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Atiku launches presidential campaign, policy document


Nigeria’s opposition People’s Democratic Party presidential candidate, Atiku Abubakar, Monday formally launched his 2019 presidential campaign with the unveiling of policy documents that contain what he describes as his vision to get Nigeria working again.

The documents tagged the “The Atiku’s Plan” was briefed in a nine-minute address streamed live on Facebook and Twitter by the presidential hopeful.

“The sad fact today, as you know, is that too many of our people are not working and are living in poverty and insecurity,” Abubakar said.

“The very fabric of our society is breaking down. We have never been so divided as a nation,” he said.

“The most important question in this election is: are you better off than you were four years ago, are you richer or poorer? That is why our primary focus is to get Nigeria working again.”

According to Abubakar, “the two major indices of deterioration in the welfare status of Nigerians in recent times are the increasing rates of youth unemployment and high level of poverty.”

In his policy document, the former president said he is targeting a gross domestic product of $900 billion (788 billion euros) by 2025, more than double the current amount and pledged to lift “at least 50 million people out of extreme poverty”.

His campaign spokesperson Segun Sowunmi told Channels Television breakfast programme, Sunrise Daily, hours before Abubakar’s Facebook broadcast that his principal will create jobs for the teeming army of Nigeria’s unemployed youth through the privatisation.

Nigeria’s unemployment rate has been increasing steadily since Q2 of 2016 when it stood at 13.30 percent to 18.80 in Q3 of 2017, when Nigeria’s National Bureau of Statistics released the last job figures.

The statistics office said last week that it cannot publish new figures for lack of funds.

“We said we will create jobs because we have a job creation problem in Nigeria,” Sowunmi said. Not only because of the maladministration of this government, although they contributed a lot to it.

In contrast to the President Muhammadu Buhari’s seeming affront comments about the country’s youths, “do nothing” and want everything for “free”, Abubakar pledged to revive an apprenticeship programme which will recruit 100,000 artisans to train one million people.

However, Buhari while launching his campaign on Sunday said: “over the last three and a half years, we have laid the foundations for a strong, stable and prosperous country for the majority of our people.”

Buhari acknowledged that “there is still much to do” he, however, said, “the Next Level of effort focuses on job creation across various sectors.”

He told a delegation of the Nigerian community in Paris last Monday that his government has fulfilled its key campaign promises.

“We campaigned on three key issues; security, improving the economy, and fighting corruption,” Buhari said.

“We have not been controverted by anyone that we have not recorded some results.”

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