It’s election season and politicking is as high as it’ll ever be. But it’s always crucial to understand who the political challengers are and how their policies could affect the country if elected.
Traditionally, candidates from the PDP and the APC command much more media attention. However, another candidate who is gathering spotlight is Allied Congress Party of Nigeria’s (ACPN) candidate, Mrs Obiageli Ezekwesili.
I was uplifted by the energy & optimism of the women – some of them widows – that I met with in Kaduna today. These my Sisters empowered me with their JOY @ the fact that I am running. They prayed🙏🏾They cheered👏🏿. #Fight4Naija #SisterSister ❤️💪🏿 pic.twitter.com/WRJ4LxZSIM
— Oby Ezekwesili (@obyezeks) November 26, 2018
— Oby Ezekwesili (@obyezeks) November 12, 2018
Although a former cabinet member during the Obasanjo era, Mrs Oby Ezekwesili is an outlier in the contest for next year. But she has amassed quite a following within the last few months. Though most of her support and campaign is done on the media (social media particularly), Ms Ezekwesili is confident she can go toe toe with the other candidates.
Recently, the ACPN flagbearer unveiled her manifesto detailing her objectives and visions for the country if elected into office. We decided to take a look at her plans and analyze how these might impact the tech ecosystem.
Obiageli Ezekwesili is the presidential candidate of the Allied Congress Party of Nigeria (ACPN). Ezekwesili unveils her plans to fix the decayed healthcare system, struggling MSMEs and bad roads. She also has a strong position on restructuring. Read on.… https://t.co/s3D74aaGW1 pic.twitter.com/MNF8BI4Gpq
— BusinessDay (@BusinessDayNg) November 27, 2018
Mrs Ezekwesili identified 10 principles she aims to focus on. Under “Our Hopes For Disruptive Technology,” she clearly identifies the tech industry as pivotal to her administration.
According to her manifesto, the ultimate game plan is to make Nigeria a “productive, competitive, prosperous and secure country led by an intelligent and honest government.”
To fulfil this, Mrs Oby Ezekwesili says her administration would lean heavily on disruptive technology as she plans to make Nigeria critical to the ongoing digital changes happening in the world.
IF I was in Nigeria, I would heartily vote for @obyezeks and ignore the APC and the PDP, because to be honest, they are both the same animal, no difference. At the very least my protest vote would go to someone I would be proud to publicly call my president. Enough is enough.💪🏾 pic.twitter.com/NlvqfJFxtp
— Pa! (@ikhide) November 24, 2018
I need Data Science volunteers willing to support the presidential campaigns of @obyezeks with data insights.
You must be a python developer with some NLP experience.
— Emeka Azuka Okoye (@EmekaOkoye) November 26, 2018
The presidential hopeful claims that her government would explore technologies ranging from artificial intelligence, Big Data, computing and Internet of Things, “to accelerate productivity in Nigeria.”
Despite using all the right tech terms, her manifesto was short on policy direction for the tech industry. Every pronouncement was vague and says little about how she will poise the industry for growth.
However, her manifesto did leave an important clue for what tech companies should expect from her. According to her principle on the private sector, Mrs Ezewesili plans to liberalise the Nigerian economy allowing for better understanding on the duty of the government and the private sector.
“By properly delineating the roles of all three actors [civil society, government and the private sector], we will enhance transparency, accountability, and probity.
“Our government will always strive to balance firm and fair regulation within an environment that creates incentives for prosperity and production.”
That last bit is crucial for the effective development of the Nigerian startup ecosystem. Successive Nigerian governments have played minimal role in the tech industry. However, the fact that they care less to review old policies and practices detrimental to startup progress has been a huge concern.
Mrs Ezekwesili says this will end under her watch. But again, how she plans to accomplish this is vague for now. However she does have good plans for the industry and country overall.