Leading convener of the Big Tent gathering of Third Force Political Parties, a fusion of civil society and social movements, Professor Pat Utomi,  has said nobody who cannot provide a logical and resourced strategy for halting the slide of the economy, the unemployment challenges facing Nigerians and the declining quality of life, driven largely by the collapse of the power sector should be taken seriously as an aspirant to the presidency.

Utomi said this while releasing the list of issues around which a series of debates will be organized by civil society groups to give citizens and voters a basis for evaluating candidates for the 2023 elections at every level.

These issues include Rapid Economic Growth with post-oil strategies as the energy transition gathers momentum, Education, Health,  Security, The Environment, Infrastructure, and Agriculture. Prof Utomi published nine different feature essays on these issues in nine different news media organs during the Easter Weekend under titles that include; making Nigeria the world’s Great Factory, Re-thinking Education, Re-vitalizing our youth to Revive Nigeria, Power, Production and Poverty;  The Anchor of Hope and Nigeria in 2023; Rebuilding Nigeria when health is Lost, said these opinion essays were designed to provide insights on those issues that he had offered his colleagues for debate in the collegial leadership of the Big Tent of the Third Force.

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Prof Utomi said the unveiling of the issues for 2023 at the top of the Katampe Hill, Abuja, which is said to be the geographic centre of Nigeria, was to create an emotional, spiritual and physical ownership of the big ideas that can set Nigeria free from poor governance that has made poor,  a naturally rich country.

Saying the falling standards of education and the fact of the world’s worst case of out-of-school children was unacceptable and should be a central debate issue for all aspirants to public office, from legislators to executives, Utomi suggested decentralization of education management and a pedagogy oriented toward creativity and problem-solving.

Lamenting the slow rate of economic growth in the country, Utomi said any candidate who cannot show how he can move GDP growth rate into double digits and double output within 5-7 years, considering the rate of population growth, should be considered I’ll be prepared for the job.

He said the unprecedented publishing of nine op-ed pieces from one individual in one weekend was designed to trigger robust rational conversation.

Arguing that Nigeria desperately needs sound thinking to pull through the current existential crisis he said Nigeria must pay attention to how Deng Xiaoping’s push for knowledge took China from a country that had more than 95 per cent of its people living in poverty to one with less than 2 per cent in that state in one generation.

In the published articles, he said, he showcased how education strategy would not only result in Nigeria reaping a demographic dividend but in supporting the value chains of a development strategy based on the latent comparative advantage of endowments in the six geo-economic zones of the country on which competitive global value chains are to be built.

Utomi said the parties of the Big Tent which include ADC, PRP, SDP, NRM, and others who have been meeting with the labour unions to construct a coalition that has come to be known as the third force, plan to form a government that will put all unemployed graduates to work within a month of being sworn in and place them on the salary of at least #100,000 a month as a Green Army working on environment issues and learning new skills in executive vocational education programmes that will prepare them for positions in an anticipated manufacturing revolution that will outdo the burst of China rising in the 1980s.

He asked the PDP and APC to get ready to debate the issues with candidates of the Big Tent.

Vanguard News Nigeria

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