Presidential candidate of the Allied Congress Party of Nigeria (ACPN), Dr.Oby Ezekwesili, on Monday said she would work to build and deliver a prosperous Nigeria if elected.
Ezekwesili, a former Vice-President of World Bank, made the pledge while speaking with newsmen in Lagos.
The presidential candidate spoke on her blueprint to lift 80 million Nigerians out of poverty.
She said the country was blessed with great people, and a country with great potential like Nigeria should not be associated with high poverty rate.
Ezekwesili explained that the poverty narrative had been predominant owing to the consistent dearth of the leadership to build the right capacities to empower the people.
The candidate identified inequality, infrastructural deficit, high rate of illiteracy and poor economic focus as some of the causes of high poverty rate.
She said Nigeria needed a leader who would tackle all these to build a prosperous nation.
Ezekwesili said her promise to lift 80 million Nigerians out of poverty if elected was not an empty one, as she had a well thought-out plan to achieve it.
Giving details of her blueprint, Ezekwesili said she would massively invest in human capital development of more educated citizens who would be economically empowered.
She also said she would pursue a robust housing programme to deliver affording homes to most Nigerians in order to increase access.
“Education and skills development of healthy Nigerian people shall be my number one priority.
“No matter what we do, we would never win the war on poverty without investing massively in human capital development.
“That is why in our ACPN government, education will be the new oil. Education will be the new economy.
“My vision for education is one that will nourish the mind and create a progressive society that competes globally.
“ If our current and future human capital are not educated, they will most likely end up in poverty and our economy will lose the productivity that they would have added.
“We shall launch a root and branch reform of all the levels and phases of education. Early Childcare Education, Basic Education, Secondary Education.
“Special Needs Education and Adult/Informal Education will all be systemically reformed to achieve universal access to quality and relevant education by all Nigerians.
“ Education, training and skills development remain the most potent tools of economic and social mobility in all progressive societies.
“Breaking the vicious circle of poor education is crucial for promoting inclusive economic growth and decent jobs for all,” she said.
Ezekwesili promised a national housing programme to reduce the cost of a starter home for families.
“ In partnership with the private sector, we will reduce cost of these homes by 50% while increasing quality.
“ Within my first 100 days, I would launch a Naija Home Competition that will call for the design of a standard, affordable Nigerian home design which will include two bedrooms, a living room, a bathroom and toilet, and a kitchen.
“At least 80 percent of the homes we will build will be low-cost housing whereby allocation is based on income.
“The recipients will be selected from a pool of qualified applicants through lottery,” she said.
Ezekwesili said she would drive prosperity in the country by giving the necessary support to start-ups and small-scale enterprises for massive job creation.
The candidate also said she would embark on total oil industry and power reforms to stimulate efficiency in both sectors for economic development.
“Also we will pursue a Produce More, Earn More vision that will result in higher productivity, greater competitiveness, higher income, more diversified export earnings from wider sources of economic growth in the economy,” she said.
The ex-minister said she would invest massively in agriculture to diversify the economy and provide more jobs, while health care would receive the needed attention.
Ezekwesili urged Nigerians to trust in her capacity to deliver, saying she had the track record and experience to make the country an economic giant.