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Know Your Presidential Candidate (6)

Atiku Abubakar Age: 72 Years  Party: Peoples Democratic Party (PDP)
Office: Presidency


Debt Profile 
Why are we saddled with a heavy and almost unsustainable debt burden twelve years after President Obasanjo and I provided the leadership that paid off Nigeria’s entire foreign debt of $32 billion in one fell swoop?
The Debt Management Office must be given more independence than it already has. The head of the DMO must be a person with proven ability to say no to powerful persons otherwise the states will keep on borrowing at an unsustainable rate as we see in today’s Nigeria.
Loans from China have fewer conditionalities than loans from the West. When you have less conditionality, there is the tendency that the money you borrow is likely to be misapplied, misused, and misappropriated.

Ensure that at least 15% annual budget for healthcare is not just an aspiration but a target that must be surpassed.
Work with states to advance and motivate a realistic primary health care service delivery plan that ensures at least 65% of Nigerians have access to a defined basic Primary Health Care and services package by 2024, rising to at least 80% coverage by 2030.
By 2024, scale up national health insurance coverage and financial protection schemes to reduce by 40% the number of Nigerians who are impoverished due to out-of-pocket health care expenses.
Engage the private sector to develop at least two world-class, multi-specialty tertiary centres of excellence in the country in Lagos and Abuja… and creating a regional medical hub for medical tourists.
Provide tax breaks for private sector medical alliances-based insurance schemes.
Introduce strategies to stimulate the local production of vaccines and generic drugs to ensure a sustainable supply of essential, life-saving medicines.
Reverse the poor ratio of 1 doctor to 6000 patients by improving the Residency Programmes.

Economy + Inclusive Growth 
We will introduce matching grants of up to $250m per state to states that have succeeded in increasing their internally generated revenues in order to encourage them to become self-reliant.
The FG will create a business-friendly macro-economic environment... to leverage private sector investments… to promote economic diversification. Let us begin to visualize Nigeria without oil or one not predominantly dependent on hydrocarbon.
Our economic policies will be coherent, consistent and therefore more predictable by the business community.
There should be enhanced, diversified economic activities and productivity in order to enlarge the tax base. If the bulk of the revenues of our FG and states are dependent on the level of economic activities in the country, would we be shutting down the country or a state on election days, on census days and during environmental clean-up?
I will float the naira because it will bring about a more stable exchange rate. Therefore, foreign investors are more likely to return to Nigeria and invest as much as possible.

Biafra Agitations 
When you restructure this country and give more resources to empower the component units, you will not have the problem of IPOB. IPOB is looking for self-determination and when you devolve more powers and resources, that is self-determination.

Herders - farmers clashes 
Over a number of years, Tiv and Fulanis have coexisted. I believe that what is happening of recent can be attributed to sponsored misunderstanding between Tivs and Fulani herdsmen…
In each province in the north, we used to have grazing reserves… These grazing reserves have been abandoned over the years.
We need to give local leaders the power to resolve disputes between farmers and grazers.

Women and Youth inclusion in governance 
I pledge to give youths 40% of appointments in my cabinet.
Provide microfinance and financing schemes specifically targeted at the youth and women.
Create a special tribunal for crimes against women including domestic violence, physical or sexual abuse, rape.
Increase women representation and retention rates in government and business, through positive action such as quotas for women on politics and corporate boards.
Actively encourage the passage of the gender equality bill in an acceptable form.

Federal Character + alleged marginalization of certain tribes
Much of our conflicts over distribution are driven by scarcity. When our economy starts creating so many jobs… employers will pay less attention to the place of origin of the applicant. The willingness and ability to do the job will become paramount. When we have enough university spaces that our universities compete for students to fill those spaces, they will pay little attention to place of origin of the prospective students.
Our distributive system needs to be fairer and seen to be so... If we promote merit even in the context of federal character (best from each area) conflicts will reduce.
We should put an end to the indigene-settler dichotomy. A modern united Nigerian society can only be built on the basis of common citizenship for all based on residency in a state or locality rather than the local government or ethnic group one is born into. Nigerians should be free to live, study and work anywhere in the country as long as they are law-abiding.

State Police 
● There should be state police to augment the federal police. State police would not be mandatory for every state. Those states which, for whatever reason, prefer federal police would work out arrangements with the federal police on cost-sharing and other matters related to policing their jurisdictions.
● I have heard critics who say our governors will abuse state police. I reply that the fear that someone might abuse state police is not the reason not to do what we know we need badly. Societies improve not by avoiding doing the right thing but by constantly challenging wrongdoing, especially by officials and those in powerful positions.

I will commercialise the Police Special Protection Unit which guard VIPs and the private sector. Those VIPs and the private sector will have to pay for their services. From the money realised, we will recruit additional 150,000 policemen... thereby creating jobs by securing the nation.
I know that the Nigerian Police as a disciplined and well-organized force will take action to address this [SARS] issue. It will go a long way to improving Nigeria’s rating in the global ranking of Police Forces next year because this year, they were wrongfully ranked as the worst.
We will enlarge and properly equip, train and remunerate the police force.
Establish a unified, centralized and coordinated Vital Registration and Security database, where necessary personal data of all residents are stored for national security, economic planning and developmental purposes.
Move the Niger Delta Ministry to the region to make it closer to the stakeholders; addressing the continued lack of infrastructure and social services in the regions.
Tackle the issue of non-cooperation and coordination among security agencies using cutting-edge technologies to minimize duplication of efforts, guard against mishandling of information, while enhancing information sharing.

We shall issue licences to enable the private sector invest in mini-grid capabilities...
Our electricity generation plan shall be diversified to include clean energy (hydro, solar and nuclear) in addition to natural gas.
We shall consider concessioning segments of the national grid under some form of PPP over a period of time.
Our investment commitment shall exceed US$5bn annually to ensure that all generation plants operate at capacity and their output effectively transmitted and distributed ahead of adding additional generation capacity.
Within the first year of our administration, we shall consider acquiring excess capacity from Eastern Europe/other such areas... and undertake tariff adjustments to make it viable for operators/government to make the new investment in the industry.
Our administration will consider creative solutions towards addressing the huge debt overhang and liquidity challenge in the power industry. Part of the solution would be for NERC to recognize debts arising from lack of cost reflective tariff, high ATC&C loss regime, regulatory failure etc. in the short to medium term as industry burden. Government will take responsibility for this burden… by issuing a Regulatory Asset Instrument (RAI) to the Distribution Companies. The RAI comes with sovereign guarantee making it a tradable financial instrument which could be used for market settlement or discounted with financial institutions to release the much-needed liquidity to the sector...

Job Creation 
We shall aim at attracting a minimum of $250m of private sector funding for an SME Venture Capital Fund to provide longer-term capital for targeted MSMEs so they can employ more hands.
Target creation of up to 3 million self-and wage-paying employment opportunities in the private sector annually, across all the economic sectors.
Relaunch the National Open Apprenticeship Programme (NOAP) with special focus on youth who may not have had the opportunity to attend school or complete basic education. This programme will recruit, annually, 100,000 Master Craft Persons (MCPs) who will train one million apprentices in various trades.
We will work towards speedy passage of the National Research and Innovation Fund Bill, in order to facilitate the provision of stable and sustainable long-term support (grants, loans, equity investment) to at least 100,000 aspiring entrepreneurs annually in building solid business models in the new economy -- especially in ICT and the green economy.
Prioritizing expansion of Technical, Vocational Education and Training (TVET) for the training of low-level workforce, such as operatives, artisans, craftsmen and master craftsmen for commerce, industry, agriculture, and ancillary services. Increase absorptive capacity of the formal post-basic TVET and Vocational Centres from the current total enrolment and completion of less than 200,000 students to 500,000 in 2025 and 1,000,000 by 2030.
Actively promote “Nollywood” to make it the 3rd largest film industry in the world.

If elected Nigeria’s president, my administration will not spare anybody. When I was in power, none of my relatives or friends was found wanting.
Within my first 100 days, I will take steps to ensure that critical legislations relating to whistle blower, witness protection, electronic evidence, cybercrime, and assets forfeiture are expeditiously passed.
Set up Major Corruption Case Monitoring & Review Committee for all major corruption cases under the Office of the Honourable Attorney General and Minister of Justice that would include NGOs, CSOs and Media as observers to ensure that arbitrary or selective investigation and prosecution of major corruption cases is permanently eliminated within the first 100 days in office.
Create special tribunals to try corruption cases sent to it by the relevant anti-corruption agency of the Government.
Grant all the anti-corruption agencies financial independence to ensure their autonomy.
Ensure that there is a separation of the Office of the Attorney- General for the Federation and Minister of Justice.
Deploy a single window revenue and expenditure management system that provides a transparent and accountable revenue earnings across all federal government ministries, departments and agencies (MDAs).

Other promises tracker 
● On Serving For Only One Term: If I am elected as the President in 2019, I give an undertaking that I would only do one term.
● On Electoral Reforms: Transfer the power to appoint the INEC chairman from the President to the National Judicial Council; fund INEC from the first line charge in the Consolidated Revenue Fund. I have also been arguing that the declared winner of an election should not be allowed to assume office until all legal challenges to that election have been resolved.
● On Keeping It In Nigeria: Our elite are treated in Europe. Big Brother Naija is being broadcast from South Africa and Nike is unveiling our FIFA World Cup Jersey in London. Is this the extent to which we have outsourced Nigeria? As far as I am concerned, if it concerns Nigeria, it must be done in Nigeria, not abroad. Not abroad.

● My vision of Restructuring will not make some states richer and others poorer… it will not reduce the share of our nation's oil revenues that any state currently enjoys.
● Much of the Exclusive Legislative List need to be moved to the concurrent List. We don’t need federal roads, federal hospitals, and federal schools. They should be transferred to states along with funds expended on them.
● Local governments are not federating units. States should have power to create as many as they wish or to not create any.
● States should be required to generate a specified percentage of their share of federal allocations internally or be absolved into another state. Or we may use the existing geopolitical zones as federating units rather than the current states.
● States and localities should have autonomy to determine their development priorities and wage structures. There is no reason for the governor of Akwa Ibom to earn the same salary as the Governor of Benue or for a teacher in Orlu to earn the same salary as the one in Abuja or Port Harcourt. The costs of living and revenue generating capacities vary widely across the country.
● Local Governments shall remain as independent tier of government. Grassroots development requires the recognition of the Local Governments as independent structures of government not as appendages to the office of the State Governor.
● Nigeria's common resources will be shared equitably in accordance with a new revenue allocation formula to be negotiated across the board especially through the National Assembly.

● I will ensure that a minimum of 21% of the federal budget goes to education and reserve 10% of that amount to further and continuous education for public-school teachers.
● I will make education compul­sory – if you don’t send your child to school, you’ll be punished.
● Transfer FG colleges/unity schools and tertiary education provided through universities, polytechnics, mono-technics, and Colleges of Education (CoEs) to state governments. FG shall only own and develop one university in each geo-political zone as Centres of Excellence.
● All NYSC members would have only three options on where to serve - teach, farm or treat people in a hospital or clinic.
● I will ensure that the education sector attracts the best brains by working with the states to achieve targeted salary increase for teachers/lecturers. You cannot have a local government councilor earning more than a lecturer and expect our best brains to be attracted to the academia.
● All Nigerian schools must be WiFi-equipped at FG expense.
● Increase primary school enrolment from 60% to 90% and the graduation rate from 63% to 82% by 2027; increase secondary school enrolment from 47% to 80% and the graduation rate from 56% to 75% by 2027.

NNPC reforms + Removal of subsidy 
● For 27 years I have been a proponent of privatisation. If you privatise all the enterprises that government unnecessarily controls such as the NNPC... you will reduce the mad scramble for control of federal power and patronage positions in those organizations… Privatisation and liberalisation create wealth and opportunity with little regard to where you come from.
● Privatize State Owned Enterprises including all four government-owned refineries.
● Implement the Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB) to create a functional, fair and transparent upstream and downstream oil and gas market.
● Partial privatization of the NNPC to ensure transparency and accountability.
● Ensure that Nigeria starts to refine 50% of its current crude oil output of 2 million bpd by 2025.

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