How will Buhari, Atiku, others address Nigeria’s poor development indices?
THE polity witnessed an interesting debate among five vice presidential candidates on Friday. The debate was a tango between the two leading parties’ flag bearers, Professor Yemi Osinbajo of the All Progressives Congress, APC, and Mr. Peter Obi of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP. It was not devoid of the usual trading of blames with the APC vice presidential candidate accusing PDP of looting the country for 16 years and his PDP counterpart accusing the APC of ineptitude and bad policies that worsened the plight of the citizenry.
Osinbajo listed the achievements of his party to include railway, power, provision of infrastructures and payments to the poor that must be sustained. Obi reeled out figures and statistics detailing economic and welfare decline, assuring that his team will create jobs using the small and medium scale enterprises model as China did. As expected, all the vice presidential candidates, including Khadija Abdullahi of the Alliance for New Nigeria, ANN; Ganiyu Galadima of the Allied Congress Party of Nigeria, ACPN; and Umar Gesto of the Young Progressives Party, YPP, identified the problems of the country and marshalled reasons the electorate should hand each of the parties the mandate in 2019. Apart from enumerating the problems of the country and promising to address them, if elected, the candidates’ utterances were not deep on the measurable steps that will be taken to tackle these challenges. They were also loudly silent on many poor development indices the country is swimming in.
President Muhammadu Buhari ajnd Allied Congress Party of Nigeria, ACPN presidential candidate, Oby Ezekwesili Thus, the next level of debate – presidential, holding next year, specifically on January 19, 2019 among President Muhammadu Buhari of the APC, Atiku Abubakar of the PDP, Oby Ezekwesili of the ACPN, Kingsley Moghalu of the YPP and Femi Durotoye of the ANN – must be more robust and deep. The debate must, for instance, tackle how Nigeria will cease to be the poverty capital of the world, improve life expectancy, reduce maternal and infant mortality rates and improve other growth and development indices. How will they tackle poverty, which saw Nigeria, in October, according to the World Poverty Clock, overtaking India and becoming the poverty capital of the world with 88 million people living in extreme poverty?
The presidential candidates must show how Nigeria will overcome being the 11th worst place to be born (2018), second worst country with electricity supply in the world (2017), third most terrorized country in the world (2018) of which, as of November 30, 2018, no fewer than 6,652 Nigerians had been killed through terrorism, Boko Haram insurgency; farmers/herdsmen, ethno-religious and cult clashes, and armed robbery among others. Other indices include: One of the most dangerous places in the world to give birth and third country with the worst maternal mortality rate (2018), seventh worst country on World Bank’s Human Capital Index (2018), worst police in the world (2017), third worst city to live in the world (2018), worst country in the world at fighting inequality (2017), 10th worst army in the world (2018), highest number of children out of school – 32 million (2018), most corrupt country in the world (2018), the fourth country with the highest deforestation rate in the world (2018), the country with the highest number of road fatalities in Africa (2017, FRSC), and the 9th most dangerous country for women (2018).