Ibekimi Oriamaja Reports
Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, the Peoples Democratic Party’s (PDP) candidate for president in the 2023 election, has reaffirmed his pledge to ensure that, if won, the Nigerian National Petroleum Company Limited (NNPCL) will be fully privatized.
The former vice president noted that despite the Muhammadu Buhari administration’s claims that it has commercialized the NNPCL, all of its shares are still wholly owned by the government in an interview with the online television network News Central.
The NNPCL would continue to be mismanaged, according to Atiku, unless the ownership of the national oil company is diluted and its shares are listed on the floor of the Nigerian Stock Exchange.
He insisted that it was not the role of the government to handle the nation’s oil and gas and that he had always thought that the oil sector ought to be privatized in order to get the most out of it.
You may contrast the returns we receive from the Nigeria LNG project, on which we are collaborating with the private sector, with those of the NNPC, which is completely controlled by the government.
There is a lot of corruption there, to start. Undoubtedly, privatization is preferable. I supported the privatization of the NNPC before the election. They said I wanted to give it to my pals, but they now claim they are privatizing after accusing me of doing so.
Despite having put in place the necessary mechanisms, they haven’t actually privatized anything because they haven’t visited the stock market. The NNPC has owned all of the shares up to this point, and no one else has any.
In theory, he explained, they have proclaimed that they are privatizing, but nothing has come of it.
In a developing nation, Atiku said that expertise and competence are still essential components of leadership and that the responsibility for running the nation cannot be placed on amateurs.
He asserted that “you can’t give over such a country to inexperienced leadership” because it has enormous challenges and is highly varied.
He claimed that one of Nigeria’s largest issues continued to be the lack of consistency in governmental policies, pointing out that there was always a propensity to roll back the accomplishments made by the preceding administration.
He stated that certain of the policies should be codified for the purpose of continuity in order to prevent a turnabout in the fortunes of a developing nation like Nigeria.
Atiku pointed out that a number of factors, including as unemployment and a broken educational system where money allocated to states and local governments is misused, encourage insecurity in the nation.
He voiced concern for the nation’s out-of-school youngsters and anger that the states and local councils were not doing enough to buck the trend.
Atiku compared Nigeria to Egypt, which has more than 3 million policemen, and said that if elected, he would massively recruit into the police force and ensure their training and retraining. Nigeria only has less than 400,000 policemen.
As the United Arab Emirates, which he said had perfected the use of technology for effective policing, does, he also argued for the deployment of technology in policy.
We are able to do this because we are better educated than the UAE. Our level of literacy is higher. What further qualifications are needed to handle technology, then? He queried.
Regarding the availability of electricity, Atiku stated that Nigeria must decentralize the generation and transmission infrastructure, emphasizing that the country cannot continue to rely nearly entirely on gas while underutilizing other power sources like hydro dams.
He claimed that in the early days of Nigeria, the south used coal as a source of energy while the north relied on hydroelectric dams.
The former vice president stated that there would be issues with constant equipment breakdowns if there was sufficient power generation without the transmission arm’s wheeling capability.
He stated that after doing a feasibility study on the subject, he was confident that Nigeria could have dependable power in the least amount of time.
Regarding the ongoing efforts at party reconciliation, he claimed that disputes were common and assured everyone that they would all be brought together in the end.
He claimed that Nigeria is no longer the West African sub-regional lighthouse it once was and pledged that, if elected, Nigeria’s leadership position would be restored.
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