BusinessDay

What Atiku’s 5-point agenda means for Nigeria

…As PDP candidate pledges disciplined, issue-focused campaign

Atiku Abubakar, a former vice president of Nigeria and People’s Democratic Party (PDP) presidential candidate, five point agenda embodies promises to restore Nigeria’s fractured unity, as well as rebuild the nation’s battered economy.

The policy document released ahead of the 2023 general election also envisioned tackling the current lingering insecurity to guarantee the safety and security of lives and property, build a dynamic economy for prosperity, re-structure the polity to foster unity and stability, as well as provide qualitative education.

With a vision to “foster a united Nigeria in which all citizens can live a happy, healthy and productive life,” it also has the mission to “provide the appropriate political leadership to implement a robust development agenda and facilitate the realisation of our vision.”

The policy document also itemised Atiku’s plans to restore Nigeria back to the nation’s economy to the pre- 2015 level, where country was the strongest economy in Africa, with a Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of $546.7billion, as against the current GDP of $440billion

He believes that “Nigeria’s unity has never been so threatened like it is now,” adding that “increasing number of Nigerian citizens openly challenge their allegiance to Nigeria’s corporate existence through violent agitations and misguided demands for ethno-regional autonomy because of widespread feelings of marginalisation and neglect.”

A key component of the policy aims at improving and strengthening the education system and equipping students with all necessary skills needed to be competitive in the new global order which is driven by innovation, science, and technology.

Atiku urged citizens “to hold him accountable if he fails to deliver on his social contract with Nigerians.”

The PDP flag bearer in his policy document believes that despite Nigeria’s vast resources, the country has remained “one of the poorest and unequal countries.

According to him, “Our economy is fragile, and vulnerable, job losses, eroding incomes and lack of citizens’ access to basic amenities have pushed more than 90million people below the poverty line.”

He also believes that the country has never been so overwhelmed by insecurity, adding that “sadly, we have reached a point where the functions of the state have been usurped by separatists, bandits, insurgents, and terrorists.”

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The policy document tagged, ‘My Covenant with Nigerians,’ is an updated version of the 2019 document which could not be implemented for the benefit of Nigerians.

He also promised to address the vexed issue of “restructuring” when he noted that “Nigeria has continued to operate a faulty, complex federal structure with high degree of centralisation at the centre.”

For him, “The Federal Government has succeeded in accumulating many responsibilities which belonged to the other (weaker), levels of government. The Federal Government appropriates along with these responsibilities, a huge resources to the detriment of the states and local governments.”

The policy document, which was summed up to a 5-point development agenda, also seeks to restore Nigeria’s unity through equality, social justice, and cooperation, among various people.

The document further reveals that Atiku will establish a strong and effective democratic government that will guarantee the safety and security of life and property.

The former Vice President stated that if elected as Nigeria’s President, he would build a strong and prosperous economy, creating jobs and wealth as well as lifting millions out of poverty.

The document says that at the centre of its policy, Atiku Abubakar’s government will promote a strong and true federal system.

On the economy, Atiku said his agenda was guided by three basic principles – re-affirming the criticality of private-sector leadership and greater sector participation in development; while also repositioning the public sector to focus on its core responsibility.

The presidential aspirant proposes to break government monopoly in all infrastructure sectors, including refineries, rail transportation and power transmission.

To avert persistent price distortions, according to the policy document, the current interventionist exchange rate management policy would be eliminated.

Atiku also promised to rely more on optimising the fiscal space to generate more revenues for development. He projected a fiscal regime that is stable and predictable and can clearly bridge the gap between the national revenue yield and national expenditure.

He highlighted some of the fiscal strategies his administration will employ to include domestic reforms to improve internally generated revenue (IGR), promoting export growth to improve foreign exchange earnings, blocking leakages and financing projects through strategic partnerships with the private sector.

On national security, Atiku said his government would reactivate meaningful registration at birth as a way of reducing crime rate and protecting Nigerians.

On security, the PDP flag bearer said he would rely mainly on alternative approaches to dispute resolution, as against relying only on kinetic approach to crush insurgency

He also promised to make state governments more viable as centers of development, by decentralising security institutions, promising to deal decisively with terrorism, kidnapping and other crimes.

On anti-corruption, Atiku said that the fight against corruption will be tackled headon by championing institutional reforms of the agencies and further strengthen them.

Atiku won the PDP Presidential primary on Saturday, beating his closet rival and Governor of Rivers State, Nyesom Wike, after polling 371 votes to Wike’s 137 votes.

The former presidential candidate in the policy document, declared that the election lost by the PDP in 2019 was a huge loss to the nation, considering his intention to change things for good.

Issue-based campaign

Meanwhile, Atiku has promised to run a disciplined and issue-based campaign.

In a message he sent out to some individuals’ email boxes, titled ‘Let us set forth…,’ Atiku said: “Although I am not unaware that there was so much apprehension about the direction that the election could go, I was confident that with God on our side and based on the enormous work that everyone has put into this, we should record a resounding victory. And so it was!

“But this victory is not enough. Indeed, it is a further call to duty. Now that delegates of our great party, the People’s Democratic Party have done their bit, the challenge now is on you, and I, to present as ONE to get the job done.

“Let me remind you, once again, what this job is all about, dear compatriot. The job at hand for us is to ensure that we uproot the vestiges of bad governance that the ruling All Progressives Congress represents and begin to plant our UNITY SEED that will birth the New Nigeria of our dreams.”

According to him, “Last week, I revealed an abridged version of my policy document, which contains details of my 5-point UNITY SEED agenda.

“Dear compatriot, I will take it for granted that you’ll ingrain the content of this policy document. Ours shall be a disciplined and issue-focused campaign, and I will urge you to get prepared for the task ahead, as we set forth.”

He further said that the victory at the convention was yet another chapter “in our historic journey to redeem our country.”

“It is my prayer that come this day, 29 May, next year, we shall get to work together in a government that will accommodate all Nigerians, especially the youth,” he said.

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