FORMER Vice President Atiku Abubakar made many promises to Nigerians during his campaign for this ticket. Last weekend, he got the ticket of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) to contest the 2019 presidential election. Below are 10 of those promises.
1. To End Boko Haram
He made this promise while on a campaign visit to Maiduguri, Borno State on July 17, 2018. Boko Haram battle which enters its 10th year in 2019 has been the albatross of several Nigerian leaders, including governors, ministers, and presidents. Before the 2015 election the terrorist group was seen as a contraption of northern political forces to frustrate President Goodluck Jonathan’s second term bid.
2. To End Religious Violence in Nigeria
Atiku Abubakar made this promise in Jos, Plateau State on September 19, 2018 when he visited the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) secretariat to lobby delegates to the presidential primaries. He said, “I know I have come home. Plateau State is my own home. We all know that Nigeria at the moment is being dominated by religious and ethnic differences,” and went ahead to promise to deal with the situation. Atiku was speaking to the besetting problem of religious violence in Plateau State which has claimed thousands of lives since 2003. Read more:.
3. He Promises to Run a ‘Lean Government’
It is not clear how he would run a ‘lean government’ but he situated it as part of his restructuring strategy. He made this promise on May 15, 2018 in Cross River State when he paid a courtesy visit to Governor Ayade. Restructuring has been the elephant in the political parlance. As one of the numerous recommendations, some advocates have called for the country to be divided into as regions, instead of states, based on the current [unconstitutional] six political zones. Atiku did not state clearly how he would restructure Nigeria but many Nigerians believe that the civil service is monstrous and ruined by corruption and inefficiency.
4. To Make Nigeria work again
Atiku made this promise on August 31, 2018 while picking his presidential nomination form. This promise is too broad, but most importantly, it is too implicating because many things are not working in the country, from infrastructure to the economy. It would have been better if he were specific.
5. Atiku End to End Pro-Biafra agitation
While on a visit to Umuahia, Abia State on July 16, 2018, Atiku promised to end the pro-Biafra agitation by the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB). He was quoted as saying the complaints and agitations from the various sections of the country arose in the first place because of the lopsided nature of the federation Nigeria practices and the way the people currently in charge manage things to favour one part against the other.
6. I will Rule for Only One Term – Atiku
This is a very ‘dangerous’ promise because almost every presidential aspirant who made this promise back-tracked. He had told ThisDay newspaper thus: “I would! I have said this before on my own initiative. I believe in it. If I am elected as the President in 2019, I give an undertaking that I would only do one term. Having said that, let me remind Nigerians that Buhari also gave such an undertaking in 2011, but he is not living up to it today. My own case will be different. I am prepared to sign an undertaking to do only one term.”
7. Atiku Promises 40 Per cent Cabinet Seats for Youths:
At the inauguration of the Intellectual Think-Tank for Atiku, the now presidential candidate of the PDP promised to allocate 40 per cent of cabinet seats for youths. That means, he would appoint at least 15 youths into ministerial positions! It’s a tough promise, but luckily it was by Oladimeji Fabiyi, chairman of All Atiku Support Group (AASUG). Fabiyi was quoted as saying: “Having identified the critical role of youths in the emergence of any leader, I pledge to give youths 40 percent of appointments in my cabinet if elected as the president of Nigeria in 2019,” he said.
8. He Promises ‘Fresh Initiatives to Tackle Unemployment’
On several occasions Atiku has flaunted his credential as an employer of labour, hence it was not shocking when he promised to generated initiatives to tackle unemployment. Mr Segun Osuwunmi, who is the Director of Communication of Atiku Campaign Organisation made the promise on behalf of Atiku.
9. Atiku Promises to Revamp the Economy:
The economy has been in dire strait, so a promise to revamp it is very apt in a power-grabbing campaign. He made the promise on July 31, 2018 in Yola when he declared his intention to run for the presidency. He was quoted as saying: ”APC government has destroyed our economy, taking over Nigeria’s economy with the economic growth measured at 7℅ and brought it down to less than 2℅”.
10. Atiku Promises to Restructure Nigeria:
He promised to restructure the country but it is not clear how it would be carried out. He emphasized it at every campaign venue. Atiku reiterated it to the point that it became as source of ideological clash between him and Vice President Osibanjo. In a tweet, Atiku said: “The president and his vice-president have asymmetrical views on restructuring. Thus, explains the lack of forthrightness on the matter by this government. This is a failed promise that I intend on redeeming.” To restructure the country would demand a huge constitutional amendment and confidence-building among the people of the country.