Imumolen shines, scores points over other presidential candidates at ICAN conference
Professor Christopher Imumolen, the Accord presidential candidate, was the cynosure of all eyes at the recently held Institute of Chartered Accountants of Nigeria (ICAN) conference in Abuja – and most definitely got some new supporters – as he scored points over some of the other presidential candidates present at the parley.
Those also present at the event were Labour Party’s Peter Obi, Omoyele Sowole of the African Action Congress (AAC), Prof Peter Umeadi of the All Progressive Grand Alliance (APGA), vice-presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) Ifeanyi Okowa, and the vice-presidential candidate of the New Nigeria Peoples Party (NNPP), Isaac Idahosa.
Absent though was the presidential candidate of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC), Bola Tinubu, and his running mate Kasshim Shettima.
This was the third event by critical sectors that Tinubu did not personally attend since securing the APC presidential ticket. The first was the Nigerian Bar Association Annual Conference, where he was represented by Shettima, while the other was the National Peace Accord.
The candidates who took turns to speak on the focus of their manifestoes agreed that Nigeria was drifting towards anarchy, amidst widespread poverty, insecurity and rising debt stock, which they say are no longer sustainable.
First to speak was Imumolen and, without mincing words, he highlighted most of his achievements, some of which belied his age. The 39-year-old Accord candidate is the youngest presidential candidate in the presidential race.
Imumolen reeled out how he has singlehandedly handed scholarships to over 100,000 students in Nigeria and other West African countries through his various NGOs.
The academician also informed the audience how Nigeria would attain a sustainable economy under his leadership and how the issues of insecurity and poverty would soon be consigned to the annals of history.
He also told the audience that for Nigeria to grow as a nation, the power sector must be liberalised.
At the end of his speech, which he reeled out offhand, the hall, filled with Nigeria’s finest chartered accountants, gave Imumolen a rousing ovation. The event’s moderator, Maupe Ogun of ChannelsTV, thereafter implored to audience to give another round of applause to the Accord candidate before other candidates took to the floor to give their opening remarks.
At the end of this phase of the event, which lasted for just over an hour, it was then the turn of the audience to ask the candidates pertinent questions and they mostly delivered, but the attention of the audience would automatically shift to Imumolen as he engaged the issues with erudition, clarity and accuracy.
Imumolen also raised issues regarding the economic plans of some of the candidates present.
One of such was Obi’s agriculture-based economic plan.
“I would like to disagree with my friend, Mr Peter Obi that investment in agriculture is the only way to transform Nigeria’s economy to a productive one,” Imumolen said. “I would rather emphasise on human capacity development, technology, creating enabling business policies that would encourage foreign direct investment in our economy, power and infrastructural development, as well as ensuring the security of everyone, both of Nigerians and visitors into Nigeria.
“These are the things I would do, rather than concentrating only on agriculture if elected as president of the Federal Republic of Nigeria come 2023,” added Imumolen, as most in the audience gave him a standing ovation.
Earlier, Sowore, the AAC candidate, had stated that he hopes Nigerians would not “elect a bunch of sick leaders because our country is sick and a sick country needs healthy leaders,” in a jibe aimed at the outgoing president, Muhammadu Buhari, who spent a great deal of time outside the shores of NIgeria on medical tourism.
Some present at the event also said the jibe was aimed at the presidential candidate of the APC, Tinubu, who was absent at the ICAN event but only recently returned to Nigeria from the UK. Sowore had at the start of his speech also taken a dig at Tinubu by congratulating those who had placed a bet on the APC candidate not showing up for the event.
The AAC candidate also described the APC-led federal government’s 2023 budget as illegal because the deficit component in the budget is higher than the allowed three per cent threshold.
“The budget violated section 12(1) of the Nigerian constitution by way of the Fiscal Responsibility Act which says that deficit to GDP ratio of the national budget must not be more than 3%. We are now at 5%. That’s unsustainable,” Sowore said.
“I hope and pray that we are not going to elect sick leaders because our country is sick,” he said, adding that there is no country in the world that can achieve industrialisation without stable energy.
On his part, Obi said his financial prudence as a person and during his time as Anambra State governor makes him competent enough to manage the country’s potential.
He urged the electorate not to vote based on “religion, ethnicity, my turn” but based on competence. The “my turn” was an apparent dig at Tinubu who had on several occasions pointed out that it was his turn to rule Nigeria with his infamous “Emilokan” slogan.
Idahosa, the running mate of NNPP presidential candidate Rabiu Kwankwaso, said his principal has the required experience and exposure to rebuild the nation.
The Delta State governor and vice-presidential candidate of the PDP, Okowa, said his party will ensure the amendment of the Nigerian constitution to allow for state police with a focus on addressing the rising insecurity that has stemmed from open grazing.
He told the accountants who thronged the Sheraton Hotel Abuja venue of the conference that if the PDP is elected into office, it will midwife a national discourse to devolve more powers to the sub-national and local governments, insisting that the federal government can no longer sustain the enormous powers in the exclusive list.
The PDP vice presidential candidate said his party would be prioritising job and wealth creation by coming up with a model that will ensure micro, small and medium scale enterprises have access to cheap loan facilities to operate.
You can watch the entire event here.