Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, the presidential candidate of the People’s Democratic Party, has revealed in his manifesto, titled “My Covenant with Nigerians,” his action plans if elected president. This article details the major parts of this manifesto and its impacts on the Nigerian population.
The manifesto revealed his plan to increase the GDP per capita to $5,000 by 2030. While this is laudable, one imagines the feasibility of these figures. Is this a mere projection? Are there statistics to support this projection? With the current economy, is such an output realistic? Only five countries in the world have been able to double their GDP. All these are significant concerns.
Atiku, in his manifesto, also promised to create three million new jobs, which would lift 10 million poor Nigerians out of poverty annually. The first question that comes to mind is: What kind of jobs does he have in mind for Nigerians? Another concern is whether the government has the financial wherewithal to fund these jobs. Making promises is easy, but fulfilling them can be daunting. What parameters and metrics will he use to ensure this promise is actualised?
Also notable in his manifesto is his plan to increase the strength of the police workforce to one million personnel. This is laudable, as the country’s security should be handled with the utmost care. Moreover, considering the prevalent insecurity crisis in the country today, this plan seems logical.
Atiku’s plan for MSMEs should also be commended. The manifesto revealed his plans to fund small businesses while introducing tax relief for microenterprises. This would boost the country’s export demands, thereby improving the economy and the well-being of the people.
He also plans to “meet a target of 10,000 MW of transmission capacity over the short term, 25,000 MW of power generation through a mix of energy sources, and increase refining capacity to two million barrels per day.” Power generation is hugely important, especially for small businesses. Kudos to Atiku for prioritising power generation, as this would solve a chunk of the challenges faced by many business owners.
As noted in the manifesto, Atiku plans to partner with the private sector to fund infrastructure. This is commendable, as enforcing the public-private partnership model would increase infrastructural development across the country.
The manifesto also reveals Atiku’s plan to “increase Nigeria’s refining capacity to two million barrels per day.” This is not impossible if adequate plans are made. For instance, when completed, the Dangote refinery can refine 650,000 barrels per day.
If this is leveraged and other refineries are put into shape, getting a refining capacity of two million barrels per day is possible. This must, however, be backed by political action if Atiku is elected.
Atiku Abubakar, in his manifesto, also promised to construct 5,000 km of modern railway lines. This raises a lot of questions. Nigeria has a total of around 3,528 km of railway lines. And the construction of the Lagos-Ibadan rail line (157 km) consumed about $1.5 billion. So what plan does Atiku have to embark on a 5,000-kilometer rail project, which will cost about $48 billion? Will he borrow to finance the project?
Would this manifesto be a perfect fit to improve the lives of our people? Only Nigerians can decide!