2019: Action Aid Faults Atiku, Buhari’s Policy Documents

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Buhari Vs Atiku

By Adedayo Akinwale in Abuja

Action Aid Nigeria has lamented that the policy document presented to Nigerians by the presidential candidates of the All Progressives Congress (APC), President Muhammadu Buhari and his Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) counterpart, Atiku Abubakar, have no clear plan on emergency preparedness, inclusion of persons with disabilities among others.

The international non-governmental organisation said the candidates should move a step forward from ‘what-to-how’, adding that  having the policy documents are not sufficient.

 ActionAid in a statement by its Communication Officer, Lola Ayanda, said the organisation in the coming weeks, and during the presidential debate, expects the candidates to state in details to the electorate, how they want to deliver on these campaign promises with clear-cut bench marks that are time-bound.

 Buhari had last week presented a policy document titled, ‘Next Level’, while Atiku on the other hand presented ‘Let’s Get Nigeria Working Again’, ahead of the 2019 elections.

She said, “Both APC and PDP policy documents have no clear plan on; Emergency preparedness; with communities across Nigeria still bearing the brunt of flooding and the number of internally displaced persons spiralling by the day.

 “Inclusion of Persons with Disabilities (PWDs), there are over 25 million PWDs in Nigeria, with little or no priority on service provision and inclusion of PWDs in governance.

“Development and maintenance of quality database on the Nigerian population; lack of appropriate data has been the bane of implementation of government policies and specific government programmes over time.”

 Ayanda stressed that the development agenda of the PDP is hinged on privatisation.

 She said while Action Aid recognises that the economic conditions of the country require drastic measures, with privatisation seeming as the best option, but considering that privatisation has not worked in the past, particularly in the power sector, it is pertinent to tread carefully.

 Action Aid stated that privatisation rather than solve problems of corruption which has continued to undermine development in the country, has only, deepened poverty and continues to widen the gap between the rich and the poor.

It expressed concern that privatisation would further increase the margin between the rich and the poor because with privatisation, public services would turn into a merchandise available only to the highest bidder.

 On the other hand, it said that the  APC Healthcare Plan is focused on Human Resources, saying that while it commends the plan to pay young doctors to work in rural communities, the effort may not yield much result without commensurate infrastructures, drugs, and other essential healthcare consumables.

Action Aid therefore recommended that the agenda and programmes of the candidates for the various offices ought to be in tandem with the manifestos and official programme documents of the political parties of the respective candidates.

Without this synergy in the plans, it said it is difficult to see or envisage how the programmes of candidates are going to be implemented in office if they are different from the programmes of the parties through which they got their mandates.

It stressed that focus should be placed on improving the ease of doing business in Nigeria; adding that a pay as you earn model, where the wealthy pays more taxes, and an accountable revenue generation drive with clear plan on how to improve tax collection systems should be adopted.