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Issues in the APC manifesto

The All Progressives Congress (APC) at a summit last week in Abuja, unveiled its manifesto, which it says would serve as a road map to…

The All Progressives Congress (APC) at a summit last week in Abuja, unveiled its manifesto, which it says would serve as a road map to the development of the country to the public.
The lack of a manifesto has been a source of criticism for the party as many have accused it of operating without a road map since it was registered as a political party in July last year.
Former governor of Kano State, Ibrahim Shekarau, had while defecting to the PDP early this year, accused the APC of not having a manifesto saying it has failed to make the document ready since the party was registered.
But the APC at the summit tagged, “Road map to a new Nigeria” tried to counter the criticism and unveiled what it said are its focus areas for the transformation of the country, designed to bring change to governance in the country in order to provide the needed development.
Interim national chairman of the party, Chief Bisi Akande, said Nigeria has in the last decade, witnessed a decline in the commitment of the leaders of the country to provide jobs and security to the citizens which resulted in the myriads of problems facing the country.
He explained that the party worked out the road map to address the problems in the country with a clear strategy devoid of rhetoric.
Interim national publicity secretary of the party, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, further explained that the road-map will detail the party’s priorities to address the failings of successive PDP led governments since 1999, in order to bring hope and succour to the suffering people of Nigeria. He explained that the manifesto is a result of an “empirical and painstaking process” that took cognizance of the people’s wishes.
“With conditions deteriorating throughout Nigeria, with security an ever increasing concern, with the lack of jobs pushing families and young people further and further into poverty and with new stories of corruption within the PDP government appearing day after day, the APC decided to commission the largest ever public opinion survey in Nigerian history to determine the current status of things in the nation directly from those who knew best – the actual people of Nigeria,” he said.
The blueprint which turned out to be a simple document highlighting the areas the party intends to take actions on if voted into power, concentrated on job creation, fighting corruption agriculture, industrialisation, infrastructure and improving the general welfare of Nigerians.
Mohammed  explained that the blueprint is essentially the party’s commitment to the people of Nigeria as the party strives to create “a new Nigeria where every man and woman can benefit from our nation’s wealth and blessings and not just a privileged few” saying the roadmap has become necessary since Nigerians have lost confidence in the PDP due to its inability to create jobs, fight corruption and address people’s basic needs.
But shortly after the APC released it manifesto, the PDP criticized the document saying it is based on a “Janjaweed ideology.”
The PDP said the document was rushed out without proper homework describing it as wishy-washy, lacking in depth and character and that it failed to address any issue.
A statement by the PDP national publicity secretary, Olisa Metuh said “the APC should desist from deceiving the people with empty promises as contained in some of the items in the roadmap, pointing out that “while the roadmap promised free education, students in Lagos state have been on the streets protesting imposition of high school fees by the state where the people are also groaning under the burden of heavy taxes to finance the wasteful lifestyle of APC leaders.”
He said what the APC actually launched at the summit, are its seven cardinal sins and not any roadmap that would lead to the transformation of Nigeria.
The APC  while reacting, called on the PDP to desist from religious stereotyping saying by calling the APC roadmap a product of “Janjaweed Ideology” the PDP is making a thinly-veiled religious blackmail, which is in furtherance of its  ongoing campaign to portray the APC as an Islamic party.
The party said the remark also shows that the PDP will not relent from engaging in Islamophobia by using the Boko Haram crisis in a part of the country to stereotype Muslims painting them as terrorists, even when majority of Muslims do not support the heinous crimes being perpetrated by the sect.
It also wondered why the PDP, in reacting to it roadmap, would be making a reference to the Janjaweed militia which has been wreaking havoc in Sudan’s Western Darfur region saying the criticism by the PDP is nothing short of religious escapism and a dangerous attempt to whip up religious sentiments against people of a certain faith.
“The only reason that the PDP used the word ‘Janjaweed’ is because the militia that goes by that name comprises mostly, if not exclusively, of people of Arab/Muslim stock in Sudan. This has further confirmed our fears that there is a clear attempt by the PDP, led by President Goodluck Jonathan, to divide Nigerians along religious lines as never before in the history of our country,” Mohammed said.
APC further challenged the PDP to unveil its own blueprint for Nigerians to see and compare, rather than attempt to discredit the opposition’s message by resorting to what it called, ‘religious blackmail.’
“We will fight corruption, for which the PDP-led FG has become infamous, whenever and wherever it occurs. An APC government will show zero tolerance for government or private sector corruption by placing the burden of proof on persons with inexplicable wealth to prove their innocence; and guaranteeing the independence of anti-corruption and financial crimes.
“We will provide free, relevant and quality education that is essential to prepare our youth for the jobs of tomorrow and to ensure Nigeria’s future success. We will revive agriculture as an engine for economic growth and new jobs and increase the supply of quality housing through a policy of social housing for the poor and affordable housing for the working class.
“We will improve Health Care; provide Social Welfare; build and improve our roads, power and basic infrastructure to create new jobs and unleash business growth and strengthen peace and security by stopping the kind of horrendous acts of terrorism, especially in the Northeast, which have robbed us of Nigerian lives of every age and withered confidence in our nation’s security,’’ the APC said.
But the national chairman of the PDP, Adamu Mu’azu was to counter the statement by his party, as he said later at a rally in Kaduna, that the APC blueprint emanated from the PDP.
He said, “Our party is the party to beat because our records speak for us. We have given dividends to every nook and cranny and even our critiques know that our plan is essential. The party opposing us is using our manifesto. They took part of our manifesto.  I will convene a party national conference to improve the party’s manifesto.”
Analysts say if the APC manifesto has nothing to offer Nigerians as Metuh claimed, then the PDP national chairman would not have said the APC copied it from the PDP.
But the launch of the manifesto has been commended as a basic step that will restore the country to the politics of ideology, where parties would be held accountable based on what they profess rather than on religious or ethnic grounds.

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