By Shola Oshunkeye
Accomplished lawyer, and Serving Overseer of the Citadel Global Community Church, CGCC, Dr. Tunde Bakare, took Abuja, the nation’s capital, by storm on Monday, as he formally declared his intention to be Nigeria’s 16th President on the platform of the All Progressives Congress, APC.
At the event which mirrored the pan-Nigerian conglomeration of his dream, he promised to leverage on his 20 years of stoic and positive engagement with governments and critical stakeholders on public policy, good and accountable leadership, to make Nigeria great again.
Promising to be the marketer-in-chief of Nigeria in terms of investments and opportunities, the APC Presidential aspirant unveiled a four-pronged prosperity mandate-Peace, Progress, Prosperity and Possibilities, which, he assured, would galvanize the country to its well-deserved position in the comity of nations.
Specifically, he revealed that the peace mandate would be help the country end the cancerous sore of insecurity, heal its wounds at the shortest time possible, and mend the severe fractures threatening its corporate existence. Under his watch, Bakare assured that “Peace will not just be a word on our Coat of Arms; it will become the Nigerian reality.”
Through the peace mandate, he declared that “we will reconcile and reintegrate the Nigerian people into true nationhood; galvanize a broad-based and competent leadership that can unify Nigeria and harness our enormous potential; lead our nation on a pragmatic pathway to governance structure reforms; end the scourge of insecurity; and guarantee the safety and security of every Nigerian within Nigeria’s borders.”
Towards this end, Bakare promised to, within his first 100 days in office, constitute a Presidential Commission for National Reconciliation, Reintegration and Rebirth, PCNRRR, whose Board of Trustees will consist of three eminent Nigerians from each of the six geopolitical zones.
“These eighteen Nigerians with bridge-building antecedents,” he continued, “will include traditional monarchs, former Heads of State, religious leaders and statesmen and stateswomen, while ensuring representation of youth and vulnerable groups.
“The Commission will be mandated to, within the first one hundred days of our administration, engage every aggrieved group in Nigeria and secure their commitment to dialogue for true nationhood. Then, within two years, the Commission will acknowledge and reconcile every past and current national and subnational group grievance and foster the integration of the diverse sectional groups in Nigeria into true nationhood. Peace will not just be a word on our Coat of Arms; it will become the Nigerian reality.”
On National Security, Bakare praised members of the armed forces-the military, the police, the intelligence agencies and the paramilitary and civil defence agencies, who, daily, suffer excruciating pains, and sometimes pay the supreme price to keep Nigeria and Nigerians safe. To boost their efforts, the APC aspirant promised to review the nation’s security architecture “to adequately identify, anticipate and address our security threats.”
“The new national security architecture,” he expatiated, “will see the strengthening of the intelligence system to include an independent Office of the Director of National Intelligence that will coordinate all the intelligence agencies. “
The Nigeria Police Force (NPF), he continued, “will be reconstituted into a more modern, fully equipped and technology-enabled National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) with federal jurisdiction. The federal policing architecture will be supported by subnational policing systems which will in turn be supported to form interstate Zonal Commissions.
“Furthermore, we will invest in surveillance technologies, deploy border sensors and drones, and harness the National Identity Management scheme to detect and prevent threats to national security. We will reactivate the blueprint for such world-class military training that once gave Nigeria highly competent armed forces as a newly independent nation. With our reforms, we will have a highly equipped, technology-empowered, adequately remunerated and highly skilled police service and armed forces for whom respect for human rights is non-negotiable. We will secure our borders, streets and highways, and lay the groundwork for accelerated progress.”
The Progress Mandate, Bakare stressed, will cater to human development sectors including education, healthcare as well as family and social development.
According to him, the Progress Mandate will alleviate poverty in the short-term by offering safety nets to the most vulnerable segment of the nation’s population, even as work progresses on the implementation of the long-term poverty eradication policies.
Under this mandate, Bakare said that his administration will develop a healthy and highly skilled workforce that will drive national growth and development objectives. In addition, the mandate aims to protect the vulnerable as well as foster equity and social inclusiveness in access to opportunities.
“As part of a broader range of policies,” he continued, “we will achieve the Progress Mandate by establishing, in each geo-economic zone, a medical city with health industry clusters affiliated to the teaching hospitals as well as the secondary and primary health centres in each zone. This will improve the quality of healthcare delivery in tertiary, secondary and primary health centres across the country and will provide incentives for our doctors and nurses to practice here in Nigeria.”
That’s not all. His administration, Bakare posited, “will broaden the scope of the National Health Insurance Scheme to ensure that no Nigerian life is dispensable. Our medical cities will give the primary school teacher access to the same quality of healthcare that is currently available only to those who can afford to travel to cities like Dubai.
“Furthermore, under the Progress mandate, we will launch an Educate to Industrialise Nigeria (EIN) agenda, which will see a productive linkage between academia and the industrial clusters in each geo-economic zone. This will boost research, attract funds to our universities and polytechnics and ensure that our students are equipped for the opportunities of the 21st century. The output of our institutions will be graduates who are equipped not only with degrees and predictable pipelines of jobs, but also with actionable and fundable business plans should they opt for an entrepreneurial pathway. In line with the EIN agenda, we will prioritise funding the education sector through the Tertiary Education Trust Fund (TETFUND) and the Universal Basic Education (UBE) Intervention Fund.”
How about women? Bakare assured that under his watch, Nigerian women would have cause to grin from ear to ear because his administration will ensure that “their representation meets and surpasses the thirty-five per cent recommendations of the National Gender Policy in public sector appointments.”
His administration, he continued, would restore hope to Nigerian youth by adopting an inclusive policy that will unleash their multifaceted potential, as well as harness the skills and competences of persons living with disabilities.
The policy thrust of a President Tunde Bakare economic agenda, the incorruptible cleric espoused at his declaration, is encased in his Prosperity Mandate, designed to cater to economic management and infrastructure delivery. And the mandate will be achieved through the establishment of the Nigerian Geo-economic Development Plan (N-GDP) which would be launched on inauguration day on May 29, 2023.
“The Nigerian Geo-economic Development Plan,” he explained, “is a new way of looking at our GDP; therefore, you would be right to refer to it as The New GDP(N-GDP). Guided by the N-GDP, we will rebuild Nigeria’s economy around six competitive geo-economic zones, triple Nigeria’s GDP to $1.5 trillion by 2030, and industrialise Nigeria around the hub-and-spoke model of industrialisation. This will see the emergence of industrial cities in each geo-economic zone made of several industrial clusters. The industrial clusters will in turn be linked to feeder hubs and enterprise zones in the respective regions. The N-GDP will guide our policies, institutions and investments across various sectors including Solid Minerals, Agriculture, Manufacturing, and SMEs.
On infrastructure delivery, Bakare said his administration will align the National Integrated Infrastructure Master Plan (NIIMP) with the Nigerian Geo-economic Development Plan (N-GDP), adding: “We will consolidate ongoing developments in transportation by redirecting investments towards a systematic and multimodal transportation agenda. Through Public-Private Partnerships (PPPs), we will build a 10-lane 3,000km North-South superhighway which will be systematically linked to regional roads and subways feeding each geo-economic zone.”
On power, the prospective Tunde Bakare Presidency plans to execute a decentralised, private sector-driven electricity reform agenda that would generate and contribute “up to 100,000MW of on-grid and off-grid electricity by 2030 as part of the Nigerian Geo-economic Development Plan (N-GDP).”
If you think this is a tall order, listen to the aspirant again: “We will do this by broadening the national energy mix and harnessing geo-economic comparative advantages in energy generation including solar, hydro, nuclear, thermal, natural gas, biomass, wind and other energy sources. To attract competent investors, the entire electricity value chain from generation to transmission to distribution will be integrated and progressively decentralised to allow for competitive subnational investments in the sector. Parts of the world are light years ahead of Nigeria; there must at the very least be light in Nigeria.”
(To savour the solid dish served by Dr. Tunde Bakare during his declaration today in Abuja, please read the full text of his speech and other reports that will follow).