• Monday, April 22, 2024
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2023 Manifestos – In the light of new lies

Close race, cash shortage raise desperation among politicians

MOST politicians lie. They get away with the lies because we lick their lies, encased in manifestos we know they would discard well before votes are cast. Some candidates cannot read their own manifesto.
The election economy draws from a well of professionals whose skills are in high demand during the season. They write those fat volumes of drivel.

Manifesto writers “are doing their jobs”. They do not believe in their own words, and may not understand what they have strung. Note too that they can work for multiple candidates.
Manifestos though intentions are more important. They cannot be personal to a candidate. Manifestos are parties’ offers to the people for all seasons. Candidates, when they win elections, burrow into them and perform in accordance with their parties’ promises to the people. Therefore, a party’s manifestos bear enough charges to put a party and its candidates on trial. That is the fate of Alhaji Bola Ahmed Tinubu whose All Progressives Congress, APC, has paraded a manifesto which it launched in Abuja on Thursday 6 March 2014. Tinubu is expected to defend the same manifesto, speak through it and implement it if elected.

Some excerpts from APC’s manifesto –
.Make our economy one of the fastest growing emerging economies in the world with real GDP growth averaging 10% annually;
.Embark on vocational training, entrepreneurial and skills acquisition schemes for graduates along with the creation of the Small Business Loan Guarantee Scheme to create at least 1 million new jobs every year, for the foreseeable future.
.Embark on export and production diversification including investment in infrastructure; promote manufacturing through agro-based industries and expand sub-regional trade through ECOWAS and AU;
.Make Information Technology, Manufacturing, Agriculture and Entertainment key drivers of our economy;
.Balance the economy across regions by the creation of 6 new Regional Economic Development Agencies (REDAs) to act as champions of sub-regional competitiveness;

.Put in place a N300bn regional growth fund (average of N50bn in each geo-political region) to be managed by the REDAs, encourage private sector enterprise and support to help places currently reliant on the public sector;
.Create an additional middle-class of at least 2 million new homeowners in our first year in government and 1 million annually thereafter; by enacting a national mortgage system that will lend at single-digit interest rates for the purchase of owner-occupier houses.
.Targeting up to 15% of our annual budget for this critical sector (Education) whilst making substantial investments in training quality teachers at all levels of the educational system;
.Promote the concept of reserving a minimum number of seats in the National Assembly for women.
.Create teams of volunteers to plant and nurture economically viable trees in arid regions;
.Restructure the Ecological Fund Office to enable it to meet today’s environmental challenges;
.Generate, transmit and distribute from current 5,000-6,000 MW to at least 20,000 MW of electricity within four years and increasing to 50,000 MW with a view to achieving 24/7 uninterrupted power supply within ten years, whilst simultaneously ensuring the development of sustainable/renewable energy.
How did APC fare with its manifesto in seven years? Where are the six new Regional Economic Development Agencies? Was the proposed N50 billion per region spent on other regional developments? Would thorough analyses of the APC manifesto, which it proudly hosted on its website, not provide grounds to question the intentions of manifestos and their promoters?

Did APC deliver the nine million housing units it promised? What were the challenges? Was the housing deficit overwhelming enough that the government gave up?
Were millions of new jobs created in seven years? Where are the economic plans to sustain annual yearly growth of 10 percent?

Praises of Tinubu’s manifesto were expected but the manifesto mostly rehashes APC’s failed manifesto. Anyone who has read Tinubu’s manifesto would be affronted by the futile efforts to garb APC in a new attire.
Apart from the unanswered questions of how he would implement the manifesto – politicians don’t find those details interesting – Tinubu the great party leader lifted APC’s manifesto in places and minimised the 2015 promises.
An example, “l will establish new industrial growth centres by creating six new Regional Economic Development Agencies.

These agencies will create sub-regional industrial hubs to exploit each zone’s competitive advantage and optimise their potential”. Tinubu gingerly left out the N50 billion funding of 2015 and avoided funding totally.
What is there to applaud in a manifesto that promises, “My administration’s critical goal is to have 15,000 megawatts distributable to all categories of consumers nationwide to ensure 24/7 sustainable power supply within the next four years”? We enjoyed a promise of 20,00 megawatts, scalable to 50,000 megawatts from the same APC. Why is Tinubu promising less? If Nigerians needed a supply of 20,000 megawatts in 2015, have we grown so few in seven years that we would require less electricity?

Tinubu will stop fuel subsidy and determine the price of fuel by market forces. “By the time we took (sic) office, the Dangote refinery would have been fully
operational, nullifying the need to import refined petroleum. There will be no need for a subsidy because the market will be open and transparent, supply will come from local refineries, and the forces
of demand and supply will determine the price of petroleum products,” Tinubu’s manifesto stated.

Can Dangote Refinery meet current national daily demand of 66 million litres (NNPC’s figures)? Dangote is expected to produce 55 millions litres of fuel daily. Will Dangote not sell to foreign markets if they are more lucrative?
“My administration will collaborate with state governments, the building and construction industry, private sector investors, and banks to build and sell over 5 million new homes within the next four years. I will introduce a national mortgage system that will lend at single-digit interest rates to purchase these owner-occupied homes,” Tinubu repeated APC’s 2015 promise.

What has Tinubu said differently from 2015? When he states that he will continue President Muhammadu Buhari’s programmes, he is partially truthful. What he cannot say is that things are so bad that another Buhari is not sustainable.

THE heroes of Nigeria’s flood management are those who risked their lives saving others, those whose contributions have sustained lives in the affected areas, not Federal Government officials who failed to dam River Benue but blame states for not clearing drainages.

.Isiguzo is a major commentator on minor issues