Atiku has comprehensive plans for the Nigerian tech ecosystem but we shouldn’t get too excited

Since we have reviewed the policy documents of two presidential candidates: Bola Tinubu of the ruling All Progressives Congress and Labour Party’s Peter Obi, it’s only proper that we look at the last man in the three-man race for the nation’s top seat, as the general elections draw closer.

In this piece, we will look at the manifesto of the main opposition’s presidential candidate, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Atiku Abubakar. The 115-page document, titled “A Covenant With Nigerians”, is said to be a spin-off of his 2019 manifesto, which we found to show little intentions for the Nigerian tech space.

Un)surprisingly, Atiku’s 2023 manifesto is the most comprehensive policy document released by any presidential hopeful, showing a better grasp of the problems facing different sectors — including tech. That, for one, slightly affirms Atiku’s claim that he is the most experienced candidate in the race.

However, the manifesto, like Obi’s, doesn’t have a dedicated section focusing on tech. Instead, Atiku’s plans for the Nigerian tech ecosystem are stated in other sections.

Read also: Though impressive, Peter Obi’s plans for the Nigerian tech space lack depth.

A tech-driven new economy

Perhaps the biggest selling point for Atiku’s candidature is his role as the head of the “economic management team” during his stint as Nigeria’s Vice President between 1999 and 2007.

The Olusegun Obasanjo-led administration, under which Atiku served, is credited for revamping Nigeria into one of the world’s fastest-growing economies, evidenced by settling foreign debts and creating an enabling environment for the private sector.

Atiku has always taken pride in playing a critical role in this feat, but not everyone believes so.

Dear former Vice President Atiku, please ask the handlers of your @Twitter account to stop misleading the public. You were never the Head of the Economic Management Team.

One of the major highlights of Atiku’s economic agenda, as stated in his 2023 policy document, is building “a knowledge-based economy in which a highly developed ICT sector, with wide application in commerce, education, health, and other areas of human endeavour, plays a significant role”.

For Atiku, harnessing the potential of the technology-driven new economy is key, and he intends to pull this off through major plans, which will be analyzed in subsequent paragraphs.

Technology Support Program

According to the document, an Atiku presidency will establish a Technology Support Programme (TSP). To be funded by a Diaspora Bond, the TSP will “support the technology sector to meet the demand for the latest technology, especially, in software development” and, in turn create “millions of jobs for budding techies.”

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