- Post 12 April 2007
- Last Updated on 03 November 2012
- By Pat Utomi
THE ADC IDEOLOGY MANIFESTO AND POLICY PLANK
Recognizing the many years of lost opportunities for sustainable progress in Nigeria and the imperative of bringing to an end the scourge of pervasive poverty, loss of economic competitiveness for Nigeria, and lost values, all of which add up to social strife, diminished self-worth and national pride; we of the African Democratic Congress give to ourselves for the purpose of the emancipations of our country and its people, this worldview Party Manifesto and policy plank to the glory of God and the endearment of generations of Nigerians.
Striving to make the elevation of dignity of the human person the purpose of governance, with full recognition of the capacity of man with an educated mind to creatively solve most problems, enhance his welfare, and advance creation towards its perfection, we offer as fitting fundamental philosophy, which governs our values and approach to contesting issues for the organization of Nigerian society; a PEOPLES ENTERPRENEURIAL CAPITALISM.
This philosophy emphasizes human freedom expressed in economic markets that are governed to tap into the creative energies of the spirit of competition but guarded, to ensure that the weak and challenged do not suffer a loss of dignity because of the system.
Our philosophy has its key words PEOPLE, ENTERPRENEURIAL, and CAPITALISM. As a people-driven value frame, it means that opportunity and access will be open to all. While merit will be key, assuring the dignity of all will require affirmative action. This will include a commitment that policy will be sensitive not only to the income challenged but also to the physically challenged, without sacrificing competitiveness. Compassion must be an instrument of state policy. A balance between rapid material advance and caring will be the nexus of public choice. Caring will however not be lived in a way affirmative action can be used as alibi for inefficient provision of service, and corrupt goal displacement in public service.
The entrepreneurial nature of the ideology formulation of our party means socialization processes, education systems and culture, in general, will focus on value creation and promoting the spirit of enterprise. But it must be a culture in which business is socially responsible and does not run afoul of Mahatma Gandhi’s deadly social sin of Commerce without Morality.
The Capitalism of the ideology is premised on a process of economic organization that has proved to be enduring as a means of effective organization of wealth creation. In many developing countries, capitalism has not yielded the desired outcomes largely because of what the Peruvian economist Hernando De Soto identifies as the absence of representational systems that allow for assets to become capital. Presently, weak land laws and representational systems make the huge assets of the poor unable to develop properties that will make them collateral to become capital. This value imposes on us the obligation of providing our institution-building environment that will enable every man and woman who desires it, to build enterprises that will create wealth; provide human capacity that will better order society, and give all enough stake in the system for us to have a stable democratic culture in which predominantly middle class people will contest public space for their interests.
The core purpose of the ADC is to engineer a social and economic revolution that will bring about a transformation of the Nigerian condition by growing wealth at the bottom of the pyramid and shaping values that will make progress sustainable. We have called this the Green and White revolution taking us from Pain and Poverty to Peace and Prosperity.
POLICY PLANK/POLICY IMPLEMENTATION STRATEGY
Pervasive poverty in Nigeria has taken on the tone of a war of attrition against the Nigerian people. The paradox of such poverty in the face of plenty, natural and material, makes the combating of poverty the cardinal point of our policy plank. The fight to restore the dignity of the unemployed using creative entrepreneurial human acumen in humane culture that none–the-less elevates merit to a high pedestal sets the platform of our policy plank as it relates to infrastructure development, re-inventing manufacturing in Nigeria, enhancing the security of life and property: food security and making education world class.
Our positions on foreign policy, including the Gulf of Guinea cooperation and development initiative; Nigeria’s place in organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC); Tourism growth strategy; communal peace and faith; re-inventing manufacturing; energy policy; Agriculture outlook and strategy are laid down in the following also listed are the positions of the ADC and the presidential ticket of Pat Okedinachi Utomi/Ibrahim Usman on Education, health care; Labour relations and Fiscal Federalism. All these should work together unto effective governance, the demise of poverty, rapid economic development and a realization of the Utomi/Usman vision of a new Nigeria. That Vision is to build a nation of a people of industry and integrity who are predominantly middle class, prosperous, and live harmoniously with one another, inspiring an African renaissance in which the dignity of the human person is at the centre of public choice.
To give meaning to this vision, and drive its actualization, the thrust of policy, which are outlined below, will be necessary. They will, however be inadequate without supporting values that shape the character of government. Culture matters and sustainable success depends much on culture. Indeed the terrible performance of government in our recent Nigerian history has been more the result of the failure of culture, the collapse of values, than the shortage of good policy ideas. It is imperative therefore that a clear outline of the character of an ADC government precede our policy ideas.
THE CHARACTER OF GOVERNMENT
The dominant prebendal culture, following the convergence of authoritarian regimes and oil income, is one in which the state is seen as ‘bush meat’ to be harvested. It has turned out to be the moral equivalence of rape. A second feature of extant culture of governance is that of the estranged state, in other words an orphan state whose pillage is maximizing on opportunity, is disconnected only works for you when you or yours is in power, and that the big man in power should get the best treatment no matter the condition of the average citizen he ostensibly serves. The third common negative value is that to serve is debasing yourself and that the common good is a mirage. This has resulted in a level of abuse of the commonwealth through corrupt practice, and appropriation of benefits to public servants that border on abuse of those being served. This is evident in the high portion of government budgets committed to recurrent expenditure.
The culture of least cost approach and optimal outcome for the target citizen customer will have to replace the current order. First class air travel will be prohibited for all public officials and the process of approval for foreign trips will be streamlined to trim them down dramatically. Protocol will be severely trimmed, use of sirens curtailed as they violate the fundamental human rights and dignity of other citizens, and the Freedom of Information Act (when signed into Law) applied in a manner that public officials consider ability to account to citizens at any moment part of the requirements of public life.
Public service culture will have to shift to one in which the public servant is a champion who is passionate about top performance and driven by patriotic zeal of self giving for the advance of the common good. Disposition to transparency over the culture of secrecy in the public service and of vertical accountability in which key stakeholder groups monitor and hold government accountable is to be institutionalized. This culture will require critical path analysis of budget implementation processes to be discussed with stakeholder groups, made public, and then reviewed it open town hall meetings on a monthly basis.
A participatory e-government initiative in which the people make input and steer policy direction will be put in place to drive the new culture of openness and responsiveness just as faithfulness to the Freedom of Information Act will become habit of state policy.
Nation building will take priority over politics and power.
MACROECONOMIC FUNDAMENTALS AND POLICY THRUST
How sectors of the economy perform depend significantly but not entirely on the macroeconomic fundamentals. Our party recognizes that economic performance and the quality of life for all the citizens depend on a set of factors which include how strong institutions are and so can regulate economic conduct in a way that makes behaviour more predictable.
We also are aware that in the twenty first century human capital, that is the education; skills level of citizens, and the level of their wellbeing; healthcare, impact significantly on economic output.
Also critical as supplements to economic policy are the issues of the culture of entrepreneurship, the values of the society and the nature of leadership.
In ensuring that these factors are developed in way that makes Nigeria competitive, we will manage economic policy to build on the gains of abandoning statist policies in favour of markets and price; as the determinants of how we choose, being mindful that institutions designed to ensure that the human being is the centre of our decision making will prevent price or market mechanisms, from making the poor and weak, suffer disadvantage.
Economic Policy thrust will also reflect strong faith in Fiscal Federalism and the principle of subsidiarity in which the levels of government closer to the people, the state and local government will play a greater role in that part of the provisions of goods and services, especially those non-appropriability goods, the state must provide. Mechanisms and institutions for effective coordination of policies and fiscal dispositions of the levels of government that can best sustain growth and development, such as a fiscal Responsibility Act will receive prime attention in the design of the structures of governance.
Multiple Taxation and Fiscal Federalism are among the long lingering challenges to economic growth in Nigeria. The fiscal responsibility bill and leadership initiative will focus with passion on eliminating the scandal of multiple taxation.
Food security is increasingly a critical issue for Nigeria’s rapidly urbanizing and growing population. This is as cities like Lagos enter the category of the World’s mega cities and agriculture is left largely in the hands of aging small scale and subsistence farmers.
The challenge of Agriculture which boomed in colonial times and the early 1960s, as symbolized by the Groundnut Pyramids, the Produce Marketing Boards, and the Farm settlements is to make it profitable. That will attract young educated able-bodied men and women to turn to Agriculture.
Recent examples from Pakistan and elsewhere show the possibilities of how a combination of private and public provision of infrastructure can facilitate profitable Agriculture. We intend to pursue such policy regimes with the objective of targeting agricultural outputs of a balance of production for food, input in manufacturing and semi-processed export.
Food has to be abundant and priced such that nourishment at desirable level is considered affordable by all. Policy emphasis must be to make food cheap enough and profitable enough for the former. Supply side issues including tax policy and input pricing intervention to achieving this goal will receive due emphasis.
Agriculture and Rural Development policy will be integrated in a manner that will make the living conditions of the farmer attractive enough to reduce the attraction to disguised unemployment in the cities.
The goal will be to totally eliminate wild uncultured expanses of land not deliberately left as a nature preserve.
Building on the idea of comparative advantage to get the most from the factor endowments of regions of the federation, special joint development projects between Federal, state and local government in top Agricultural zones like the Benue Basin around Adamawa for food security and export of processed Agricultural output that would be initiated to take Nigeria beyond its early 1960s position, improvement in our Agricultural World standing should come through early in the life of the administration.
Strategies for linking Nigeria’s Agricultural sector profitability into the global economy will include mechanized and small holder operations working collaboratively. Our strategy will involve variants of the outgrower initiatives made famous by the Nigerian Tobacco Company and Afcot. It will integrate Nigerian entrepreneurs engaged in combing small holders output for a stronger hand in exchange relations with international trading partners.
The goal is to restore Agricultures contribution to GDP and Foreign Exchange earnings to ratios similar to pre-1970s figures and for agricultural output to drive the revival of manufacturing with abundant supply of input.
From contributing nearly 14% of GDP in the late 1980s manufacturing in 2006 contributed less than 4% of GDP indicating a severe process of de-industrialization. The major culprit, as the last private sector Assessment (PSA) by the World Bank shows is infrastructure. Besides making infrastructure provision top priority as a means of providing short term job opportunities that help raise purchasing power to boost consumption that will support more sustainable jobs, the need to re-invent manufacturing makes attention to infrastructure prime issue.
INFRASTRUCTURE CHALLENGE, INDUSTRIAL PARKS
Creating industry clusters within industrial parks and supporting a tradition of industrial enterprise for knowledge, access to finance and human capital development is cornerstone of policy.
Review of Industrial Policy and an even more foresighted upgrade of the Industrial Policy document which has been largely implemented in the breach, would be a first step.
Demarcating the country into six regions or zones of development would be the basis for an Industrial Park to be located in each zone. While an Industrial Park in the Niger will be geared towards heavy industry looking to be competitive on the basis of the attractive pricing of key inputs like gas , another cluster in the Northwest Industrial Park could be agro-allied manufacturing oriented.
QUALITY AND NIGERIAN MANUFACTURING
The spirit of enterprise, which is alive and well, stimulating ample effort at manufacturing, even in informal clusters, like the examples of Nnewi in Anambra State, and Aba in Abia State, have not attained the growth they should have partly because of quality challenges.
A regime of initiatives, including incentives, grants, information and capacity development support and monitoring strict minimum standard will be put in place to ensure that Nigeria’s new manufacturing sector moves that sector from import-input dependence to export-led manufacturing. This would require a shift in emphasis to manufacturing based on local competitiveness in inputs, that is, on the factor endowments.
With the Industrial Parks resulting in containment of manufacturing’s biggest challenges of deteriorating infrastructure and atrocious power supply the problem of multiple taxations and payment of rates for water not supplied manufacturing could become more competitive.
Industrial Policy for our strategy will involve a very long term view of areas of manufacturing Nigeria could become globally dominant and will therefore address access to finance for investment in those preferred areas. The Bank of Industry experience is yet to reach the salutary form of the Bumiputra Banks systems in Malaysia have done to raise performance in the indigenous Malay.
NIGERIAN CONTENT AND MANUFACTURING GROWTH
Part of the effort to drive factor endowments based manufacturing growth will come from intensifying the Nigerian content programme in the oil industry with Norway as model. The success of Brazil will also be appropriate benchmark for a committed state opening opportunity.
AGRICULTURE AND RURAL DEVELOPMENT
Large scale job creation through manufacturing usually is the next phase in economic transitions. Unfortunately, poor policy choices resulted in the Agriculture sector which was yet to mature going into decline. The sliver lining from yesterday’s errors is that it is now possible to draw from both the industrial stage and the information age to gives a boost to Agriculture in a way that will lead to new jobs, and result in both food securities, return significant foreign earnings through agricultural exports; as well as provide industry input.
The key to reviving Nigeria’s agriculture lies in making it profitable again. The profits will be the incentive that will attract younger more educated people into the sector to take over from the aging subsistence farmers who are currently bearing the burden of feeding Nigeria. Reducing the foreign exchange outflow for Rice, Wheat and other agricultural imports for a country that should be a net exporter is also critical.
Public-private sector partnerships will be relied upon to provide the infrastructure to make agriculture more productive. Alliances with countries that have had significant success in agriculture will and explored to bring into direct relationship between farmers on both sides.
A revival of Agricultural extension services and young entrepreneurs to service the processing and marketing of farm produce will be top priority.
The policy in this sector will acknowledge the big failing of Agriculture policy in the 1960s when surplus from the sector were invested in urban areas with near total neglect of rural areas. This has produced rural urban migration that has been unwelcome as well as depletes agricultural labour. Our policy is to re-invest a significant portion of the earnings from rural enterprise into improving the quality of life in rural areas; from healthcare to water supply; quality schools and social infrastructure.
To alleviate the scourge of poverty the capacity to create sustainable quality jobs must be created. In the age of the knowledge worker, human capital is carved by education, and kept going by the quality of health care.
Education reform is imperative. From the 1960 when the Ashby commission found tertiary education in Nigeria as good as some of the best in the world, and communities and missionaries ran quality primary and secondary schools, education is near collapse.
The goals of reform in education includes a shift in emphasis from tertiary to primary education, from certificate as meal ticket to functional education; and from general liberal education to science and technical education. Also critical is the gap in skills such as basic artisan competencies from bricklaying to mechanic works. It is now anecdotal that if you see tiles that are neatly done in straight lines the likelihood is that those responsible are Ghanaians or Togolese.
Primary education has been neglected as tertiary education has attracted headlines. This has left Nigeria in a situation where tertiary education input comes in as garbage and exists as garbage. Primary education, while more community-operated, will have the highest quality teachers. With improved prestige and better remuneration graduate teachers in the primary schools who are trained and retrained on an annual basis will be disposed to driving an education revolution in which performance of pupils in external examinations will form part of the computation of the wages of teachers.
Primary and Secondary Education will be offered free and of fair quality while allowing for private schools.
Tertiary centres of excellence in research and teaching will be funded adequately with fees supplementing federal subventions. Access will exist through scholarship and students loans programmes.
While the scandal of daily air ambulance evacuation of the rich and famous calls for urgent investment in world-class hospitals and a few clusters of excellence in tertiary institutions of research, our core primary goal must be in primary healthcare and basic facilities being within reach of the poor and the rural dweller, free, or at an affordable rate.
The return to regime of health inspectors and the inauguration of a mobile care scheme deploying NYSC serving doctors and volunteer senior officers manning mobile hospitals will be cornerstone of policy.
We will seek to find passionate champions to drive attainment of WHO and Millennium Development Goals and Budget (ratio) allocations to education and healthcare prescribed by UNESCO and WHO will be exceeded in the short run because of Nigeria’s low starting point.
Containing pandemics like HIV/AIDS, related diseases like Tuberculoses of which Nigeria is the worst case in Africa, and for which WHO has a 2016 target date to stop, are high on the priority pole. Giving teeth to the Roll Back Malaria initiative will be pursued.
Combating fake and adulterated drugs, centralizing distribution of medicines to contain malpractice in the manner procurement of medicines are done in countries like the United States and implement the Essential Drugs List (EDL), as a minimum list, rather than the approach which crippled the pharmaceutical industry in Nigeria nearly twenty years ago. But its philosophy will add up to reduce cost burden on government even with availability of essential drugs in public hospitals and healthcare centres.
BIDDING POVERTY FAREWELL
The basic strategy of the ADC presidential team is pursuing job creation, the twin securities of policing life and property and food security; human capital development and institution building particularly focused on zero tolerance corruption, driving up patriotic zeal in the population and forging a nation.
To attain the purchasing power that will lead to consumption which will drive investments and consequent quality jobs, there will be massive public works projects centered around energy sufficiency, road and rail networks and water supply. A significant part of these will be provided by use of foreign reserves as collateral security. Tripling the size of the police force, pressuring the system to reform along the lines of allowing state police force will, with a values reorientation, help with the rule of law and respect for property rights necessary to have a working peoples entrepreneurial capitalism in which access to capital is easier.
In resolving the mystery of capital issues, of underdevelopment in Niger Delta and elsewhere should rapidly disappear.
Of the many challenges facing Nigeria, the militancy in the Niger Delta, is perhaps the most volatile. The roots of the crisis lie, first in the neglect of minority groups; from long before oil became a major income source for Nigeria, to the problems of ecological devastation and displacement of peoples. The first step to resolving the crisis has to be the rebuilding of trust which has been long lost between the people and the government in Abuja.
A programme of creating economic opportunities, jobs and drivers of improved quality of life, guided by a passionate champion will be put in place. Among the key initiatives we have canvassed are an industrial park based on the factor endowments of the region, primarily competitively priced gas. This will result in heavy industries being located there.
Infrastructure development will receive emphasis both as a means of creating job opportunities and improving living conditions. An international commission providing oversight will help ensure that the agency providing such facilities will not be as abused and corrupted as the previous ones. One of our key national infrastructure projects; a multilane highway from Lagos, running along the coast line to Port Harcourt, will also open up the region for economic opportunity.
Beyond these a robust investment in education and Entrepreneurship Extension Services will help ensure the next generation will thrive in a post oil era.
This general thrust of policy based on job creation, infrastructure development, food security and security of life and property; in which education, and health care get budgetary priority, will be accomplished through recruiting servant leaders who have character; competence; creativity; credibility; compassion for Nigerians; commitment to Nigeria; and courage of conviction.
This is the ADC promise and as promise keepers, we intend for routine vertical accountability systems to allow the people question how off the target we are at every point in time.
Our passion is to make government work for all; poor; rich; small; big; God fearing and not so God fearing.
ADC Presidential Candidate