Following the public presentation of the policy documents by some presidential candidates for the 2019 general election, analysts have said that what was important was to see how these so-called policies would positively impact the lives of the long-suffering Nigerians.
Recall that last Sunday, in line with the Independent National Election Commission (INEC) timetable for the 2019 elections, President Muhammadu Buhari, who also is the standard bearer for the All Progressives Congress (APC), launched his policy document, dubbed, “Next Level”. The following day, Atiku Abubakar, a former vice President and presidential candidate of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP), presented his 10-point agenda, which is titled: ‘My plan to get Nigeria working again’.
Some other presidential candidates have also, since last Sunday, presented their well-articulated plans for the Nigerian people.
Commenting on the Buhari and Atiku’s documents Anthony Kila, a professor, and director of Centre for Advanced Professional Studies, said: “While the ruling party’s presidential candidate is saying he is taking Nigeria to the Next Level in 2019, the challengers, embodied by the main opposition is saying things are not working; let’s get it working. They tell you it is going to work again, because it has worked before. In the past, we have done it.”
On whether Nigerians have really made up their minds on who to choose from what has been reeled out so far by both parties’ presidential candidates, Kila suggested that what the citizens should actually be interested in knowing is not just what the candidates intend to do, but how they hope to do what they promised and where they would get the resources.
On what Nigerians should be looking for in a leader, Kila said: “I think they are looking for a person who has the energy and the worldview to be able to solve these problems. I think that is what we need at this moment. We need a CEO that understands the problems and ready to find a solution to them.”
An analyst, who spoke with BusinessDay on condition of anonymity, said: “I am sure that Nigerians would not want a government that would mortgage the future by continuing borrowing at very high interest rate. They want a government that would invest for the rainy day and for the future. Nigeria is already in bondage to some nations over heavy debt profile. So, it is not about putting good ideas on paper, but how to drive the ideas in terms of the political will, the character, the courage, etc. What they have come out with is to me like presenting a skeleton, mere bone; we need to see some flesh here and there.
“We have seen so many policy documents since 1999, the problems, the issues have been there. Talk about education, infrastructure such as railways, Agric, roads, name them, they have been there, yet no improvement, year in year out. Well, for me I think, what the APC candidate has presented seems to me as next level to impunity; to wanton killing; to herdsmen rampage; to impunity; and to disobedience to rule of law and next level to poverty.”
Olisa Agbakoba, a former president of Nigerian Bar Association (NBA), said that policy documents meant nothing to the Nigerian populace, unless there is a genuine commitment to implement the contents to the letter.
“Let me remind you that elections are won at the grassroots level. Not in the city; but at the grassroots level where you have about the 80 percent of the voting population. So, the campaign that we are designing is to canvass votes at the grassroots. They don’t know about policy documents; I also do not believe so much about policy documents because we know what the issues are – jobs, jobs and jobs. So, you can write any amount of policy documents; it is not going to be translated into 300 Nigerian languages; but if you went to the villages and asked the people how do you feel; they don’t need a policy document to know that they don’t feel good; so, the message is to get the votes in; that is number one; to make sure that the votes count, too,” Agbakoba said.
Reacting to the two policy documents, Jide Ojo, a development consultant, stressed the need for citizens to document them, with a view to holding whoever wins the presidential election to account.
“Atiku said he spent 18 months with experts to put together his policy document on making Nigeria work again. We don’t know how long it took Buhari to come up with the Next Level. Yes, they spoke to issues but as we know politicians campaign in prose but deliver in poetry. And we cannot trust them to do the right thing unless we hold them to account. What we now need to do as patriotic citizens is to document these their campaign promises and whoever wins at the end of the day, you start asking them about the implementation schedule, whether they are missing or meeting the timelines that they set for themselves,” Ojo said.
“So that is what we can do at this point. They have set the agenda for themselves. But Atiku’s document which I have been privileged to download is a 168-page document. But talk is cheap. Even the (present) administration that is taking us to the Next Level by their own account, that says that they have delivered on their campaign promises, I think they are being economical with the truth. They have not really delivered on their campaign promises. It is like achieving 5,10, 20 percent of each of those campaign promise and now saying they have delivered,” he further said.
Timi Frank, a former deputy national publicity secretary of APC, said: “Their Change Agenda has failed. The #Next Level Agenda is fraudulent. The last three-and-a-half years has proved they don’t have what it takes to chart a way forward for Nigeria. No man can give what he does not possess. They deceived Nigerians with Change Agenda, which turned out to be a change in personal fortune for themselves and their cronies.
“Be that as it may, I urge Nigerians not to touch the unveiled Buhari/APC’s #Next Level with an electric pole. As far as I am concerned, this is a next level of fraud. A #Next Level in the empowerment of Boko Haram and militia herders to continue to kill, maim, torture, kidnap and destroy the property of Nigerians.”
But speaking on a current affairs programme “Politics Today” on Channels Television last Sunday, Rotimi Amaechi, minister of transport, said the Next Level is “a consolidation of the achievements of the Buhari administration” on infrastructure development, agriculture, security, addressing the economy and fighting corruption.
Tags: atiku abubakar
, Muhammadu Buhari
, policy documents
, Presidential Candidates