Obiageli Ezekwesili, Presidential Candidate of Allied Congress Party of Nigeria (ACPN)
Obiageli Ezekwesili was born on April 28, 1963 (age 55). She holds a Master’s degree in International Law and Diplomacy from the University of Lagos as well as a Master of Public Administration from the Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University. She is a Chartered Accountant. Ezekwesili previously worked for the Center for International Development at Harvard. She served as Federal Minister of Solid Minerals and then as Federal Minister of Education during Olusegun Obasanjo’s Presidency. She served as the Vice-President of the World Bank’s Africa division from May 2007 to May 2012. Ezekwesili was instrumental to the #BringBackOurGirls campaign.
ECONOMIC PHILOSOPHY; FUNDAMENTAL PRINCIPLES AND CONCEPTS
- Through policy, effective regulation and catalytic public investment in the provision of basic services for people and businesses, we will accelerate and expand the sources of growth in the economy.
- We will embark on a massive program of deregulation of the Nigerian economy to unleash the depth of competition and efficiencies necessary for higher and deeper economic growth and expansion of the economy.
- A dedication to improving the Productivity and Competitiveness of Nigeria and Nigerians in every sector of economic activity.
- Deliberateness in easing the Doing Business environment not just for major businesses in Nigeria but for Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises.
- The key plank of our health agenda is to reverse the negative trend of maternal and infant mortality, child mortality, needless deaths in non-communicable diseases and reversing the trend of medical tourism.
- We would support research and development for vaccines. We would champion engagement with international pharmaceutical companies on cost-effective vaccines and medicines that will effectively tackle disease burdens especially malaria and other tropical diseases that hit us disproportionately.
- Our government will broaden the National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS) to ensure universal coverage in a decade.
- We would also attract at least three top-quality global health providers linked to the NHIS in each subregion.
- We would adopt a PPP model that would outsource the management of primary health centres to private providers, where the payment to these providers would be linked to performance.
- We will target subsidies to the poor in our rural communities such that only a tiny social fee needs to be paid while the federal and state governments shoulder the cost.
- We will pursue a Six Growth Poles strategy, which will be at the heart of our diversification agenda. We will focus on optimizing the economic performance and expanding the economies of the six geopolitical regions.
- In the North East, we will invest in the reconstruction and the reclamation of the Chad Basin for economic expansion. We will also restore communities and livelihoods.
- In the North Central we will restore law and order while optimizing agriculture productivity.
- In the South South, we will implement a regeneration agenda for land, communities and people for a Niger Delta beyond oil.
- In the South East, we will undertake reconstruction for innovation, enterprise and trade development.
- In the South West, we will place emphasis on optimizing and positioning the region as a magnet for global talents with the aim of becoming a hub for manufacturing and services.
- In the North West, we shall reignite the competitiveness of value-added leather and textile clustering by attracting light manufacturing industries to the comparative advantages of sources of raw materials for production.
- Across board, we would pursue an economy of agglomeration, whereby similar economic activities are clustered together to ensure that businesses and cities can scale and have good connectivity.
- We would actively lead the national conversation on restructuring and devolution of powers which must be had if we are to make progress.
- Our campaign possesses a strong belief in the dominant economic role of the private sector and we would completely express that belief in the power sector by updating and completely implementing the Power Sector Reform Act.
- We would consider innovative business models to transform our energy systems and the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC) would be empowered with a strengthened regulatory framework.
- Our government will also catalyse a national shift to other renewable sources of energy including solar, wind and even biomass.
TECHNOLOGY AND INNOVATION
- We will design and implement policies that will ensure the increase of technology start-ups in the country by at least 40 percent in four years.
- We will provide tax waivers to incentivise investment in technology.
- Part of our curriculum review in our schools will see the incorporation of coding and entrepreneurship into the education system.
- My government will also provide the legal framework to support alternative investment sources like crowd-funding.
- We would also create an office for a Chief Innovation Officer to manage all innovation initiatives of the government and a Chief Data Officer to manage all data initiatives to make government smarter and boost innovation in Nigeria.
- My government will prioritize support to our young people to unleash their creativity in the fields of new, smart, disruptive technologies.
AGRICULTURE AND FOOD SECURITY.
- We will launch our One Product Per State initiative which will partner with states and the private sector to support farmers in states with a product in which they have comparative advantage.
- We will create an enabling environment for agricultural growth by prioritizing the enactment and implementation of streamlined and consistent policies that affect key value chains such as rice, cassava, maize, poultry and dairy.
- We will also promote knowledge, capacity and innovation to build a highly productive and competitive Agribusiness Landscape.
- We will foster data collection and collation at state and regional levels through public-private partnerships.
- We will also partner with states to provide websites with accurate data on their farmers, the location of these farmers and the output/produce they generate.
- Education and skills development of healthy Nigerian people shall be our Number One priority.
- We shall launch a root and branch reform of all the levels and phases of education. Early Childcare Education, Basic Education, Secondary Education, Special Needs Education and Adult/Informal Education will all be systemically reformed to achieve universal access to quality and relevant education by all Nigerians.
- My government would reduce the number of Out-Of-School children by 20 percent annually. That will bring it down from the current 13.2 million to about 5.4 million by 2023. And by then, we would have put structures and policies in place to ensure that the progress is irreversible and Education-For-All will be achieved well before 2030.
- Upon getting into office, my government would immediately launch a Teachers Top Talent (TTT) Initiative. The aim of the program would be to attract top talents into teaching.
- We would provide sweeteners to encourage the brightest and best into the teaching profession. One such initiative would be the Housing All Teachers (HAT) program which would ensure that a top talent who chooses to go into teaching would have an immediate chance to become a homeowner.
- Still on the issue of teachers, another initiative that we would be launching is the Teachers Prestige; Teachers Pride. This initiative would include In-Service programs in which teachers would be sponsored on professional trainings and staff development modules where they meet their peers, discuss methods and caseloads.
- Our government will upgrade the curriculum in our schools to align with 21st century needs.
- My administration would also prioritise early childcare for those at the bottom of the pyramid. We will innovate with public and community funded schemes to enable the children of the poor have solid early child care and pre-school education.
- One of our signature programs when we get elected next year would be TwentyToTheRanking which targets the transformation of 20 Nigerian universities to ensure that they feature in the rankings of the top universities in the world in seven years.
- Our government will grant full autonomy to public universities. We would continue to fund our public universities with grants that will be linked to performance, results and accountability.
- The federal government under my leadership would develop a solid financing model to support students that will be a combination of financial aids, scholarships and student loans.
- My administration would also integrate accomplished Diaspora Nigerians who would serve on the faculties of our local universities.
- Our ACPN government would be launching a massive national skills program called Get-A-Skill (GAS). The target of GAS is to train at least 900,000 Nigerians annually in diverse skills.
- We will pursue a Produce More, Earn More vision that will result in higher productivity, greater competitiveness, higher income, more diversified export earnings from wider sources of economic growth in the economy.
- Under our Produce More, Earn More initiative, our government will partner with Private Sector to identify critical measures necessary to increase Nigeria’s Productivity to at least $10/hour over the next four years.
- We shall unleash higher labor productivity and consequently, improve the income growth for individuals, households, businesses and government.
- We will identify the industries that are of strategic value to our economy and support and promote them through sound policies on trade, tax, infrastructure, skills, training, and research and development.
- The ACPN government would take away the barriers to the productivity of our citizens in the informal sector. We are committed to providing the critical infrastructure, training, access to finance, connectivity to the market and to use policies and targeted public investments to ease the Doing Business environment.
- We would also provide the informal sector with the incentives that would move them from informality to formality, and enhance their productivity and competitiveness.
- Within our first 100 days in office, we will launch a Suffer-Head Challenge which would subject all regulations in a priority sector of our MSMEs to public scrutiny and elimination.
- Our ACPN government will launch BizLift, which would be an online portal and national telephone helpline that would offer guidance and advisory services to SMEs employing between 10 and 199 people.
- We will also support MSMEs to improve their access to markets by increasing the paved road network from 65,000km to 120,000km.
- If the ACPN government introduces tolling on roads or any other initiative that has potential to raise rates on citizens, we promise to sign binding Service Level Agreements (SLAs) promising to refund monies back to the Nigerian people if standards are not maintained or we do not meet agreed expectations.
- Over the next decade, we will transform 12 Nigerian cities into global standard cities with a mix of well-planned infrastructure, proper positioning as magnets for top talents and a technology-based modernization agenda.
- We would set up a $1.5 billion Infrastructure Fund for which we would give annual reports to the Nigerian people and also sign binding Service Level Agreements (SLAs) on performance and accountability.
- We would also set up a $1 billion Science, Technology and Innovation (STI) Fund to ensure that science, technology and innovation become the enabler for socioeconomic development and structural transformation.
- Our government will embark on a land reform agenda that begins with the amendment of the Land Use Act in order to facilitate the creation of an active land market and free transfer of titles.
- Our government will also deregulate the entire oil sector, including the NNPC, and ensure it is subjected to the competition and discipline of the market.
- We have big plans for housing development that includes a national housing program to reduce the cost of a starter home for families by 50 percent.
- Within my first 100 days, I would launch a Naija Home Competition that will call for the design of a standard, affordable Nigerian home design which will include two bedrooms, a living room, a bathroom and toilet, and a kitchen.
- The Basic Nigerian Home will also allow us lay the foundation for a functional mortgage market that will expand property ownership to millions of Nigerians. Additionally, it will allow Nigeria to launch a dynamic local real estate and housing industry with firms active throughout the value chain from production of construction materials, building, and sales to mortgages.