Job creation could be the campaign slogan for former vice-president, Atiku Abubakar.
This is based on the speech he delivered after he returned to the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) on Sunday, in which he mentioned “urgent need to empower the Nigerian youth through massive creation of employment opportunities.”
“I have found in my travels across the country that whenever I get into conversations with young people their number one concern is whether they will be able to get a job, for without a job they have no means of sustaining themselves or begin a family,” Atiku stated in his official move to the PDP, which was streamed live on Facebook.
The former vice-president touted his credentials as a business owner with a long history of creating jobs not just in his home state of Adamawa, but elsewhere across the country.
“Creating jobs is something I know about, as I have created over 50,000 direct jobs and 250,000 indirect jobs in my own state of Adamawa,” he said.
The speech, which was made known to a live audience on Facebook shortly after 4:00 p.m., on Sunday, came a little over a week after he dissociated himself from Nigeria’s governing All Progressives Congress (APC).
Atiku accused President Muhammadu Buhari of abandoning most of the promises of the APC during the 2015 election, including assurances that three million jobs would be created per year.
Instead, the Nigerian economy has been haemorrhaging jobs and the youth are particularly hard hit.
Nigerian youth unemployment rate reached an all time high at 25.20 per cent in the fourth quarter of 2016, and it has not significantly eased since then.
“Without the security of a job we cannot have security in our country,” Atiku said. “So without jobs there is no future for you or for Nigeria.”
Atiku Abubakar is expected to be a major challenger to President Buhari in 2019.
Atiku established the American University of Nigeria and is a co-founder of Intels Nigeria, the multi-billion naira oil servicing firm now in trouble with the Nigerian government
He has been dogged with allegations of corruption since he left office as Nigeria’s vice president in 2007.
With being accused of participating in the iGate bribery scandal which saw a former U.S. lawmaker jailed for offering cash rewards to Nigerian officials in exchange for approving a contract.
Williams Jefferson, said to be a political associate of Atiku, was sentenced to prison in 2009 after the FBI successfully prosecuted him for corruption.
Jefferson alleged that Atiku was slated to receive up to $500,000 as bribe for the contract, which the Obasanjo administration awarded to iGate to expand broadband Internet in Nigeria.
But he has maintained his innocence and challenges anyone to bring evidence forward.
Atiku’s critics have theorised that his failure to visit the United States of America for many years could be linked to the scandal.
He has, however, denied the allegations, telling a magazine in a recent interview that he actually applied for U.S. visa but was declined on the basis of administrative review.