By Lawrence Olaoye and Lateef Ibrahim, Abuja
President Muhammadu Buhari has appealed to politicians in the country not to set the country ablaze as they commence their campaigns ahead of the 2019 general elections.
The President made the plea yesterday during the kick-off of his re-election campaigns with the launch of a manual tagged “Next Level” at the Presidential Villa.
This is just as Former Vice President and presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) Alhaji Atiku Abubakar kick-starts his campaign for the 2019 presidential election campaign with an address to the Nigerian people on Facebook at 12 noon, during which he will launch his policy document.
President Buhari told supporters of the governing All Progressives Congress (APC) top party officials and government functionaries at the event that he is “not unmindful that the National Assembly and the presidential campaign starts today. I will employ candidates to go about the campaigns peacefully and decently.
“We have no other country, let us not set it ablaze because of politics.”
The President who scored his administration high on his three point agenda of fighting insecurity, fighting corruption and revamping the economy during his first term also vowed to overhaul the nation’s education sector if voted into power for second term.
He said, “Perhaps our biggest ambition yet is the overhaul of our education sector. Every child counts; and simply, whatever it takes to prepare our teachers, curriculum and classrooms to attain the right educational goals that grow our country, will be done. We will remodel 10,000 schools every year, and retrain our teachers to impart science, technology, engineering, art and mathematics using coding, animation, robotics to re-interprete our curriculum.”
The President equally assured that he would continue his onslaught against corruption, if voted into power for the second term.
According to him, his administration implemented a responsible and transparent fiscal plan that saw his government doing more with little resources available.
He said, “Grand scale corruption perpetrated at the highest level of government is now a thing of the past, just as the Treasury Single Account has made it more difficult for ministries, departments and agencies to exercise the unrestrained liberties that helped foster a climate conducive to corruption.
“The nation’s wealth is now being invested in capital projects to expand infrastructure and connect people, goods and opportunity by rail, road and air.”
The President, who promised to create 15 million more jobs through the expansion of the N-Power program, also disclosed that with the departure from mono economy, his administration would exploit the comparative advantage of the geo-political zones and different states by developing 6 industrial Parks and 109 Special Production and Processing Centres (SPPCs) across each senatorial district.
“On the choice before Nigerians as they go to polls in 2019, Buhari said, “The next four years will be quite significant for our country. Nigeria is faced with a choice to keep building a new Nigeria – making a break from its tainted past which favoured an opportunistic few.
“Our choices will shape us-our economic security and our future prosperity. Nigeria, more than ever before, needs a stable and people –focuses government to move the agenda for our country forward.”
Also speaking at the event, Minister of Power, Works and Housing, Babatunde Fashola and his Transportation counterpart took turns to highlight the achievements of their ministries and urged Nigerians to re-elect Buhari for continuity.
At the event were the Vice President, Yemi Osinbajo, Wife of the President, Aisha, National Chairman of the ruling APC, Adams Oshiomhole, governors of Kebbi, Nasarawa, Katsina, Kogi and other Senior government officials.
On his part, the presidential candidate of the opposition, Atiku Abubakar, will today launch and present his vision for Nigeria and his action plan to achieve it as encapsulated in the policy document.
According to a statement by the Atiku Presidential Campaign Organization (APCO), the document will also be uploaded on his website (www.atiku.org) for all Nigerians to access at no cost.
The decision of Atiku to kick-start his presidential campaign with the launch of his policy document, APCO said, is to reiterate his commitment to run an issue based campaign.
According to the APCO, “The intention is to take our policy directly to Nigerians and to register the belief of Atiku Abubakar that it will take the collective efforts of every Nigerian to rebuild the country. That is why we want Nigerians to access the policy directly and ultimately take ownership of it.
“Our campaign offers a simple message: United, the people of Nigeria can begin anew, creating a prosperous and secure future and a better life for every Nigerian.
“On the first working day of the campaign, the PDP and its candidate, Atiku Abubakar will put forward his plan to get Nigeria working again.
“We have chosen to do this by having the PDP Presidential candidate speaking directly to the Nigerian people on Facebook. This medium came about as part of the telecommunications revolution that he helped start as Vice President in 1999-2007.
“We have also chosen to have our candidate speak online, as it facilitates the ability for anyone to download a copy of his policy document at no cost, as we intend this to be the policy of every Nigerian.
“Our policy document focuses on creating jobs, ensuring security, growing business, developing power and water infrastructure, agriculture and education and how we will empower women.
“Our policies outline the goals and methods for developing and revitalising Nigeria as the foundation of our campaign,” APCO stated.
The Atiku Presidential Campaign Organization expressed optimism that the PDP’s presidential candidate will conduct vital discussions as he travels across the length and breadth of Nigeria, meeting and talking with stakeholders such as famers, small business people, workers, students, mothers, and children.
The organisation admitted that ahead 2019 will be a vigorous and hard election but expressed confidence that with peaceful, free and fair elections, Atiku will be victorious.