WHEN Nigerians file out to vote for the President on Saturday, March 28, they would be confronted by the not-so-easy task of opting for change which the presidential candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC), General Muhammadu Buhari offers or continue with President Goodluck Jonathan’s transformation agenda which the ruling Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has made its mantra.
And to make your choice a bit easier, ENCOMIUM Weekly unveils the major campaign promises of the two leading presidential candidates.
The presidential candidate of the ruling PDP, Dr. Goodluck Ebele Jonathan anchors his campaign for the 2015 election on continuation of his transformation agenda, which he clearly articulated in 2011. The thrust of his new manifesto is more of consolidation of his modest achievements since he assumed office on May 29, 2011.
The Jonathan administration is going to take job creation serious. With a promise of two million jobs per annum, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has promised to check the growth rate of unemployment.
With the current growth of agriculture at seven to eight per cent, according to official figures, President Jonathan has pledged to sustain the ongoing reforms in the sector.
GROWING THE ECONOMY
President Goodluck Jonathan has also assured he would sustain the growth of Africa’s largest economy. The Federal Government hopes to expand the rebased economy and ensure real growth despite the challenges of dwindling oil revenue. The PDP-led government has also pledged to continue to diversify the economy.
President Jonathan promised to address the infrastructure deficit in the country in key development areas such as power, transportation, housing, information communication technology (ICT), FCT and Niger Delta.
From the PDP manifesto, the revitalization, modernization and expansion of the rails as well as road rehabilitation are part of work to be done in this sector.
In its transformation agenda that covers the power sector, the Jonathan administration promised to invest about N1.896 trillion to improve this infrastructure. And with the successes his regime flaunts, Jonathan has now pledged to increase generation and distribution of electricity if re-elected on March 28, 2015.
Interestingly, the present administration claims it has generated more electricity than any past government with over 4,500 MW. According to the president, generation transmission lines also increased from 3,000km to 6,500km. In the years ahead, the President assures things would get better.
Education is also a major issue in the PDP manifesto. The Jonathan administration has, therefore, resolved to fund the sector adequately. The PDP government equally desires to increase school enrolment, especially at the primary level and create more access to education through creative funding of schools.
The thrust of President Jonathan’s manifesto in the health sector is the National Strategic Health Development Plan (NSHDP). He has also promised to pursue policies and programmes to achieve the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) and the Vision 20:2020.
WOMEN AND YOUTH EMPOWERMENT
Gender equality is also given priority in Jonathan’s campaign. He has, therefore, assured Nigerians that women would even get more 35 per cent of appointments in his cabinet so as to close the yawning gap between them and men. Youths would also continue to benefit from the various empowerment programmes like the SURE-P and Youwin.
Anti-corruption, National Security top BUHARI’s agenda
FOR the APC presidential candidate, General Muhammadu Buhari, his major campaign promises are more like a covenant with Nigerians to enable him bring about the change they desire. And here is Buhari’s agenda if he wins the 2015 presidential election.
The mantra of anti-corruption resonates in General Buhari’s manifesto.
“I believe if Nigeria does not kill corruption, corruption will kill Nigeria,” he declared.
He said he would publicly declare his assets if elected president and wage serious anti-corruption war against culprits through a National Anti-Corruption Strategy.
Access to justice and respect for fundamental human rights.
The APC presidential candidate equally pledged to run a government that protects citizens’ fundamental human rights. In fact, he said he would lead a government founded on values that promote and protect these rights synonymous with democracy.
INSURGENCY AND SECURITY
Buhari also pledged to take the issue of security serious. He promised that under his watch, no force, external or internal will overtake even an inch of Nigerian soul. He also assured he would rescue the Chibok girls.
In summary, General Buhari said he would deliver a marshal plan on insurgency, terrorism, ethnic and religious violence and rural banditry.
On health, Buhari has a Health Sector Review Policy to ensure health for all Nigerians irrespective of their status.
Buhari has also vowed to restore the lost glory of education by implementing reforms that would bring quality back into schools. He would also position tertiary institutions to provide market-relevant skills to youths as well as improve school enrolment.
Agriculture is equally a priority in the APC manifesto. He hopes that the sector would be a major revenue earner as oil prices fall.
In his covenant with Nigerians, General Buhari acknowledges that millions of Nigerians live below poverty level. So, his Presidency aspires to benefit majority of the people through a better management of the economy.
General Buhari has also promised to reform the oil sector, build four refineries and unbundle the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), if elected President.
– UCHE OLEHI