Thursday, 16 October 2014
FORMER head of state General Muhammadu Buhari has come up with a nine-point plan to salvage Nigeria which he said will serve as his blueprint if elected to the presidency kind of similar to President Goodluck Jonathan's Transformation Agenda.
Published yesterday at Eagle Square Abuja where General Buhari launched his 2015 presidential election campaign, the agenda was portrayed as the solution to end the ongoing rot in the country. With the declaration, General Buhari is now an official candidate for the All Progressives Congress (APC) presidential ticket and will be standing when the party holds its primaries.
Attracting a large turnout of supporters and associates including several senior party officials, the declaration appeared to have the backing of the APC hierarchy. Although party leader Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu was absent, his wife, Senator Oluremi Tinubu and many other senators from the southwest were present.
Four APC governors including Babatunde Fashola of Lagos State, Rotimi Amaechi of Rivers State, Adams Oshiomhole of Edo State and Tanko al-Makura of Nasarawa State were present. Among senior party officials at the venue were the national vice chairman, northeast, Pastor David Lawal and the APC national secretary Mai Mala.
Senate minority leader and former governor of Benue State, Senator George Akume led the National Assembly delegation that included several senators and members of the House of Representatives. Also in attendance was the younger brother of late President Umaru Yar‘Adua, Col Abdulaziz Yar‘Adua and a former member of the House of Representatives and Zilani Ibrahim.
Former vice president Atiku Abubakar’s declaration earlier on in the day was more serene but a source in his campaign said he chose not to invite party officials and governors in order not to compromise them. General Buhari’s declaration served as an opportunity for several governorship and senatorial aspirants from hoping to ride on his coattails to showcase their aspirations.
General Buhari's nine-point agenda included:
*Protection of lives and property
*Pursuing economic policies for shared prosperity and immediate attention on youth employment
*Quality education for development, modernity and social mobility
*Agricultural productivity for taking millions out of poverty and ensuring food security.
*Reviving industries to generate employment and “make things” not just to remain hawkers of other peoples’ goods
*Developing solid minerals exploitation which will substantially attract employment and revenue for government
*Restoring honour and integrity to public service by keeping the best and attracting the best.
*Tackling corruption which has become blatant and widespread. The rest of the world looks at Nigeria as the home of corruption. Nigeria is a country where stealing is not corruption
*Respecting the constitutional separation of powers among the executive, legislature and judiciary and respecting the rights of citizens
Former Bayelsa State governor Timpre Sylva, said: “Buhari is not in this race for himself. He is in this race because of us, the younger people.
"We are very happy that he has decided to come out of retirement to help us stabilise this country so that you and I, the younger ones can carry on with the development of this great nation. And people even say General Buhari is too old, to them, I will only quote the words of the former president of America, late President Ronald Regan who said we are not going to make age an issue in this campaign because we do not want to be accused of taking advantage of the inexperience of our opponent.”
Former People's Democratic Party chairman Audu Ogbeh, who introduced the aspirant said that General Buhari was not the religious bigot that he has been sometimes depicted to be by political rivals. Noting General Buhari’s links with many Christians, Dr Ogbeh described those who made such claims as enemies of Nigeria who did not mind dividing Nigeria along religious lines.