The presidential candidate of the Allied Congress Party of Nigeria (ACPN), Dr. Obiageli Ezekwesili, has pledged to foster unity and equality among Nigerians if elected as the president of the country.
In a statement on Thursday, the ACPN presidential candidate said she was determined to ensure that the constitutional rights of Nigerians was always upheld by government.
Noting that there was a need to address the growing rate of poverty in Nigeria, Ezekwesili said that she was ready to ensure constitutionalism and uphold the rule of law in the opportunities available to every Nigerian regardless of their region, religion, status or gender.
“There is no doubt that Nigeria is a multi-plural nation. We are different people with diverse language, age, gender, religion , beliefs and status. As the president, I promise to play a role that acknowledges our differences and yet fosters unity of diversity. All citizens will be accorded the fundamental rights guaranteed within the provisions of our constitution and laws,” the presidential candidate said.
She added, “Our administration will work collaboratively with the judiciary and the legislature to safeguard every citizen’s rights. We are a constitutional democracy and must practice the ethos and principles to the utmost as the fundamental basis for strengthening citizenship. I will both ensure the protection of human rights and uphold the rule of law and constitutionalism.”
Ezekwesili warned that electing the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) or the All Progressives Congress (APC) would deepen poverty and hunger in the country as these parties do not appreciate the dignity that must be accorded every Nigerian citizen.
She also assured Nigerians that she would ensure quality and transparency in the appointment of cabinet members.
She said, “Extreme poverty in Nigeria is increasing by nearly six people every minute. But that is not even the worst part. According to the World Poverty Clock, if the current trends continue – or to put it another way, if we continue to elect this poverty-bringing APC/PDP leadership – the number of people living in extreme poverty in Nigeria would increase from about 88 million today to 120 million in 2030. What that means is that in the next 12 years, over 30 million more Nigerians will join the infamous number of extremely poor people who live on less than N700 per day.
“When a country has a GINI coefficient above 35 per cent, it means its income inequality is very high. Nigeria’s GINI coefficient is between 46 and 60 per cent. Such levels of extreme inequality have destabilising implications for the country. Tackling the inequality and lifting 80 million Nigerians out of poverty will be the mission of my presidency.
“The composition of the cabinet under our ACPN administration shall be guided by the troika criteria of character, competence and capacity, considering the level of policy leadership that our government would expect from ministers. Our cabinet shall reflect 50 per cent inclusion for women and 50 per cent for young people generally with no compromise of the three criteria.
“The principles that guide the centrality of inclusion made by our ACPN administration centres on the fact that women and the youth, both of the largest demographic blocs of the nation, are severely underrepresented in public life.”
Ezekwesili added, “The belief that a diverse makeup of government not only improves representation, but accountability to the public.
“Equality of opportunity is fundamental to fairness, equity and justice in a diverse society like Nigeria. That was what the writers of the 1979 constitution sought to achieve by entrenching the Federal Character Principle that guides appointments into public office. Equality of opportunity is a principle that achieves both competition, merit, representation and inclusion without trading any off.”