The All Progressive Congress has launched a seven-point manifesto in which it promises Nigerians stable power supply and free education at all levels if it gets the voters’ mandate in 2015
| By Vincent Nzemeke | Sep. 9, 2013 @ 01:00 GMT
ONE of the reasons why many Nigerians have become disenchanted with the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, the party’s inability to produce a workable manifesto. Critics of the self acclaimed largest political party in Africa have always accused to party of selling lies to voters during election campaigns. The opposition parties seeking to wrestle power from the PDP have also not helped matters as none of them can also boast of having clear cut manifestoes.
But things appear to be changing with the emergence of the newly-registered All Progressives Congress, APC. The party seems resolute in its quest to give the PDP a run for its money in the 2015 polls. Hoping to avoid the failures of the PDP, the party on Wednesday August 21, 2013 unveiled its manifesto to the Nigerians in Abuja. According to the party’s officials present at the ceremony, the manifesto, which centres on a seven-point cardinal programme, will ensure the generation of 40, 000 megawatts of electricity within four to eight years. But he did say how the APC would achieve this feat.
The cardinal points of focus listed in the 31- page manifesto are: war against corruption, food security, accelerated power supply, integrated transport network, free education, devolution of power, accelerated economic growth and affordable health care. Bisi Akande, interim national chairman of the party, said the new manifesto was a clear indication of APC’s determination to transform Nigeria into a progressive state anchored on social democracy. “As a change agent, APC will halt the dangerous drift of Nigeria into a failed state; with a conscious plan for a post-oil-economy. Our government shall vigorously pursue the expansion of electricity generation and distribution of up to 40,000 megawatts in four to eight years. The APC will also work at making power available from renewable energy sources such as coal, solar and wind.”
On agriculture, the APC noted that Nigeria, which used to be a leading exporter of agricultural produce, had become import-dependent and promised to revamp the industry in order to make Nigeria a food exporting country again. The party also stated that it would embark on a national infrastructural development programme through a private-public sector partnership.
In the health sector, the APC said it would work to reduce infant mortality rate by 2019 to three per cent and reduce maternal mortality by more than 70 per cent. The APC said that it would make free ante-natal care for pregnant women and provide free health care for babies and children up to school going age.
According to the party, the aged and people living with HIV/AIDS would also enjoy free health care. On industrialisation, the APC said that it would conduct a state by state census of ailing industries. This, it explained, would enable it to establish an industrial resuscitation fund. The party added that it would create new development banks that would make affordable credits available for industrial growth. On job creation, the APC said that it would maintain “a sound macro-economic policy environment, run an efficient government and preserve the independence of the Central Bank of Nigeria.”
The APC also promised to re-introduce free education at all levels. But many observers have described that part of the manifesto as deceitful and a wishful thinking. Critics of this aspect of the manifesto said the APC has not shown that it has the capacity to introduce free education at all levels in view of what is happening in Lagos State with its university.
As expected, APC’s biggest rival which is the PDP has already reacted to the manifesto. The party through Tony Okeke, national publicity secretary, faulted Akande’s claim that Nigeria was in near trauma. It said Nigeria’s economy was growing consistently, stressing that the Gross Domestic Product had also been rising at seven per cent for the past three years.
“The Nigerian economy is one of the fastest growing economies in the world. In Asia, Europe and even America, the economy is either in recession or growing at one per cent, but our GDP has been growing at seven per cent for the past three years; anybody who does not know this is either not in this country or he is mischievous.”
For ordinary Nigerians, the APC manifesto is no guarantee that the party will clinch power in 2015. Robert Umeh, a political analyst in Lagos, said the party must work hard to convince voters through the performances of the governors in its fold in order to oust PDP in 2015. “It is not enough to just unveil a manifesto; the party must work hard to show Nigerians that it means business. Nigerians will ask about the performance of their governors in various states before voting them at the national level.”