In October, 2022, the Presidential candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC) Asiwaju Bola Tinubu launched an ambitious 80-page Action plan tagged Renewed Hope 2023. The document encapsulated his plan to transform Nigeria if elected the president.
As fate would have it, Tinubu was declared winner of the February 25, 2023 presidential poll having polled 8,794,726 votes to defeat his closest challenger, Atiku abubakar of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) who scored 6,984,520 votes and Peter Obi of the Labour Party who came third with a total of 6,101,533 votes, while Rabiu Kwankwaso of the NNPP came fourth with 1,496,687 votes.
Nevertheless, Nigerians are not new to political parties’ manifesto. The 15th president of Nigeria, Muhammadu Buhari, did the same. But one thing has been constant like a northern star, the more documents the politicians launch, the country has been repeatedly worse off at the end of their tenure.
In the case of Buhari, if at all he had any policy document, the best such policy document did was to bring Nigeria’s economy to its knees, while poverty conveniently resides in Nigeria and unemployment rate in the country has been awarded a Nigerian citizen. It’s a kind of affliction that Nigerians do not pray for it to rise a second time.
Without sugarcoating it, due to past ugly experiences, Nigerians are not really enthusiastic about any policy document of any politician or administration. They are just ready to roll with whatever policy each administration brings.
However, having survived the eight-year rule of Buhari, Nigerians will be willing to see how Tinubu hopes to transform the country, build on the successes of Buhari, if any, and reverse, most importantly the negative economic indices, while improving on the country’s security architecture, as well as reducing the unemployment rates.
Expectedly, in the 80-page document, Tinubu promised to establish highly trained and disciplined anti-terrorist battalions to tackle insecurity in the country.
The president-elect said the military units would be better equipped with tactical communications gear and new vehicles to give them a greater communications and mobility advantage over criminals, bandits and terrorists.
Tinubu assured that his government would reduce the country’s dependence on imported foreign military equipment by ramping up domestic production of basic and essential military hardware and equipment, including small arms and ammunition.
He said: “Highly trained and disciplined anti-terrorist battalions (ABATTS) with special forces units will be created. Their objective shall be to seize the strategic and tactical initiative, in the hands of terrorists, kidnappers and bandits.
“We will further modernize our Armed Forces by ensuring that our weapons systems (land, sea and air) are capable of addressing current and anticipated security threats in the modern world. This shall also mean the recruitment of people who possess the technical skills required for today’s military.”
The president noted that the Police Force would be repositioned to deliver on its primary duties of community policing and maintaining law and order through crime fighting and prevention; while police personnel would be freed from extraneous duties such as VIP security and guard duties.
He explained that VIP Security and provision of security for government buildings, installations and other critical assets will be transferred to the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC). The NSCDC shall be evaluated and reformed to be better integrated with our internal security apparatus.
Tinubu explained that his government would implement measures to eliminate attacks on vital national infrastructure, saying this would be known as Critical Infrastructure Protection (CIP) Plan.
He added that integral to this effort would be the deployment of modern technologies, tools and equipment to end crude oil theft, prevent vandalization of national assets, and reduce, to the barest minimum, environmental pollution of the Niger Delta.
According to him, his government would combine increased aerial surveillance over land and sea with other cutting edge technology that would provide instant notification of intrusions or disruptions of oil pipelines and related installations.
He said such technology would also be deployed to monitor power stations, transmission and distribution networks, sea and airports, rail transportation, telecommunications and. other vital infrastructure.
In the document, Tinubu hinted that the budgetary procedure would be reviewed. He explained that budgetary custom based on the country’s annual budget and fiscal policies largely on the dollar value of projected oil revenue, not only artificially restrict the federal government’s fiscal latitude, it also unduly attracts the nation’s attention towards a single source of fiscal revenue to the detriment of others.
To him, to achieve optimal growth in the long term, government must wean itself from this limitation, adding, “A more efficient fiscal methodology would be to base our budgeting on the projected level of government spending which optimises growth and jobs’ without causing unacceptable levels of inflation. As part of this prudent growth-based budgeting, we will establish a clear and mandatory inflationary ceiling on spending. However, we must break the explicit link between naira expenditure and dollar inflows into the economy.”
Tinubu also said his government will limit foreign debt obligations emphasizing that government can protect exchange rates, guard against inflation and preserve foreign currency reserves by limiting exposure to large debt obligations denominated in foreign currency.
He added that his administration will engage in extraordinary prudence in contracting debt in foreign currency. He emphasized that the policy will be such that new foreign currency debt obligations would be linked to projects that generate cash flows from which the debt can be repaid.
The president said, “Where possible, we shall limit such foreign currency denominated debts to essential expenditures that cannot be adequately addressed by either naira denominated expenditures or debt obligations.”
He further promised that his administration will provide sufficient jobs with decent wages; revive manufacturing industries, generate, transmit and distribute sufficient and affordable electricity; manufacture, produce and market good quantities of the essential goods and services; export more and import less to strengthen the Naira; make food available and affordable; modernize and expand public infrastructure.
This, he said, his administration will achieve by building on the foundation laid by the President Muhammadu Buhari administration.
He added, “Based on our unshakable faith in our people and standing on the foundation established by the administration of President Muhammadu Buhari, we shall: Build a Nigeria where sufficient jobs with decent wages create a better life for all and a future of promise for our youth.
“Revive our manufacturing industries and place Nigeria back on the path of industrialization and job creation. Generate, transmit and distribute sufficient, affordable electricity to give our people the necessary power to drive their businesses and brighten their homes. Power is key to unlocking the potential of our national economy.
“Manufacture, produce and market increased quantities of the essential goods and services we require. Nigeria shall be known as a nation of creators, not just consumers.
Export more and import less in order to earn more foreign exchange and strengthen the Naira.
“Deliver food security and affordability by continuing to prioritize agriculture and assist farmers and other players in the agricultural value chain through enlightened policies that promote productivity and guarantee robust incomes. Modernize and expand public infrastructure to stimulate economic growth at an optimal rate,” among others.
As the administration of Tinubu officially takes off today after being sworn-in by the Chief Justice of Nigeria, Justice Olukayode Ariwoola at the Eagle Square in Abuja, Nigerians are hopeful it will be a new dawn.
Source: This Day