The Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) on Monday night in Abuja commended former Vice President of Nigeria, Atiku Abubakar for being the first presidential candidate to honour its invitation for an interactive session on his plans for governance if he wins the 2019 Presidential election.
“You have made history today by being the first presidential candidate to honor our invitation and we do not take it for granted”, Bishop Stephen Adegbite, the Methodist Bishop of Ikeja Diocese and CAN Director of Mobilization and National Issues told Atiku.
Atiku, Presidential candidate of the PDP in the 2019 Presidential election, was at the Ecumenical Centre in Abuja on Monday night for a two-hour interactive session with members of CAN who wanted to know how he would govern Nigeria if he wins the 2019 Presidential election.
Adegbite also observed that Atiku, who up for the two hours duration the program lasted and convincingly addressed all the fears, issues and concerns raised by members of CAN, is an indication of his physical fitness.
Issues discussed during the session included how an Atiku government will improve power supply, increase the number of women and youth in governance, whether he was under any influence by foreign concerns to do their bidding, how the challenge of high maternal mortality rate will be addressed, how to grow the economy, put a check on insecurity and how he would stop nepotism in governance.
On power supply, Atiku said, he would adopt the “captive power strategy” where specific power stations would provide power supply for specific areas adding that the strategy would ensure availability of power supply across the country within his first two years in office. He said that a study has revealed that the adoption of captive power stations will yield greater results than reliance on gas to generate power. He also said that there were companies willing to provide power at affordable rate using the captive power strategy.
On growing insecurity in the country, he said that the incident would be stemmed by providing jobs for the teeming youths who were idle and willing to be used as instruments of destruction.
According to him, instead of the present administration providing three million jobs yearly as it promised, a total of 11 million jobs have been lost since the President Muhammadu Buhari came into office in 2015.
He listed the retooling of the nation’s armed forces for better performance among other strategies that have been penciled down as means of improving the effective security network of the nation.
On how to revive the economy, he said that he would create the right environment that would attract foreign and local investors who ran away from the country due to harsh economic and investment climate.
Atiku observed that the private sector and not government should be the highest employer of labour and the main engine of economic growth.
He noted that Nigeria slipped into recession because of capital flight and attendant closure of companies in the country following government’s pronouncements which sent the wrong signals to investors.
He also said that the clampdown on domiciliary accounts forced investors to massively withdraw, close accounts and move their funds elsewhere, adding that the impact of the capital flight was the closure of companies and loss of jobs.
On the inclusion of women and youths in governance, he said that 40 per cent of his cabinet would be made of youths, 35 per cent for women while the remaining 25 percent would be filled by older Nigerians, adding that he plans to hand over to a younger generation.
Speaking on nepotism, Atiku said “by my nature I am not like that” assuring that he would run an all-inclusive government devoid of any kind of cabal.
Responding to a question on how challenged persons would be accommodated in his government, he said that they would be accorded opportunities to manifest their full potentials and that he had granted scholarship to some of them to study up to their doctoral degrees.
Speaking on how to reduce Nigeria’s high maternal mortality rate, Atiku said that his administration would promote healthcare delivery system that is comprehensive, efficient and can deliver effective and qualitative services to women. He added that his policy document which was launched in November 2018 details in full what was in store for women.
The event which attracted Christians from various denominations had panelists which included, Head, Anglican Communion in Nigeria, Primate Nicholas Okoh; Head, Legal of CAN, Barr. Samuel Kwankur.
Others are Bishop Anthony Anyiador, National Treasurer for CAN; Director of Youths, Engr. Abiodun Sanyaolu; Chaplain, National Christian Centre, Bishop Peter Ogunmuyiwa; Acting General Secretary of CAN, Barr. Joseph Daramola; National Coordinator for 2019 elections for CAN, Dr William Okoye and Chief Kenny Martins, among others.