Former Nigeria’s Vice President, Atiku Abubakar has revealed how he intends to improve certain sectors of the country if elected as president in the 2019 Presidential election.
Atiku, who is seeking the presidential ticket on the platform of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Nigeria’s main opposition party, addressed security, power and the economy in an interaction on the micro-blogging site, Twitter.
A user, @Gabanumedia, asked Atiku: “Dear Atiku Abubakar, I am certain you know the troubles with Nigeria. Please, is it possible you tell us how you intend to fix electricity problem of our country. With emphasis on ‘HOW.’
“Can you generate 100,000 megawatts? If yes, HOW?
“2. How do you intend to halt security challenges in northern Nigeria?
“3. How do you intend to create jobs for our citizens?
“4. How do you intend to make our currency more valuable than it is today?
“We know the problems we face, it is easy to say I will do this and that. No politician ever told us, how they will go about proffering solutions to these problems.
“If you can tell us how, that will help us know you are prepared and know what you are doing. We will evaluate your HOW to see if it’s achievable, measurable and time-bound.
“We shall massively support, campaign for you, having in mind that it would be easy to sell your candidacy to Nigerians who have lost hope in our leaders.
“If you don’t have this *HOW* in mind, then you are not different from the rest.
“Have a good day sir.”
The former Vice President replied thus: “Dear Gubanu,
- We shall increase power generation by ensuring full participation of private sector. We shall issue licences to enable the private sector invest in mini-grid capabilities to service local communities or local govts, states, regions or target industrial clusters.
“b. Our electricity generation plan shall be diversified to include clean energy (hydro, solar and nuclear) in addition to natural gas. As you may be aware, the transmission infrastructure of the power sector is ageing and in dire need of investment.
“c. We shall provide incentives – including tax breaks to the private sector to invest in the development of multiple green field mini-grid transmission systems.
“d. In the mean time, we shall consider concessioning to private sector segments of the national grid under some form of PPP over a period of time.
“2. On security, we must understand the root causes of the security challenges in the North. The full economic potentials of the region remains undeveloped resulting in high rates of youth unemployment, high levels of poverty and deprivation and income inequality.
“b. Access to education is more restricted, resulting in more out of school children in the North than anywhere else in Nigeria. Unless these issues are tackled, youth restiveness, sectarian violence and other acts of insurgency and terrorism shall continue to bedevil the region.
“c. My first critical policy priority therefore is to support the northern states in rebuilding their economies and opening up economic opportunities for their citizens. This will reduce frustration and alienation and minimize grievances.
“d. We shall same time undertake a comprehensive review of our security architecture & enhance its preparedness to meet challenges. As part of the review we shall commence the gradual process of instituting state police & community policing in line with principle of restructuring.
“3. On jobs, as long as growth of the economy is driven by the oil sector, job creation is bound to suffer. To tackle the job and poverty challenges bedevilling the economy, we shall focus on four areas.
“b. First, we shall stimulate the growth of those economic sectors which are considered the domain of the poor – i.e Agriculture and Micro & Small Enterprises.
“c. For the MSE sector, we shall set up a Venture Capital Fund to enhance their access to finance and hence their ability to grow and employ more hands.
“d. Second, we shall set up a National Innovation Fund to support budding entrepreneurs, especially young men and women with brilliant ideas.
“e. Thirdly, we shall promote a Special Apprenticeship Programme that will support training of up to 1,000,000 youth (including the NYSC) each year in diverse fields, by local master crafts persons. While they undergo the training, we shall match them with potential employers.
“f. Fourth area of focus is the aggressive promotion of Nigeria as Africa’s leading business process outsourcing destination with potential to create two million direct and indirect jobs.
“g. Our goal is to ensure that Nigeria fully explores the vast opportunities that abound in the global market for IT and IT-enabled services to create quality jobs for our youth.
“h. Also, to lift our people out of poverty, we shall improve their access to basic services including education, health, electricity and water – by making these services not only available but affordable.
“4. On currency, the only way the Naira will be more valuable is to apply a diversified structure for our economy. This way, our economy will become more productive. We are committed to revamping the non-oil sector through increased private sector investments.
“b. We shall diversify our export base by providing export expansion incentives to manufacturers. Increasing our exports means increased foreign exchange earnings and stronger currency.”