Omoyele Sowore

The presidential candidate of African Action Congress, Omoyele Sowore, has called on Nigerians to vote out analogue leaders without the capacity to process data.

According to him, data processing had remained one of the greatest cogs in the nation’s wheel of development.

Sowore stated this on Sunday night during a presidential interactive session in Abuja with the theme: The Peoples Debate, organised by Television Continental with support from a civil society organisation, Enough is Enough and other partners.

But candidate of the All Progressives Congress, President Muhammadu Buhari and Alhaji Atiku Abubakar of the Peoples Democratic Party were absent.

The debate featured five other candidates including Kingsley Moghalu of the Young Progressive Party; Donald Duke of the Social Democratic Party; Tope Fasua of the Abundant Nigeria Renewal Party; Fela Durotoye of the Alliance for New Nigeria and Sani Yabagi Yusuf of the Action Democratic Party.

Sowore said, “We must try and invest in our people. The problem in our country is that we have not placed our people in a position to produce. We will dualise all the roads in this country. That was what brought America to its present state. There is data everywhere but our analogue leaders don’t know how to process data and that has been a challenge to the development of Nigeria. But my digital government will right the wrongs.”

The AAC candidate also bemoaned the long years of political decay saying since independence in 1960, Nigerian leaders have not done what was expected of them.

“For 58 years now, some wicked political jackals took over the affairs of this nation. Today, we have a country where people are sad”, he stated.

Moghalu, a former Deputy Governor of Central Bank of Nigeria, pledged to “announce my cabinet within 48 hours of my inauguration.”

According to him, for the first time, ministerial designates would have portfolio attached to them to enable members of the National Assembly grill them appropriately.

He challenged Nigerians not to make the mistake of 2015, stating that more than anything else, the electorate should deemphasize the fault lines that have brought the nation down on its knees.

Many nations that once faced similar developmental challenges like Nigeria, he said, have moved on, adding that 2019 offers a unique opportunity to change the narrative.

“Too many Nigerians still don’t have the basic necessities of life. Malaysia, Singapore and China were once backward but they have moved on. In 2015, it was anyone but (Goodluck) Jonathan; let 2019 not be anyone but Buhari. It is time to elect a capable leader to harness the great potentials of Nigerians”, he said.

Moghalu also blamed the nation’s slow pace of development on what he called a lack of economic philosophy.

“Nigeria has no clear economic philosophy and without one, we can’t move forward as a nation. Is Nigeria a capitalist nation? If yes, what makes capitalism work for the common man on the street. I will work for the abolition of the Land Use Act as a constitutional issue”, he added.

For Donald Duke, a former governor of Cross River State, access to capital would be key even as he lamented the high interest rate in the country in the past few years.

He said, “We can all articulate our problems, we know the problems of Nigeria. If we don’t change the trajectory of Nigeria, there is disaster looming. We have regressed over the last years. The government will say we are no longer in recession. That is not true, our nation is imperilled by population explosion. We have two major problems. The National Bureau of Statistics is a disaster.”

Speaking on joblessness in Nigeria, Durotoye blamed those who have been in power since the return to democratic governance in 1999.

“Unemployment in Nigeria is man-made and it was created by those who have held power in the past 20 years”, he stated.

Yabagi while fielding question on how he would tackle restiveness if elected President, said the welfare of the people would be prioritised.

“We will address the issue of stomach infrastructure because it is very important. The missing link between Nigeria and greatness is leadership. We have a goldmine but it is being stolen. Corruption is the issue, if we can address it, investment will come into the country”, he explained.

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