The Presidential and Vice Presidential candidate of the PDP; Alhaji Atiku Abubakar and Mr. Peter Obi, on Wednesday, attended a meeting with Nigeria’s Business community at the Eko Hotels and Suites.
The meeting was themed, Getting Nigeria’s Economy Working: A Pragmatic Approach. Atiku has fueled his campaign with promises of job creation, having single-handedly created about 45, 000 jobs through various businesses.
Opeyemi Agbaje, the moderator of the meeting, asked the presidential candidate about his active experience in achieving this. Replying, Atiku explained that, “this is not the first policy document I’m creating. I want to assure you I was personally involved and participated in crafting the ideas. I worked with the best experts as well.”
“In 2007, when I wanted to run, I worked with experts to produce the Niger Delta Master Plan. When I lost the elections, I handed it over to Yaradua. This document led to the reforms and creation of the Niger Delta Ministry,” he added. He explained that, during his days as the vice president, he met frequently with the business community to understand their needs, resulting in a 7% economic growth, as opposed to the current 1.8% economic growth rate.
Peter Obi was made to speak on the infrastructural gap in the country in the country. He explained that “fixing Nigeria’s infrastructure must be private sector-led. That is what is obtainable elsewhere. Government does not have the capability to deliver the infrastructure we need now.”
Commenting on the unemployment rate, and the loss of almost 21m jobs in the last three years, Obi stated that China used MSMEs to drive employment. He explained that that small and medium scale enterprises, contribute 60% of China’s economy and Nigeria should learn from them.
Popular actress, Onyeka Onwenu, raised questions about Atiku’s plans for women. He assured Nigerians that his administration plans on giving 30% of appointment to women and 40% to youths, since they collectively contribute 70% to the population of the country. According to him, out of his his 45,000 employees, 70% are people 25 to 30 years of age, with half of this population being women. He added that 80% of loans in a micro-finance bank he runs, be directed to women.
Peter Obi explained that their administration will treat education as an investment, instead of expenditure. He stated that companies who are knowledge-based, make more money than Nigeria. Atiku mentioned that they passed the Universal Basic Education law when he was VP, and as such, plans on making education a priority. The duo reiterated the need to reducing the size and cost of governance on getting to power.