Presidential candidate of the Allied Congress Party of Nigeria (ACPN), Dr. ObyEzekwesili has promised to liberate 80 million Nigerians from the shackles of poverty if voted as president at the February 16th general elections. She said the nation requires immediate rescue from bad and incompetent leadership that brought massive and widespread poverty amongst the people.
The proposal came just as the presidential candidate of the Young Progressives Party (YPP), Prof. Kingsley Moghalu said reviving the Nigerian economy must start with a constitutional restructuring of the polity. Similarly, the presidential candidate of Alliance for New Nigeria (ANN), Mr. Fela Durotoye has pledged to revamp the economy by creating 30 million jobs to ensure that the teeming population of young Nigerians were gainfully employed within a short period. The three candidates spoke at the 2019 presidential debate organized by the Nigeria Election Debate Group (NEDG) and the Broadcasting Organisation of Nigeria (BON) at the weekend in Abuja. Ezekwesili said her party has a plan to lift 80 million Nigerians out of poverty and end the unfortunate stigma of Nigeria being the world capital of extreme poverty. “Our plan is to lift at least 80 million Nigerians out of poverty.
The way that we plan to do this is that when you look at Nigerians that are poor, they are poor because they earn below N700 per day. “What, therefore, needs to happen is that majority of Nigerians; over 60 per cent of them, would need to improve their productivity. When people improve their productivity, they earn more,” she stated. According to Ezekwesili, “The structure of our economy is such that service constitutes 70 per cent of it; servicing does not improve productivity. So, our purpose will be removing the barriers that are in the way of operators of this service sector. This would include removing regulatory barrier that stands in the way.” The former Education and Solid Minerals Minister declared that: “Nigeria, our dear country is in dire straits, Nigeria needs to be rescued urgently.
The trouble with our country was identified by Chinua Achebe, when he said the problem of Nigeria is simply and squarely, the failure of leadership. What we see in our country is massive failure of leadership.
“We have no business being the world’s capital of poverty. It is absolutely necessary for us to change the direction of our country because it is failure of leadership; it means that our politics has become politics of the politicians, by the politicians and for the politician,” she said. The Presidential candidate of YPP, Prof. Kingsley has said that he would fix the Nigerian economy through a constitutional restructuring of the country. Moghalu said that if elected as President on February 16 he would focus on re-establishing the political and economic foundations of the country. He said that it would not be possible to fix the economy of Nigeria without first of all fixing the politics, stressing that the economy could never grow if the country continued to be led by incompetent and visionless politicians. Moghalu noted that he would restructure the country constitutional to make all the components units economically viable and independent of the monthly sharing at Abuja. “We cannot fix the economy if we don’t fix the politics. Our economy can never grow for as long as we are led by the incompetent, visionless, recycled and old politicians that have run this country’s economy into the ground, seeking another four years of poverty for us.
“So, let’s first understand that the power to fixing Nigerian economy depends on who becomes the President in 2019. Therefore, the first order of this is to elect a president who understands how to manage the economy. My government will fix the economy by taking the following approaches: “The problem we need to solve is that we don’t have an economic philosophy. We will have to decide whether we are a capitalist country or a socialist country and if we are, what type of capitalism are we practicing? “So, I will focus on reforming the education system; ensure that our young people have the skill that can make them competitive in the 21st century and skills that can give them jobs or help them to set up their own jobs. “We will give them access to finance which my government will do,through a N1 trillion venture capital fund which will give equity capital, not loans that have to repay because loans carry interest rates in Nigeria that are too high or you may not have the collateral to be able to access loans. “So, we will invest in new businesses that will create millions of jobs over the next four years.
So, our approach is skills, capital, literacy. That’s what will fix Nigeria’s economy,” he said. In his presentation, Durotoye of ANN said he would create 30 million jobs and diversify the economy to make the non-oil sector a money-spinner for the country. Durotoye identified agriculture, housing and infrastructure as three critical sectors that his administration would focus on to create the jobs and wealth. In addition, he said his government would ensure that it fixed the power sector, roads and provide housing for Nigerians. He said the commodity boards in the agriculture sector needed to be strengthened so that farmers could have their produce promptly cleared by the government, which would be an incentive for the farmers to increase their productivity.