News / Africa

    Nigerian Presidential Candidates Campaign on Economy

    Muhammadu Buhari, a former presidential candidate from the opposition party, speaks at a forum on electoral reforms in Nigeria's capital territory Abuja (File Photo - 14 Apr 2010).
    Muhammadu Buhari, a former presidential candidate from the opposition party, speaks at a forum on electoral reforms in Nigeria's capital territory Abuja (File Photo - 14 Apr 2010).

    Presidential candidates in Nigeria are promising to create more jobs and attract more outside investment by improving infrastructure.

    Unemployment is a big issue in Africa's most populous nation. So presidential candidates are campaigning hard on the economy with opposition parties criticizing the government for failing to use Nigeria's vast oil wealth to create jobs.

    "The employment situation in the country must be quickly improved," said Muhammadu Buhari, the presidential candidate of the Congress for Progressive Change party. "Jobs must be created. And it is scandalous for the Nigerian leadership of the last 12 years with what this country has realized from oil sales that education, health care, the most important of the social services have collapsed."

    Buhari says the ruling party is not serious about investing in infrastructure.

    "There is so much corruption and indiscipline. And then there is a lack of employment because of infrastructure," he added. "There is no power inspite of the money spent, no good roads, no potable water in any of the cities of the country."

    Opposition candidate of the All Nigeria People's Party (ANPP) Ibrahim Shekarau (L) raises his hands after Shekarau's nomination as the presidential candidate during the party's primaries in the capital Abuja, 15 Jan 2011.
    Opposition candidate of the All Nigeria People's Party (ANPP) Ibrahim Shekarau (L) raises his hands after Shekarau's nomination as the presidential candidate during the party's primaries in the capital Abuja, 15 Jan 2011.


    "Voting for me means improvement in power supply, improvement in infrastructure, improvement in education, pursuit of self-reliance in the area of food production and a robust and transparent financial system," said Ibrahim Shekarau, the presidential candidate of the All Nigeria People's Party.

    "What we all desire is a nation where there is constant power supply, where infrastructure is provided to ensure a stable environment for business to thrive, where adequate attention is given to development and protection of the Niger Delta and all other regions," said Nuhu Ribadu, the candidate of the Action Congress of Nigeria party.

    Former anti-graft chief and presidential flagbearer Nuhu Ribadu with a broom, a party symbol, reacts after his announcement as a consensus candidate during the presidential primaries of Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) in Lagos, 14 Jan 2011.
    Former anti-graft chief and presidential flagbearer Nuhu Ribadu with a broom, a party symbol, reacts after his announcement as a consensus candidate during the presidential primaries of Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) in Lagos, 14 Jan 2011.


    He too says the ruling People's Democratic Party is not up to economic challenges.

    "Eleven years is enough time for a determined people under a truly determined leadership to revamp the economy, modernize vital infrastructure, provide jobs for all willing hands, nurse the ailing in quality hospitals, make safe our neighborhoods and give our children quality education," he said. "The People's Democratic Party has been given 11 years to change their lives, and it has failed woefully."

    So what does the ruling party have to say about the economy? President Goodluck Jonathan is running as much as an outsider as he is an incumbent.

    Nigeria's president Jonathan addresses delegates during the primaries of the ruling People's Democratic Party in Abuja, 13 Jan 2011.
    Nigeria's president Jonathan addresses delegates during the primaries of the ruling People's Democratic Party in Abuja, 13 Jan 2011.


    "You see a lot of people who are poor, have no food to eat. You see a lot of young men and women who need education. You see the challenges of technology," he said. "And to develop a strong economy that will handle this, you need somebody as an agent of transformation. I, Goodluck Ebele Azikiwe Jonathan, am that agent."

    After only eight months in office, Jonathan says his government has already cut lines at petroleum stations and is pushing to raise the minimum wage.

    "Let me assure Nigerian youths that we are going to create jobs," he said. "We are going to create employment. There are funds made available for industries to take up. We must revolutionize agriculture."

    Since winning the ruling-party nomination last week, President Jonathan has announced a nearly $4-billion plan to rehabilitate dams to boost power supplies, improve irrigation, and provide safe drinking water to all Nigerians by 2015.

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