Vice-Presidential Candidate of Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and Governor of Delta, Sen. (Dr) Ifeanyi Okowa, has urged Nigerians not to elect leaders who are not prepared for the office they seek.
He said that as a nation grappling with multifaceted challenges, Nigeria could not afford to elect those seeking office for personal aggrandizement.
Okowa gave the advice at the Operational Grant Disbursement of Phase II of Delta CARES Result Area 3 programme in Asaba on Monday.
He said that Nigeria was in very difficult times and that citizens were feeling more pain in the country due to maladministration in the country by the All Progressives Congress (APC)-led Federal Government.
He, therefore, charged the people to use the polls to vote in competent and well-prepared leaders who would recover the country from the abyss the APC had put it, and reposition it for new and greater heights.
“Five days from now, we are going into elections. I want to call on all Nigerians that it is a time for us to sit down and think; a time to reassess all those who are candidates of the various political parties.
“I believe that if a fair assessment is done, you will know that it is only one team, the Atiku/Okowa team that is prepared for this task.
“We are a prepared team because the very day I was nominated as Vice-Presidential Candidate, a document, ‘My Covenant with Nigerians’ was ready and delivered.
“And, after that, we sat down with the economic team, because we think a lot, and looked through it, made some improvements and came out with the final document – ‘Our Covenant with Nigerians’, the covenant of Atiku/Okowa and the PDP with Nigerians,” the vice-presidential candidate said.
He stressed that presidential candidates of other political parties were unprepared because they had no manifesto.
Okowa said: “In PDP’s case, the road map is there from where we are to where we want to be and the steps that need to be taken to get there. Other presidential candidates do not have a manifesto.
“They started working on their manifestos after the primary elections. We cannot elect people to office who are not prepared for the job. Many of them even hurriedly copied from books to create their manifestos.
“Nigeria is in a very challenging situation and we need men who are prepared to work with the rest of Nigerians, realising that every Nigerian matters and realising that in a united Nigeria, all the geo-political zones should be included in government to have a government of national unity.
“I wouldn’t have come in to start speaking this way, but I know that you are great youths and you have the capacity to go out there to pass this message to the people.
“That for a united Nigeria, that the Nigeria that we seek to secure and a Nigeria which we believe in can come only by restructuring, devolving more powers to the states and local governments; Atiku/Okowa team is the way to go”.
He said that the Atiku-Okowa ticket was prepared to set aside 10 billion dollars to empower small, micro and medium enterprises in the country to make them contribute to the nation’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP).
According to him, we believe that we need to attend to the health of our children and our women; we believe in the need to empower our youths and set special money aside for their growth and that is why Atiku and I have promised that we are setting out 10 billion dollars for the purpose of growing entrepreneurs across this nation.
“We know the impact such a programme has made in Delta State and we want to ensure that this impact is made nationally. We say what we mean and we mean what we say.
“We know we are capable of working with the rest of Nigerians – the private sectors, the youths and the women – to rapidly take ourselves out of where we are into a Nigeria that we can truly call our own.”
He charged the beneficiaries of the D-CARES programme to make adequate use of the grants to justify the government’s confidence in them.
“We are increasing the number of Deltans that are equipped entrepreneurially because we believe that when we do that we are improving the future of our dear state.
“By the special grace of God, we will hand over to a new administration that will continue to improve the lives of the people of our state,” he stated.
Earlier, Executive Secretary, Delta State Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises Agency, Mrs Orezi Esievo, had said that Okowa was the first governor in the country to flag-off the programme with 1, 818 beneficiaries with grants ranging from N150,000, N350,000 to N750,000.
She disclosed that a total of 1,200 beneficiaries representing phase 2 were drawn from Rural Youths Skill Acquisition (RYSA), Job Creation platforms and Girls Entrepreneurship and Skill Training (GEST) schemes.