Restructuring, inclusive government’ll address IPOB, Niger Delta issues, say Atiku, Okowa

• Canvass adoption of technology to fight insecurity
• Want transparency in applications of security votes

Presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Atiku Abubakar, and his running mate, Governor Ifeanyi Okowa, said on Sunday night that agitations by the Independent Peoples of Biafra (IPOB) and the Niger Delta militancy would be addressed through restructuring and all-inclusive government.

Answering questions at the Channels TV Town Hall programme, the former Vice President said restructuring would give autonomy to the region in such a way that no agitation would be necessary.

He also disclosed that in 2007, he had proposed to introduce some measures to resolve the militancy in the Niger Delta but had to pass the idea to the late President Umaru Musa Yar’Adua.

In his remarks, Okowa said the matter would also be resolved through the all-inclusive government Atiku would bring.
Responding to questions on whether or not security votes for governors or even President should be scrapped, Atiku said:

“What is required is ensuring accountability which is absent now”

He added: “There have been abuses and we can’t close our eyes to that. That is why I am advocating accountability to ensure that what is voted and spent as security vote is properly utilised”

Speaking on how best the problem of insecurity particularly that of Boko Haram insurgency could be addressed, Atiku drew attention to how the issues of security is handled in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) pointing out that technology has been so applied that one could hardly notice any security man in uniform.

He said he would ensure that adequate fund is voted for the acquisition of the right technology to tackle insecurity in Nigeria if voted in as President.

“We need to reform the current security architecture to give us the best,” he added.
Okowa, in his remarks, said: “We must get the technocrat and civil servants to work together. We must ensure their welfare and get their buy in.”

According to him, provision of gainful employment for youths will make them to believe more in Nigeria.
Okowa believes that once the needed governance is provided, militancy would not come back
He said: “People will be carried along in jobs, skills, in a working economy. Full implementation of the Petroleum Industry Act will help issues particularly the aspect that deals with application of the host community fund.

“In Our Covenant with Nigerians, we speak about getting all Nigerians to work together to ensure that we improve our security architecture. When Alhaji Atiku Abubakar becomes President on May 29, 2023, he will get everyone working together to revamp our security architecture to ensure that we reduce crime and improve our security.”
On Boko Haram, Atiku’s said he could still not understand the reason for the continued existence of the Boko Haram phenomenon, adding that Borno has no such thick forest for hiding.

Asked to comment on the issue of removal of subsidy, Atiku said he has always been an advocate of subsidy removal.
He said that during his tenure as Vice President, with Olusegun Obasanjo as President, government had commenced the removal of subsidy.

According to him, the removal was planned to happened in four stages but immediately after the second stage, it was suspended and no government could continue.
“Whether we like it or not, subsidy will have been removed by June next year in line with the law passed by the National Assembly,” he added.

He said the economy is suffering because of subsidy and that the money used for subsidy ia needed for education and health
“We need to also develop our people to continue to participate in the economy. We can’t continue to borrow to survive,” Atiku stressed.
On his plans for the Creative industry, Atiku pledged to give the industry good attention, saying: “Creative industry is the second after agriculture in creating employment.
“The only government that has tried is that of Jonathan.”
Atiku frown on the existence of multiple exchange rate in the economy. He said that as President, he would promptly direct the Governor of the Central Bank to stop the multiple exchange rates.
He lamented that the development was causing serious harm to the manufacturing sector, adding that the situation was so bad that those who desire the foreign exchange could not get them.


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