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Know Your Presidential Candidate (11)

Davidson Akhimien Age: 53 Years Party: Grassroots Development Party of Nigeria (GDPN)
Office: Presidency


Power is a major thrust of our programme and policy. Let me tell you how we are going to do it. We are going to see how we can decentralize it. We want to look at the geo-political zones, we want look at what is available in terms of the resources required to generate, transmit and distribute power in these geo-political zones. We can also ask states to see how we can use their resources to generate power.

Other promises tracker 
On Public Private Partnerships/labour relations: We are going to do a lot of private-public partnerships. Government cannot possibly handle everything, that’s the big mistake people make.

On Housing: We shall continue to explore programmes that will improve access to housing for low income earners and lower middle class income earners. Promote home ownership. Promote private sector participation in financing and delivery of low income housing. We shall introduce bachelor / single housing schemes to respond to and cater for the youth.

When GDPN comes to power in 2019, our approach to security will always be proactive. We have been doing reactive security, after the facts when things happened. No! That’s wrong, we need to have proactive approach to security.
I am going to address the problem of insecurities using two approaches. The first approach is to ensure there is justice and equality in the land. We are going to look at the foundational problems. There is what you call structural conflict. What are the causes of structural conflict? We want to look at them from foundational stage… Then we will now be doing the direct approach which is probably bringing in deployment of forces as the case may be.
My government will step up our intelligence operations in order to identify their cells and command structure. We are going to hit at their command structure and see how we can de-radicalise them. We will try to expose their sponsors, so we will use the double prong approach, political economy approach and intelligence approach.
In order to curb insecurity in Nigeria, talking about the long term, four issues are necessary for any government to consider – Leadership, governance, political development and value re-orientation.

Herders - farmers clashes
It is time for security agencies to begin to harmonise their operations to deal with this threat decisively. The same seriousness with which the government treated the Boko Haram saga should also be brought to bear in the case of the cattle herdsmen threats to communities in the middlebelt.
Part of what the security agencies need to do is to even go to the roots of it. How do these herdsmen come by these arms and ammunitions? Who are their sponsors? Are they locals? Are they foreigners? If they are foreigners, we begin to look at how to secure our borders more than what we are doing now.
We are going to change the infamous Sambisa forest to the agricultural hub of Nigeria. We are going to carry out ranching; the sort that Netherlands has not seen before. We are going to build economic power in that region by encouraging cattle ranching in that part and in some other parts of the north where it will be a viable business which will also contribute to the GDP and the pastoralists will be better off for it… And Sambisa that used to be anathema will now be a desired thing.

Federal Character + alleged marginalization of certain tribes 
We need proper integration of the people of Nigeria. Let’s see ourselves first as Nigerians before we see an Igbo President, Yoruba President or Hausa President. That is why I hate zoning. Zoning perpetuates our sense of lack of integration. We should be Nigerians first.
You must ensure a balance in your social programs, federal character, for example, in your appointments. That is how to be nationalistic, that is how to build cohesion and ensure integration in a pluralistic nation.
You must look at the country through a prism of true nationalism, putting Nigeria first above other interests, be they primordial, be they religious, be they ethnocentric, we must put Nigeria first, as a nation. Actions of government must be seen to be justiciable, where all constituent parts are taken care of adequately, fairly, and according to the law of the land, respect for the rule of law.

Economy + Inclusive Growth
The foundation of any strong and virile economy is the small businesses… and these small businesses, however, need adequate support by way of funding, training in technical and managerial methods and guidance.
We will facilitate development and growth of a private sector that is dynamic, outward looking, efficient and internationally competitive.
We shall continue to improve the business environment by removing any administrative, bureaucratic and regulatory impediments to business, exports and private sector development.
Increase local enterprise participation in the economy and in international markets through access to upstream and downstream opportunities afforded by major public and private sector projects.

Human capacity development is primary in our consideration for building a new nation because no matter how much investments you put into infrastructure, if you do not have an educated workforce populace to drive whatever the developmental project or infrastructures you put in place, you have not achieved anything.
We will try to see how we will revamp the entire educational sector. There is a percentage of company income tax about 2 per cent that is meant for education. The question is how are these funds applied? Are they applied to education where they are supposed to be or they are diverted?
We are going to try to build more schools, improve the level of instructions, if it means hiring instructors from overseas as used to be the case when we were growing up, we will do so because we must turn the educational sector around that’s the foundation of any meaningful development in a nation.
We will look at our educational curriculum at all levels, we are going to refocus on the requirement of modern day Nigerian society. We are going to be paying attention to SET (Science Engineering and Technology).
A GDPN government will identify critical areas of our economy where we lack expertise and provide scholarships and fellowships to our citizens to acquire relevant skills.

The Highest Common Factor in Nigeria is corruption. And that is why I gave the president a tap in the hand for the fight against corruption. It should be sustained. However, it should go beyond that. Our society needs real moral re-engineering because these political leaders emerge from this society, so we need to do a clean sweep to do a retrospection for us as Nigerians. It is not only politicians that are involved in corruption. Even in the civil service there is corruption. In the institutions there is mass corruption.
For my party, the fight against corruption will be holistic. Corruption of the mind leads to the corruption of the outside. We need a moral revolution in our country.

State Police 
State police is definitely one way to be able to fight a lot of criminal activities and the reasons are there: the natives, the geographical terrain is known to the police officers, families of the police officers and even the criminals are probably known to the traditional leadership of those geographical areas.
The only fear is that state police should not be used by governors to... so that they don’t metamorphose into a militia, given our very weak national fabric, in terms of cohesion that I was talking about. And then some states are not even able to pay salaries of their workers. When you now leave armed men without salaries, it’s more dangerous.

Restructuring is a recent clamour which has come as a result of perceived injustice in the allocation of resources, impact of the centre on constituent units, operationalisation of certain government policies and security. Where certain aspects of restructuring will advance governance and the welfare of citizens, I am very much in support of it. But where some aspects of restructuring will be counterproductive and undermine the territorial integrity and national cohesion of the nation state called Nigeria, I will not be in support of it…
I think in the final analysis that decision will rest for the people when our government comes into power.
I look at Nigeria from the point of view of the need for complete restructuring of the country because if the truth be told, Nigeria needs restructuring at all levels. Look at our institutions, they need to be strengthened.

Job Creation 
Government cannot possibly create jobs that will take care of all the unemployed in society. From the point of view of economics, it is not the responsibility of government to create jobs. The responsibility of government is to create the enabling environment for the private sector to be able to create jobs. So in a situation where companies in the manufacturing and other sectors are crying for the high cost of doing business, a situation where retrenchment and downsizing are taking place as a result of the poor performance of the economy, a situation where companies are leaving the shores of this land because of lack of infrastructure for their companies to be able to at least break even… many people will lose their jobs.

My administration will provide access to cheap drugs, cheaper access to medical aid and encourage traditional medicine.
Invest in the provision of health facilities with the necessary human resources in all parts of the country.
We shall develop medical schools which shall become centres of excellence for the region and beyond and produce health personnel and research of the highest quality.
Welcome and encourage private sector participation in the health sector.
Develop strategies for the retention of highly trained medical personnel.

Women and Youth inclusion in governance
We are gender sensitive in our party and we have 40 percent affirmative action for women, 35 percent for youth, 10 percent for the handicap. It is an all inclusive party arrangement. We will bring the same to bear also when we come into government because we believe that we should give the women their rightful place in society.


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