Today’s Nigeria does not require leadership that offers easy solutions to complex problems. Nigeria must now, at this stage of its development, make tough decisions and come up with creative and original ideas that will reposition all areas of government for a better tomorrow. The APC Manifesto, an 80-page action plan titled; “Renewed Hope 2023 – Action Plan for a Better Nigeria” focuses on national security, the economy, agriculture, energy, oil and gas, transport and education. Other areas include; health, digital economy, women’s empowerment, judicial reform, federalism/decentralization of power and foreign policy. In reviewing this manifesto, I will focus on three thematic areas of this valuable policy document;
- National security
- Foreign policy
- National security
The “Renewed Hope 2023” Action Plan, also known as the Action Plan for a Better Nigeria, regards national security as the cornerstone of a successful and democratic society because it firmly believes that without national security, the renewed hope of a Nigeria better still a mirage. APC proposals to address national security issues continue to be the most effective. According to the manifesto, some of the creative solutions include: establishing anti-terror battalions; use technology to combat insecurity; revitalize ranger and ranger forces; community policy; use technology to protect borders; and separate the police from those we consider VIPs (Very Important Personalities) while allowing them to serve society more effectively. When there is national security, young people can move around, pursuing their legitimate businesses in fear of attack.
The demand for “true” federalism has become a persistent movement among the different ethnic nationalities, states and groups in Nigeria. The arguments for a new kind of federalism that would give more authority to the various constituents and lessen the burden of central authority are growing and peaking. Since true federalism is about inclusion and participation, the youth of Nigeria have also joined the movement because they understand that without it they cannot realize their own aspirations. In response to this request, the APC has revived the dream of a truly federalist system that would allow individual states to achieve economic sustainability, self-determination, and a “more balanced democracy.” Given that the All Progressives Congress (APC) Committee on True Federalism began work on governance reform in August 2017, there is reason to hope that the APC will continue its efforts. in the light of Renewed Hope. The promise to vigorously pursue the principles of true federalism through practical and innovative means, as revealed in the APC manifesto, shows that the renewed hope for true federalism is not empty rhetoric, as it sets the framework through which true federalism will be implemented through the following:
- Constitutional Review
The lack of constitutional support for true federalism is one reason it has not been established or put into practice, despite APC’s promise. The document, Renewed Hope, acknowledges this reality and commits to “review constitutional legislative lists to ensure that States have greater control over certain critical issues. Focus areas will include crime prevention, prisons, stamp duties and certain forms of tax” (p.69).
- Resource allocation
The Tinubu/Shettima government, when elected, will implement true federalism using the resource allocation mechanism. He promises to “embark on a review of the federation’s revenue allocation system to recalibrate the division of funds among the three levels of government: federal, state and local” and promises to allocate more funds “to state and local governments so they can address better local concerns and comply with its expanded constitutional obligations towards the people” (p.69).
- Foreign policy
According to the APC Renewed Hope document, Nigeria should be the leader of the black race and of African diplomacy because it has the largest underground economy and the highest black population. Nigeria must carefully advance its domestic agenda in a global context if it is to maintain its position as the national pride of blacks. The Renewed Hope manifesto states that the three main objectives of Nigeria’s foreign policy should:
- protect against all forms of external aggression;
- promote the best possible results for Nigeria in all engagements with other nations; Y
- enhance Nigeria’s standing and dignity among the community of nations.
The foreign policy component of the manifesto, like other components, is not just a mere statement of “What” to do, but rather stipulates “how” to do it through the following measures, among others:
- Active diplomacy to end the conflict in sub-Saharan Africa, especially in the West African sub-region.
- strengthen diplomatic and military cooperation in the fight against transnational terrorists within the subregion, through the institutionalization of more frequent meetings of the ministers of Foreign Affairs and Defense in the subregion.
- Work to increase internal subregional trade, promote joint industrialization and joint infrastructure projects within ECOWAS.
- Enhance Nigeria’s political leadership on the continent by establishing a G-5 among the major African nations to develop common positions on issues of continental and global importance.
- Promote better inter-institutional coordination in foreign policy. A Department of Strategic Policy will be established within the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to improve the formulation, monitoring and implementation of foreign policy.
My closing statement: a call to action
When the future of a country’s future is anchored in competition, hope is revived; and when that future is placed in the hands of an enthusiastic and supportive team, there is certainty of a better tomorrow. The Tinubu-Shettima team is for the youth because they are fully aware that without the youth, Nigeria has no future. It is therefore no coincidence that the APC manifesto has been carefully crafted to give the youth of Nigeria, and by extension the entire country, new hope. I have carefully examined the manifestos of other political parties and can say without a doubt that APC has better plans for youth than other political parties. With APC in power, the youth have a brighter future ahead of them. Therefore, let us work together to make this pact negotiated with the youth a reality. This is our RENEWED HOPE!