The presidential candidate of the Allied Congress Party of Nigeria (ACPN), Mrs Oby Ezekwesili, on Monday said the endorsement of all Nigerians, including former President Olusegun Obasanjo was needed for her to lead the country in 2019.
Ezekwesili, a former Minister of Education, told newsmen in Lagos that it was impossible for her to realise her ambition of becoming Nigeria’s first female president without the collective endorsement of all Nigerians, including Obasanjo.
The News Agency of Nigeria reports that she was reacting to a question by one of the journalists on whether she would need the endorsement of Obasanjo, under whom she served as minister, to realise her ambition.
NAN reports the former president had, on Thursday, openly endorsed the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) presidential candidate, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, after a reconciliation meeting in Abeokuta.
Ezekwesili said that democracy was all about popular choice, and she would not leave anyone out of the journey to become the president in 2019.
“I need the endorsement of everyone. I need the endorsement of the youths, the old and the oldest segment of this country who look at the country and ask ‘What happened’?
“I need the endorsement of everyone. I am not leaving anyone out because I am the candidate of the people, so every Nigerian is my electorate.
“There is no power greater than the power of the people. It is a collective. I am the person with the right understanding of governance. I am the people’s choice and I am in the race to win,” she said.
The presidential candidate said the country was faced with serious economic, security and other challenges which required a leader with the right capacity to fix.
Ezekwesili, a former Vice-President of the World Bank, said she had the vision, experience and passion to reposition the country, promising that Nigeria would witness massive turnaround if she was elected.
The candidate said the country’s economy was experiencing what she called ‘fiscal crisis’.
She said there was the need to pursue vigorous sectoral and structural reforms to achieve real economic growth and promote the prosperity of the country.
The candidate said her economic vision for the country was an economy that thrived on diversification and one in which the cost of government was drastically reduced for development.
“We need to get our fiscal crisis sorted out. Fiscal crisis in the sense that the 2017 budget performance report that was released by the Federal Government shows we are in a state of fiscal imbalance.
“The oil revenue is not sufficient to cover the personnel cost of government, and when you think that we are about 186 million people and about two million people in the civil service consume the entire revenue, that tells you we are in post-oil times and we have not yet shown an understanding of the situation. So, there has to be a drastic set of measures.
“On the expenditure side, we have to look at the cost of government. The cost of government was already put on the agenda in the Oronsanye Report.What happened to the implementation?
“We need to update the report and be determined to implement the recommendations therein,” she said.
On the revenue side, Ezekwesili said the country needed to explore an economic strategy to open diverse sources of revenue.
The presidential candidate said there was the need to develop the human capital to drive productivity and competitiveness in the economy.
Ezekwesili said she would drive the prosperity of the country through investment in human capital, if elected.
She decried the precarious security situation in the country, saying creative solutions were needed to address the problem.
The ACPN candidate said she would deploy the right cutting -edge technology and invest massively in security institutions to address the problem, if elected.
She said critical areas like education, health and environment would receive the desired attention, to improve livelihoods and life expectancy.
Ezekwesili said the idea of restructuring was being variously defined by politicians to suit their agenda and gain cheap popularity.
The candidate said the only form of restructuring that she would pursue, if elected, was one that would guarantee prosperity,equality, opportunities and other things expected of a working nation.
She said her quest for presidency was gaining momentum by the day with many people volunteering support, and expressed the optimism that she would win.