The frequent criticism of the Presidency by almost all Presidential aspirants for the 2019 election is not without some exceptions, however little. A few Aspirants stand out in their attempt to call for the campaign to be issues-based, rather than finger pointing which often distracts from proffering a better and practical solution.
The state of the economy, general security concerns and lack of infrastructure, are usual talking points, but it is a widely held belief that Aspirants fall short of saying in specific terms what they will do differently.
The founder of Sahara Reporters, Omoyele Sowore has promised that through series of rallies and town hall meetings, he would lead a movement to change power in 2019. Sowore laid out the SPICER policy, which covers Security, Power, Infrastructure, Economy, and Restructuring to raise the status of the Country.
‘It is over for the old people, it is over for the cabals, it is over for the mafias that have been running Nigeria down. That is what I am here to do and this is going to go on till 2019 and there is no going back’.
Sowore promised to expand the field of agriculture in the Country, by creating not less than 250,000 jobs with a commercial operation that would cover 20 million cows. He says he already has a shadow cabinet with political experts studying each sector of the Government and their operations.
‘Unlike President Buhari who did not elect a cabinet until after six Months of taking office, I have begun to bring together a shadow cabinet of experts that are understudying what is going on right now in each sector of the Nigerian Nation so that when we are voted in by Nigerian people, we can truly hit the ground running from day one’.
Fela Duroroye on his part, points out what he calls the root-cause of suffering in Nigeria, being ‘Selectoracy’. He calls it a flawed system that has hindered the appointment of eminent leaders and encouraged the appointment of ineffective leaders who cross carpet from one party to another, seeking more favourable personal outcomes and gains.
‘Selectocracy’ is the root-cause of the ills being suffered by Nigerians ranging from the erratic power supply after spending billions of investments, to pot-hole ridden roads that have become death traps, hospitals without healthcare and schools without education.
Durotoye argued that Selectrocacy is responsible for teachers who cannot pass the examinations they set for children in Nigerian schools.
‘Selectocracy is responsible for the lawmakers who throw chairs at each other and wield Maces but insist on being called honorable. Selectocracy is the reason why one of the largest crude oil producing Nations is also one of the largest importers of refined petroleum products. Selectocracy is the reason why millions of Naira disappear into the bellies of snakes and monkeys. Therefore, it is clear to me that whatever political structure would deliver the promise of a new Nigeria must have a contrary internal democratic culture to those that the existing political structure values’.
Durotoye also gave assurance of his determination to reduce unemployment to less than 10% by creating three million jobs each year of his administration and prioritising the agricultural sector, scaling up micro, small and medium enterprises, establishing vocational and technical skill acquisition training and implementing a Start-Up Action plan to support start-ups through a Start-Up Intervention Fund under the Bank of Industry (BOI).
Former Deputy Governor of Central Bank, Kingsley Moghalu expressed his dissatisfaction with the poor health standards and failing educational and economic system.
‘It is difficult to miss the reality that our economy is staring down obsolescence as the biggest consumers of our crude oil plan their fossil-fuel free, electric-car future’.
‘We can’t even generate enough power to begin a manufacturing revolution. For many of us, laws are arbitrary, and justice is uneven and unfair. Our infrastructure lies in ruin around us and our best and brightest run as fast as they can to live a better life’.
Moghalu assured Nigerians that these problems would be much easier for him to fix, as he ticks the box of a bold and different candidate Nigeria needs.
‘Nigerians would remember President Muhammadu Buhari for his record of failed performance on his campaign promises on security, the economy and corruption’.
Moghalu also affirmed his working in the United Nations (UN) to restore other Countries while also vowing to keep Nigeria’s banking system “afloat in the rough seas of a Global crisis”.
He also promised to tilt Nigeria to a position of Economic prosperity ‘by creating an enabling environment for a productive, innovation-led economy, with a better approach to taxation that will reduce dependence oil revenues’.
Peter Ayodele Fayose
The Governor of Ekiti State, Peter Ayodele Fayose emphasized that his being the longest-serving Governor in Nigeria, having served under three Presidents including Olusegun Obasanjo, Goodluck Ebele Jonathan, and Muhammadu Buhari, makes him more knowledgeable and experienced in breaking new grounds as President.
Fayose pointed out that Nigeria, which had the fastest growing economy in Africa, has gone to ‘comatose’ with the present Managers who are ‘completely clueless’.
“Regrettably, a bag of rice that was N7, 000 when People’s Democratic Party (PDP) was in Government is now N17, 000!”
“Allocation from the Federation Account to the three tiers of Government has declined to such a level that most States can no longer carry out the basic obligation of paying workers’ salary”.
“In the area of security, which they leveraged on to come to power, despite claims by the Government that Boko Haram was technically defeated. Nigerians are being killed by the insurgents while villages are being attacked in the North-East. Also, herdsmen are killing Nigerians and destroying farmlands with reckless abandon while kidnapping is now on the rise”.
“Unemployment has risen to an alarming level. Instead of creating three million jobs per year as promised, millions of jobs are being lost daily, with many companies folding up. This Government has successfully wiped off the middle-class”.
To tackle these issues, Fayose assures Nigerians that his Government would revive the Country’s economy by diversification through agriculture, adequate power supply, and massive industrialization to create employment for youths.
Former Vice President Atiku Abubakar affirmed that the numerous problems faced in Nigeria as a result of “mismanagement of the APC”, is the reason why he offered himself to run for President in 2019.
‘I can tell you throughout the whole of today that where PDP left us in the last three years whether in the education sector, in the health sector, or in the economy, we have been going down in every statistics’.
“Just as we mobilised to put an end to prolonged military rule in 1999, the people of Nigeria at this moment look up to us to rescue the Country from the misgovernment of the APC’.
‘Arising from our elective congress, there should be no victor and no vanquished. Our paramount attention should be focused at sacking a Government that deceived the people of Nigeria into power by promising our youths three million jobs annually, only to deliver three million job losses annually; a Government that is repeatedly living in denial of its commitment to restructuring’.
However, he insisted that Nigerians must be united to take power back to where it belongs and PDP must take pride in its ability to hold National Conventions, so as to live up to the task of being a truly Democratic political party.
Sule Lamido claims his decision to aspire for the Presidency was out of the commitment to fix the Country and reposition it for greatness.
Lamido lambasted the leadership of the APC, stating that it has failed in its Governance and should be flushed out in 2019 elections.
He pointed out that the Country had not been better in terms of Security, Economy and anti-graft war. Herdsmen killings and resurgence of Boko Haram is one of the failings of the Buhari’s Government according to him, and the abduction and return of Dapchi schoolgirls show the incapacity of the Government to ensure security, he thinks.
‘Under President Buhari, Nigerians have been starved to the extent that they cannot protest against the hike in the prices of essential commodities in the Country’.
‘God would judge us if we allow the APC to return to power’.
Citing what he calls the ills and failures of Buhari’s administration, Tope Fasua accused the Government of kicking the can down the road. “They are tossing the budget up and down. ‘The lives of Nigerians don’t matter to these people. The members of the National Assembly are gorged full with money”
“Somehow everybody is officially earning amounts not approved by Salaries and Wages Commission or the Revenue Mobilisation Agency. Somehow there are allowances appearing from every crack and the public which pays these people are not supposed to know what they are being paid.”
“Remember that the budget is paltry. This is the reason why Nigeria is now by far the poorest Country on earth. Poverty is increasing.”
‘Yes, Buhari has been part of the deceptive and wickedly myopic elites that prefer to keep our people in ignorance for the sake of power. Only that he played his own game extremely well. It wasn’t until he became President that he bared his fangs. Great strategy’.
Fasua enumerated that his administration will work on building the Nigerian structure down to wire and bring into reality, the dreams about Nigeria that had remained wishes.
Thomas Wilson Ikubese
Thomas Wilson Ikubese disclosed that Nations which were in the same league as Nigeria at Independence have long developed, while Nigeria is retrogressing rather than advancing.
Ikubese attributed the Country’s retrogression to non-preparedness, selfishness and lack of vision of those managing its resources.
‘Seeing that our present crop of political leadership might never implement these recommendations, I have decided to run for the office of the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, so that I can put machineries in place for the actualization of these recommendations, which will birth the New Nigeria of our dreams’.
‘I hereby call on our youths, which form 70% of the Nigerian population, to rise up and join me in this civil revolution through the ballot box come 2019, rather than recycle the current political brigades’.
A different Approach
There are however a few Aspirants who chose a different course of intervention as they argue that the condition of the Country is not largely dependent on the Government.
According to Olu James Omosule, an aspirant on the platform of the PDP,
“I know, most Nigerians are complaining about his age and his health, but we ought to remember that President Buhari is a fine nice man, a good husband, and a good father’.
‘I will continue to pray for our President. So, if you are thinking that I might have an advantage over his age if he chooses to contest for the second time, you must be underestimating President Buhari because he is a fighter and I have nothing but respect for him’
Additionally, an aspirant, Olufunmilayo Adesanya Davies on the platform of the PDP, urged Nigerians to be patient with Buhari, as the solution to the current challenges in the Country lies in the hands of women.
The shortness of this list may not come as good news to those who see a problem with the confrontational approach of the vast majority of aspirants.