President Muhammadu Buhari at the unveiling of his campaign plans for the 2019 general elections promised to sustain his administration’s progressive strides and vowed to take the country to the ‘Next Level’ claiming it has succeeded in revamping the economy from the 16 years of waste under the PDP. Patrick Andrew captures the perspective.
The President at a well attended launch stated: “The next four years will be quite significant for our country. Nigeria is faced with a choice to keep building a new Nigeria — making a break from its tainted past which favoured an opportunistic few.
“Our choices will shape us, our economic security and our future prosperity. Nigeria, more than ever before, needs a stable and people-focussed government to move the agenda for our country forward. Join us on this journey to the Next Level of a prosperous, strong and stable Nigeria!
“Four years ago, we promised Nigerians real change in what we do and how we do it. Nigerians sent a clear message in the last election and our platform offered a new ambitious plan for a secure, prosperous and corruption-free country.
We have worked hard to fulfil our promises and while the road may have been difficult, over the last three and half years, we have laid the foundations for a strong, stable and prosperous country for the majority of our people.
“Foundational work is not often visible, neither is it glamorous but it is vital to achieving the kind of country we desire. Judging by the prior depth of decay, deterioration and despair that Nigeria had sunken into, we are certain that these past few years have put us in good stead to trudge on the Next Level of building an even and stronger nation for our people.
“First things had to come first. We were a nation at war — but we delivered on our commitment to secure the territorial integrity of our nation in the face of a raging insurgency that devastated many parts of the North-East.
“We liberated 17 local government areas from the grip of insurgency. Brokering and sustaining peace in the Niger Delta has also been crucial to stabilising the polity. Despite the difficult circumstances presented by weak oil prices and reduced oil production, we delivered on our commitment to make public investments to spur economic growth, job creation, and broad based prosperity.
“Agriculture continues to expand our economic base, as do our investments in deficient infrastructure across the length and breadth of this nation. “We implemented a responsible and transparent fiscal plan for the challenging economic times that we faced.
“The next level of effort focuses on job creation across sectors. From an enlargement of the N-Power programme to investing in technology and creative sector jobs to agriculture and revolutionising access to credit for entrepreneurs and artisans, there is scope for over 15 million new jobs.
“We believe that our people who are still in poverty have a direct way out and up through our expanded National Social Investment Programme.
“We know that, to succeed, moral integrity and conscience must continue to form the dominant character of our nation and its leadership. Corruption is an existential threat to Nigeria.
“I am not unmindful of the fact that presidential and National Assembly campaigns start today. I implore candidates to go about peacefully and decently. We have no other country, let us not set it ablaze.”
Away with it, Nigeria needs a new beginning- Atiku
Hours following the launch of President Muhammadu Buhari’s campaign plans tagged the “Next Level”, the Atiku Campaign Organisation dismissed Buhari’s 2019 agenda stating it’s ‘more of the same’ wrap policy and programmes. Patrick Andrew brings excerpts:
The Organisation in a statement said:
“Reading through the presentation, we note that it is very vague on policy and very big on promises. Promises are cheap.
“Anyone can make promises and indeed, President Muhammadu Buhari and the All Progressives Congress did make quite a number of promises which they either denied or did not fulfil, such as the promise to create three million jobs per annum and to equalise the value of the Naira with the dollar.
“However, policies are the plans and road-maps that will be used to achieve those promises. Promises made without policies are like a house without a foundation, they will fall, and we have seen proof of that in Nigeria in the last three years.
“Without a concrete policy, these ‘next level’ promises are nothing more than next level propaganda. We counsel the Buhari campaign that the time for propaganda has gone and Nigerians are now interested in proper agenda.
“In fact, the feedback we have received from Nigerians is one of alarm. Over the last three and a half years of the Buhari administration, Nigeria was officially named as the world headquarters for extreme poverty. Nigerians are asking if this administration is planning ‘next level’ poverty for them?
“Under this government, 11 million Nigerians have lost their jobs and the administration is so panicky that it has refused to fund the National Bureau of Statistics to release the latest unemployment numbers. Nigerians are asking if this administration is planning ‘next level’ unemployment for them?
“Under Buhari, the value of the Naira has been so devalued that Bloomberg rated the Naira as the worst performing currency on earth. The nation wants to know if this government plans ‘next level’ devaluation of the Naira for them?
“In 2018, Transparency International announced that Nigeria made her worst ever retrogression in the Corruption Perception Index moving 12 steps backwards from 136 under the Peoples Democratic Party to 144 under Buhari. Nigerians are asking if this administration is planning ‘next level’ corruption for them?
“The so-called ‘next level’ launch was an anti-climax in that it just exposed the fact that all that the Buhari government is promising Nigerians is more of the same. If the state of the average Nigerian has not improved in the last three and a half years, more of the same is obviously not what they need.
“We, therefore, urge Nigerians not to lose hope, but to await the launch of the policies, plans and programmes of former Vice President Atiku Abubakar to Get Nigeria Working Again. Remember those who fail to plan, plan to fail. Atiku has a plan. Atiku means jobs”.