“We pledge to you, that if given the mandate, we will bring about positive changes in the lives of Nigerians within two years. Our desire for change has not diminished, that was why in all the elections we participated we never asked people to take the law into their hands,” reports Peterclaver Egbochue
It is a new dawn today for Nigeria as the world’s most populous black nation on earth, welcomes a new government to be presided over by General Muhamadu Buhari who has directed that, once sworn in on May 29 President and Commander-in Chief of the Armed Forces, he would simply be addressed as Muhammadu Buhari, and no longer as General Buhari.
It is evident that the incoming government got the backing of Nigerians on the grounds of promises it made before the general elections, which ended the 16 years of PDP’s reign in the country since the return from 29 unbroken years of military rule in 1999.
As the President, Muhammadu Buhari takes the mantle of leadership from President Goodluck Jonathan in a colourful ceremony held at the Eagles Square, Abuja and graced by 50 heads of government from across the world. For most of his countrymen and women, the convenant that binds them to their new President is his campaign promises during electioneering and their common desire to see they are fulfilled or the show of a strong commitment to the fulfillment of the promises by the new administration.
Like a binding commandment, below are 13 of the top promises President Buhari made to Nigerians while campaigning through all the states: Right from the January 6 day flag-off day of the APC Presidential campaign under clement weather at the Adokie Amasiemeka Stadium in Port Harcourt, Rivers State capital, President Muhammadu Buhari , then a candidate of his All Progressives Congress party, APC, minced no words about the key issues, policies and progress he would anchored his administration on, if elected : Corruption, Insecurity, unemployment and economic revival.
He said on that memorable day before millions of Nigerians watching him live at the stadium or through prime time TV “The fundamental issues facing this country are insecurity and the problem of economy which is being made worse by corruption. We have lined up programmes on how to tackle unemployment. We are going to assemble a team of professionals for wealth creation and employment for our teeming youths.
We will put a mechanism in place to fight insecurity, improve on the economy and fight corruption.” On Corruption and Insecurity He promised Zero tolerance for corruption and to wipe it out by the force of his personal example, threatening to send culprits to jail. He made this pledge during his campaign in Akwa Ibom State He said, “When we come into power, anyone who steals Nigeria’s money will end up in Kirikiri Maximum Prisons.
We are going to make sure that Nigeria’s wealth belongs only to Nigerians,” It was however in Owerri on January 12, in Kaduna on January 19 and Kano on January 20 that he gave character to the issues of security and corruption and the timeline for his administration to solve them, if elected. In Owerri and Kano he repeated his party’s commitment to what he termed key issues of corruption and insecurity, stating that “Wherever I go, I speak on three fundamental issues: insecurity, unemployment and corruption because they are the main challenges troubling the country.” According to him, the country can only advance in real terms only if these three main issues were tackled.
He vowed to eliminate Boko Haram if voted to power In Kaduna on January 19, Buhari made the pledge that most Nigerians say he must keep if he really is the man of integrity and sincerity he says he is. He said: “We pledge to you, that if given the mandate, we will bring about positive changes in the lives of Nigerians within two years. Our desire for change has not diminished, that was why in all the elections we participated we never asked people to take the law into their hands. We will secure this country and make sure that the issue of Boko Haram is a thing of the past.”
Once he had defined these key areas of his administration and committed his government to fulfilling them, he began to flesh the promises out in the subsequent campaign trips with his party across the country. Good governance, running an incorruptible Government and education To accomplish good governance and education, Buhari promised to put the best hands to the ploy in the ministries and parastatals when elected, stating that in this regard the manifesto of the party would serve as guide.
“Whoever has misappropriated public resources knows, he should also know how to cough it up because a line will be drawn from May 30. From thence, whoever is trusted with public office and betrays the trust would be dealt with,” he said “The issue facing this country, we all know, is mainly security and the destruction of the Nigerian economy, but our objective is absolutely clear, we intend to secure this country as soon as we can and efficiently manage it.
We do not like unemployment, suffering, low standard of education, lack of healthcare and destruction of infrastructure, we will apply ourselves to them and make sure we succeed within the shortest possible time. We will engage in commercial agriculture and mining as well as resuscitate the abandoned agro-allied industries so as to generate employment and create wealth for Nigerians,” he said. He also pledged to create an enabling environment for learning to ensure that certificates from Nigerian universities are accorded respect globally.
Infrastructure: Resuscitate ailing industries, power and agriculture sectors He said “Our main objective is to make sure that agriculture and other non-oil sectors get priority to create opportunities for Nigerian so that whether educated or not, will have gainful employment,” he said, adding that he would also address the challenge of power supply to resuscitate ailing industries in the country. “Unless we get power supply correct, our industries cannot survive, so we must resuscitate our industries and get Nigeria going again, revamp the agriculture and power sectors. In an address to party faithful and supporters at the IBB Square in Minna during his campaign visit to the state, he promised that his administration would engage agricultural experts to assist the people on farming issues, while youths would be empowered to take part in profitable farming. In certain areas where local entrepreneurship was writ large like Aba, he promised to develop infrastructure and encourage the entrepreneurship spirit of Nigerians if given the mandate.
His said: “We will focus on infrastructural development in terms of power and roads, which are necessary. We will also encourage the entrepreneurship spirit of the people of Aba and this zone because your entrepreneurship capability is known even beyond Nigeria. For Enugu, noted for its coal mine, though moribund, Buhari promised to revamp it to help create employment of the youths in the Southeast. He said that revamping the coal industry and other moribund industries in the zone would help to create job opportunities for unemployed youths.
“We will also improve investments in agriculture and power to encourage small businesses in the country to grow. We will provide electricity for our tailors and entrepreneurs to do their businesses without hitches,” he said. In Lokoja too where the Ajaokuta Steel Company is located Buhari said that government had spent almost $5 billion on the company, promising that its fortunes will change for the better as soon as he assumed office.
The mining town of Jos was also not left in in the litany of promises with candidate Buhari promising to use agriculture and mining sector to create employment if elected. In Jalingo, Taraba State on January 28, he promised to complete the Mambilla Hydroelectric Dam project to generate electricity and boost agriculture through irrigation. Creating job opportunities He promised to create job opportunities through agriculture and mining, adding that his government will focus on agriculture and mining as a way to secure jobs for able Nigerians.
“There is a circle of insecurity, unemployment and corruption in the country which I will break when elected,” he promised. Restructure military and police Candidate Buhari Buhari promised to restructure the Nigeria Army and Police, if elected were also premised on the insurgency ravaging the North eastern part of the country He said that his plan for the military and police would boost the efforts of the two security institutions to battle insurgency with renewed vigour. According to him “Our Army and Police will be highly equipped with all the required weapons, educated and uneducated youths will be employed through different programmes that will be created by our administration.”
Poverty eradication He also promised to create employment opportunities for the teeming unemployed youths During one of his rallies prior to the election, Gen. Buhari had promised that if elected, he would take care unemployed youths across the country, considering the number of jobless youths and the state of economy. In this light he promises to give N5,000 per month to unemployed youths, create 3million jobs annually and give one year allowance to National Youth corps members one year after post service without job.