
With a benefit of hindsight as a former military officer and currently a private security practitioner, do you think the Buhari administration has done enough to woo potential foreign investors who are skeptical of insecurity in Nigeria?
In the area of the insurgency in the North East, the President has appeared to have tried comparatively speaking with the last administration, but insurgency like terrorism as we know is not something that goes away in one fell swoop. It would linger and the sporadic attack; like the recent attack and captive of 110 school girls from Dapchi still sends negative signals to foreign investors. So I would say that terrorism is really a big hindrance for foreign investment in Nigeria. However, even the body of the President himself is really not encouraging to foreign investors. Look at the Benue killings for instance, it goes to show that there is no justice in the land because one would have expected that Mr. President would be able to assuage the people knowing that there are the same people he governs. He ought to have visited and restore confidence in the people.
You will agree that since Nigeria returned to democracy, retired military officers have been calling the shot and Nigerians seem to be tired of them. Now, how do you see your emergence as a member of the political class with your military background?
Anywhere in the world, as far as leadership is concerned, a military background is always an advantage. Even in the United States of America, the citizens are comfortable; if any of their presidential aspirants in any election has had military background. This is because military is the fountain of true leadership. The military is the ground where discipline is built and imbibed. In the military, individual discipline is ingrained, while imposed discipline is exerted. It makes a better man. That is why some of the great businesses you will find in Forbe’s top 500 have always been founded and led by retired military personnel. However, if there is any negative perception on the part of ex-military leaders of today, it would be as a result of long involvement in political leadership from independence. In normal situations we are better off with candidates who have military background.