Nigeria has made giant strides towards democracy. Since the return to civilian rule in 1999, successive elected governments have entrenched macroeconomic stability, liberalised key
sectors of the economy, promoted growth and employment, and improved the country's image abroad. Yet more than half a century after independence, full citizenship and too many democratic dividends remain elusive.
This must CHANGE!
To build a Nigeria for All that will be run by a trimmed down Federal Government whose operations are limited to areas that need national capabilities, and whose ministries and agencies act as regulators/holdings that set standards and allocate capital; monitor state, local, and private initiatives; and compel their effectiveness and efficiency in service delivery.
Abundant resource rents and a skewed revenue allocation model mean that the distant and insulated federal government does not have to earn citizens' trust, and that state and local governments lack the resources to meet citizens' needs. At less than 5% of GDP, Nigeria's tax 'burden' is one of the lowest in the world - though it is more than enough to buy elite support. Instead of investing in state capacity, the fortunate few extract rents to fund expensive self-help systems that give them access to amenities other citizens do not have access to, such as safe and secure housing, reliable water and electricity supplies, mobility, effective health care, a decent education, and personal protection.
The FG excels at creating redundant agencies and task forces with muddled up remits and responsibilities, frustrating efforts to evaluate their effectiveness and to streamline allocations accordingly. Also, most Ministers and Director Generals of Agencies treat their organisations as personal fiefdoms, with little censure or sanction. There are no unified - let alone transparent - procurement or recruitment mechanisms; morale at the overstaffed MDAs is poor, and careers typically reflect relations rather than performance.
Anti-Corruption And Accountability
Corruption and public sector accountability continues to be a scourge in Nigeria. So perverse has the influence of corruption been on Nigeria that its impact has frustrated many developmental efforts and stunted growth in almost every facet of national life. Therefore, to achieve any meaningful outcome from developmental viewpoint, the menace of corruption and low public sector accountability needs to be tackled. A robust, professional and independent anti-corruption agency is mandatory. In spite of the efforts undertaken since 1999, including the creation of new anti-corruption agencies like the EFCC, ICPC, Code of Conduct Bureau, corruption remains endemic in the Nigerian public and private sectors. Because of the pervasive nature of this vice, I promise to be doggedly committed to use all legitimate means to ensure that corruption in both public and private sectors is drastically reduced.
This anti-corruption stance has become imperative in order to clean up the system that has long been bedevilled by different variants of abuse such as embezzlement of public fund, nepotism, bribery, extortion, influence peddling, and fraud; an Augean stable that has imposed on the nation a burdensome and recurring nexus of mediocrity and lack of probity. Like cancer, the culture of corruption has spread malignantly into every aspect of national life, making it more or less impossible to stay in business or get anything done without giving bribes. Seen as a bane, corruption has grown outrageously that it has consistently defied all efforts, both past and present, to stymie it. It is now so entrenched that anyone hoping to do any business with the Nigerian bureaucracy must include a budget for bribes. The situation is so bad that even some government officials are alleged to bribe one another to get government business done.
A major culprit in the crux of corruption in the country has been identified as the overarching role crude oil plays in the economy. The Nigerian oil industry is seen as a den of corruption making the average Nigerian lose the traditional interest for hard work and the knack to generate resources as well as to accumulate capital.
This vicious evil is a conundrum that has made it difficult to apprehend corrupt officials and successfully prosecute them. Perhaps, this is the reason why many high profile cases either with the EFCC, the ICPC or the courts have remained pending for years with no examples to serve as deterrents. Due to the lack of sustained prosecutorial will, many Nigerians now hold the view that the ant-graft agencies such as the EFCC, ICPC, Code of Conduct Bureau, the legislators, the police and the judiciary, are themselves enmeshed in this crippling social malaise.
Consequently, as Nigerians constantly complain about official inaction to combat corruption in the society, the situation is not helped by the befuddling definition of what constitute corruption in itself. We believe that what constitutes this vice must be properly defined such as:
Our vision is for an APC led government that will build institutions which are accountable, effective and efficient, transparent, that rigorously enforces judicious use of public resources, with zero tolerance for nepotism, corruption and mismanagement.
What we will do
Public services are a travesty and a tragedy. In rural areas, more than half of the population lives below the poverty line without access to basic amenities. Police and security presence is patchy; and there are few if any basic public services. Electricity is scarce, sanitation is poor, and health services are grossly inadequate. Access to basic education means children often walk long distances to poorly equipped and overcrowded schools, only to find out that their teachers failed to turn up for work. Few in the villages feel they have a stake in the Federal Republic, fewer still trust government. Most are convinced that the only time officials and politicians visit is during the election season, when they buy votes and promise things that will never materialise.
In the urban areas, particularly in state capitals, citizens fare slightly better. Most have access to state provided services and education, many know how to demand what they know is rightfully theirs, and someone always knows someone who knows about the latest state or federal support scheme. Still, few have a say on how local governments are run, and state and local councils can be as insulated and indifferent as a federal Ministry in Abuja.
This will CHANGE.
An APC government under my Leadership will develop a system and process that ensures that all citizens are provided the services they require to attain their potential, live a satisfactory and fulfilled life and contribute meaningfully to the society.
Nigeria is no failed state, but it is evidently in crisis. Inequality, ethno-religious frictions, and disputes over land and resources have eroded social cohesion, undermining democratic consolidation and threatening national unity and security. Today, Nigerians have to endure terrorist attacks in the North, militancy in the Delta, communal violence in the Middle Belt, cult wars in the South, and kidnappings, armed robberies, and common acts of thuggery throughout the country.
Most are left to fend for themselves. Those who turn to the police, the army or any other state security agencies usually have the means and personal connections to buy help and protection. Those who don't simply move on, resigned. The bitter ones may form vigilante groups, others join mobs that dispense jungle justice on suspects and scapegoats alike. Too many believe they have nothing to lose, and everything to gain, and the most alienated are easy prey for terrorists, militants, and thugs.
This will CHANGE.
We will embark on programmes and initiatives that will promote national unity and cohesion, guaranty social justice and security, and restore mutual trust between government institutions and the citizens
Today, two in three Nigerians are younger than 25. Nearly half have not yet celebrated their 15th birthday. More than 50 million are of school-going age. Their talents and creativity are Nigeria's greatest asset, and their hopes and aspirations will shape our nation's future. Yet they cannot succeed without state support. Along their journey, they need schools that teach them to read, write, and calculate, and to think critically, creatively, and without fear. They need food and shelter, electricity to do their homework, and internet access to understand and engage with the wider world. They need jobs once they leave school and they need opportunities to move on and up once they enter the workforce. Most of all, they need the confidence that they can make a difference, and they need a say on the direction the country is taking.
Whether they grow up in a village or in a city, in the North-East or in the South-West, as boys or girls, rich or poor, Nigerian youth share common dreams: they want to learn and know, they want to work and succeed, they want to support their families and settle down to raise their own children. They dream of the good life. Yet for too many, growing up is painful, and few get the fair chances everyone deserves. This will CHANGE.
A Good Start For All Children
Primary school should create opportunity for all. Only it does not. The youngest school leavers drop out of the educational system at the age of 11 or 12, usually because they receive poor schooling; because no one helps them keep up with the curriculum; because their families are too poor to support them; or because they or their families see no value in further education. Those who find jobs typically end up as housemaids or boys; as Almajiris, hawkers, or petty traders; in craft-related apprenticeships; or as farmhands.
Most secondary school leavers lack general competencies, and skills. Few have what it takes to succeed in further education; most also enter the world of work unprepared. There are few apprenticeships and vocational training centres, and without marketable skills, most end up in farming, petty trading, or other unfulfilling jobs that offer a few career prospects. A good number dream of a lucky break. Yet most are at the wrong place, at the wrong time.
Under an APC led government, we will develop systems that create multiple paths of career development for every young child, opportunities for personal development and ensure that it becomes unnecessary to flee the villages to get a decent life and fulfil their aspiration.
Graduates find that overcrowded public universities are hard to get into; that many of the private alternatives promise and cost more than they deliver; that there are few paid jobs for those who get their degrees; and that relationships trump qualifications even when it comes to securing interviews and entry positions. Many find that they lack bankable competencies and skills, and that they know too little about the jobs market, business opportunities, and business plans; and many end up trying to copy what others have done with some success. The most promising, who enter the National Youth Service, find that their engagement and ideas are not appreciated, and many feel the educational system has sapped their courage to demand a fair deal.
Those fortunate enough to have a job find that, unless they have the right connections, there are few opportunities to move on or up.
Under an APC government led by Atiku Abubakar, we will expand continuous learning and training opportunities with commensurate certification that ensures comparative standards within the global knowledge economy.
Regardless of background and educational achievements, Nigerian youths are frustrated, angry, and disillusioned. Their biggest source of frustration is the lack of job opportunities. The few youth-based initiatives embarked upon by the FG are yet to deliver noticeable benefits. For example government's YOUWIN programme generated only 26,000 jobs in three years and poorly subscribed to by rural youths who are hardly informed where access to modern technology is limited. Likewise, youths on SURE-P's mentor-ship scheme hardly secure employment after the expiration of their internship. For the Public Works Programme (PWP) aspect of SURE-P only 500 new jobs were created across the country in 2012 and they are unsustainable, temporary and unskilled jobs. For the YESSO programme, a $300m concessional facility secured from the World Bank is yet to show any appreciable impact on youth unemployment in the country.
The beneficiaries of the Niger-Delta Programme have hardly been provided with sustainable job opportunities after their expensive training.
In an APC government, we will partner with and encourage the private sector to narrow skills gaps through in-house and apprenticeship trainings with government providing adequate incentives and tax breaks for those who comply. Also, we will generally promote business backed vocational training schemes at rural levels in a Government to Government (G2G) partnership arrangement.
Nigeria has always held enormous potential. It is Africa's largest economy and a prime investment destination. The country is blessed with formidable natural, physical and human resources. A vast domestic market and access to ECOWAS give it more than enough absorptive capacity to sustain a wide range of agricultural, industrial, and service activities. The economy also has momentum. Since 1999, it has outpaced average continental growth rates. Yet business is tougher than it ought to be, and the economy is stuttering. Between 2013 and 2014, Nigeria lost nine places in the World Bank's doing business rating, and now ranks a disappointing 147th of 189 countries. It also slipped seven places on the World Economic Forum's Global Competitiveness Scale, finishing 127th out of 144 countries.
Irrespective of size, sector, and location, businesses face formidable challenges, including prohibitive capital, electricity, and logistics costs; weak and inconsistent laws and regulations; inefficient, incompetent, and predatory bureaucracies; unpredictable courts; clogged Seaports, and illegal border crossings; skills shortages, and a highly segmented and inefficient consumer market. In addition, opaque ownership and corporate governance structures frustrate due diligence and limit investment and Merger and Acquisition (M&A) opportunities. Weak contract enforcement and dispute resolution mechanisms exacerbate the lack of social trust and curtail business opportunities. Too often, corporate fortunes hinge on political patronage.
This must CHANGE!
An APC government under my leadership will no longer tolerate:
In three quarters of urban households and in two out of three rural households someone is running a business. The more than 17 million Micro and Household Enterprises (MHEs) form the economic backbone of the country. MHEs already generate the bulk of incomes for low income households, and they have the potential to create millions of additional jobs. However, they also represent the most vulnerable and neglected part of the economy. Most face the same challenges regular businesses must deal with: a high cost base, overpriced premises, inadequate infrastructure, erratic energy supplies, poor security, and unattractive banking and insurance options. But many micro entrepreneurs also fear formalisation, and worry about the cost and hassle of dealing with greedy and complacent officials. Few have management experience, and most operate without business plans or a sound understanding of commercial opportunities and market dynamics.
Small businesses account for the bulk of formal sector activities and employment opportunities. In addition to the common business problems, many struggle to find adequate and affordable premises. Few have viable business plans, and fewer still aim to offer innovative products or services. The imitation and multiplication of existing business models in small, captive, and shallow markets tends to erode margins, prevent capital accumulation, and stifle growth. Notwithstanding public pledges to support them, many small businesses rely on - and perpetuate - patronage to get around the most glaring obstacles that are put in their way.
This must CHANGE!
Under an APC government, we will draw up a new deal for Micro and Household Enterprises (MHEs), support formalisation and encourage banks to boost small enterprises funding. We will also insulate businesses from the state, create business clusters to promote shared and cost effective infrastructural usage and develop market and export opportunities.
In theory, mid-sized enterprises should be able to exploit a wide range of business opportunities resulting from unmet customer needs. However, with the possible exception of the firms that created the Nollywood cluster, most Medium Enterprises (MEs) rely on legacy markets, public procurement contracts, and local content provisions.
Mid-sized companies transacting with public entities also suffer payment delays. Those who operate beyond the rentier economy struggle to obtain qualified business support, specialised staff, and relevant market intelligence.
Many large enterprises thrive on their dominant market position, political patronage, weak anti-trust laws, and meek competition authorities. The flip side is that few are innovative and internationally competitive, and fewer still would survive in liberalised markets. Many are also vulnerable to changes in the political environment, and most face constant demands for special contributions to the personal and political ambitions of their counterparties in local, state, and federal government.
In a Nigeria For All, the Federal government will consult with private sector on economic policies and private sector regulations, introduce business impact assessment, boost nonoil export, propose legislations to broaden business tax base and diversify the economy.
Nigerian businesses still ride on the tail end of a major reform drive that revolutionised the telecommunications sector, restored trust in the banking sector, and paved the way for the emergence of a more competitive and reliable power sector. However, efforts to boost infrastructure development, to transform agriculture, and to rebuild a competitive industrial and manufacturing base are stalling, and the long overdue transformation of the petroleum sector seems increasingly unlikely. Without further structural reforms, the country risks following other emerging and frontier markets into a period of slow growth and stagnation.
Yet structural reforms will only go so far. Even in the most competitive segments of today's markets, there is little innovation, quality standards are poor, and prices barely budge. In part, this is a result of highly segmented markets that limit choice to the affluent. But it is also a result of resigned consumers, who are used to settling for whatever they get, and when they get it. Expectations are low, information is patchy, and brand loyalty is more about status than value, giving sellers few incentives to outdo themselves to delight those who pay for their products and services.
An APC government led by Atiku Abubakar will call for a concerted liberalisation and deregulation effort from the National Assembly, shorten public sector payment terms, ensure disciplined budget implementation, enforce security of commercial contracts, and create an independent Competition and Anti-Trust Authority to monitor market sector dynamics and mobilise domestic investment in local start-ups.
Sound infrastructure and adequate power are essential for stimulating economic growth and development in any nation. Not only do they help to determine the success of manufacturing, industry and agricultural activities, they are also vital for improving the lives of people through improved delivery of health care services and education. Good infrastructure also supports social and cultural advances and leads to an over-all lowering of rate of poverty in a society. It is therefore imperative that a strong infrastructure development drive is pursued in order to stimulate the necessary development.
Aggressive infrastructure development has always been a precursor to any form of sustained economic development especially in emerging economies, like Nigeria. It is evidenced by the trajectory of development experienced by countries that have consciously pursued sound infrastructure investments as a key driver of their economic development.
Poor funding and chronic underinvestment by successive governments has crippled the state of Nigeria's infrastructure. Over time, this lack of funding has left Nigeria with an annual funding gap in excess of N15 trillion (USD 10.5billion) in infrastructure development.
As such, infrastructure spending of about 12 percent of GDP will considerably improve infrastructure development without posing any significant risk to overall economic growth. Also, in seeking investment in infrastructure, Nigeria has a considerable advantage due to its high rate of 'Return on Investment' (ROI); the highest in Africa.
Whilst high traffic volumes characterise Nigeria's extensive road networks, only 15.3 percent of the 195,200km of the road network in Nigeria is adequately tarred and motor-able. Out of this only 67 percent of tarred roads are in good or fair condition in comparison to other resource-rich nations in Africa.
Nigeria's spending on road construction and rehabilitation falls significantly short of its peers. Only $50 million a year is allocated to preventative road maintenance compared to benchmark of $240 million a year in other African resource-rich countries.
Whilst there have been considerable developments recorded in the Nigerian Ports, performance remains poor by global and even African performance standards. The performance fell short of comparator countries in various parameters of measurements such as container-dwell-time, truck cycle time and crane productivity. The concessions that followed the reforms embarked upon in the sector realized over $716 million. The intention was to use the proceeds for capital investments in the sector. However, so far, it has failed to deliver on the expected infrastructure upgrade, improved efficiency and streamlining of imports and exports. The sector is still characterized by various broad-based challenges ranging from congestion to backlogs, delays, corruption and poor customs performance.
Airports and Aviation
The Nigerian aviation market has increased substantially in recent years mainly due to the dramatic expansion of domestic services. Nigeria is also one of the few countries whose safety oversight record is considered good enough for the USA to allow direct flights into the country. However, these milestones have not been followed through with commensurate interregional connectivity and infrastructure development. As such, the sector has not been able to live up to its potential.
Also, the country has yet to enable an airport such as Lagos, given its size and strategic location, secure its place as an air transport hub for the region. On the eastern and southern part of the continent, a strong regional hub structure has developed around Johannesburg, Nairobi and Addis Ababa. However, none currently exist as yet for West Africa. The Lagos airport has the potential to fill this regional gap. However this has yet to be fulfilled due to the lack of adequate reform in the sector.
The Federal Government has since 2006 made commitments to the railways totalling in the neighbourhood of N4 trillion naira but the manner it is implementing the 25 Year Strategic Plan for the Railways (i.e the Blueprint) is incoherent and fails to impact the economy as it should and indeed will not provide for a viable and sustainable system
The FG is doing the same thing it has done since independence over and over and expecting to get a different result. Throwing money at a problem does not solve it. Thinking outside the box is required. This would be the last major restructuring/privatisation exercise but the most exciting development will be creating a railfreight business. This means containers, petroleum products, cement, cereals and other agricultural products, industrial raw materials and solid minerals such as iron ore, barytes, limestone, fertilizers, steel products e.t.c switching to rail.
The problem of the NRC is that it cannot compete against the dynamic privately operated road sector due to its structure as a nationalised industry. It is an owner, operator and regulator of railways. Just like NEPA and NITEL, the NRC has a culture that does not incentivise entrepreneurship nor efficiency and effectiveness. It needs these attributes to compete effectively against the roads.
The World Bank carried out a study in 2006 on the viability of the Nigerian railways and justification for railway rehabilitation. It found that a freight threshold density of 1.5-2m tonnekilometres per annum was required to justify a rehabilitation investment of about $700m. The target was for the railways to take up to 40% of the 15-20m tonne national freight traffic within 2-3 years post rehabilitation.
To date, the FG has expended nearly $1bn on rehabilitation but could only haul 100,000 tonnes in 2013 (1% of traffic on Lagos-Kano). Its market share currently is 0.5% of the national freight traffic. It takes in N4bn every year from the exchequer for its current budget, probably earns about N1bn each year which it keeps and spends. It has created very few real jobs, makes no profit and makes negligible impact on the transportation industry.
Since 2009, the NRC has not produced annual accounts to the NASS as required by law, so its true financial position is unknown.
At the present time, there are no through rail services between Lagos and Kano due to flooding on the rehabilitated tracks. There are no rail services anywhere on the eastern line between Port Harcourt and Maiduguri either. This is year 5 since the rehabilitation began and 12 years since the 25 Year vision was adopted.
Of all the areas of infrastructure such as Energy, transportation, ICT, water supply, the power sector remains the most culpable in the stagnation of our development efforts. Whilst there have been high rates of electrification coverage in Nigeria (over 84 percent in urban areas and 35 percent in rural areas), the Nigerian power sector has struggled to provide adequate supply of reliable power to its citizens and economic progress. In comparison to our other resource-rich peer nations in Africa, lack of power alone reduces the economic output by as much as 4 percent of GDP compared to only 0.3 percent and 0.4 percent in South Africa and Tanzania respectively.
Nigeria's current supply gap in electricity is over 20,000MW. The system is beset by inadequate generation and transmission infrastructure. Nigeria has an installed capacity of 23.5MW per million people which is one of the lowest amongst its peers in Africa. It represents only 2.8% of the installed capacity of 800MW per million people found in South Africa. Besides, as much as 35% of this is lost to malfunctioning of the transmission and distribution infrastructure.
The economic impacts of Nigeria's power deficit are equally substantial. Due to the epileptic nature of the power supply, over 80 percent of businesses are forced to generate their backup power supply, substantially higher than anywhere else in Africa.
In spite of the huge investment and reformation and reconstruction efforts, delivery of affordable and reliable power to service our people and the economy has remained unattainable. Because in all these, the fundamental issue of feedstock supply (especially gas) has not been addressed. Therefore, it is safe to say that Nigeria is currently in an Energy Crisis.
In a Nigeria For All, an APC led government will encourage and provide the necessary environment for private investments in power generation, transmission and distribution capacities in a diversified energy feedstock mix. Underwrite Public Works Programs (PWPs) that help federal, state and local authorities build and maintain infrastructure. Explore alternative sources for infrastructural funding. We will also partner with the private sector to provide appropriate infrastructure along critical trading corridors in Nigeria and faithfully implement the blue print of the 21 year vision for Rail development.
Most Nigerians work in agriculture, but few make a decent living from it. Productivity is low, by international and African standards, and despite laudable efforts to transform the sector, investments in research, innovation, infrastructure, product development, and marketing remain grossly inadequate. Most farmers still rely on hoes and cutlasses, and long hours, hard work, and meagre incomes make small scale agriculture an unattractive career.
Most farmers lack the know-how, the means, and the incentives to move beyond subsistence farming. Because there is no comprehensive land registry, titles are not always accepted as collateral, and land- related transactions can be difficult to negotiate. On the ground, irrigation systems have fallen into disrepair, and despite costly subsidy schemes, fertilisers and feedstock are often hard to get. Few farmers have access to affordable finance and insurance; there are few competitive markets for agricultural produce; no viable ways to store, transport, and trade crops; and only a hand full of processing facilities.
As a result, too many opportunities are lost, and too much agricultural output goes to waste, at enormous human and economic cost.
By 1998, following years of neglect, the government once again turned its attention to the agricultural sector. It adopted an agricultural policy that had the objective, among others, of ensuring food security for the population by developing local production. The agricultural sector, therefore, occupied a strategic poverty-reduction role in the planning frameworks under NEEDS I and II, the 7-Pont Agenda and the National Food Security Programme (NFSP). It embedded a value-chain approach and increased export capabilities. There was then a national emphasis on 7 priority products namely cassava, rice, vegetable oil, sugar, livestock, cultivated trees and dry grains. The reason for this was to take advantage of the opportunities under World Trade Organization (WTO), America's Africa Growth Opportunities Act (AGOA), and European Union's Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) when current negotiations are completed.
Although these measures showed that investment in the agricultural sector can have concrete results in terms of increasing domestic production, their overall outcomes were a mixed bag. The “intensification of production” segment was emphasised at the expense of the downstream segments of the value chain (such as product processing).
Also central to previous agricultural policies is public subsidies for the acquisition of farm inputs (fertiliser, improved seeds, phytosanitary products) – an arrangement that was to be variously abused by civil servants and political leaders. It lacked effective regulation and monitoring system to address quality issues. There was also the problem of subsidy funds being diverted into private overseas accounts.
Today, Nigeria remains a net importer of food with a vicious insistence by smugglers of certain commodities especially rice. We do not produce enough food to meet the demand of our people. This negatively impacts our balance of payment position, agricultural development and employment potentials.
There is less incentive for local farmers to grow local foods, when cheaper food products are imported even at the mercy of high tariffs and porous borders. This forces local farmers to reduce prices to compete, which reduces the income generated from the farm. The consequence is decreased farm production and a disincentive to continue in farming.
In a Nigeria For All, an APC government led by Atiku Abubakar will mobilise a working partnership with states and local governments and support the processes of harnessing the full potential along the agricultural value chain for the creation of jobs, wealth and food security.
To create a sustainable society, government cannot afford for its disadvantaged and deprived areas to be left behind at the expense of economic prosperity of other regions. In sustainable societies, people work together to accomplish economic competitiveness and national harmony based on a structure ofpeace, equity and a sense of fairness where nobody is left behind or cast aside.
Nigeria today is comprised of pockets of disadvantaged and deprived areas, which blight the socio-economic outlook of the country and threaten its continued existence as a unified nation. The Niger Delta, Desert encroached areas, Erosion and insurgent ravaged communities currently fall into these categories. These areas have suffered years of neglect and therefore continue to experience high levels of deprivation, family dislocation, poverty and environmental degradation.
It is in this context, therefore, that a cohesive and inclusive approach for regeneration and reintegration in these areas becomes paramount.
In a true sense of equity and justice an APC government led by Atiku Abubakar will ensure that the pains, wants and needs occasioned by circumstances beyond the control of every citizen matter to their Government. The amelioration of the conditions consequent upon such circumstances will be addressed to ensure their full integration and sense of belonging everywhere and at any time.
Nigeria's foreign policy fundamentals have been fairly consistent since they were first espoused shortly after independence in October 1960. However, the specific interests, priorities and emphasis have continued to change in the context of domestic and international environment. In contemporary terms, new challenges such as international terrorism, piracy, oil theft, smuggling, illegal bunkering, proliferation of small arms and lights weapons, transnational crimes, illegal migration, climate change, child trafficking and multilateral trade negotiations are now central to Nigeria's foreign policy strategy.
In an increasingly globalized and interconnected world, countries face common threats and opportunities, which cut across various national borders. As a regional power and key continental influencer, Nigeria is charged with the responsibility of playing a principal role on regional and continental matters. To this end, it has become imperative that Nigeria restores its international image and gets back the international standing and credibility that it once enjoyed.
Nigeria's role in global peace through its continuous and consistent participation in peace-keeping activities is well recognised around the world. The country plays a major role in world affairs because of its population size, as well as its economic and political prominence in Africa.
Nigeria has become the 26th largest economy in the world and the biggest economy in Africa. As the largest economy in Africa, the rest of the World now looks up to Nigeria as a potential driver of not just Africa's economic development but a major economic and political player in the world affairs. One of Nigeria's major foreign policy thrust is the promotion of Africa as a regional power. This is demonstrated in Nigeria's leadership role in the establishment and functioning of continental and regional bodies such as the New Partnership for African Development (NEPAD), the African Union (AU) and the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS). Nigeria is the mainstay of the ECOWAS. It contributes over 60 percent of its total revenue, over 50% of ECOWAS' population live in Nigeria and its Gross Domestic Product (GDP) is higher than the combined GDP of all the other ECOWAS States. In spite of slight intra-regional challenges, the benefits of ECOWAS to Nigeria are enormous and can be widened by further cooperation between ECOWAS and CEMAC on one hand and the establishment of the proposed Continental Free Trade Area (CFTA) with the goal of enlarging both political and economic opportunities with Nigeria's neighbours.
Nigeria is unrivaled in the promotion of peace and security in Africa however, insecurity and instability is rife in the country. Smuggling across its borders is undermining the economic advantages engendered by its statue and location.
This must CHANGE!
In recent years, Nigeria has become the number one investment destination in Africa. This is partly due to the fact that Nigeria's business environment has one of the highest rates of return on investment anywhere in the world. The establishment of the Honourary International Investors Council (HIIC) was geared towards reducing political corruption, helping Nigeria to become Africa's biggest oil producer, attracting investment in the country from the private sector and from foreign countries, and making Nigeria more competitive in the global economy. However, the cost of doing business in Nigeria is contributing an undesirable disincentive to the service industry due to official bureaucracy and corruption.
This must CHANGE.
Potentials of Diaspora Partnership
Nigerians in Diaspora contributed and continue to contribute to the growth of the Nigerian economy either through direct investment, transfer incomes or social support to family in Nigeria. Annual Diaspora remittances to Nigeria have consistently been over $10bn in recent years. The volume of investment that they have in Nigeria has contributed greatly to job creation and with the potential to use the platform to develop a Diaspora export market for Nigerian products in countries such as U.S, UK, SA with large Nigerian immigrants.
They contribute to Nigeria's knowledge economy through consultancy and government appointments. Their participation can be used to improve the quality of Nigeria's political process but they do not have voting right.
This must CHANGE.
In an APC led Government headed by Atiku Abubakar, Nigeria's Foreign Policy will be developed to achieve: