The presidential candidate of the Allied Congress Party of Nigeria, Dr. Obiageli Ezekwesili, has raised an alarm on the urgent need to rescue Nigeria from the current leadership.
Ezekwesili said this while participating in the presidential debate organised by the Nigeria Elections Debate Group and the Broadcasting Organisations of Nigeria on Saturday.
According to her, Nigeria is suffering from leadership deficit coupled with incompetence and highly-spirited zeal to loot the nation.
She said: “Nigeria needs to be rescued urgently. What we see in our country is a massive failure of our leaders. Some 60 per cent of our women are poor. There is massive poverty. We have no business being the poverty capital of the world. We must disrupt the current political setup. As a technocrat in government, I served the Nigerian people. I have the competence and capacity to serve Nigerians.
“This is a historical moment. Nigerians, this is your moment. The citizens have a right to change the bad narratives about Nigeria. Nigeria needs a leader that truly cares and has the competence. We will mobilise ourselves for the urgent rescue.”
On corruption, Ezekwesili called for a structural change, saying: “As the President of the country, exemplary leadership is key, which will help reduce corruption. There will be structural change like deregulation of the petroleum sector to reduce corruption. Good behaviour will rewarded while bad behaviourwill be punished.”
Assuring youths of participation and inclusion in policy making, Ezekwesili said: “We have said it that 50 per cent of our cabinet will be made of young people. We will ensure that our youths are competitive globally.”
Expressing displeasure over the state of education and health in the country, the ACPN presidential candidate said: “Education is currently in a dysfunctional state; based on global factors, I cannot guarantee a particular budget on education. We will work to better the educational system.
“We will expand the National Health Insurance Scheme by ensuring that jobless people also have access to it. Primary health care, secondary health care and tertiary health care will operate on a value chain basis.
“We will fix the learning outcomes in our public schools, which is the quality of the teachers. We will focus on a better remuneration for our teachers and improve the curriculum.
“Education has always been known as a pathway to human progress. Economic and social mobility is possible through education. The early childhood education will be integrated. We will focus on technical and vocational education. We must modernise teaching and equip our teachers
“We must modernise teaching. We will take teaching to the prestigious profession that it once was by training the teachers massively, and equipping them with the new knowledge of the new economy.”
While linking the rate of crimes in Nigeria to joblessness of youths, Ezekwesili assured Nigerians that 80 million people would be lifted out of poverty when she emerges.
She said: “Some 29.7 per cent Nigerian youths are unemployed while about 55 per cent of them do not have a tangible job. The curriculum in the tertiary institutions should be geared towards making the youth employable. The way out for our youths is jobs, jobs, jobs.
“When there is no consequence for criminality, it mushrooms. We will employ technology to aid our intelligence gathering using global and continental collaboration.
“Our plan is to lift at least 80 million Nigerians out of poverty. To reduce government spending, the private sector must run the economy. Our plan is to lift at least 80 million Nigerians out of poverty. When people have better productivity, they live better.
“Today, those who commit savagery know that there’s no consequence, and whenever there’s no consequence to criminality, it mushrooms. There’s a huge supply of bad behaviour, savagery in our country because there has not been any judicial process that has led to the conviction of anyone that has killed a fellow Nigerian.”
Ezekwesili berated the presidential candidates of the Peoples Democratic Party, Atiku Abubakar, and All Progressives Congress, Muhammadu Buhari, for being absent at the debate.
“On the absence of @APCNigeria and @OfficialPDPNig from the #Presidentialdebate2019, I am not surprised they are not here. For the Nigerian people, this is the moment to make judgement. It is time for the citizens to take complete charge of their destiny,” she added.