Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, the presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), has launched his policy plan for Nigeria and promised to attract investments and support 50 million Small and Medium-Scale Enterprises, if elected as president in 2019.
At the launch in Yola, , Abubakar said the purpose was to double the size of Nigeria Gross Domestic Products (GDP) to 900 billion dollars by 2025.
He said the investments would create a minimum of 2.5 million jobs annually and lift at least 50 million people from poverty in the first two years.
Abubakar said he would help create jobs by innovating flagship programmes such as the national open apprenticeship programme through the capacity of master-craftsmen and women to train one-million new apprentices every year would be enhanced.
“Our national innovation fund and SME venture capital fund initiatives will provide stable and sustainable long-term support to aspiring entrepreneurs.’’
Abubakar said that his plan to restructure Nigeria would lead to a vast increase in the internally generated revenue, both for the federal government and the states.
The former Vice President said that would be done via the matching grants that we would be provided to state governments that increase their own revenue.
“Let me be clear, no state will receive less funding than they get today – in fact all will receive more and the harder a state works the more they will get,’’ adding they were not just his plan, but that of Nigerians.
Abubakar also pledged to offer an inclusive leadership, saying “Atiku Abubakar is 100 per cent for 100 per cent of Nigerians, 100 per cent of the time. ‘’
The PDP presidential candidate said that he was not out to make promises without plan as being witnessed in the past, adding that it is one thing to promise and another thing to deliver.
“I am not one for making grandiose promises. Rather than promises, I believe in policies. A promise is an indication to do a future action. A policy is a plan to achieve future goals.
“I believe in setting goals and coming up with realistic plans and policies to achieving those goals.
To me, leadership is having the discipline to commit to one’s goals until they are a reality.’’
He said he succeeded in running his private enterprises which now employ 50,000 Nigerians because I believe in policies and I have the discipline to stay with them until they become reality.
“It is my desire to run for the office of the president of the federal republic of Nigeria, not because I have a bag full of promises, but because I am prepared to lead. ‘’
Abubakar said that over the last 18 months, he had worked with the best experts Nigeria has to offer to come up with policies and plans that when implemented would get Nigeria going in the right direction again.
He recalled that when he was Vice President from 1999 to 2007, I chaired the national economic council that gave Nigeria her highest and most consistent GDP growth of over 6 per cent per annum.
Abubakar said that despite the fact that crude oil prices at that time were much lower than they were today, under the dynamic leadership of President Obasanjo, Nigeria paid off its entire foreign debt.
“We also introduced the GSM revolution that saw Nigeria go from 100,000 phone- lines to over 100 million today.
“We were able to achieve these, and much more, because we had a plan called the national economic empowerment and development strategy.’’
Abubakar added that above all, it was a plan that would help create jobs, saying without jobs, Nigerians could not afford to feed their families and their children live in poverty.
“Without jobs, there is crime, drug use and insecurity. Without jobs, where is the hope for a better life and a better future?
“Today we will begin the process of sharing our policies that form my plan to create jobs, restructure the polity, and get Nigeria working again.’’
Abubakar who said that he started out as an orphan selling firewood on the streets of Jada in Adamawa, added that “If Nigeria worked for me, I owe it as my duty to make sure that Nigeria also works for you, your family and your friends.
“It is time to get Nigeria working again, and these are the plans and policies I have for achieving that.
I appeal to you to join me on this journey towards a better life for all Nigerians.