The All Progressives Congress presidential candidate, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, has assured northern leaders of a prosperous and indivisible Nigeria if elected President in 2023.
In an interaction with the Arewa Joint Committee at Arewa House, Kaduna on Monday, Tinubu shared his blueprint for the development of Nigeria.
He highlighted the heroics of past leaders of the country such as Nigeria’s late Premier of the region, Sir Ahmadu Bello, Nigeria first and only Prime Minister, Tafawa Balewa, Sir Ahmadu Bello, Chief Obafemi Awolowo and Chief Nnamdi Azikiwe, lauding them for being visionary leaders who gave their all to nation-building.
“As I said when I chaired the Sardauna Memorial Lecture, last year, I have a solemn feeling of responsibility and duty to our country every time I am here. Standing here evokes memories of a great leader and a father of this nation, the Late Sir Ahmadu Bello, the late Sardauna of Sokoto. The contributions of the Sardauna to nation-building remain a reference point for us all. He was a visionary builder of men and institutions.
“The dream of Sardauna, and indeed that of our other great leaders such as Chief Obafemi Awolowo, Dr Nnamdi Azikiwe and our first and only prime minister, Sir Abubakar Tafawa Balewa was for one indivisible and prosperous nation built on shared values of patriotism, equity, justice and brotherhood.
“It is therefore no coincidence that at Independence this vison was clearly laid out and encapsulated in our first National Anthem. It says: ‘Though tribes and tongue may differ, in brotherhood we stand.’
“This is a strong statement which acknowledges our diversity, and, therefore, existence of different perspectives and interests, and how that should not stand on the path of our unity as brothers.
“The framers of this anthem, God rest their souls, will cringe to know that 62 years after, someone would come to this hallowed platform to campaign on the basis of tribe or where others come from.
“The dream of those forefathers, ladies and gentlemen, was for a nation ‘Where no man is oppressed’, a nation ‘with peace and plenty’, and these – unity in diversity, peace and prosperity – are the fulcrum of my mission in this contest. They also form the bulk of my address to you this afternoon, in line with the areas the organisers wanted me to address,” Tinubu said.
He affirmed that he would consolidate the investments of the President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd.) administration in all sectors of the nation to build on the successes recorded.
He said his administration would just like he did upon assumption as Lagos State Governor, bring out workable policies to ensure that insecurity is nipped in the bud in the North and across the country.
Tinubu noted that the North has a greater advantage in agriculture and under his presidency, the region will emerge as the hub of agribusiness in Africa through huge investment in the sector in collaboration with the private sector.
“Our economic plan would utilize the vast natural resources we have, through strategic investment in infrastructure which will lead to the diversification of the economy and wealth creation across the entire country. We will pay attention to modern economic drivers such as the digital economy, creative industries, sports and entertainment sectors for the benefit of our young people.
“Under my leadership, the Nigerian government will be business-friendly. We shall support private businesses in our country and attract foreign direct investment to create jobs, re-industrialise our country and accelerate economic development. Nigerian businesses in sectors like banking and cement have successfully ventured out of the country to build thriving subsidiaries. We will build a strong domestic economy, expand the capacity of our domestic market to support growth and encourage export capacity in the areas of our competitive advantage. We have the endowments to be a prosperous country. I will lead a renewed push to move us from the status of a nation of potential into a country of actual accomplishments as an economic dynamo.”
Asked his plans for education and helping reduce the out of school children in the North, the APC presidential flagbearer said, “Education is the most effective weapon against poverty. Comparative with other countries, education in Nigeria suffers from funding deficit on account of our population and limited resources. I will provide the required leadership and mobilize investment for the development of the sector. We will work with both states and local governments to reform and retool the system. These reforms will give special attention to the welfare and training of our teachers and lecturers as necessary catalyst for the better system we desire.
“We will work with stakeholders to evolve creative solutions to the funding needs of our higher education that will bring terminal end to challenges of funding and the attendant perennial industrial actions.
To ease financing for basic education and expand access, we will cut down on the counterpart fund required by states to access UBEC grants to an affordable percentage.
“Millions of our children are currently roaming the streets instead of being in classrooms.
My administration will invest heavily in infrastructure to allow for proper integration of these children into our conventional schools.