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Appraising Atiku’s Campaign Manifesto -By Hajia Hadiza Mohammed

A good leader should understand the socio-political environment and the demographic features of those he is coming to lead otherwise he will be trapped in the ethical dilemma of conflict of primordial interest and general interest as the country is currently witnessing in the APC regime.

As the match to the February, 2023 general election continues, there are concerns among members of the public and observers about the suitability and preparedness of the many individual especially the presidential candidates filing out for the election. While some are classified as contenders, some are seen as spoilers who are working to scuttle the chances of another candidate, some are pretenders and speculators who have come to test the ground preparatory for negotiation, settlement and pay-off before they step down. One of the many ways to gauge the level of preparedness of anyone going into elective position is to take a peep into his campaign manifesto. In Nigeria, because most people rely on electoral malfeasance, they care less about manifesto and when they do, what you will see is a patchwork of cut-and-paste document that may not address the challenges of the people they are ostensibly coming to represent or lead. When you hear them campaign, sometimes they don’t make reference to the items highlighted in their manifestoes. And when they come into office they forget their campaign promises as the current All Progressives Congress (APC) regime did and begin to pursue personal agenda.

It is on the basis of the aforementioned scenario that I wish to examine the five-point agenda of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) presidential candidate, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar’s as encapsulated in his campaign manifesto entitled: “My Covenant With Nigerians”. From the outset, the PDP and its presidential flag bearer have exemplified readiness. The party was the first to conduct its presidential primaries, release the timetable for campaign, kick-start its campaign and the party’s standard bearer was the very first to launch and present his campaign manifesto to the people. All these clearly show readiness and preparedness. Why most people get into office and begin to flounder is because they came in unprepared, like Buhari who governed the country like a sole administrator for six months before constituting his cabinet.

I have monitored with interest the course of Atiku’s campaign so far as he traverses the nation campaigning, preparatory for the forthcoming election and I have noticed his consistency in emphasizing the contents of his manifesto which implies that his manifesto is not a copy-and-paste thing but a document he consciously prepared as a working document for the purpose of implementing what is contained therein when he comes into power. Again, a look at the contents of the five-point agenda, his major policy thrust shows that in preparing the document, he actively engaged Nigerians for the contents captured the major challenges confronting the nation at present. This clearly presents him as leader with environmental awareness attributes who would carry everybody along if he comes to power.

Atiku’s five-point agenda is on unity, restructuring, security, economy and education. And to me these are the major issues that require urgent attention for now. Nigerian unity has been affected negative by the crude marginalization policies of the APC government that has emphasized our fault lines giving room to restiveness and separatist agitation across the land. To stem this ugly trend, Atiku promised to form and inclusive government that will give every party of the country a sense of belonging if he is elected as president. He promised regional inclusion as well as gender and youth inclusion. The APC regime is both regional and gender biased against some political blocs and against women and youths.

Furthermore, Atiku restated his earlier stand on restructuring the nation by promising to devolve more powers and resources to the states and local government to decongest the center and take the government and development closer to the people. The implementation of fiscal federalism will ultimately reduce agitations and restiveness within the country. You can recall that for some time ever before this era of electioneering, Atiku has been championing the call to restructure the nation. This is consistency and a demonstration of patriotism and statesmanship.

He realized the importance of sound economy on the welfare of the people and designed a clear blueprint on how to rejig the economy bastardized by the APC regime that has made Nigeria the poverty capital of the world with 133 million out of the 200 million Nigerians suffering from multi-dimensional poverty. The economy is facing run-away inflation, high debt burden, deteriorating exchange rate crisis, high unemployment rate that has acerbated suffering and crime rate in the country. To address these and more he promised to abolish the multiple foreign exchange regimes, revitalize some economic plants, create enabling environment to attract and promote investment, privatize some non-performing public assets, develop the critical economic infrastructure and set aside the $10 billion funds to incentivize the MSMEs in the country and more.

Again, with the Nigerian educational system in shambles owing to the negligence of the APC regime, with over 20 million out of school children and the intractable Federal Government varsity teachers’ imbroglio and they decaying academic infrastructure, Atiku released his plans to address these and other sundry issues to educate the children and the youths for the future and survival of the nation.

On the issue of security, his plan is to employ proactive measures through the use technology, intelligence gathering, strengthening and motivating our security agencies not just to fight insecurity but forestall it. He also planned to introduce state police which will also be part of power devolution strategy. He stated that banditry, kidnapping and other violent crimes were the direct consequences economic hardship and lack of will power on those at the helm of affairs to prosecute those involved in the crime. He promised to provide adequate security without which meaningful economic activities, the desired peace and progress will be unachievable.

Clearly, leadership is about people. It is about common interest. It is about what is general acceptable and desirable. A good leader should understand the socio-political environment and the demographic features of those he is coming to lead otherwise he will be trapped in the ethical dilemma of conflict of primordial interest and general interest as the country is currently witnessing in the APC regime. A leader who listens to his people and factor every interest in the decision making process will always succeed.

Hajia Hadiza Mohammed

[email protected]

An actress, social activist, politician

London, UK



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