The All Progressives Congress presidential candidate, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, and his running mate, Kashim Shettima, were absent at the second day of the 52nd National Conference of the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Nigeria in Abuja on Wednesday.
The event was an opportunity for other presidential candidates or their running mates to explain their parties’ manifestoes to Nigerians.
Though the presidential standard bearer of the Peoples Democratic Party, Atiku Abubakar, was absent, his running mate, Ifeanyi Okowa, who represented him, assured Nigerians that the party would run a private sector-driven economy if voted into power in 2023.
The Labour Party’s presidential candidate, Peter Obi, promised to turn Nigeria from a consuming nation to a productive one.
His counterpart in the All Progressives Grand Alliance, Peter Umeadi, pledged to end environmental degradation in the Niger Delta and boost security across the country if voted into power.
Umeadi also pledged to support the enactment of the Child Rights Act in all the states of the federation.
The New Nigerian Peoples Party’s candidate, Rabiu Kwankwaso, was represented by his running mate, Pastor Isaac Idahosa, who promised to improve the economy and rid the nation of corruption.
Speaking to the theme, “Nigeria: Adopting Sustainability for Economic Prosperity,” Okowa said the PDP would improve security and unite Nigeria if elected into power in 2023.
According to him, the party would be retraining some of the officers at the forefront, while also improving their welfare and providing them with the right equipment.
“People working for us in the military, how trained are they? How equipped are they to carry out these responsibilities? We must equip them and ensure their welfare is taken care of,” Okowa said.
He said the PDP government would work with the National Assembly to actualise the state policing system, noting that the capital projects in the budgets in the last two to three years had been funded with debts, which the PDP would change.
“We must encourage oil to be refined in our country. We must ensure gas development down to the downstream,” he said, promising to rejig the health sector and bolster entrepreneurship development.
On his part, Idahosa said corruption was of the mind, stressing that an NNPP government would have zero tolerance for the malaise.
“We need leadership that has the strong political will and is devoid of confusion,” he said, stressing that environmental sustainability would be at the forefront of the party’s government if voted into power.
Obi, on his part, stated that incompetence in financial records distorted development.
He said, “Speaking briefly on ‘Accounting as a requisite for sustainable governance,’ whether you are involved in corporate, public, government or forensic accounting, all accountants are fundamentally concerned with financial records.
“Incompetence in financial records distorts intended development. It is logical, therefore, placing Nigeria on the part of economic prosperity will help reduce our national challenges to the barest minimum.”
He added that corruption had become endemic in the fabric of the nation, adding that it had become an obstacle to Nigeria’s progress.
Presidential candidate of the African Action Congress, Omoyele Sowore, faulted the 2023 budget proposal as presented to the National Assembly by the President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd.), citing the violation of the Fiscal Responsibility Act, 2007.
Sowore said, “The budget President Buhari presented to the National Assembly is illegal. It runs afoul of Section 12 (1) of the Fiscal Responsibility Act, 2007, which puts the deficit to GDP ratio at less than three per cent. What President Muhammadu Buhari presented was about five per cent.”
He also noted that the country could not afford to elect a sick President into office in 2023.
On his part, Prof. Christopher Imulomen of the Accord Party promised to bolster the Nigerian education system.