By Emmanuel Aziken, Political Editor
The two leading presidential candidates, Muhammadu Buhari of the All Progressives Congress, APC and Atiku Abubakar of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP within hours of the commencement of the presidential campaigns on Sunday launched out in the bid to win support.
Buhari launched out on Sunday with his Next Level programme at an intimidating ceremony at the Banquet Hall of the Presidential Villa with governors, APC chieftains and the business community in attendance.
The president in a ten minute address wrapped up his achievements, noting the burden as he called it of the inheritance he received from the PDP administration and promised to take Nigeria to the next level. His speech on that day was preceded by presentations by some of his political associates and subordinates including the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, SGF, Mr. Boss Mustapha, the director general of the campaign, Mr. Rotimi Amaechi who spoke on the achievements in rail, and Mrs. Mariam Uwais who drew attention to the president’s achievements in the social welfare sector.
The same day, Atiku’s programme To Get Nigeria Working Again seeped out. However, it took another 24 hours for the PDP candidate to speak on his programmes. He took to social media platforms of facebook, instagram and twitter to make a broadcast from the quietness of his Asokoro, Abuja living room where he articulated his achievements and nay, that of the Olusegun Obasanjo administration in wiping away the country’s debts, revolutionising telephony and setting the pattern for economic development through planned programmes like NEEDS.
Both candidates are expecting to address Nigeria’s high unemployment figures which by conservative estimates is put at 18% but is believed to rise more than 50% in some sections of the country particularly in the Northeast. Addressing the unemployment situation in the perspective of most stakeholders will frontally address the country’s difficult situations especially in the areas of insecurity and the social scandal that has seen Nigerians unbelievably committing suicide.
Buhari has not had much experience in business, but has prided himself for his frugality and discipline which his handlers say is necessary towards providing a sound environment for the growth of business.
His plans as enunciated in his Next Level plan on job creation include
- Next Level is to engage 1,000,000 N-Power
Skill up 10 million Nigerians under a voucher
system in partnership with private sector
2: Jobs- Agriculture
Anchor Borrowers Scheme to support input and jobs
to 1 million farmers.
Livestock Transformation Plan to create 1.5 million
jobs along dairy, beef, hide & Skin, blood meal, crops.
Agriculture Mechanization Policy with Tractors and
Processors to create 5 million jobs.
3: Jobs- Tech & Creative
Provide USD500m innovation fund to tech and creative sector
to create 500,000 jobs
Train 200,000 youth for outsourcing market in technology,
services and entertainment
4: Industrialisation & Jobs
6 Regional Industrial Parks and Special Economic Zones,
Next Level of 109 Special Production and Processing Centres (SPPCs)
to spur production and value additive processing.
Tractors and Processors Plan in Each Senatorial District Extra Jobs
5: Jobs in School Feeding
Jobs- Increase Children fed from 9.2 million to Next Level of 15 million
300,000 Extra Jobs created for Vendors & Farmers.
Atiku and his handlers have prided themselves that he is a job creator with at least 50,000 persons on his staff roll since his retirement from the customs and advent into private business.
In order to create jobs and bring down unemployment to single digit levels by 2024 as he has promised through the creation of 2 million jobs annually, Atiku is offering four pathways in conjunction with the private sector and state governments to do the following pathways:
- The Informal Pathway
We shall re -launch the National Open Apprenticeship Programme (NOAP) with special focus on young men and women who may not have had the opportunity to attend school or complete basic education. This programme will recruit, annually, 100,000 Master Craft Persons (MCPs) who will train 1,000,000 apprentices in various trades.
- The Entrepreneurship Pathway:
This Pathway shall seek to increase the stock of budding entrepreneurs through the support of innovative business ideas, internships and apprenticeship programmes. In particular:
- The School to Jobs Pathway:
We will support the formal TVET system and re-position the technical colleges and vocational skills acquisition centres to produce skills and competencies for innovation and the creation of new ideas and products inside enterprises from where future jobs and future prosperity will derive.
- MSME /ICT Special Entrepreneurship Pathway
A critical policy priority therefore, is to accelerate the growth of the real sector of the economy to open up self and wage-paying job opportunities. New jobs will arise from 61 increased commercialization of agriculture, the construction and operation of infrastructure (including transportation; electricity, water supply and sewerage, real estate and telecommunications), as well as growth in financial services and new investment in manufacturing, IT and IT-enabled services.