Presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party and former Vice President of Nigeria, Atiku Abubakar held an interactive session with leaders of corporate Nigeria, reinstating the position that his blueprint is most suited for the socio-economic and political recovery of the country.
The meeting, which was held in Lagos on Saturday, was attended by prominent leaders of corporate Nigeria, including Alhaji Aliko Dangote, Jim Ovia, Oba Otudeko, Aig Imoukhuede, among others.
The interactive session, which took the form of panel discussion, included Atiku’s running mate and Delta State governor, Dr. Ifeanyi Okowa.
The session, which was moderated by popular financial expert, Tilewa Adebajo, focused on six thematic topics including security, fiscal and monetary matters, power, oil and gas, infrastructure and manufacturing.
Atiku in his opening remarks at the event noted that, “there are facts about the current state of our economy that should dictate to us whether we should continue with the present reality or move far away from it.
“The first is the National Bureau of Statistics data which continuously shows that we are declining in critical sectors of the productive areas of the economy.
“The second is the report that 133 million Nigerians are multi-dimensionally poor which means that more than 60 percent of our people are not just poor, but equally lack access to education and good healthcare.”
Atiku noted that his engagement with the private sector is to forge partnership with corporate leaders and seek their intervention in reversing the trend.
“These facts are the reasons why we are engaging with the private sector today, and it is an engagement that seeks a partnership with the private sector to create more jobs and their intervention,” Atiku remarked.
The chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party Presidential Campaign Council and governor of Akwa Ibom State, Mr. Emmanuel Udom, also in his remarks said that, “it is good that we have the business community to listen to our candidate live and hear from him how he plans to recover Nigeria from lost grounds and make the country bounce back.”
On the issue of security, Atiku said that his proposal will have a two-pronged approach on the issue.
“The first approach will be to expand the numbers of security personnel, train and equip them to restore law and order.
“In the medium range, we intend to involve state governments that are willing and can afford to have state police to do so.
“This will require constitutional reviews and we must also secure safeguards that will ensure that those state police institutions are not abused.”
Responding to the issue of security around oil and gas installations, Atiku referred the question to his running mate, Okowa, who he acknowledges has done very well in security installations in his state and making Delta State, the highest oil producing state in the country.
The PDP Vice Presidential candidate noted that it is important to carry the communities along in any security apparatus that is being considered.
“On the issue of security around oil installations, it is important that we understand what the issues are and those issues have to be situated properly.
“The engagement with the local communities is very important and while doing that, we don’t leave those communities behind in terms of infrastructure and development, which creates hope and partnership with them,” Okowa said.
On the fiscal and monetary regulation, Atiku promises a convergence of the foreign exchange market, ensure price stability and promote trade deals that will inject more foreign exchange to the economy, as well as ensuring the independence of the Central Bank of Nigeria.
On power, he noted that his administration will pursue short, medium and long term projections in the power sector.
Picture caption: Presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party and former Vice President of Nigeria, 1999-2007, Chairman of Zenith Bank, Jim Ovia and former Senate President President, Dr Bukola Saraki at the meeting of the PDP presidential candidate with corporate Nigeria leaders in Lagos on Saturday.