Time ticks without a pause. Forty-five months ago saw the incumbent president Goodluck Ebele Jonathan of Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) concede defeat from the opposition party, All Progressive Congress’ (APC) presidential candidate Major General Muhammadu Buhari.
Today, over thirty presidential candidates from more than fifty political parties have been acknowledged by INEC but again, APC and PDP have the cameras keenly fixed on them as again, the parties produce the major contenders in new brands.
All Progressive Congress orchestrates ‘Next Level’ with a detailed twelve agenda alongside the utilitarian promise of working for the greatest number.
The twelve agenda echo Job opportunities in the agriculture sector, tech and creative sector, industrialization and school feeding.
The Next Level promises Nigerians the completion of rails, roads and bridges under the segment of infrastructure with an assurance of broadband. The incumbent administration intends to meet up with the fast growing world of technology through Gig economy,tech startup policy, grants, loans and equity to encourage tech startup.
Power circulation is not omitted for the next level will work towards a generation incremental power, power distribution expansion, and off-grid of power.
President Muhammadu Buhari in his chart made provision for more financial structures which he called People Moni Bank and Entrepreneur Bank to encourage startup enterprises as he unfolds business friendly policies. He assured change in the education sector with emphasis on Science Technology Engineering Arts and Mathematics (STEAM) and to also retrain all teachers in the public primary and secondary Schools.
Nigeria has in recent times been tortured by insecurities under the administration of the incumbent president Muhammadu Buhari, however, he revealed in his manifesto his strategy to handle the security issues via decentralising funding of police operations and foster true community policing by implementing direct transfer of funding to police divisions all across come 2019.
Committed to the anticorruption battle, the fight against corruption has not lost it’s place in the APC’S manifesto as they hope to eliminate the scope of systemic corruption and emphasize technology enabled e-governance.
Perhaps heeding Emmanuel Marcon’s advice to African leaders encouraged the idea of to include youths in Nigerian government accompanied by special mentoring programme in governance with young graduates working with ministers and other senior government appointees, promising to achieve thirty-five percent female appointments.
Interestingly, Atiku Abubukar the presidential candidate of the opposition party, Peoples Democratic Party launched ‘TheAtikuplan’ through the social media platform Facebook, on 19 November 2018. The ex-president declared his intention to get the country working again posing the question “Are you better off than you were four years ago? Are we richer or poorer?” to Nigerians.
Reminding expectant Nigerians of the Olusegun Obasanjo’s administration which he was the vice president plus his acclaimed understanding of the observations of the International Monetary Fund, Atiku assured Nigerians of a policy that will give Nigerian workers a living wage, a plan that will give Nigeria’s youth a world-class education and invest in the failing infrastructure.
The PDP’s presidential candidate stated that his blueprint will empower Nigerian women, reduce maternal mortality and increase their financial stability and has at the center of the health plan proper care of the elderly to relieve from Nigerians the fear of growing old and retiring.
TheAtikuplan unveiled the idea of being proactive in attracting investments and supporting the 50 million small and medium scale enterprises across Nigeria for the purpose of doubling the size of the country’s Gross Domestic Product to US$900 billion by 2025, certain that these investments will create a minimum of 2.5 million jobs annually and lift at least 50 million people from poverty in the first 2 years if elected president by 2019. In clear terms, he assured that this policy will also help create jobs by innovating flagship programmes such as the National Open Apprenticeship Programme through which his team will enhance the capacity of Master-Craftsmen and women to train 1,000,000 new apprentices every year, adding that the National Innovation Fund and SME Venture Capital Fund initiatives will provide stable and sustainable long-term support for aspiring entrepreneurs.
Atiku Abubakar explained that his goal to restructure Nigeria will lead to a vast increase in the Internally Generated Revenue both for the Federal Government and the states through the matching grants that will be provided for state governments to increase their own revenue, he further said that no state will receive less funding than they in recent times and that all will receive more and the harder a state works the more they will get.
Summing it up, the ex-vice president urged Nigerians to own TheAtikuplan as he works with his team to provide an avenue for feedback from Nigerians. He expressed his gratitude to Nigeria for being his fertile ground, adding that he owes Nigeria for being good to him and he called it his duty to see that Nigeria works for fellow Nigerians as he appealed to Nigerians to join him through the journey of a better life for all Nigerians.
Democracy has given power to the people and on February 16, 2019 Nigerians will decide to either join APC to the Next Level or sojourn through TheAtikuplan with PDP, until then our fingers remain crossed while we observe what the campaign bring us.