Popular Delta Politian and philanthropist, Ned Nwoko has said that nation building and development should not be left only to politicians alone. The philanthropist, who has been in the forefront of the fight against malaria in Nigeria and Africa, in a recent interview gave insight into his philosophy as a person, his view about nation building and his efforts in the fight against malaria. Below are the excerpts of the interview:
1. Interviewer: Politically, you have not been in power for sometime now, yet you decided to build a Sports University for the people of Delta State and Nigeria as a whole. What is the motivation behind this?
Prince New Nwoko: The development of every nation should not be left to politicians alone. Most of the people that own private universities in Nigeria are not politicians. In fact, politicians do less development than those in the private sector.
That is why I don’t like describing myself as a politician, I rather be described as a lawyer or as an explorer or some sort.
2. Interviewer: Tell Nigerians more about the malaria vaccine which you have been instrumental in bringing to Nigeria.
Prince New Nwoko: It is common knowledge that Africa suffers huge losses every year from the scourge of malaria. We know from WHO’s figures, almost 500,000 people die annually from malaria. That is a huge number. That is more than COVID and others put together, and yet African leaders don’t seem to appreciate the need to tackle this scourge.
There are just very few things that any well-meaning leader in Africa, not just in Nigeria, in Africa generally, will do to tackle malaria.
What do we need to do to tackle malaria in Africa? This is a question I have been asking and providing answers to.
The first thing is of course we can invest in vaccine researches which my foundation has been doing. We have been engaging professors and some scientists within Nigeria and outside Nigeria; funding such researches. We must work towards discovering vaccines for malaria.
There are vaccines for almost every other ailment, for instance, chicken pox, etc. Why not malaria? What causes malaria? Is it not mosquitoes?
Mosquitoes breed in very dirty environments. We need to understand that if we have clean environment, there will be less mosquitoes or we can actually eradicate them by; 1. Managing our wastes, properly. Waste management is critical. That means that all the wastes from homes, from streets, from offices, have to be collected properly and taken to recycling centres, which is the next thing. There must be recycling centres in every area, every part of Nigeria.
So what we need to do effectively is to have recycling plants.
I am proposing to have recycling plants in every senatorial district. There are 109 senatorial districts in Nigeria.
Those plants will have 3 functions. The first one is the recycling of the basic items like papers, plastic, bottles and everything else recycle-able. You can imagine the number of jobs that can be created from that alone, from the collection to the recycling plant.
Then the second part of it, there are items called composite, they are food items that cannot be recycled into something else, but they can be transformed into fertilizers, manures for farmers.
Then the third component of this plant, is to generate power. We are crying in Nigeria that we have no light. Nigeria is currently producing about 4,000 megawatts.
If we go along with what I am proposing, it means that those plants. Each plant can produce 200 megawatts, when you multiply that by 109 senatorial districts, you get about 21,000 megawatts. That will be the solution to our power problems in Nigeria.
3. Interviewer: Can you tell Nigerians about your trip to the Antarctica which we all know as the coldest place in the world and the international implication of this?
Prince New Nwoko: The main reason I went to Antarctica was because of the malaria project. There are 12 countries there that have research bases. There are 12 flags there representing those 12 research stations. I had to put together a flag that I took with me, so I hoisted it there as the 13th country in the world.