The dimension of 2023 election campaign expected to commence in September has began to emerge as parties and candidates are putting finishing touches to their campaign plans.
To political watchers, the thesis and anti-thesis being generated ahead of the 2023 general election from media interviews and public discussion on social media seem to be focusing more on issues that do not offer the public ideas and strategy that define policy options to address myriad local and global challenges requiring urgent attention.
For us at COMBAT, we believe beyond the controversial issue of restructuring for the citizens to make a right decision as the election draw nearer is the ability of each of the party candidate to address the problems of economy, insecurity and infrastructure etc.
Without doubt, the four leading presidential candidates include former Vice- President Atiku Abubakar, of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP); Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, former Governor of Lagos State and of the All Progressive Congress (APC); Peter Obi, former Governor of Anambra State and of the Labour Party (LP); and Dr. Rabiu Musa Kwankwaso, former Governor of Kano State and of the New Nigeria People’s Party (NNPP). What appeared to be common among the four leading contenders are the facts that they have participated and won governorship election in their states in the past.
In addition, they have held different political positions at federal government levels.
However, the question begging for answers is what are the impacts or accomplishments each candidates made in their previous political positions that present them as favourite to lead the country to the next level.
Attempt to provide answers to this important question will redirect the attention of the stakeholders especially, the public to issue based campaign unlike campaign of calumny which usually pervades our past presidential elections in order to have wider and positive political and economic impacts for the country.
It is instructive to note that each of the top candidates has nothing less than 8 years’ experience of governance which is enough to offer records of performance to convince the voters on their programmes from the manifestoes of their parties.
With the current challenges arising out of Covid-19, global inflation and insecurity, the 2023 campaign provides opportunity to interrogate the candidates on specific policy issues to move the nation forward.
In the light of the multiple challenges confronting the country, one would expect campaign that focus on how each candidate has contributed in the past to issues such true federalism, insecurity, local government administration, revenue generation, power/electricity, transportation, anti-corruption.
For a country desirous to have a government and a leader that will address the multitude of problems in the polity, we at COMBAT strongly identify BAT ahead of others as a presidential candidate whose brainpower is in tandem with the desire to move Nigeria to the next level based on the following:
Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu stands out among the major contenders in promotion of democratic consolidation to reposition Nigeria before and during his tenure as Lagos state government.
It is on record that his stand for expanding frontier of governance through creation of Local Governments and efforts to sustain it despite opposition by the PDP government under Obansanjo-Atiku tickets makes him far better in terms of ability to restructure the country if given the mandate to lead the country.
This is incomparable with Peter Obi of Labour party who refused to allow democratic selection of local government chairmen for 8 years while in office.
At inception of democratic system in 1999, it is tradition for states to carry handout bowls to Abuja for survival until Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu introduced intervention in the areas of internal revenue generation (IGR) that led Lagos State to prosperity.
From internal revenue generation (IGR) of six hundred million to twenty billion naira, Lagos became a template for 35 states and lately federal government for expanding the generation of revenue.
Dissecting Tinubu’s economic track records takes him ahead of other candidates for being recognized as the visionary behind the success of Lagos state economy as a prelude to transform Nigeria economy.
Tinubu pioneered efforts in the country with N15 billion raised through bonds is a track record none of the candidates can match. The enviable records of performance of Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu eight years in office as governor has sustained the states as the nation’s economic and commercial, and currently 4th largest economy in Africa.
The solution to power problems that gulp $16b and privatization under the PDP government which Atiku Abubakar as a former vice president played a prominent role remains a mirage despite effort of current government to clear the mess.
It is a well-known fact that except Tinubu, none of other contenders has any past record in term of power solution. Under the administration of Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, Lagos State became the first state government that generated electricity through Independent Power Project (IPP) handled by the American Company, ENRON which produced 90MW which improved the electricity supply in Lagos State.
When it comes to National Infrastructure, the transformation of Lagos state with innovation that brought into existence Lekki Free Trade Zone, the Eko Atlantic and many road projects that have helped in solidifying Lagos’s status as a mega city is enough evidence to identify Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu as a right successor to improve on achievement of current APC government in area of New National Infrastructural Plans on the table of the Government.
Under Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu as a governor of Lagos that stood him out among the contenders for presidency comes 2023 include free education programme for all Lagos State public schools, including free registration for WAEC/NECO exams, bursary/scholarship allowances and upgrading of schools in the state.
Other areas of pioneering accomplishments are budgetary allocation to the health sector from N1.6 billion in 1999 to N11.8 billion in 2006; Free malaria healthcare scheme for children and old people, reduction in HIV prevalence from 6.7% to 3.5%, Rapid Response Squad (RRS) and distribution of N150 million worth of Agricultural inputs to small and medium-scale farmers under the Lagos State Agricultural Micro-credit Scheme.
Therefore, despite the fact that the fuss generated by the party’s primary election is yet to stop especially, with the issue of religious balancing of ticket in APC and zoning arrangement of PDP, we in COMBAT see Asiwaju ahead of all putting all these parameters and many more to bear.
Coalition Movement for Bola Ahmed Tinubu, COMBAT – Initiated