Rabiu Kwankwaso, the Presidential candidate of the New Nigeria Peoples Party (NNPP), has released a 160-page manifesto and policy document titled, “My pledges to you. The RMK2023 Blueprint.” This document, released by the former Kano State Governor, detailed twenty promises Kwankwaso intends to actualise if given the mantle of leadership of the most populous Black Country. This article examines six major action plans from the manifesto, which border on Leadership, Security, Economy, Energy and Power, Education, and Health.
The manifesto revealed on Leadership and Justice that the government of Kwankwaso “will provide Nigerians with patriotic and competent leadership guided by the seven time-tested principles of public life: Selflessness, Integrity, Objectivity, Accountability, Openness, Honesty, and Leadership-by-Example.” It went on to state its readiness to be fair and just to all and to ensure fairness and justice at all levels of governance.”
It is worth noting that Kwankwaso, as Governor of Kano State, was deeply loved by his people. His leadership skills were top-notch, which is one of the reasons he remains a frontrunner despite being out of power for four years. Kwankwasiyya’s political movement is a testament to his selflessness, as members of this movement are staunch supporters of his legacy. At this time, Nigeria needs compassionate leadership; getting round pegs in round roles is integral to the success of any administration. If elected, it is reasonable to expect Kwankwaso to make good on this pledge.
On Security, the manifesto stressed its commitment to “the security and welfare of the people.” It further detailed its political will to “secure the entire country, ensure peace and peaceful coexistence reign, and work deliberately to strengthen the bond of unity amongst Nigerians of all backgrounds.”
Security has been a pressing concern in Nigeria. From banditry to kidnapping, there seems to be no end in sight. The current administration led by Major General Muhammadu Buhari recorded some successes, but insecurity is still rampant across the country. Therefore, it’s rational to be sceptical about Kwankwaso’s ability to address the issue of insecurity efficiently. Although he has experience as a former Minister of Defense under President Olusegun Obasanjo’s second cabinet, it’s still unclear how he would solve Nigeria’s insecurity woes.
Another critical theme in Kwankwaso’s manifesto is the plan to revamp the Economy. As highlighted in his manifesto, he promised to create “an economic plan centred around Nigerians.” He went on to mention his plan of “improving the income level and strengthen the purchasing power of every Nigerian citizen, through its Nigerian Economic Revamping Strategy, which has a three-deck implementation scheme: Emergency Rescue Plan (ERP), Targeted Stimulation/Job Creation, and Long-term and Sustainable Investment.
This action plan for the economy is possible. With the proper connection and policies, they’re achievable. Kwankwaso is well-versed on policy issues after being a member of the House of Senate for eight years. Again, his experience as governor for eight years would also be vital in implementing his economic policy if elected President. However, similar promises have been made by past successive governments; it might just be a repeat of such a charade.
Energy and Power
On Energy and Power, the manifesto recognised this sector as “the backbone and the central nervous system of the economy. Conscious that growth will be stunted and development will be paralysed if these two economic pillars are not adequately and sustainably provided, we shall deploy our energy and power masterplan to ensure availability, adequacy, sustainability, affordability, and safety.”
It’s applaudable that the perennial challenge of power is emphasised. But the main issue has always been the implementation. The Obasanjo, Jonathan, and Buhari administrations had invested so much into power generation, but we still have yet to reach the minimum megawatts that should be produced. Under Buhari’s administration alone, there have been 98 incidences of the national grid collapse. Could this be a maladministration issue or the lack of political will to get it done once and for all? How can Kwankwaso address this issue that successive governments failed to?
The manifesto also revealed Kwankwaso’s plans for Education, which he described as “a public good.” On how he intends to address educational challenges, the manifesto stated its resolve to “ensure, through the correct reforms and investment, that all our schools provide the appropriate quality education to our citizens. Access, quality, and productivity shall be the cornerstones of our education reform. Therefore, rather than establishing new public tertiary education institutions (TEIs), our administration will first focus on upgrading, rehabilitating, and expanding the existing ones to the level of global competitiveness.”
Of all the Presidential candidates, Kwankwaso has done more on issues relating to Education. While serving as governor, he sponsored over 3000 students in their educational pursuits within and outside the country. He built schools and trained several teachers as well. This is one promise in his manifesto that has a very high chance of getting actualised if he’s elected as the next President of Nigeria. He has a proven track record on matters relating to Education.
The manifesto also touched on improved and modernised Healthcare Services for everyone. He promised that his “administration would be committed to ensuring that our healthcare system is positively overhauled to ensure humane, effective, efficient, and qualitative service. Saving lives and building a healthy citizenry shall be the priority of all our healthcare institutions because health is wealth.”
It’s no gainsaying that the healthcare system is pivotal to the development of any country. A lot has been done in the past in this sector, with the latest being the feat recorded in containing Ebola and Covid-19, even in contrast to what the Western world expected. However, more can still be done. Recently, there has been a brain drain in the medical sector, with doctors and nurses departing the country in droves. The Nigeria Medical Association (NMA) revealed that at least 50 doctors leave the country weekly. And currently, there are only so many medical practitioners to cater to the need of Nigerians, with the ratio of doctors to patients being 1:10,000. It would be interesting to see how Kwankwaso would be able to address this if elected as President.