How I’ll fight insecurity, boost economy – Tinubu
All Progressives Congress, APC, presidential candidate, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, and his New Nigeria Peoples Party, NNPP, counterpart, Senator Rabiu Musa Kwankwaso, yesterday, outlined how they would change the fortunes of the country, if elected president, next year.
LAGOS — All Progressives Congress, APC, presidential candidate, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, and his New Nigeria Peoples Party, NNPP, counterpart, Senator Rabiu Musa Kwankwaso, yesterday, outlined how they would change the fortunes of the country, if elected president, next year.
Specifically, Tinubu, who promised a continuous open door for collaboration, restated his plan to hit a double figure Gross Domestic Product, GDP, tackle insecurity, revive industries, rebuild Nigeria, promote agriculture, and stabilise power, among others.
The former Lagos State governor and Third Republic senator spoke at a Town Hall meeting with the business community and Organised Private Sector at Eko Hotel and Suites, Victoria Island, Lagos.
On his part, Kwankwaso, a former governor of Kano State, while presenting his 160-page manifesto in Abuja, said he will prioritise education by mopping up the 20 million out-of-school children in four years and make registration for secondary school certificate and Unified Tertiary Matriculation examinations free, among others.
He also promised to recruit 750,000 personnel into the military and increase the Police Force to one million personnel.
Tinubu and Kwankwaso spoke as two members of the Organised Private Sector, OPS, tasked the 18 presidential candidates for the 2023 election not to focus on paperwork or manifestos alone but adopt practical approaches to solve Nigeria’s problems in their campaigns.
How I’ll battle terror
On plans against insecurity, Tinubu said: “We shall continue the fight against insecurity by redefining our counter-insurgency doctrine and practice. Our response to terror, kidnapping and violent criminality will be defined by the following elements: We shall enlist more people in the armed forces, security services and the police; our forces will be given better tactical communications, mobility as well as improved aerial and ground surveillance capacity.
“Through these and other measures, we shall better identify, monitor, track, and defeat these evil groups where they are. They shall have no respite until they surrender or are utterly defeated.”
At the the Town Hall session were APC running mate, Senator Kashim Shettima; Governors Babajide Sanwo-Olu (Lagos), Simon Lalong (Plateau),who is also the Director-General of the APC Presidential Campaign Council, Atiku Bagudu (Kebbi), Abdulrahman Abdulrasaq (Kwara), Abubakar Badaru (Jigawa), Dapo Abiodun (Ogun), Adegboyega Oyetola (Osun), Nasir El-Rufai (Kaduna), and Abdullahi Ganduje (Kano) and a host of other APC leaders and chieftains.
From the business community were President of Dangote Group, Alhaji Aliko Dangote; Mr. Jim Ovia, Chairman of Zenith Bank; Mr. Tony Elumelu, Chairman of UBA,; Aigboje Aig-Imoukhuede, former CEO of Access Bank; Herbert Wigwe, Group CEO of Access HoldCo and other business leaders representing sectoral groups, such as agriculture, oil and gas, trade, manufacturing, and creative sectors.
Laying out his action plan before the business leaders, Tinubu said having achieved similar economic success as Lagos State governor, he has the capacity to repeat the same at the national level as president.
His words: “Lagos is an appropriate venue for this meeting. You may have heard that I was once governor of this dynamic economic force. However, may I remind you that when I first entered office, Lagos was a different story.
“My team and I developed a blueprint, a master plan, for Lagos. I can say that plan has been largely successful.
“We turned this state into a safer, more prosperous place where people can go about any legitimate vocation or venture regardless of their ethnicity, religion, region or prior social station.
“We did more than open Lagos for business. We opened the door for all Nigeria to join and experience the decent things progressive democratic governance can bring.
“We were not perfect but we did a lot. In doing so, we worked hand in hand with the business community as partners sharing the same goals of prosperity and renewed hope. I now stand before you, seeking a bigger yet similar job.”
Tinubu urged the Lagos Business Community to join hands with him to achieve this, noting that a viable economy requires collaboration between the political and business communities.
He continued: “Nigeria stands at the threshold between indifference and greatness, prosperity and poverty, the future and the past.
“The door is ajar. Together, let us open it so that we may cross over to the better side and secure for this beloved nation its finer destiny.
“The productive and beneficial things we seek do not lie in the sole domain of one sector. They reside in the cooperation between government and the private sector.
“I see no conflict between the business community and government. Yet, with equal conviction, I believe the private sector and government should constantly be at war.
“But they wage this battle not as enemies. They must stand as inseparable allies combating the mutual enemies of scarcity, underdevelopment, joblessness and the fear these bad things breed.
“The pragmatic problem solving and teamwork that improved Lagos, I want to bring to this nation. I ask for your help as the task ahead is doable but also difficult.”
Now, Tinubu said that Nigeria needs to move from dependence on exporting its raw materials to nations who sell the finished products to us at exorbitant prices to one that refines its raw materials for upward export itself.
Building on Buhari’s achievements
Praising the President Muhammadu Buhari-led Administration for its patriotism and commitment, he itemised his administration plans to build on Buhari’s achievements.
These, he said include reviving dead industries, promoting agriculture, providing power, produce and use made in Nigeria goods, building infrastructure and most importantly improving the country’s security.
“From its very inception, our political economy has been imbalanced and in need of major reform. Our political economy is much too dependent on the export of raw material or unfinished goods and the import of increasingly expensive finished products. Over the course of time, gains from natural resource exports will prove largely insufficient to meet the rising costs of imports let alone support even the most basic demands of modern democratic governance. The time is now to cure this lapse, and time is of the essence for it does not wait for man or nation.
“We commend the work of prior administrations, especially the present government. This government has performed with patriotism and commitment during trying times. We simply must go farther and faster. My experiences in both the private sector and elective office afford me a special appreciation of the economic potency that close collaboration between government and the business community can bring.
“Allow me to share a few ideas that provide some insight into my vision for a more prosperous and secure nation where hope is renewed and despair rebuffed.
“All Nigerians must be invested in for our better future. We must maintain the channels and spirit of respectful and productive dialogue. At times what I say may help you. Other times, what you say may enlighten me. We must always talk and confer with the best of intentions. Just as this open door policy is with me before the election, I shall continue to honour it after the election.
GDP growth rate
“We must target double digit GDP to begin to reduce the poverty rate and I am determined to accomplish this.
“We shall bring the nation’s industrial policy to life. Key to this is our aim to create major and minor industrial hubs in each geopolitical zone. We shall not be satisfied by bolstering traditional sectors. We will foster productive excellence in new areas such as light manufacturing and the Nollywood entertainment sector. Through active participation in the digital economy, we shall make Nigeria a leader, instead of a bystander, in the fourth industrial revolution.
“We shall continue to press reforms in the sector that will increase productivity, improve farm incomes while lowering food prices and bringing enough food to the tables of ordinary people.
“I am determined to give you the affordable and reliable power you need to drive your businesses in a way that lifts the entire economy.
Produce and buy Nigerian
“We seek a consumer credit revolution, working in concert with the banking industry led by the CBN. Credit at affordable rates enables the purchase of more cars and the construction of more homes. The standard of living shall rise and the strength of the business sector shall increase in similar measure.
“We must continue with the expansion of infrastructure commenced by the current government From our roads and ports that will path the way to more commerce, to improvement in irrigation and water management/catchment systems to stem the humanitarian and economic tragedy visited on us by seasonal flooding.”
My plans for education, security – Kwankwaso
On his part, Kwankwaso, who said that Nigeria needed a competent, credible and emphatic leader with the experience which he would provide, if elected, promised to ensure that all entry examinations into tertiary institutions were free for Nigerians, and parent won’t pay a dime as registration fees for the West African Examination Council, WAEC, Joint Admissions and Matriculation Board (JAMB) and National Examination Council.
In his 160-page manifesto titled: “My pledges to you. The RMK2023 blueprint,” Kwankwaso noted that aside from ensuring freefmination forms, JAMB results under his government will have a lifespan of four years.
He assured that he would mop up the 20 million out-of-school children in Nigeria in the next four years, adding that this would be achieved through the launch of an half a million classrooms initiative in his first few weeks in office by building 40 blocks of classrooms per local government per annum for the first four years.
Kwankwaso who maintained that examination bodies are not revenue generating agencies and must not operate as such, stressed that an examination body generating income and contributing to the Federation accounts is a misnomer.
In the document, he said: “We believe that majority of Nigerians are justifiably angry about how the very people entrusted with the business of governance betrayed that trust and dragged our country to the present state of despondency, hopelessness and fear.”
“Examination bodies are service agencies that facilitate access to higher education and training for our teaming young population.
“For our administration, no Nigerian child shall be denied the opportunity to write WAEC, NECO, JAMB, etc., because of their inability to pay exorbitant registration/examination fees. These examinations shall be free and all application forms for admission into tertiary education institutions (TEls) shall also be free. These examination bodies will be adequately funded by the Kwankwaso administration.
“The notion that matriculation examination in Nigeria expires after one year will be stopped forthwith. JAMB results under the Kwankwaso government will have a lifespan of four years and TEIs will be required to accept these results for the purposes of admission.”
Speaking on insecurity, Kwakwanso who promised that an addition of 750,000 personnel will be recruited into the armed forces, said that the Nigeria Police Force would also be built to one million active service men and women.
Walk the talk, manifestos not enough —
Meanwhile, two members of the OPS, Muda Yusuf, a former Director General of the Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry, LCCI; and Monday-Michaels Ashibogwu; a former Publicity Secretary of the Nigerian Association of Small And Medium Enterprises, NASME, have challenged presidential candidates not to focus on paper works or manifestos but adopt practical approaches to solve Nigeria’s problems.
The duo spoke on Channels Television’s Sunrise Daily programme, yesterday.
“We have been looking at offers by some candidates but we are more concerned in seeing something that will become more in practice than just a paper work. We have very novel paper works that have been on the shelves for years, issues that concern the organised private sector tend to stem from implementation and sincerity of that implementation,” Ashibogwu said.
He added that whoever is going to take up the task has a lot of work to do to solve the problems of insecurity, kidnapping and of recent issues of food security.
“We have had that experience in power reforms, we have had the experience in energy reforms in terms of oil and gas reforms, so the issue is who is going to walk the talk,” he said.
Also, Yusuf said while manifestos are good, the ability to assemble a competent team is more critical.
He said anybody can get a good consultant to put up a manifesto but the capacity to put a competent team together with proper understanding of economic issues and their implementation is what is paramount.
“One of the challenges we have today is not lack of good policy documents, we have excellent documents but those documents are just gathering dust, nobody is acting on those documents,” Yusuf stated.