Excerpts from vice presidential debate

*L-R: Abdullahi-Iya, Obi, Osinbajo, Getso, Galadima

Ime Akpan

Five vice presidential candidates of the Allied Congress Party of Nigeria (ACPN), Alliance for New Nigeria (ANN), All Progressives Congress (APC), Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and Young Progressives Party (YPP) on Friday, December 14, featured in a debate organised by Nigerian Elections Debate Group (NEDG) Broadcasting Organisations of Nigeria (BON) for presidential and vice presidential candidates in the run-up to the 2019 elections.

The candidates were Mr. Ganiyu Galadima, ACPN, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo, APC, Mrs. Khadija Abdullahi-Iya (AAN), Mr. Peter Obi, PDP and Mrs. Umar Getso, YPP

Below are excerpts from the debate which was aired live on the television

Obi, PDP

*We have lots of security issues today because we are currently unable to create jobs which other countries have created effortlessly. In terrorism we have moved from No 7 to No 3. Our inequality has worsened; our misery index has worsened.

*Our country today has the highest number of out of school children in the world; our HPI has dropped from 152 to 157; our global competitive index has dropped from 124 to 127. The more you invest in education, the better your economy. I have known this even as a state governor where I took the state from number 28 to number one in education.

*In 2015 we generated $41bn in Foreign Direct Investment, but now, we attracted only $12bn last year; our GDP was $500bn in 2015 while per capita was $2,500, today it is under $1,900. If you look at our stock market, we have lost over N2tn in one year, so that is not a policy. You’re just fighting corruption, you are not creating jobs. For example, in 2015, unemployment and underemployment was 24%; today it is 40%.

*It is not that you cannot fight corruption, but you can fight it more aggressively while addressing economic issues. For example, in 2015, unemployment was 24 per cent, today, it is 40 per cent. You can’t shut down your shop and be chasing criminals.

*Fighting corruption is not an economic policy. It is not that you can’t fight corruption; you can fight it more aggressively while addressing economic issues.

*Currently, we have a government that is doing what it is not supposed to do. The job of government is supervision and to create an enabling environment for investment to thrive.

*Currently, it is more expensive to bring out our goods from Apapa Port than it is to bring in goods from Europe.

*Today, the total loans by the banks is 19 trillion and only 0.5% goes to your SMEs when in other countries it’s about 20%.

*What we are subsiding today is inefficiency. If you get it right, the prices still come down. There is no way a country can have a budget of N340bn for health, which translates to N5 a day for (each of) its citizens, and then pay a trillion for subsidy

*If you look at our stock market, it has lost over N2 trillion in one year. So, that is no policy, you are not creating jobs, and you are just fighting corruption. You can’t shut down your shop and be chasing criminals.

*As long as we don’t create jobs and have the number of unemployed youths in their productive age that we have today, we are going to have crisis.

*Our unemployment rate has moved from 24 to 40 today. We are not supporting SMEs very well.

Osinbajo, APC

*Certainly we intend to build on what we are doing that is why we are talking about the next level. At the moment we have moved 24 places up in the ease of doing business. It means that internationally we have been accepted as the top 10 reforming economies in the world according to World report.

*One other issue is about the Foreign Direct Investment and of course we have been creating environment, we need to improve on power supply which is one of the critical issues we are addressing, improving transmission assets and distribution assets,

*If you say investments haven’t taken place in years, who has been in office these last 16 years?

*Why we are where we are today is because of 16 years of mismanagement of resources.

*America subsidises agriculture, subsidises production, subsidise all sorts of things. Now, if you have a petrol subsidy, and I am not saying that it must be there forever, but petrol subsidy helps because the moment you remove the subsidy, prices go up. We experienced it earlier on in the regime. Prices went up from 86 to 145 naira per litre.

*Today, the NNPC is the sole importer of petroleum, so it is from the balance sheet of the NNPC that the subsidy is being taken. Now, let me say that if today you are to remove subsidy, petrol price could go as high as N220 per litre or higher. There is no country in the world, not even the wealthiest ones, that don’t run some type of subsidy or the other.

*What we tried to do in the past four years is redress the damage done, prevent the corruption that brought us to where we are.

*We have a social investment policy, possibly the largest ever in the history of our country.

*In the past three years, the government of President Buhari has spent 2.7 trillion on capital, that is the highest ever in the history of Nigeria.

*We are employing 500,000 graduates and the graduates are in every single local government.

*We have a social investment policy, possibly the largest ever in the history of our country.

*We are producing 90% of the rice that we consume and we are importing only 2% of what we used to import.

*In every state of Nigeria today, we have a major road project.

*Today, we have begun some of the largest infrastructure projects in the history of our country.

*If you allow criminals to steal all the inventories, there will be no shop.

Galadima, ACPN

*The foreign policy of the government of the ACPN would be one that would be of mutual benefit to our country and to the countries of the world.

*The Nigerian economy now is vulnerable and can collapse at any time.

*We are at a critical stage in the life of this country. We should open our eyes and Nigerians should vote for candidates based on the manifestoes that they are presenting to them.

*The issue of Ajaokuta (steel company) has been there for a very long time and it has been fraught with corruption, and now a drain pipe to the nation’s economy. We have recorded very little or no improvement since 2015,

*By continuing with subsidy, we are killing the economy of this country and we are killing the people.  Nigeria does not have the capacity to determine the rate at which the naira is exchanged for other currencies of the world. Nigerian government is subsidizing PMS to the tune of N2bn daily.

*Unemployment is becoming higher and this is because of the wrong policy of government.

Abdullahi-Iya, ANN

*I am also concerned about the 13 million children who are out of school. As a wife and a mother of seven, I am committed in every resource of authority at my disposal to ensure that every child, every young person, every mother and every father, gets the opportunity that they desire in the pursuit of happiness

*I am passionate about women and the plight of children. I believe that we should all be concerned about the plight of children in Nigerian and that is basically securing the future of our children, our future.

*We are going to do devolution of power, we are going to do resource control and constitutional amendment, because those are the structures that affect the endemic poverty that we have in Nigeria.

*The problem that we have is the fact that our over 774 local governments are not fully developed. We are going to do the devolution of power, we are going to do resource control, and constitutional amendment.

*Poverty has become endemic in every aspect. Despite all the efforts the government has put in, we are doing a complete overhaul.

*What is the government presently doing with the subsidy that has been removed? It is not affecting the common man and we don’t know what is going on.

*Subsidy in Nigeria is fraught with corruption

Getso, YPP

There is no other party in Nigeria that has given priority to women. Professor Kingsley Moghalu’s Presidency is about giving 50-50 opportunity to women to participate in his government at all levels.

*To be candid, subsidy to a typical Nigerian is just a scam. That’s how I will call it, the way President Buhari once said in the newspaper.

*We can’t expect people who destroyed our past to improve our future.

*In my party (YPP), we so much believe in a new Nigeria, where every Nigerian will have equal rights and will have a story to tell tomorrow.

*I have been to the lowest level of Nigeria’s standard of living and I know how Nigerians are suffering.

*I have a passion for the girl child education and I spent the early years of my adulthood in the development of a common Nigeria.


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