A New Nigeria is Possible! By Nuhu Ribadu
Fellow Nigerians, in less than two weeks we will go to the polls. The elections in April afford us a great opportunity for serious national introspection. It is time to re-examine our commitment to the success of the Nigerian project by voting and making our votes count. It is also time to re-evaluate the dedication, competence, integrity, and vision of the people who are asking for our votes in the elections. Our level of development and enlightenment has gone beyond the stage where everything was permissible, including the very dubious but prevalent practice of rigging people into office.
I believe that neither I nor my running mate , Fola Adeola, need any introduction. Getting someone to truly believe in and share your vision is what makes a great team. The office of the Vice President is too sensitive a position for the choice of its occupant to be made solely to satisfy the yearnings of a few political elites.
It entails the selection of someone not only truly and completely committed to the shared vision of the presidential candidate and the political party, in this case the Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN), but one who will also bring his/her immense drive for excellence to bear on this vision. It needs a person with the right disposition and unquestionable nationalistic orientation; someone whose integrity is not in doubt; but much more important, someone who has the courage to do what is right. This is where Fola Adeola comes in. He is perhaps the biggest name in driving reforms and innovation in our country today. He is the true Nigerian story of purpose and vision. From a very humble background, he now parades one of the best credentials in service and integrity in Nigeria.
Our vision is to build a united Nigeria, devoid of ethnic or religious conflicts; a Nigeria where the well-being of the people is paramount; a Nigeria that inspires the highest level of patriotism in her citizens. THIS NIGERIA IS POSSIBLE! It is possible to ensure justice for the people, security of lives and property, and the peace and stability which would engender growth and development .
To this end, we will embark on policies whose main aim will be the provision of jobs and, by extension, the alleviation of poverty. While the immediate focus will be on short and medium term benefits, the ultimate aim will be the achievement of our long term goals of addressing problems that plague us as a nation. Our policy themes are: Human Capital Development ; The Economy; Infrastructural Development; Good Governance; Youth Employment; Agriculture and Food Security ; Defence and National Security ; Niger Delta; and Foreign Policy . These issues have been examined in detail and solutions proffered in our Pathway to a New Nigeria which is available at www.ribadu2011.com .
Suffice it to say that on human capital development, issues such as health, education, women and gender issues, the youth, the physically challenged and social security will receive priority. These are issues that form the bedrock of any society.
Our health and education systems are in dire need of overhauling. Implementing a people, process and equipment model in the health sector will reintroduce efficiency while innovative incentive regimes will ensure the commitment of our health care professionals. Functional and qualitative education is a tool for positive social transformation, personal empowerment and national development. Increasing funding to meet the UNESCO recommendation of 26% budgetary allocation to the education sector will improve access to, and ensure qualitative education, revitalize personnel and maintain physical infrastructure on a sustainable basis.
Nigeria is the most populous black nation in the world. Given our propensity for innovation and adaptation, it is sad that our economy has continued to stagnate. Instilling fiscal responsibility will curb most of the excesses present in our financial system today. We will invest in infrastructure, in health and education and in creating the enabling environment for investment to flourish.
Underlying our commitment to job creation and youth empowerment will be our drive to improve and strengthen sources of growth in the economy, particularly in agriculture, manufacturing, and financial services. Infrastructural decay due to neglect has been the bane of our nation. We will focus on the provision and maintenance of good roads and adequate power supply, while adopting a strategy that will create more jobs and enhance economic development and improve the quality of life of the ordinary Nigerian.
The Niger Delta has been a grossly mis-managed affair and as such has become an embarrassment to well meaning Nigerians. Issues of environmental pollution, widespread unemployment and poverty, low human capital development and inadequate infrastructure, violence and insecurity plague this area. These issues can only be tackled by a sincerity of purpose coupled with a long-term view to solving these problems.
To this end, we will start by reviewing the Amnesty programme began by late president Yar'Adua, while expanding the job pool in the region. We will push for and enforce the 'No gas flaring' act while our health environment strategy will explore ways in which we can utilize the ' clean development mechanism ' to grow green jobs in the region.
These and so much more, we can do. But only if you join us in making our collective dream a reality.
Ribadu is presidential candidate of the Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN).