The race to the 2019 presidential elections could arguably be regarded as the most exciting in recent times, with the focus on character and competence gradually taking prominence over political parties, as well as a turn out of younger candidates, fuelled by a deep sense of patriotism and the desire to take Nigeria to greater heights.
Professor Kingsley Bosah Chiedu Ayodele Moghalu is one of such Nigerians, whose professional background and pedigree afford him the privilege of being able to reside and work outside Nigeria, but instead he has chosen to contend for the office of the president in the 2019 general elections on the platform of the Young Progressive Party (YPP).
His presidential aspirations are not borne out of ambition, but rather, simply because, “I am sick and tired of poverty that faces millions of our citizens in this country, while our politicians cross carpet from party to party with no ideology, vision, and contributions for the betterment of the ordinary people. While they are busy talking about zoning, people are dying,” he says in an interview with Leadership Newspapers.
The fifty-five year old lawyer, who is also a professor of economic policy and international business, publicly declared his intentions on February 28, 2018, with a speech burning with fervour, cloaked in humility and packed with purpose. “I am here today standing with the 100 million Nigerians experiencing crushing poverty, living on less than 300 naira a day.
I am here today because 33 million of our able men and women are unemployed or underemployed, nearly 15 million children are out of school, and only 60% of Nigerians are literate… I’m not here to tell you that there are quick, easy solutions to our nation’s problems. Far from it. Decades of economic and leadership mismanagement cannot be undone in a few short weeks or months. Things will be difficult and painful choices will have to be collectively made. What I am here to tell you is that: together, we can choose a new path. Together, we can set a bold agenda. Together, we can deliver for ourselves a different outcome. Nigeria will achieve greatness,” according to parts of his speech delivered during his world press conference at the Musa Yar’Adua Conference Centre, Abuja.
Since then, Moghalu has started a transformation movement, To Build A Nation (TBAN), which also forms the grassroots arm of his presidential campaign, as part of his vision to reshape Nigeria through action and a collective voice.
He has also been very open about his blueprint for the transformation of Nigeria. His vision is well articulated in his book, BIG (an acronym for Build, Innovate and Grow) My Vision for our Country, which was published this year by Bookcraft.
His BIG vision will be strategically applied in four core areas of Foundations, Nation Building, Economy and Foreign Affairs.
Even though he is not from ‘politician’ stock as we know it to be, Moghalu does not see that as an obstacle to winning the 2019 presidential election. “We have too many politicians, but very few leaders. We are all politics and no leadership. This is precisely why we are a poor and dysfunctional country, “ he says in the viewpoint column of the Vanguard newspaper.
Looking beyond ethnicity and geographical locations, he categorically states that: “I am not and will never be an ethnic candidate for the presidency of our country. I am unapologetically a Nigerian candidate for the Nigerian presidency.”
His confidence further stems from his belief that in order for Nigeria to be positioned as a strong and capable country, she needs to be governed by a person who has competence, capacity and character, “And as a citizen who aspires to be president, I possess all three,” as he stated in his world press conference, and which are qualities that have been greatly enhanced by his personal and professional life.
Moghalu served in various capacities at the United Nations, thus fulfilling his dream of having a career at the UN. He started off as a human rights officer at the United Nations Transitional Authority, Cambodia, between 1992 and 1993, and over the years, through hard work, he continued to rise through the ranks, eventually becoming a director, head of global partnerships and resource mobilization.
In 2006, UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan appointed Moghalu as one of five members of the high-level Redesign Panel on the UN Internal Justice System that overhauled the regulatory compliance, accountability, and dispute resolution framework that governs the global workforce of the UN. He performed this special six-month assignment at the nominal level of Under-Secretary-General, the highest political rank in the UN below the Secretary-General.
It was while he was the head of global partnerships and resource mobilization that he helped design a comprehensive risk management system for the $20 billion Global Fund in Geneva, an international development finance fund established under UN auspices.
After obtaining his Doctor of Philosophy degree in international relations at the London School of Economics – which he did as a part-time student, Moghalu studied for and obtained the International Certificate in Risk Management at the UK Institute of Risk Management in London. Later, he received further education in macroeconomics, financial policy, and corporate governance at Harvard University’s John F. Kennedy School of Government, Harvard Business School, and the International Monetary Fund (IMF) Institute.
With his increased interest in risk management, Moghalu made a foray into the private sector. His exploits in that field included setting up Sogato Strategies – a risk advisory firm in Geneva. The firm soon won profitable mandates from global corporations such as the Swiss bank UBS and Syngenta, the Swiss agrochemicals multinational.
With such a highly distinguished portfolio, Moghalu was appointed as a Deputy Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) by the then President of Nigeria, Umaru Yar’Adua in 2009, where he served in that capacity for five years, managing the systemic risks to Nigeria’s financial system, and ensuring stability in the system.
With his rise at the UN and tenure at the CBN, Moghalu has succeeded in keeping the family tradition of public service just like his late father, Isaac Chukwudum Moghalu, who was one of a small group of promising young Nigerians inducted into the Ministry of Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs after Nigeria’s independence in 1960, and who later rose to become a Permanent Secretary, well-known for his integrity, after Nigeria’s civil war ended.
Moghalu immortalised his father by establishing the Isaac Moghalu Foundation (IMoF), a non-profit organization that empowers youth and women in disadvantaged communities through literacy, education, skills-building and leadership development.
While he may have the winning formula to Nigeria’s bright future, only time will tell if he will be allowed to use it.
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