As part of our ongoing effort to provide unbiased information of younger candidates running for elected positions, today we interviewed Mr. Rijo Shekari, who is running for a legislative seat #RS2019. Rijo, a young passionate Nigeria with 10 years experience working in the ﬁnancial services industry. Mr. Shekari started his career in banking operations with First Bank of Nigeria before joining Stanbic IBTC Asset Management Limited as a relationship manager. He currently heads the Financial Advisory unit of New Frontier Developments, a Financial Advisory firm. #Preparing42019
1. Can you tell us a little about yourself and background?
I am from Kaduna State, but work and live in Abuja with my family. I am a Chartered Accountant with about 12 years of experience in the financial services industry. I am a Commonwealth scholar with a Masters in Finance and Management from Cranfield University in the United Kingdom. Currently, I’m the Head, Financial Advisory & Investments at New Frontier Developments, a Financial Advisory firm.
2. What motivated you to run for the position?
I was motivated by the apparent under-representation of our elected officials at both the State and Federal levels, evident by the absence of bills with direct bearing on the electorate, lack of meaningful development in our communities, and the nearly zero presence of significant economic activities.
Moreover, at 38, I believe our nation needs a new crop of leaders; leaders conversant with the way the world operates, and also conversant with global standards of development and governance. Without casting aspersions on the current crop of leaders we have, I am of the opinion the future of the younger ones should be left in their hands. Why should we allow people make decisions for an era they would not be alive to witness the consequences thereof?
Do not get me wrong! Youthfulness is not sufficient for leadership; but youthfulness with capacity. That is, youthful leadership with an understanding of basic healthcare requirements, internal security, foreign policy, amongst many issues bothering on governance. As a nation, we need the energy of the youth and wisdom of the elderly.
3. Are there current laws or changes you would like to make if elected?
If elected into office I hope to push for bills that focus on reviving our educational system, providing quality healthcare especially in rural areas, and bills that protect the sovereignty of our country. With so many illegal entry points into the country, securing our borders will be of utmost priority to me. That will curtail the issue of foreign herdsmen’ reign of terror in our land, and the smuggling of goods that portend danger to the wellbeing of citizens and the economy.
We have an ageing academic system with most lecturers well advanced in age. I will push for a framework that identifies and trains the next generation of lecturers. The 2% of taxable income for corporate organizations should not only go to the renovation and refurbishing of lecture halls and hostels, but should also cater for scholarships and research in our institutions. Isn’t it a shame that no Nigerian institution is ranked amongst the top 1000 universities in the world? And we say we are the giant of Africa. Our educational system is in a state of chaos and requires drastic measures.
4. Nigerians have lost confidence in the government system, What would you do to FIX the underlying structures and systems that seem to be broken?
Our systems are broken because over the years citizens have not held elected and appointed officials accountable. THE average Nigerian does not know his rights and is not aware of his role as a citizen when it comes to governance. Besides this, there are so many loopholes in the systems that are circumvented, giving room for inefficiencies, wastage, and corruption. This can be remedied by strengthening laws that punish offenders, and ensuring they are enforced.
Also, a conscious effort must be made to educate the citizenry on their rights and duties as citizens. And besides voting their leaders, they have the right to hold them accountable. They also have the right to freely express their views on issues that concern them, and to associate with anyone, or body. As a Senator, I will push for laws that seek to protect such rights and give the citizens a voice.
5. Tell us why voters should vote for you and especially the role or importance of youth in the upcoming election.
Doing the same thing and expecting different results, they say, is foolishness. As a people we have been doing the same thing over the decades. It is time to do something new. Gone are the days of promising roads and boreholes. Those are our fundamental rights. Our people have become wiser and want to live quality lives. As a matter of fact, they deserve it. There must be more engagement with government and civil society organisations at all levels to protect lives and property so my people can go about their lives and make a decent living. If elected, this will be my major focus.
As a candidate, I will be bringing years of experience covering financial analysis and management, negotiating, and building networks both in Nigeria and abroad. I shall give proper attention and scrutiny to the national budget with regards to its overall impact on my constituents. Not only will I ensure its implementation, I will see to it that relevant projects that will drive economic prosperity are included in the national budget. I will push for more Federal presence in the communities in the areas of education and healthcare delivery.
6. Any other relevant information you would like us to know?
The primary role of a legislator is to represent his/her constituents on issues pertaining to their well-being, and to make laws for the land. However, I hope to take advantage of opportunities and use my influence as an an elected official to attract investments into communities. This will be done with the support of the State governor, and relevant government agencies of the Federal Government.