The presidential candidate of the Alliance Congress Party of Nigeria (ACPN), Dr Oby Ezekwesili on Monday unveiled her manifesto and programs for the 2019 presidential election.
Dr Ezekwesili presented the manifesto at a press conference in Lagos, which she titled “From Poverty Central To Prosperity: How The ‘Oby’ Ezekwesili Presidency Will Lift 80+ Million Nigerians Out Of Poverty”.
The ACPN candidate described the document as a roadmap, adding that she has a dream of an inclusive and prosperous country where there is equality of opportunity for all.
She said, “The excessive powers of the Federal Government is partially responsible for the stunted growth and poverty of the states and regions.
“We shall lead an economic-based dialogue for correcting the structural imbalance that has hobbled the regions and states and created the failure of our fiscal federalism in its practice.
“The failure of the power sector is the clearest proof of what can happen when the Federal Government refuses to let go of its control.
“This failure is responsible for the situation where 190 million Nigerians manage about 3,500 megawatts of power, whereas, South Africa with 50 million people generates in excess of 50,000 megawatts.
“How can a nation be productive without access to energy. We need complete and true deregulation of the sector. We can lift many of our citizens out of poverty by filling the infrastructure gaps.
“It is not enough for the fuel subsidy to go. Our government will also deregulate the entire oil sector”.
Senior Special Adviser to President Goodluck Jonathan on Public Affairs, Dr. Doyin Okupe on Monday morning lambasted leaders and members of the opposition All Progressives Congress (APC).
Following several events, including the call for the President’s impeachment, based on allegations leveled against him in a letter written by former president Olusegun Obasanjo and the defection of 5 governors and 37 lawmakers to the APC, Mr Okupe described all attempts at discrediting the present administration as coming from ‘desperate failures’ who want the Presidency to go to the North.
“Every time they (APC) need a national figure as a leader or anytime they want to play national politics, they don’t have it among themselves. They went to look for Ribadu, Atiku, now (it’s) Tambuwal or (somebody) Obasanjo,” he said, referring to a meeting the APC leaders had with Obasanjo on Saturday.
He tagged the party as ‘unserious’ for admitting members who they (APC) had accused of corruption. “Before, Kwankwaso is a thief. Now if he joins APC, he’s a saint,” he said.
“Right now they are mute on manifesto, mute on programme. All they are doing is collecting all collectibles, irrespective of those who were formerly regarded as criminals, e.g Kwankwaso.
On the defection of five former PDP governors to the opposition party, he said it is “good riddance” for PDP and accused them of not being democrats.
“These are people who are irrevocably committed to a particular ideology. They want the Presidency to go to the north by all means. These are not democrats.”
Following the defection of 37 lawmakers, analysts have noted the possibility of the APC being the majority in the National Assembly but according to Okupe, it is a ‘dream’ the APC would never realize.
“Majority in the NASS is a dream they have. They are not likely to gain a majority in any of the Houses.”
He backed-up his assertion with confirmation that the PDP has strong ties with other parties. “PDP has working alliance and working arrangement with Labour Party, APGA, Accord Party and they are not small numbers.”
Although he claimed not to have ever condemned the APC for looking for members in the PDP, he defined a political party worth considering as one which has “within itself the human resources that is required to develop and instill sense of confidence in voters”.
“Check out APC, they have no story to tell. It is quite embarrassing, I am shocked. A new party formed with so much fanfare. They have no story to tell. What you would have expected would have been that this party that knows that it is in opposition, if it must defeat an incumbent, ought to be moving all over the place talking about manifesto, talking about what they would do differently from what is being done.”
“They (defected governors) are outgoing (as they have served two tenures already). These are governors that are not popular in their states.
He made an example of the Governor of Adamawa State, Murtala Nyako. “Nyako is of no consequence in Adamawa. We had to beg the whole of Adamawa, Jubril Aminu, Atiku Abubakar, Bamanga Tukur (everybody that was anybody in Adamawa), to help shore up support for Nyako to win the second term.”
He added that it was not the party’s fault but Nyako’s ‘person.’ “It’s not his fault. He’s never been a politician. It was General Obasanjo (Rtd) who went and called him from his farm. He didn’t take part in any primary. He didn’t win any election. He didn’t campaign to anybody. They finished the primaries in Adamawa.”
Obasanjo just called him and said you are the governor.”
As for the defected PDP lawmakers, they have lost their seats already. It’s a matter of time, he said.
He continued by saying they are no longer legislators insisting that “if it was during Obasanjo’s time, they would have put policemen at the gate. They would not allow them to enter and it would be right.”
“The law says that you in the National Assembly cannot cross-carpet, leave your party to another party, unless there is division in your party.
We have a court judgment that says there’s no division in PDP and the court says it does not recognise the new PDP.”
People flagrantly disobey the law and shamelessly declare themselves as members of another party, he said.
Buhari And Bola Tinubu: Still Thinking In The Past
While speaking on the programme, Okupe faulted the APC’s attempts at gaining numbers by poaching on PDP territory and blamed the leaders for not being up to date on the new era of politics.
“Politics has changed since the era of digital communication and the emancipation of a lot of our young people,” he said, noting that “the leadership of the APC, (Buhari and Bola Tinubu), are still thinking in the past.”
Okupe attributed the APC gain in south-west Nigeria to internal wrangling in the PDP. “PDP messed itself up,” he said.
On the fear of Nigerians in diaspora regarding the 2015 elections, which many say would be grappled with desperation, Okupe said: “I am not going to judge what will happen in Nigeria by the perception of foreigners.”
What Nigerians need to do is to appeal to these desperate people (particularly the APC), not to employ desperate measures. He advised members of the APC to talk to Nigerians and then head to the polls for the outcome.
He pegged the impeachment plan which has been supported by the APC as an “attempt by desperate failures.”
Segun Aderemi of the National Coalition for Good Governance says the PDP is already used to the emergence of new parties in Nigeria’s political arena and these new parties is posing no threat to anyone.
Speaking on the 2015 elections and emergence of new parties, specifically on the APC, on sunrise Daily, Aderemi stated that most of the politicians that formed these parties are offspring of the ruling party the PDP.
‘The issue of new parties coming is a thing we are used to’ as he hinted that the ruling PDP which is now 14 years.
‘PDP is a party that cuts across not just only in Nigeria’.
Commending the move by the INEC in registering new parties ahead of the 2015 elections, Aderemi said it will only boost Nigeria’s democracy, and the ruling is not worried by it.
A former Minister of Agriculture in Imo State and staunch PDP Member, Longiers Anyanwu has declared that the ruling party PDP is not in any way worried about the new political parties ahead of the 2015 elections, because the PDP is only concerned about the wellbeing of Nigerians and good governance of the nation.
Mr Longiers, who was a guest on Sunrise Daily, the breakfast programme on Channels Television however stated that a repeat of happenings in 2003,2006 and 2007 is about unfolding in 2013 where some people form emergency parties with shabby agendas, with the aim of ‘uproot’ the ruling party PDP from power, but that move never worked for the perpetrators.
Reacting to the recent change in the political arena of the country, that is, the registration of two new parties ID and PDM, and also in particular, the merger party, APC, which has vowed to reshape the politics in Nigeria, the former minister said PDP has no scores to settle with any party, therefore the registered parties are welcome unto the political fold if, they are in it for the benefit of Nigeria.
“We are not threatened by any form of entry, I want to assure you that PDP has been on ground for 14 years, sustaining its core values, promoting peace, ensuring that the territorial integrity of this country is protected, which are the cardinal values of our party
“It is strange today that we are experiencing the entrance of political parties that declare itself before the crafting of their manifestos, it is amazing that a party can emerge without clear cut dimension, without clear-cut ideological base, only to come out and attack the president and the chairman of our party without any agenda recklessly to cause aspersion on the existing political party”
Mr Longiers however stated that despite the PDP welcoming these parties with ‘constructive criticism’ the ruling party will no longer tolerate the unnecessary distractions, overheating of the polity as it is not fair on the party.