B Nseobong Okon-Ekong
Presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in the 2019 general elections and former Vice President, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar has pledged that under his presidency, 40 per cent of appointment into the federal executive council will be reserved for youths.
Addressing a conference of various groups at a town hall meeting in Lagos Monday, Abubakar specifically said the Ministry of Youth Development under his presidency will be headed by an individual under 30 years.
Fielding questions at the forum, which afforded young people an opportunity to interact with the leading presidential candidate, Abubakar said he will keep faith with Nigerian youths because they are the future of the country. Nigeria’s estimated 180 million population is largely believed to comprise 60 percent youths.
Answering a question on how he will realise one of the cornerstones of his campaigns, which is anchored on creating jobs, he said, “It is the private sector that creates most jobs. Government gives incentives, for example, lower tariffs and taxes. This is how jobs will be created. That is why I got a first class Vice Presidential candidate.”
Giving an example of his love for youths, Abubakar stated, “I have many children, but only one of them works for government. Others are in my various companies. I believe in creating jobs for the youths. “
Probed by a youth on his plans to ensure that the much-advertised brilliance of his running mate, Dr. Peter Obi was enveloped a cabal or a kitchen cabinet that will not allow him perform. Abubakar explained that it was not hallmark of the PDP to hangout cabals. “As Vice President under President Olusegun Obasanjo, I enjoyed unfettered freedom which led to many of the achievements that was recorded by that government in telecommunications, privatisation, due process and other economic policies that grew our GDP steadily by six per cent annually.
“Our government will not be run by a cabal. We will make qualified youths get jobs in places like the NNPC, Central Bank of Nigeria and other government agencies through adherence to due process. Government can’t give jobs to everybody. It is the private sector that creates much of the jobs through an enabling environment created by government.”
Other speakers at the forum were former governor of Ekiti State, Mr. Ayodele Fayose who leads the Atiku Abubakar Campaigns in the South West, the PDP National Chairman, Mr. Uche Secondus, Lagos State governorship candidate of the party, Mr. Jimi Agbaje and Dr. Peter Obi.