The Presidential Candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, has said that the future of Nigeria should not be handed over to a greenhorn or leaders of a political party that brought the country to this sorry state.
Atiku, who was at the Nigeria Economic Summit Group, NESG, Presidential Dialogue on the Economy, at the Summit House in Lagos on Monday, insisted that many of Nigeria’s current challenges are connected to poor economic performance of the present government.
He said: “It is critical, therefore, that we get the economy right. I have been a private business man for a long time and have also been a public servant at the highest level of decision-making and implementation. Thus, I feel comfortable among captains of industry and public sector economists and practitioners.
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And I am uniquely positioned to understand the economic challenges facing the country and what we must do to get our economy growing, provide jobs, incomes and wealth for our people and thereby reduce hunger, unemployment and related social problems, including insecurity.
“When we create economic opportunities for our people it will have a significant positive impact on social cohesion and national security. Increased jobs and income opportunities will reduce the likelihood of our youth being involved in crime, violence and conflict motivated by the manipulation of religious or ethnic differences.”
He said Nigeria is in transition, and hoped that the All Progressives Congress, APC, would leave the stage and the PDP would take over in May with the support and goodwill, of Nigerians, cautioning: “You have a responsibility to take stock of the assets (if there are any) and liabilities (which will be massive) of the APC administration.
“You also have a solemn responsibility to interrogate those who aspire to govern this country. You must assess their understanding of the environment, their policy priorities, and their strategies for dealing with a plethora of local and national issues.
He continued: “My government will tackle the deficit in infrastructure financing head-on. We will establish an ‘Infrastructure Development Unit’ in the Presidency, with a coordinating function and a specific mandate of working with the MDAs to fast track and drive the process of infrastructure development in the country.
“As a short-term measure to ensure enhanced power supply I shall, within the first year of the new administration, initiate and implement an emergency power programme (EPPs) that can deliver additional capacity in certain key areas.
Over the medium term, I will propose legislation for the removal of the entire electricity value chain from the exclusive list and give states the power to generate, transmit and distribute electricity for themselves.
It is counter-productive and injurious to let an industrial dispute with the Federal Government in Abuja to affect an industry in Lagos or a factory in Aba or Kano or even an average Nigerian who simply desires to get home, watch the news and sleep under a ceiling fan”.