Creation of anti-terrorist battalions, student loans… highlights of the Tinubu manifesto


On Thursday, the manifesto of Bola Tinubu, presidential candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC), was unveiled.

The 80-page policy document, titled “Renewed Hope 2023 – Action Plan for a Better Nigeria”, was unveiled by President Muhammadu Buhari on Friday.

Here are the highlights of the manifesto:

DECENTRALIZATION OF POWER

In the document, if elected, an administration overseen by Bola Tinubu and Kashim Shettima as president and vice president will work with the national assembly and state governments to change the governance architecture.

It will also review constitutional legislative slates to ensure that states have greater control over certain critical issues. Areas of intervention will include crime prevention, prisons, stamp duties and certain forms of taxation.

CREATION OF ANTI-TERRORIST BATTALIONS

Tinubu said he will push forward “bold and sensible crime prevention reform” which will see the creation of Highly Trained and Disciplined Counter-Terrorist Battalions (ABATTS) – identified as a special forces unit which will “grasp the strategy and the tactical initiative, leaving no respite to terrorists, kidnappers and bandits”.

He also said there will be an increase in police recruitment, while the force will be equipped with high-tech equipment. VIP security will also be transferred to the Nigeria Security and Civil Defense Corps (NSCDC).

MORTGAGE AND CONSUMER CREDIT REFORM

With the support of state and local governments, the Tinubu administration aims to implement a new social housing policy that will provide pathways for the poorest Nigerians.

The housing mandate is divided into three parts: Grant low-interest mortgages directly; gguarantee qualified mortgages issued by banks; and the purchase of mortgages from private banks.

INCREASE IN CULTIVATED LAND

According to the document, only 35% of Nigeria’s arable land is currently under cultivation, and the Tinubu administration’s goal is to increase that number to 65% within four years.

Initiatives such as the Anchor Borrower Program and the Farm Credit Guarantee Scheme will be expanded to reach more rural communities.

NEW ROADS, MORE RAILWAY PROJECTS

“As part of this highway system, we will rehabilitate and expand existing federal highways and highways. We will accelerate the construction of new roads as well as the rehabilitation of existing roads through creative financing mechanisms, including access to capital markets and PPPs,” the manifesto states.

The administration, if elected, also aims to prioritize the completion of ongoing critical national rail projects such as the Lagos-Kano, Benin-Abakaliki, Port Harcourt-Maiduguri, Lagos-Calabar and Kano-Maradi.

STUDENT LOANS, MODERN PROGRAM

As outlined in the Tinubu manifesto, a committee will be tasked with establishing a curriculum that more closely matches school education with the actual and projected needs of the private sector. A modern standard curriculum will be developed and implemented in all primary and secondary schools across the country.

If the APC wins, Nigerian history will be reintroduced into classrooms across the country, while indigenous language lessons will be compulsory for all children until the end of secondary school.

Under a Tinubu administration, teaching will be a “rewarding” career option, while on higher education, the administration aims to institute a pilot student loan program. Institutions will charge more cost-representative tuition fees and, given employment rates and other conditions, the loan program will have a maximum borrowing limit and flexible repayment terms.

YOUTH EMPOWERMENT

Through its social and political empowerment plan, the administration aims to reserve at least three ministerial positions for people under 40 and another six positions for people under 50.

The government, if elected to office, will also pass a presidential directive requiring that at least 20% of political appointments to MDAs be reserved for qualified individuals under the age of 40.

The administration, if elected, also aims to halve the youth unemployment rate within four years, increase intergenerational and business mentorship and cooperation with two million entrepreneurs and volunteer professionals across the country.

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