…We’ll Provide Hope, Progress, Prosperity to Everyone, build a Stable, Harmonious Nigeria Steeped in her neighbourhood campaigns around the country to engage the citizenry, Presidential Candidate of the Allied Congress Party of Nigeria (ACPN), Dr Obiageli Ezekwesili, 55 has reeled out her policy thrust, dangling a new deal that will lift 80 million Nigerians out
…We’ll Provide Hope, Progress, Prosperity to Everyone, build a Stable, Harmonious Nigeria
Steeped in her neighbourhood campaigns around the country to engage the citizenry, Presidential Candidate of the Allied Congress Party of Nigeria (ACPN), Dr Obiageli Ezekwesili, 55 has reeled out her policy thrust, dangling a new deal that will lift 80 million Nigerians out of poverty.
Titled “From Poverty Central to Prosperity: How Obiageli Ezekwesili Presidency Will Lift 80 Million Nigerians Out of Poverty,” the 7,979 word document is hinged on “a dream of an inclusive and prosperous country where there is equality of opportunity for all”. With a largely neo-liberal policy slant, she believes that the private sector and a market driven economy is crucial to stimulating the engine of growth and development in the world’s largest Black Country.
To those who think she lacks neither the financial war chest nor the organisational machinery to prosecute a successful presidential campaign, she appears undaunted. “A vote for Oby Ezekwesili is a vote for good governance, I am the candidate to beat in the 2019 election because I am the candidate with the requisite attributes that can transform Nigeria,” the former Education Minister told residents of Onitsha, Anambra state during a street campaign tagged “Walk of Women”.
Her manifesto is quite huge on the interests of women and the youth. “Concerning the women folk and the young people; this is my focus. Our young people can rule the world with their knowledge, innovation and their creativity. So, they are huge in that manifesto,” said Ezekwesili, a co founder of the global anti-corruption watchdog, Transparency International, in a radio programme in Calabar, Cross River state at the weekend
“We would lift 80 million Nigerians out of poverty. My plan proposes a better future for Nigerians. It is a blueprint of possibilities and a pledge to Nigerians of what an ACPN government can achieve. Our program will provide hope, progress and prosperity for everyone. We will be radical but responsible. We will think big while living within our means. The overriding vision of an ACPN presidency shall be to build a new Nigeria that is prosperous, stable and harmonious.”
“We will measure our economic success as a government, not by the number of private jets parked at our airports, but by the number of Nigerians we lift out of poverty who go on to live richer lives.”
A former World Bank vice president in charge of Africa, Ezekwesili, who’s piqued with many analysts who have narrowed down the presidential contest to a two horse race between the candidate of the All Progressive Congress (APC), President Muhammadu Buhari and that of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP), Mr Atiku Abubakar wants the people to get out of the APCPDP prism, saying she’s the real candidate to beat.
Although she served as minister manning two portfolios at different times under a PDP government, “APCPDP” is just a derisive way of referring to the two leading parties as two faces of the same coin.
“The Nigeria we would start building from 2019 would not trudge into the future with uncertainty like chickens when we have all it takes to soar with confidence like eagles. I want to reignite belief in Nigeria’s greatness by leading a government that would make clear promises to citizens and deliver on them, not like the current leadership which spent its first year in office denying all the promises it made to get into that office,” she says.
“My mission is not just to change this APCPDP government, but more than that, we must disrupt the politics and governance of the status quo and quickly chart a new course for the future of our country. We have enough young people, many progressive men and women, who are signing up with our citizens’ party, ACPN, to unleash the principles of disruptive technologies to our politics for good,” says Ezekwesili, also a former Minister of Solid Minerals.
“For a nation of our size and our potentials,” according to Ezekwesili, “our low real Gross Domestic Product of $375.77 billion after 58 years of independence is terribly underwhelming.” “Unlike China which grew in double digits over almost three decades to become a $14 trillion GDP economy, Nigeria’s growth has been trapped in cycles of boom and bust in the classic evidence of oil price volatility and effects of Dutch Disease.”
“We need a bold economic vision to define a pathway of double-digit inclusive economic growth over the next decade. That is exactly what an ACPN administration will ensure.”
Also popularly referred to as “Madam Due Process” because of her sterling performance as head of the Public Procurement Office, Ezekwesili says the country is bogged down by what she calls “seven monstrous challenges,” adding that “To solve each of them would need bold, visionary leadership and hard work from an intelligent government”. This obviously is underscored by neo-liberal economic policies.
“A strong belief in the dominant economic role of the private sector and a commitment of our government to launch vigorous market economy reforms. Through policy, effective regulation and catalytic public investment in the provision of basic services for people and businesses, we will accelerate and expand the sources of growth in the economy.”
“A massive program of deregulation of the Nigerian economy to unleash the depth of competition and efficiencies necessary for higher and deeper economic growth and expansion of the economy. The division and rebalancing of roles between business and government will reduce opportunities of corruption and bottlenecks that limit the competitiveness of the Nigerian economy.”
“A commitment to pursuing growth that is inclusive which is a necessity for lifting the poor to an improved state of well-being. Research has shown us that the poor are uplifted faster in a market economy cushioned by relevant safety nets.”
“A dedication to improving the Productivity and Competitiveness of Nigeria and Nigerians in every sector of economic activity by removing barriers and providing a menu of sound policy measures.”
“A deliberateness in easing the Doing Business environment not just for major businesses in Nigeria but for Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises, which are the lifeblood of our economy,” Ezekwesili, a co coordinator of the Bring Back Our Girls Movement which spearheaded the campaign for the freedom of the students of Government Girls Secondary School, Chibok, Bornu state taken hostage by the terrorist Islamic group, Boko Haram.
She warns: “Extreme poverty in Nigeria is increasing by nearly 6 people every minute. In the time it will take me to deliver my speech today, about 250 Nigerians would have become extremely poor. Think about that for a second. But that is not even the worst part.”
“According to the World Poverty Clock, if the current trends continue – or to put it another way, if we continue to elect this poverty-bringing APCPDP leadership, the number of people living in extreme poverty in Nigeria would increase from about 88 million today to 120 million in 2030. That means that in the next 12 years, over 30 million more Nigerians will join the infamous number of extremely poor people who live on less than N700 per day.”
No doubt, Ezekwesili who had a stint working with renowned Professor Jeffrey Sachs at the Centre for International Development at Harvard University comes across with intimidating credentials both from the public and private sectors. With a Masters in International Law and Diplomacy from the University of Lagos and Masters in Public Administration from the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard, Ezekwesili, a Chartered Accountant who trained with the firm of Delloite and Touche has proved her mettle as possessing the skills to lead Africa’s most populous country.
Throwing the gauntlet, Ezekwesili, a former Chairperson of the Nigeria Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (NEITI) is calling out the other candidates in the 2019 elections “to not retreat into hiding this time” but to “come out and let us have a debate on our plans for the future of this great country and let the people decide for themselves.”