Atiku Abubakar, former Vice-President and the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, presidential aspirant, says he has moved 45, 000 families out of poverty.
Mr Atiku, who stated this known at a Presidential Nomination Media Chat, organised by the United Nigeria Group, UNG, in Abuja, said the feat was achieved through a micro-finance bank he established.
According to him, he also instructed the bank to give 80 per cent of its loans to women “in the belief that empowerment is the best way to bring a family out of poverty’’.
“I have owned one of the most successful micro-finance banks in this country, I am working with people from Bangladesh because they are best when it comes to micro finance system.
“And what is the best way to move a family out of poverty? This is to empower the woman. Because of this, I directed the bank to give 80 per cent of their loan to women.
“They have been implementing that policy and today we are one of the most successful micro-finance banks in Nigeria because women repay, take more, look after their families.
“I am a product of a woman because I lost my father at a very tender age and my mother was doing all kinds of business to look after me and became what I am today.
“So honestly, the best policy to move family out of poverty is to empower women.
“If you do that you will see how fast you will get out of poverty, particularly now that Nigeria has been decimated as the capital of poverty in the world, we need to engage our women to turn it round for good.”
Mr Atiku emphasised the need to bring investors into the country to absorb graduates in addition to training them to be self-reliant, saying he plans to employ about 12 million Nigerian youths under this arrangement.
On restructuring, he said that the best the best way to develop the country’s six geo-political zones was to give more powers and resources to these zones.
He stressed the need to restructure the polity, saying “unless it is restructured with more power and resources given the geo-political zones, there is likely not to be much difference.
“ If you concentrate all the powers in the Federal Government just like we are seeing now, then you are going to stifle growth and initiative.”
The former vice-president speaking on why he wanted to be elected as president said that Nigeria needed a leadership that with the experience and capacity to create jobs and unite the country.
“Our most challenging issue in the country today is the issue of unemployment and creation of jobs, unity in the country and states.”
He said that the country also needed leader that would boost the country ‘s economic growth above its population growth.
“Any country that its economic growth is below its population is in a danger, and that is the danger that is facing our country today.
“So anybody who can come and lift up our economy to a level where our GDP growth will surpass our population growth, I think is the leader, we should at this time support to take Nigeria out of this crisis. And that is what I stand for.
“I believe I am more suitable to handle all these as a retired civil servant who worked 20 years in the federal bureaucracy and as a politician I served successfully for 8 years as the vice-president.”
Mr Atiku said that while he was vice president, he chaired the economic team that brought so many innovations that led to the creation of jobs, creation of wealth and prosperity, relative peace and stability
He added that his experience in the private sector as a farmer, an investor also gave him the advantage over some of his contemporaries.
Mr Atiku said that if he was able to get PDP presidential ticket and win the election he would work with all aspirants contending with him.
“I believe it will not be a problem for me bringing them together to participate with me in government and also in whatever capacity they feel they can support the government.
“Government is such a very big deal in Nigeria even though my dream is that by the time I leave office government will be smaller.”
Mr Atiku also said he was going to work with the National Assembly to achieve required amendments of laws to achieve fundamental issues such as restructuring, economic growth, diversification, unity and security among others.