Retired Navy commander, Solomon Idor Esor is the chief executive of three companies, and a wealth coach who has raised over 3000 millionaires in the past few years. The member of International Association of Consultants, and Institute of Directors Nigeria, is now vying to represent Cross River Central in the Senate on the platform of the African Democratic Congress, ADC, promising a bold new leadership for his people. In this interview with newsmen, Esor among other things disclosed that his party “will stand on the shoulders of former president Olusegun Obasanjo”, whose coalition recently collapsed into the ADC, to clear the 2019 elections. This was as he made a case for National Assembly members to make wealth creation their constituency project, stressing that poverty is at the root of corruption and all other malaise confronting the country. Below are excerpts….
Why are you going into politics?
I’m running to represent Central Senatorial District in Cross River state. This is not the first time of my aspiring to be a senator. I ran against Senator Victor Ndoma-Egba but because of zoning preferences, the seat was zoned to the old Ikom. But this is the time it has been zoned to the old Obubra where I come from. I’m going fully into politics now because I have observed over the years that our people have been heavily shortchanged. Those who are supposed to represent them, are not relating with the constituents at all and the people are getting poorer by the day. The representatives don’t open doors of opportunities for the people, they don’t create jobs for them, they don’t even let them know what’s happening at the national. People are existing in Central Senatorial District as if they are not Nigerians because they are totally cut off from vital information that would make them wealthy and prosperous.
Who is the incumbent whose seat you are after?
The current representative of Cross River Central in the Senate is Senator John Owan Enoh, but his impact has not been felt in terms of creating opportunities for people of that senatorial district. People have been graduated from school but can’t get any job, causing parents to be still catering for their grown-up children who even have master’s degree. How can you send a child to school and he graduates and returns to the house to stay as if he was not educated. We have a lot of educated and hardworking people from the Central senatorial district but they are jobless simply because opportunities haven’t been given to them. This pains me a great deal, and that’s why I want to come to a position where I can directly reach out to the people, provide opportunities for them both within and outside the country.
How would being in the Senate enable you do this?
As a senator, I would be able to interact with people from the Central senatorial district and link them up with what is happening in Nigeria, and let them be a part of the country for the first time. Currently, everybody is scared of the killings, maimings, and general insecurity, yet my people don’t know what’s the cause of all these and what is being done to protect them. For instance, the Obubra community have been fighting with the Izzi people in Ebonyi state, and everybody is scared. Yet nobody has gone to assure them of security. You know the major aim of government is the protection of lives and property. When people have representation that can’t protect their lives then they need a new bold leadership. What I’m offering to the people of the Central is a new bold leadership that will do two things: create opportunities for the youth and let everybody get back to work. The best the present representative has done for them is to share N1000, N2000, what can N2000 do to somebody’s life. It can’t even cover their transport fare to and fro where they collected the money.
What political platform are you running on?
The political party through which I’d be teaching my people how to fish not just giving them fish is the African Democratic Congress, ADC, because the ADC has come out very clear and very bold to push out the present crop of leaders and bring in what the people have been yearning for – that is a leadership that will create jobs and open up opportunities for the youths. My people are willing to work and earn their money but they are not given the opportunity, there is even no enabling environment for graduate to put into practice what they learnt from school to earn a living. However, all these would change once I get elected. 2019 is the time. I’m going to take my time to coach the youths on how to create wealth.
How can you do this as senator, since you’re not running for governorship?
A senator who knows what he’s doing should be able to have international and national connections. As a senator, I will establish a Wealth Creation Academy in my senatorial district, and bring people from outside the country to come and train the youths on how to be able to create wealth and become millionaires. I can assure that any of the youth that passes through this academy for six months, they will be able to become independent, create wealth and no longer depend on government. This project is going to cut across the six local government areas of Cross River Central, and this I will achieve in the first two years of being a senator. I am going to use my experience as a member of the international association of consultants and wealth creation courses I’ve attended abroad to train the youths to be millionaires. In two years’ time the result will marvel everybody.
What’s your impression of the present Senate?
They’ve been trying to get their acts together but I don’t think they’ve done too well. They haven’t been able to achieve much as expected. We need brand new politicians at the National Assembly who are not just coming there because of constituency projects, which have not benefited the people. This time round, there should be senators who can develop the people in their constituencies by making the kind of laws that will create the enabling environment for people to be rich. The biggest problem of the youths in this country is poverty. If I get to the Senate, I will sponsor bills that would tend towards creating wealth for the people of this country. No senator is thinking about creating wealth for the people. They’re just talking about constituency projects. Aside the usual infrastructures to be provided for the people, my major constituency project would be wealth creation for the individuals in the district, and I’ll make them millionaires. Lawmakers must begin to think of creating wealth for their people as constituency project.
What do you think of the APC, and how would you work with the party if it remains in power?
The country has experienced APC for some time now, but it was not what was promised the people that they are getting from the APC. The best thing that can happen to this country is that whenever those voted in are found not to be performing they should be voted out. As I am coming in, if I don’t perform, I should be voted out immediately. This is what would make elected public officers to sit up. Some people think that the office is their birthright. They are not doing anything yet want to remain there. As we are going in now, I will be working with whichever government in power to come up with modalities that will create wealth for the people. I think my blueprint is so laudable that any government would like to key into it. Any party that would want to remain in government would need that blueprint, and I have the master-key.
Why did you settle for ADC as a platform to use in the 2019 elections?
I’ve gone round areas in my constituency and observed that my people are yearning for a new leadership. They’ve tried PDP, and were disappointed, they’ve tried APC and APC failed them. So they are eager for a new party and ADC provides them with that opportunity. The mantra of the ADC is to make the people wealthy and to make the people rise above poverty. That’s why I’m running for Senate with the platform.
As a party chieftain, what’s your take on the fusion of your party with Obasanjo’s coalition?
Obasanjo is one leader I respect so much and he’s highly respected across Africa and the rest of the world. I would like to say that Obasanjo is an enigma. He has seen it all. He has seen it in the military, he has seen it as a politician in PDP. When you see people who have seen it all toeing a particular line, it would be foolhardy for you to doubt it. If you hear an elder statesman like Obasanjo saying this is where to go, you’d know that that place is the place that carries the future of Nigeria. You don’t need to rewrite history; the elders see farther than the youths. Unless you stand on their shoulders you can’t see far so we are going to be standing on the shoulders of the elders so that we can see farther. Obasanjo is one of such elders on whose shoulders we go beyond our contemporaries. On this basis, ADC will clear the elections in 2019 because standing on the shoulders of Obasanjo you can see beyond every other person.
Are aggrieved APC bigwigs in talks with your party for 2019?
This month of July is when final harmonization would be done. A whole lot of people from the National Assembly, even governors are in talks with us to troop into ADC. Most of them are already coming but the defections would become clearer as the days of this month role by. Talks are ongoing, just watch out. About 34 groups are merging into ADC, and it’s going to be interesting. APC has lost it and they know they’ve lost it.
How would you assess the Buhari government?
You know President Muhammadu Buhari is my senior colleague in the military but politically speaking he has not done too well. Because, with the spate of killings and insecurity in the country, it’s expected that he would have changed the security architecture of the country. In fact, I am having doubts about the NSA who is a retired general. The people have been asking for a change and we expect that the security architecture would have been redefined to better protect the people. In terms of corruption, I see that it is one-sided. If you go to government offices for files to move from table to table, you’d find out that there’s a lot of corruption in the system, but it all boils down to poverty. It’s poverty. Most people are corrupt because of poverty. How do you give someone a minimum wage of N18,000. The pay is unrealistic. We’re deciding ourselves. You now say the people are corrupt, why won’t they be corrupt? The civil servants really don’t have a take-home pay. There’s poverty in the land, that’s why people should vote out any government that is not performing. Democracy is the best system of government. After every four years, the electorate should sack those who are not performing and bring in a new set of leaders. If they fail again, they should be voted out.
How would you correct this if you get elected?
As a senator whose mantra is creating wealth, I will work towards increasing the minimum wage because I know that the current N18,000 is not enough. I would work with other senators and make sure we do everything possible to get a realistic minimum wage for the people. This country is wealthy. Nigeria has what it takes to make every citizen comfortable to some extent. Nigeria should not be the country with the highest number of poor people in the world. We have no business being a country where in every minute, six people get broke. The bottom-line is that everyone should get their PVC and be ready to vote out anyone who does not perform. The only truth we can tell ourselves is that any elected official who is not performing should be voted out. All these boil to the need for wealth creation so that people will no longer be induced to vote for the wrong person because of N1000 or N2000. Therefore, we need to address the issue of poverty so that the people can vote their conscience.
What do you have to say about the stupendous money National Assembly members make in a month vis-à-vis the minimum wage?
It’s not right for lawmakers to earn humongous amount of money at the expense of ordinary Nigerians who are just taking a paltry sum as salary. It’s unfair as we are all Nigerians. Those at the National Assembly may not have a business running for them, that’s why they are trying to collect so much from the public purse. That’s is why I have said that if I’m elected I won’t earn any salary. I will use all the money paid to me to develop my Cross River Central senatorial district. I will use all the money I get from the National Assembly to run a Wealth Creation Academy for my people. I don’t need the money because I can still maintain my lifestyle. My own constituency project would majorly be educating the people on how to be wealthy. My salary in the National Assembly will definitely go to my senatorial district, and I will truly do this if elected.