Thursday, March 6, 2014

ELECTION: APC releases Agenda for Nigeria Ahead of 2015 General Election

*State police, free education, jobs and a solid anti-corruption battle*

These – and many others – formed yesterday the major highlights of the 10-Point Road map unveiled in Abuja by the All Progressives Congress (APC), which is planning to win power at the centre in 2015.

The party said it would give independence to Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) and other agencies.

Besides state police, there will be a Serious Crime Squad to curtail insurgency.

Highlights of the roadmap presented at the party’s Inaugural National Summit in Abuja are: jobs; anti-corruption fight; free; relevant quality education; agriculture; housing plan; and healthcare plan for children and adults.

APC plans a social welfare scheme for the less advantaged and build roads and power plants. It will manage better our natural resources, the party said, adding that it will strengthen peace, security and foreign policy.

The Road map reads in part: “Roughly, one in four Nigerians, and half of young job seekers are unable to find work. The number of people whose jobs do not cover the cost of food and housing is even greater.

“In addition, major industries that pay higher wages account for just over five per cent of the economy.

“The lack of jobs is the most critical challenge facing Nigeria today, hurting every community and preventing us from being the truly vibrant and prosperous nation we deserve. Building a diverse economy that allows every Nigerian to earn a living and better care for his or her family is our number one priority.

“APC road map for jobs includes: Create 20,000 jobs per state immediately for those with a minimum qualification of secondary school leaving certificate and who participate in technology and vocational training.

“Encourage state governments to focus on employment creation by matching every one job created by the State Government through funding with two jobs created by the Federal Government in the same state.

“Direct conditional monthly cash transfers of N5,000 to the 25million poorest and most vulnerable citizens upon demonstration of children’s enrollment in school and immunisation to help promote job empowerment.

“Establish technology/Industrial Estates fully equipped with ICT, power and other support across the country to attract and encourage small-scale technology businesses and other entrepreneurs.

“Provide allowances to discharged but unemployed Youth Corps members for 12 months while they seek jobs or acquire training and skills for job placement or entrepreneurship.

“Establish plants for the assembly and ultimately the manufacture of phones, tablets, computers and other devices.

“Pay a guaranteed indexed-linked price to farmers to ensure that there is always a ready market for their produce, which will create more jobs, agricultural related employment and sustain existing jobs.”

On corruption, the APC said it was worried that “corruption is crippling Nigeria”.

It assured Nigerians that it would “create a vibrant economy where jobs and opportunities are more readily available.” “Every individual, civil servant, business and government leader must play by the same rules, obey the law and reject the temptation of bribery and corruption.”

The party was specific on its anti-corruption agenda. It plans to: “show zero tolerance for official and/or private sector corruption. Place the burden of proving innocence in corruption cases on persons with inexplicable wealth.

“Pursue legislation expanding forfeiture and seizure of assets; laws and procedure with respect to inexplicable wealth, regardless of whether there is a conviction for criminal conduct or not.

“Strengthen legal provisions to prevent stay of proceedings and other delays in corruption trials.

“Guarantee the independence of anti-corruption and financial crimes agencies by legislation, charging their budgets directly to the Consolidated Revenue Fund.

“Stop corruption in our elections, in part by making the Independent National and State Electoral Commissions truly independent and free from political interference.

“Improve the ability of citizens to keep an eye on their government, with more open access to government data, greater disclosure of government contracts prior to awards and during implementation, and ensuring the people’s business is done in an open and transparent way.”

Regarding security challenges facing the nation, the APC said it would allow states to own local police forces.

It promised to establish a serious crime squad to fight terrorism.

The road map added: “Peace and security are fundamental to Nigeria’s social and economic wellbeing. Every Nigerian should be safe and free to work in any part of the country, regardless of tribe, ethnicity, or religious beliefs.

“Our law enforcement agencies face significant challenges on many fronts: terrorism, especially in the Northeast, unresolved high-profile homicides and the rise in new crimes, such as kidnapping, abductions and cyber-crime. The result is an international perception of Nigeria as a failing state where violent crime, corruption and fraud are rife.

“APC’s roadmap for peace, security and foreign policy includes: Enable states to have their own local police forces that address the special needs of each community, including community policing initiatives that restore trust among local citizens.

“Establishing a serious crime squad with state-of-the-art training and equipment to combat terrorism, militancy and ethno- religious crisis, clashes.

“Provide a comprehensive compensation plan for victims of ethno-religious crisis, communal clashes and terrorism.

“Initiate a national reconciliation and healing plan, beginning with a truth and reconciliation commission on ethno-religious clashes, ensure the teaching in our schools of religious tolerance and public demonstrations of religious and ethnic tolerance by public officials.”

On Education, the APC plans to “make the right of every Nigerian child to receive a free, relevant and quality education a reality, based on free and comprehensive primary and secondary education.

“Provide free tertiary education to students pursuing Science and Technology. Engineering and Math (STEM).

“Create incentives and dedicate special attention to the education of girls.”

Shedding light on the road map at a follow-up round table, the National Publicity Secretary of APC, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, said: “We commissioned a survey on what exactly is wrong with Nigeria, what exactly Nigerians need. Unemployment, corruption insecurity are the major problems confronting Nigeria today. So, the roadmap is a result of what Nigerians need.

“What we have done today is to show that there is a big difference between the PDP and the APC. We are after a new Nigeria. This is a new Nigeria we are creating in which the people will be the beginning and the end of all development programmes.”

The Chairman of Anti-Corruption Network, Otunba Dino Melaye, said: “The road map has lucidly elucidated the palliative measures against corruption. What the PDP is practicing now is greedocrcracy, the government of the greedy by the greedy and for the greedy. The road map, which is to correct corruption, is coming at a time when we are getting to the brink. The APC is the solution to the challenges facing the country. Once I was blind but now I can see.

“Nigeria is like a car being driven by a drunken-driver. What we have now is that corruption is being massaged and promoted. What we have in the road map is to make every Nigerian a change agent. In 2011, I was in the National Assembly where a budget of N250billion was passed for fuel subsidy but this reckless government increased it to N2.3trillion.

“This roadmap will produce a President that will not just commission projects but supervise projects; a President that will execute projects that are people-oriented. N149billion has been used in the last three years for politically exposed persons for medical tourism. We are setting an agenda. The President APC will produce is going to attend hospitals in Nigeria. We are going to bring back our medical experts deposited in Saudi Arabia and in the United States.

“APC wants a Nigeria where you will not need to manipulate or commit immoral sins to get political appointments.”

A former Minister of the Federal Capital Territory, Mallam Nasir el-Rufai, said: “The best way to differentiate the APC from PDP, not only in terms of corruption but in many ways is to look at the leaders of APC. PDP cannot produce or present an incorruptible leader like Gen. Muhammadu Buhari. If they have any, let them produce such a person. I think the results are there on ground; if the APC leaders are credible. We have the history to show us and we have the performance of our leaders to speak for us.

“The last time the PDP produced a manifesto was in 2007. It has been pursuing one agenda or the other since then. We challenge the ruining ruling party to produce its own roadmap.”

A former National Secretary of the defunct All Nigeria Peoples Party (ANPP), George Moghalu, said: “The road map is all about Nigeria, doing things at the right time and in the right way. It is a reflection of the wish of average Nigerian.

“It is an agreement we are going to sign with Nigerians so that at the end of the day, we can account to them.”



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