A town hall meeting organized by a political movement under the auspices of New Dream for Grassroots Development began in Abuja on Thursday with the presidential candidates from the main political parties, who did not attend.
Among the presidential candidates who did not come or send representatives were Bola Ahmed Tinubu (All Progressives Congress); Alhaji Atiku Abubakar (People’s Democratic Party); and Peter Obi (Labor Party).
But during the live televised event, other presidential candidates outlined their plans for a better Nigeria.
NDGD Director General Dr Onwubuya Breakforth said the Presidential Town Hall meeting was set up to help electorates make informed decisions on whom to choose among the 18 presidential candidates and to allow for direct communication between grassroots people and the candidates.
He said: “Candidates will address us on various issues, but the difference will be who shows they know how to enthrone a robust and productive new Nigeria where all nationalities are not discriminated against or denied their rights as bona fide citizens.
“We want to know the how instead of the normal rhetoric that is neither pragmatic nor proof.
As Nigerians head to the polls, with barely two months to choose a new president along with state governors and legislators, millions of people are ready with their PVCs.
“However, we do not support any candidate, but rather we will move towards a candidate who proves to have answers and capabilities to build a new Nigeria.”
Break Forward therefore urged voters to make the right decision in choosing their leaders because their decision would make or mar the future of Nigeria.
According to him, the NDGD has more than 22 million valuable voters in the 8,813 constituencies and would use their number to make the right decision in the 2023 elections.
New Nigeria People’s Party presidential candidate Rabiu Musa Kwankwaso said his search for a better and new Nigeria was the reason he joined the PDP and then the APC, but said they were all bad governments.
He said: “We believe in a new Nigeria, so when we started in this Republic, I started with the PDP. Unfortunately, when we were forming the PDP in 1998, we only had a problem expelling the military.
“Then when I became governor, we realized that we were completely different people in the same political party as people from the extreme right to the extreme left.
“We thought along the lines that there should be a change, especially since the party was failing, that’s why we formed APC and now everyone thinks it’s even worse.
We thought it was necessary to bring an alternative, that’s why we decided to register our party, but INEC did not rush to do so. Therefore, we carefully select NNPP based on their manifesto, beliefs, and vision.
“We have a 152-page plan, we look at all the issues, and based on my background as an official and governor in Kano State, we believe our party is the best to handle the crisis situation in Nigeria.”
Kwankwaso said he would address insecurity and increase the number of security officers and use technology and lead all Nigerians to get intelligence.
Kwankwaso vowed to use his experience as a former Kano state governor to solve national problems.
He promised the empowerment of young people, the creation of scholarships and jobs to take advantage of their potential and build infrastructure, quality health care and free antinatal medicine for women, as well as boost the economy through various interventions.
“To our administration, no Nigerian child will be denied the opportunity to write WAEC or NECO due to their inability to pay exorbitant registration and examination fees,” he said.
Action Alliance presidential candidate and top security adviser to the late General Sani Abacha, Major Hamza Al-Mustapha, said his party studied Nigeria and noted that the nation does not require routines but rather something outside the norm to address its challenges. .
He said: “We found that there are a lot of games in the state of Nigeria and unless we figure it out and unless you know it, you will spend 1000 years not deferring but adopting routines.
“We do not come to provide leadership from the point of routine. We are realistic, we are down to earth, we will make painful decisions and we will make courageous decisions for the common good of Nigerians today and in the future.
“So, for our security, one of the main mistakes was mixing the police with the army. 23 years today, everyone talks about hopelessness when it comes to physical security.
“We managed to demilitarize the military and, on the other hand, we managed to militarize the police. So we don’t feel comfortable with both of them.”
Al-Mustapha therefore said that AA would do surgery on the security sector by scientifically transforming it for a new direction, doctrine, vision, and physiological reorientation, among others.
Osakwe Johnson, National Rescue Movement presidential candidate Johnson Osakwe said it was necessary for the old leaders to take a back seat and allow the new generation to take charge of the nation’s affairs.
“Everyone will agree with me that in your wardrobe we have what we call old clothes, old clothes fade and you have a hard time putting them on. So we say in 2023, old Nigerians, those who have ruled us in the past should act as advisers as lecturers, not impose on Nigeria to continue the old ways of doing things.”
He said the NRM had a lot to offer the nation, adding that having been in the United States for 30 years and as a cleric, for 40 years he can rule Nigeria.
Young Progressive Party presidential candidate Ado-Ibrahim Abdulmalik said that while the nation was experiencing corruption, the biggest corruption was the corruption of other nations taking the best of Nigeria to their lands.
He said that while the party will not be able to solve all of Nigeria’s challenges in four to eight years, it could focus on repairing electricity and stimulating the energy sector, which is the foundation of development.
“The world can’t function without electricity and we kid ourselves that we’re going to do XYZ. But the basic human rights of power have not been granted to us.
As a nation, we must demand that the next leader of the Federal Republic of Nigeria
“In Adamawa, I built an independent power plant with six megawatts, the work requires courage, vision, empathy but, above all, the work requires us to work together.”
Abdulmalik said that everyone is fleeing the country, but the party will bring Nigerians back home.