Friday, November 2, 2018
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Bonn, Germany

Continued from Part 3

Intels Nigeria Limited (left) was founded over three decades ago by Gabriele Volpi, an Italian national who also has Nigerian citizenship, and former Vice-President, Mr. Atiku Abubakar.

In April, 2017, President Muhammadu Buhari approved the recommendations of the Attorney-General of the Federation, Abubakar Malami, breaking the near-monopoly of Mr. Atikuís Intels in the handling of oil and gas cargoes in the country.

There is no question that Buhari is the absolute worst president Nigeria has ever had the misfortune to be burdened with. He is thoroughly and irredeemably incompetent, not to mention unapologetically bigoted and lazy. Only a sick country would reward such a person with a second term (Prof. Farooq Kperogi)

It makes no sense to sell public assets simply to fund a Ďbusiness-as-usualí budget that is essentially 70% recurrent. It is irresponsible to part with valuable assets simply to consume the proceeds Ė like selling your family house to take a trip overseas on holiday (Atiku Abubakar, PDP Presidential Candidate reacting to FG plans to sell assets to finance budget)

ll things being equal, either Atiku or Buhari will emerge the president after the February 2019 presidential election. I would have loved a better candidate, other than one of the two, to be elected, but, our political system has made it impossible for another party, except PDP or APC, to win the election. The system works against those who really want to render selfless services to the people but do not belong to any of the two major political parties.

Be that as it may, Atiku Abubakar, although not the best Nigeria can offer as a presidential candidate, for so many reasons, seems to be lucky, this time around, by being at the right place at the right time. Based on what Nigeria and Nigerians have been through these horrible three years Buhari has been in office, it will be inconceivable for him, Buhari, to emerge the winner of the election. All the national and international support which helped to propel him into office are almost gone.

Because of Buhariís lack of leadership, and the hardship he has foisted in the land, Nigerians are investing impossible expectations in the presidency, so Atiku must be ready to deliver. We loathe Buhariís government for making the presidency a cult: being enemies of peace, for creating business and financial monopoly, speculation, reckless banking, class antagonism, sectionalism, unemployment, poverty and disease, in other words, for underdeveloping Nigeria the more, and for turning the government of Nigeria into a mere appendage to their own affairs. Are we practicing feudalism or democracy?

If ever the presidential election holds in 2019, assuming it will not be overtaken by events, it will be a peaceful one, as it will no longer be a duel between a northerner and a southerner, whereby the northerners will take to violence if their candidate loses, but this will be a duel between two tribesmen, and in that case, the northerners are assured, head or tail, that a northerner will still remain the president of Nigeria, and so, nobody will take to violence, no matter the outcome. But, the problem is that this feeling might unleash apathy in the north, and in that case, the turnout, on the election day, might be low, and that will work to Atikuís advantage.

Joseph Mr'musa Agwu borrowed me the yardstick I will use here. He meant that Atiku is, or will be, everything Buhari is not, because, he, Atiku:

* is not a jihadist
* is not an extremist
* is not a tribalist
* does not love cow than human beings
* has WAEC
* is Sound
* is an Industrialist
* respects women
* trusts the youth...not lazy youths.
* can give a speech off hand
* won't spend 100 days in a foreign hospital
* will be in charge

Barring rigging, Atiku will beat Buhari hands down. If and when it happens, Atiku should not disappoint; millions of Nigerians are hoping on him to right the wrongs inflicted upon us, and we will castigate him when he fails. Buhari ended up getting the job he was looking for, for more than a decade, but, didnít know what to do with it. I hope that if Atiku gets the job, unlike Buhari, he will be up to it from Day One.

If my premonition didn't miss, then, two men from the "East" will get the mandate to rule the nation from 2019. Atiku is from the north-East, while Peter Obi, his running mate, is from the south-East. So, the two men from the East should be wise enough to resuscitate Nigeria and bring it back to life after Buhari and his fellow goners pushed it into a coma.

As a former vice president of Nigeria, Atiku will be a better manager of the economy than Buhari. Atiku is sharp, he understands Nigeria's problems and will be pro-business. He univocally promises to restructure Nigeria, and he knows how to get the economy back on track. They have promised to reduce the cost of premium motor spirit (PMS), popularly known as petrol, to N87-N90 per liter.

Most of all, Atiku and Obi, being successful businessmen, should be able the lift as many Nigerians as possible out of poverty and despair. They can do that by using their vast knowledge in creation and management of wealth to put the country into a better shape. Atiku, as the highest private employer of labor in Nigeria, even more than Dangote, will definitely know how to create more jobs for millions of Nigerians - something Buhari has been unable to do.

We all know that instead of creating jobs and taking some Nigerians out of poverty, Buhari has been killing jobs thereby worsening their economic condition. Buhari has wiped out the middle class in Nigeria, and this class is the engine that powers the economy and development in other countries which know what they are doing. The middle class is the creator of most jobs in other climes, but in Nigeria, this class is non-existent, and that's why things are totally out of hand since Buhari came to power. Atiku will definitely see to the re-birth of this very important economic class.

Many of us have read the reports which say that Nigeria has more extremely poor people than any other country in the world. Shame on our leaders!

Victor Ikem wrote: "While the debate generated by the Brookings Institutionís World Poverty Clock report which rated Nigeria as a country with the highest number of extremely poor people in the world, is yet to wane, it is disturbing to see how the British Prime Minister, Theresa May, at her recent visit to Africa, described Nigeria as having 87 million people who live on less than $1 and 90 cents a day, making it home to more very poor people than any other nation in the world. Meanwhile, CNN, a leading global News Network, reacting to the Brooking Institutionís report on Nigeria puts it this way; Nigeria has overtaken India as the country with the largest number of people living in extreme poverty, with an estimated 87 million Nigerians, or around half of the countryís population, thought to be living on less than $1.90 a day. Despite being the largest oil producer in Africa, Nigeria has struggled to translate its resource wealth into rising living standards.

The government must commit itself to build new infrastructure, developing efficient social systems that will support the poor and improve food supply and food security, improve transportation, healthcare, education, and housing support systems in addition to ensuring stable electricity supply. And above all, (the government must) fight corruption genuinely as all these have direct implications on the rate of poverty and the ability of government to deliver prosperity and well-being to the average Nigerian".

The point is that we need a man who knows what it takes to create jobs. As a social scientist, I know it's not the primary duty of a government to create lots of jobs, but what a responsible government does is to create a conducive environment and to put into place conditions that will help the private sector to create jobs. Atiku and Obi, as private citizens, have been creating thousands of jobs, and as president and vice president respectively, the duo will know how to empower entrepreneurs to create jobs.

Atiku started immediately he was nominated by his Party, as its presidential candidate, to show Nigerians what he will do if elected. To be precise, on October 8, he proved to be a job creator by signing a partnership deal with Saudi German Hospital, Dubai, to set up a world-class medical facility in Abuja. The hospital will be a 100-bed hospital facility built to reach new grounds in medical services delivery. Benny Umoren posted these pictures.

Atiku with the partners after signing the agreement

What the hospital will look like upon completion

Atiku seems to be blessed with good health. At least, if he becomes the president, he will not be abandoning his duty post to seek medical treatment abroad; unlike Buhari who has spent a greater part of his tenure outside Nigeria on medicals. It's unfortunate that Buhari has failed to put in place state-of-the-art medical facilities in some parts of Nigeria after being a perennial patient and seeker of medical help abroad. Atiku, even as a private citizen, is building a first-class hospital in Abuja, and that's what Buhari should have done before now.

Atiku, as a former boss of the Nigerian Customs Service, (NCS), will know how to stop the Agency from being one of the most corrupt institutions in Nigeria. I think the Nigerian Customs Service stinks to high heaven in terms of corruption, as a greater chunk of the generated customs revenue ends up in the pockets of the Agency's big shots. Having been the head of that Agency, Atiku will know how to plug the hole that makes almost every senior Customs official a millionaire. He would make sure the generated revenue will go into the government's accounts. Not only cleaning the Agency, but Atiku will also make the clearing of goods at the seaports easier, thereby removing the stress business people are going through in getting their goods out, and the issue about congestions will be dealt with. Of course, Port Harcourt, Calabar and Warri seaports will be rehabilitated for more de-centralized cargo handling, and this will, in turn, create more jobs.

Atiku, as the man who built the first private American-styled University in Nigeria, will tackle the rot in the education sector. Unlike Buhari, who has been killing education in Nigeria, starting from the time he was the head of state and now that he is a civilian president, Atiku will turn the sector around and will work on making the standard of Nigerian education higher again, as it used to be, just like in the 1980s when people like me graduated from a Nigerian university.

Because Buhari is illiterate, he has allowed the quality of education to hit an all-time low. He appointed an ex-journalist as the minister of education and made an ex-vice chancellor the minister of state for education. Since becoming the president, Buhari has been allocating to the education sector lower than 26 percent of national budget Ďrecommendedí by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization, UNESCO. The global organization recommended the budgetary benchmark to enable nations adequately cater to rising education demands.

This conversation will be continued!






Continued from Part 3