By Otive Igbuzor
An election promise is a guarantee made to the public by a politician trying to win an election. The promises are usually made during the electioneering campaign. The promises are supposed to be based on programme and manifesto of the political party. During the campaigns, the President-elect, General Muhammadu Buhari made a covenant with Nigerians on what he would achieve in the first one hundred days under the themes of corruption and governance, insurgency and insecurity, Niger Delta, diversity, health, agriculture, management of the economy for prosperity, industrial relations, power and youth and ICT development.
Under corruption and governance, General Buhari pledged to publicly declare his assets and liabilities and encourage all his appointees to publicly declare their assets and liabilities as a pre-condition for appointment. He will make sure that all political appointees will only earn the salaries and allowances determined by the Revenue Mobilization and Fiscal Allocation Commission (RMFAC). He will display personal leadership in the war against corruption; inaugurate the National Council on Procurement as stipulated in the Procurement Act and make the Federal Executive Council not to approve contracts but concentrate on its principal function of policy making. He will review and implement audit recommendations by Nigeria Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative including those on remittances and remediation; work with the National Assembly towards the immediate enactment of a Whistle Blower Act and strengthen ICPC and EFCC by guaranteeing institutional autonomy including financial and prosecutorial independence and security of tenure of officials. He will also make the Financial Intelligence Unit of the EFCC autonomous and operational. He will encourage proactive disclosure of information by government institutions in the spirit of the Freedom of Information Act; ensure all MDAs and parastatals regularly comply with their accountability responsibilities to Nigerians through the National Assembly; work with the leadership of the National Assembly and the Judiciary to cut down the cost of governance and present a National Anti-corruption Strategy.
Under insurgency and insecurity, he pledged as Commander-in-Chief to lead from the front and not behind in the comfort and security of Aso Rock; give especial attention to the welfare of the armed forces and their families; lost heroes and their families and the victims of insurgency; boost the morale of the men and women in the field by public recognition of their efforts through memorabilia, stamps, statues, regular rotation, regular payment of allowances, regular communication between the men and officers of security agencies, provision of best health care and housing for families of deceased comrades. He also promised to present a marshal plan and provide the best and appropriate military and other materials the country needs to combat insurgency, ethnic and religious violence, kidnapping and rural banditry.
He committed to establishing personal relationship with governors of the affected states by insurgency, with leaders of the countries in the region and with leaders around the world to coordinate efforts to combat insurgency, oil theft, piracy and criminality. He assured that he will restore confidence in the bilateral and multilateral partnerships in addressing insurgency including procurements; activate regular meetings of the National Police Council to ensure the discharge of its true constitutional role in a transparent and accountable way. He promised that his government shall act decisively on any actionable intelligence to #BringBackOurGirls.
On Niger Delta, he pledged to restore the integrity of the Niger Delta by implementing relevant sections of the Ledum Technical Committee on human capital development, resource management and distribution, governance and rule of law, reclamation and environmental and sustainable development. He committed himself to implementation of the United Nations Environment Programme’s (UNEP) recommendations on Ogoniland and unveiling a marshal plan for the regenerative development of the Niger Delta.
On diversity, he pledged to continually acknowledge and consciously promote equality and equity in all government businesses and activities; implement the National Gender Policy including 35% of appointive positions for women; work with National Assembly to pass a National Disability Bill, immediately charge relevant MDAs to implement new building codes to ensure that people with disability have easier access; lead the campaign for restoration of mutual trust and cohesion for nation building, while also working with the National Assembly to make appropriation to strengthen institutions and platforms promoting dialogue and inclusion; promote amendment to the provisions of section 14:3 of the Constitution to give effect to the expansion of the scope of representation to include women and persons with disabilities and work with National Assembly to pass the National Disability Act and the Equal Opportunities Bill.
On health, he pledged to implement the National Health Act 2014, which guarantees financial sustainability to the health sector and minimum basic health care for all and ban medical tourism by government officials; launch special programme to improve availability of water and sanitation; review occupational health laws and immediately commence enforcement of the provisions to reduce hazards in the work place; unveil a health sector review policy to ensure the efficient and effective management of our health systems and mobilize the health workforce needed for the all-round implementation of our primary health programmes for rural communities.
On agriculture, he pledged to make agriculture a major focus of the government and lay the institutional foundation to attract large-scale investments and capital into the agricultural infrastructural sector; launch a massive agricultural infrastructural investments plan that will focus on production, transportation infrastructure and marketing logistics across Nigeria; launch a massive, well-coordinated and innovatively funded Youth in Commercial Agribusiness Programme; establish agricultural produce pricing and marketing mechanism and institutions; work with State and Local Governments to launch Agricultural Support Programmes that will drive state level massive agricultural land development and mechanization agenda; revamp, revitalize and continuous improvement on the national agricultural extension and rural support service system; initiate a holistic project aimed at promoting and securing access of standardized agricultural products to both local and international markets; lay the groundwork for a standardized market uptake and aggregation outlets for specific agricultural produce; initiate a comprehensive revamp of key development banks (Bank of Agriculture, Bank of Industry and Nigeria Import & Export Bank) operations to fund inclusive agricultural value chain operations; lay the groundwork for an ambitious, massive, seamless, accessible single-digit agricultural value-chain finance programme; initiate the process to appropriately liberalise and expand agricultural and rural insurance system with premium subventions support to farmers; revamp the agricultural cooperative system to drive rural agriculture and improve stakes for smallholder farmers and launch appropriate tariff rectification instrument to support import-export anomalies.
On management of the economy for prosperity, he pledged to work with the legislature to strengthen constitutional provisions to make the meetings of the National Economic Council more periodic and predictable and its decisions more binding; present annual report on the state of the economy to the National Assembly and the Nigerian People; the Preparation of Medium Term Expenditure Framework (MTEF) and annual Budget will be guided by job creation projections; negotiate rule-based oil revenue management process, and adopt a rule based excess crude account management process, which will entail a fixed percentage (e.g. 10% or 20%) of oil revenue each year, and also set clear rules about where the proceeds will be domiciled, when the savings can be used, by whom, and what the savings can be used for. He also promised to work with the National Assembly to adopt a rule based, realistic and predictable oil benchmark as a basis for a more transparent management of federation account revenue and excess crude account; launch a Small Business Loan Guarantee Scheme in partnership with Commercial Lenders to improve access to finance for SMEs; automate the business registration process to ensure sole proprietorships can be opened within 24 hours and incorporated business within 5 days; reduce the cost of company registration to a maximum of N10,000 for sole proprietorships to encourage formalisation; review and regulate import duty waivers to promote transparency and accountability; forge partnerships with state and local governments and private sectors to promote innovation, entrepreneurship and cottage industries; work with the National Assembly to review and finalize work on the Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB); boost community and local participation in downstream through expansion and promotion of local content development; and commence organizational reforms to curb corruption in NNPC and its subsidiaries.
On industrial relations, he pledged to give political force to collective bargaining in all sectors of the economy, revive Tripartite Committee of Government, employers and workers organisations, whose task would be to constantly review matters of labour relations and the practice of industrial relations; undertake to institute an annual statutory tripartite body; contribute towards formulation and implementation of broad macro-economic policies and reposition Ministry of Employment, Labour and Productivity and all relevant agencies mandated to manage labour dispute and grievance handling process to ensure pre-emptive strategies to halt the current frequent incessant strikes phenomenon.
On power, he pledged to wage war against corruption in the power sector; tackle the issue of gas availability for the proposed power plants; place emphasis on alternative sources of power such as small, medium and large hydro plants (Mambilla has capacity for 4,700 megawatts), wind, coal and solar. He also promised that efforts will be geared towards smaller and potable power supply; start an accelerated training of human resources for the power sector and work with PenCom to consider giving soft loans to power sector operators.
On Youth and ICT development, he pledged to declare support for the appointment of young people with requisite qualification into key political offices to begin the incubation and mentoring for a successor political generation; unveil a policy that all federal contractors must employ at least 50% young people; work with the private sector to establish innovation fund for young people; encourage that girls’and boys’ education is prioritized in states where this is established to be a big problem; review and make pronouncements, with attendant political will and commitment, on the full implementation of the national youth policy; establish innovation centers in conjunction with proposed National Science Foundation and the private sector; include vocational skills in the curriculum of Almajiri schools so that they become self-employed; unveil a policy that will begin to multiply the efforts and effects of technology incubation centers to at least establish two of such centers in each of the geopolitical zone; establish a free-tuition and scholarship scheme for pupils who have shown exceptional aptitude in science subjects at O/Levels to study ICT-related courses; immediately establish linkages to champion exchange programmes for the acquisition of IT related skills; and extend the local content policies to cover software and hardware developments in the youth-driven markets. He also promised to put in place a quality assurance mechanism to ensure that standards are met and adhered to and make it a policy for companies to procure a % of their ICT needs from the local market. Finally, he committed to hold a summit of all ICT service providers, OEMs, etc both local and foreign that are doing business in Nigeria to device concrete skills transfer and capacity building models in a sustainable manner.
The elections have come and gone. General Mohammadu Buhari has won the election based on these and other promises. It is the responsibility of citizens and citizens groups to monitor these promises and hold elected leaders accountable to their electoral promises.
Dr. Otive Igbuzor is a Pharmacist, Human Rights Activist, Policy Analyst, Development Expert and Strategist. He holds a doctorate degree in Public Administration.
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