Atiku promises to revive Obasanjo’s Economic Policies

Presidential candidate of Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, yesterday, promised to revive economic policies that were implemented during the tenure of former President Olusegun Obasanjo between 1999 and 2007, when he served as vice president, if elected president next year.

Specifically, he said he would encourage increased private sector investment to stimulate economic activities, promote job creation, and give attention to poverty alleviation.

The former vice president made the assertions in Lagos during an interactive session with members of the Nigerian Guild of Editors (NGE).

Atiku said his administration would work closely with the private sector to fix the country’s infrastructure deficit. He restated his favourable disposition to resource control by endowed sub-national units, and said he remained optimistic about reconciliation with fellow party man and governor of Rivers State, Nyesom Wike.

According to him, “The private sector is pivotal to my agenda to rejuvenate the economy and close our infrastructure deficit gaps. If I am elected president, I will work closely with the private sector by giving them incentives to create more jobs and also grant them tax holidays in order for them to intervene in our infrastructure development.

“It is obvious to all that government doesn’t have all the money and the debt burden has continued to weigh us down. Therefore, government has to be creative and engaging the private sector is one way of solving our infrastructure problems in a sustainable way.”

The PDP candidate said his first job, as president if elected, would be restructuring. He restated his commitment to ensuring that necessary constitutional amendments that would cause a transfer of more powers and resources to other tiers of government were activated on his first day in office, if elected.

He also pledged to form a government of national unity.

Atiku stated that in the last few years, the country had been polarised along sectarian, religious and ethnic lines, hence, only a government of national unity would heal the wound.

Commenting further on his plan for a government of national unity, Atiku said what the PDP government did under the Obasanjo administration, when members of the Alliance for Democracy (AD) and All Peoples Party (APP) were included in the government after the PDP won the election in 1999, paved the way for reconciliation and unity after a tense period.

“Even though PDP won overwhelmingly in 1999, we still included members of the opposition parties in a government of national unity and with that, we were able to ensure unity,” he said.

Atiku declared that he would not behave like President Muhammadu Buhari, who picked almost all the heads of security agencies from a section of the country, saying if he becomes the president, he will ensure that every geo-political zone has a sense of belonging and is represented in the headship of the security agencies.

On the economy, he said he would continue with the economic policies Obasanjo implemented, particularly, the privatisation of ailing public enterprises.

Atiku stressed the importance of a private sector-driven economy, saying the greatest economies in the world are private-sector focused.

“Most successful economies allow the private sector to play its role and we saw prosperity during Obasanjo’s administration,” he said.

He said rather than borrowing money to build roads and bridges, government could concession such to the private sector, which would help create the needed jobs and prosperity.


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