The release of the much-publicised Policy Document by Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, the Presidential candidate of the PDP was an anti-climax as it was full of vague promises without any substance whatsoever.
The reception by Nigerians has also been very underwhelming. The hype around the document made some of us to feel that they were coming with policies and plans that have never been seen or heard of before, but it ended up being a poor imitation of the programmes already executed by the Buhari-led government.
It is just a compendium of “copy and paste” phrases which confirms that they acknowledge the laudable performance of this administration in several sectors.
The document which was advertised as the magic pill that would cure all the ills inflicted on the Nation by Atiku and his party, the PDP during their 16-year reign disappointed on all fronts. If this was what he took hundreds of his party members including consultants to Dubai to do for weeks, then he needs to quickly ask for a refund.
In addition to confirming the anti-people stance of Atiku Abubakar and his party, it is a litany of empty promises with no details of how the promises would be kept. This is in stark contrast to the Buhari led government which has gone beyond most of the policy actions proposed in the document.
It has moved to the Next Level of diversifying our economy, improving agriculture, increasing FDI into the non-oil sectors amongst other promises made in the Atiku Policy Document. For instance, while the Atiku Document is promising to set up a special fund for infrastructure like this Government already did, we have moved to the Next Level of increasing funding for the Presidential Infrastructure Development Fund that was set up with a seed funding of $650 Million in May. Apart from general statements, there is no detailed plan on security or how he was going to grow the GDP of the country to $900 Billion.
With regards to Human Capital Development, Infrastructure, Jobs and Poverty Eradication which is said to be the priorities of the Atiku Document, the Buhari administration has since moved to the Next Level of Investing in People with the largest social investment programme in Africa comprising of the N-Power, National Cash Transfer, National Home-Grown School Feeding Programme and the Government Enterprise and Economic Programmes which comprises of the Marketmoni and Tradermoni initiatives.
Over 13 million Nigerians are impacted by these programmes presently while 3the Next Level of the programmes is to reach millions more in the next four years. Millions of jobs have been created through the agricultural revolution and diversification of the economy. The gig economy is also thriving. With regards to infrastructure, major projects have been initiated across the country, and we have completed major projects abandoned by the PDP even after billions of dollars were siphoned.
This Government has either completed or currently carrying out at least one major road project in every state of the federation. This is unlike the case with the previous PDP Governments which includes the Obasanjo/Atiku Government which earned over $783.3 Billion from crude oil sales during their 16-year reign without embarking on any major infrastructural project.
It is laughable that while this Government has already moved to the Next Level of infrastructure financing, Atiku is just promising to raise project bonds as well as non-interest capital like sukuk to finance expansive national railways and new major strategic roads across Nigeria which is what this Government has done for the past three and half years. That just shows the hollowness of his plans.
Unlike the Next Level Roadmap of this Government, the Atiku Document has no direction and would certainly lead us nowhere. The Document is just another plan to corner the wealth of the Nation as evident in the plan to sell our refineries and privatise the NNPC which brings a sense of déjà vu for Nigerians because of what happened during the last privatization process superintended by this same Atiku as Vice President between 1999 and 2007.
Infact, millions of Nigerians have not recovered from the harm done by that exercise. The lack of clear policy details on the mode of sale of the refineries and the promise to make petrol sell at N87 made by this same Atiku a few weeks ago just goes to show the lack of serious thought behind the production of the Policy Document.
It also goes to show that the promise of deregulation of the oil sector spelt out in the Document is as worthless as the paper it is written on. The Buhari administration just paid the pensions and gratuities owed the ex-workers of NITEL, Nigerian Airways and many other companies after many years of anguish and pain inflicted on them by Atiku Abubakar and the PDP.
Atiku’s promises on the Niger Delta are hypocritical and an insult to the people of the Niger Delta especially those of Odi in Bayelsa State who are marking the 19th of Anniversary of the killing of thousands of their kinsmen by soldiers while Atiku was Vice President. These killings even inspired the “Dem Mama” song by popular artiste, Timaya.
Nigeria cannot afford to go back to the past. We are all moving forward and higher to the Next Level of prosperity with the Buhari/Osinbajo ticket.
Nduka Enweliku writes from Lagos