…Discusses power, infrastructure, economy, security
….To Buhari: I’ll be a most wicked friend if …
By Jide Ajani, General Editor
The kingdom of God suffereth violence and the violent shall take it by force. That’s a saying in the Holy Bible and Tinubu’s grabbing of the presidential ticket of the All Progressives Party, APC, could be described as a forceful takeover.
Or, how else does one interrogate his landslide victory at the June 7/8 primaries of the party and not come to that conclusion? More so, in a field of over 10 aspirants?
Whereas his co-contestants went after delegates, Tinubu, who also goes by the alias of Alakanbi, and the thunderous title of Jagaban ‘Borgu, went after the aspirants themselves; meaning, once he got the aspirants to his corner, the delegates were harvested for him. Whichever way he did it, he did it. Some strategies. Some sagacity.
So, for Tinubu, having fought the first part of the battle of his life by taking the presidential ticket, he is bracing for the second part, which is the presidential election proper.
In this political season, you cannot write anything about Tinubu without mentioning Emi lo Kan, Eleyi or O lu’le…. Or, ‘recruit 50million youths’. Or the story of agbado, cassava and Garri? In fact, it will be a grave injustice and a disservice to Tinubu’s usual romance with theatrics not to mention those. Or, is it about the way he shovels up the flaps of his agbada in a slow-motion-like manner? He is a man of drama.
However, make no mistake, Tinubu is a serious man, a very serious man.
Yes, individuals are given to make slips while speaking. And erroneous attributions or statements not apt or correct in all materials particular are not the franchise of one presidential candidate, as Peter Obi and Atiku Abubakar have equally fallen, as all mortals do, into the mire. So, they can all be forgiven.
But beyond these niceties and packaging, however, there are issues Tinubu must contend with. How does it appear when Tinubu says he will continue with and build on the achievements of President Muhammadu Buhari? Or the choice of his running mate, who is also a Muslim like himself? Or his health?
Some answers are provided to some of these questions. At least, in 2019, he told President Buhari some uncomfortable truth about the state of the nation and the way to go. You can only counsel. On his same faith choice, he has been telling Nigerians of other faiths to trust him. It is his choice and whatever arises therefrom, the burden remains his.
To those who discuss his health, it is worth mentioning that one of the greatest American Presidents, Franklin Delano Roosevelt, FDR, was wheeled into the White House in 1932, after defeating the Republican incumbent President, Herbert Hoover, by a landslide electoral votes of 472 to 59. According to TIME, GREAT PEOPLE of the 20th CENTURY, FDR “suffered a chill that was misdiagnosed, then the horrifying paralysis of polio”, ensured that he never walked again unaided – with braces or with the aid of a wheelchair. He went on to lead America for an unprecedented four terms. But that was in 1932.
This is 2022/2023. The challenges of today are as humongous as those faced during the Great Depression, which FDR pulled America and, indeed, the world through. Again, Nigeria is not America. Nigeria is a country that President Buhari has led for seven years that, against expectations, if truth be told, cannot be said to have fared much better in the areas of insecurity, economy, education, corruption and the like. Tinubu says he’s up to the task.
As usual, we have pieced together his views in recent times regarding what he stands for and what he plans to achieve across some issues, using content in the public domain (in his own words and his speeches) . The opportunity of a fuller interview with the candidate is being explored and would be published later. But we can hold him down to the following statements.
A message to youths
We are working hard for youths to change the dynamics, to change the story of Nigeria, to be bold enough to start new initiatives, to change the story of huge potential to reality, to imagine that we are one of the most brilliant and most committed individuals in this country. We are youths. I’m here not for me alone but for you, for tomorrow that you represent. You, youths have represented us well. We feel your anger when you are angry. I don’t blame you.
The promises of the past have failed to realise that you build a future from kindergarten to high school, to the university and all of that needs serious reforms. I disagree with the excuses that we cannot help it. We can help it. We must develop a can-do attitude. Youths must change the story; the story of potential to reality. Banditry, tribalism, and poverty has no tribal mark. We, as a nation, can feed ourselves by being creative, visionary and committed. We cannot continue the lamentation of the past.
Push, we must push. We must be ready. Youths are the reason why I’m contesting. I want to be president for the youths. Enough of excuses. Enough of bitterness. Enough of disunity. We are going to mix the energy of the youth and wisdom of the old to avoid a dangerous agitation so that Nigeria is handled carefully. We can promote unity and common destiny and common patrimony in a better and more creative way. What we’ve done in Lagos can be brought to bear in Nigeria.
Perseverance, great understanding is a common bond flowing in our veins as Fulani and Yoruba. Once you create peace, you create investment friendliness and you create a destination for investment
Austerity and inflation
Let’s pay attention to the issue of austerity and inflation.
It is only the state that must constrain itself on a balanced budget. It is only the local government that must restrict itself and balance the budget.
Sovereignty is that of Nigeria and it is only the federal government that has that sovereign power and must use it for the benefit and development, quality of life of Nigerians. That’s why it is sovereign.
APC and President Buhari’s reign
President Muhamamdu Buhari has already laid a solid foundation in security, economy, and anti-corruption. We will build upon this for the salvation of our people.
We formed this party to give the people of this land the progressive good governance they deserve so that they may live as well and as peacefully as any people on the face of this earth. This corrective journey began with the election of President Muhammadu Buhari. At this convention, we must take the next step toward the proper and necessary direction.
In 2015, the All Progressives Congress won the election to halt the drift in our nation’s governance, redirect our path, and make clear our national priorities. We dedicated this party to the guiding principle that government must be for the benefit of each and every Nigerian before it is for the benefit of any single one of us. No one is above legal rule or regulation. Within this context, the APC under President Muhammadu Buhari has governed with patriotic and disciplined commitment these past seven years.
The Buhari government has championed needed reforms, ranging from an innovative petroleum industry law to measures that are aimed at improving power and electricity generation for all Nigerians. The government has invested heavily in building modern airports and railway networks and roads. Every Naira is better managed than in prior administrations. The Buhari government has done more with much less than its PDP predecessors did. Despite economic difficulties wrought by the protracted global recession, the APC-led government has progressed in diversifying the economy, and improving food security through intense investment in the agricultural sector.
The successive PDP administrations did next to nothing with the plenty they had. What they did with our nation’s abundance is no secret. But what they did not do was even a greater embarrassment. They left abandoned infrastructure projects all across the nation. The APC completed them. They allowed ISWAP/ Boko Haram to erect strongholds. The Buhari government has been compelled to wage great war against these threats because of the decade of neglect by the PDP.
The PDP should have uprooted this evil when it was but a seed. The APC-led government is now left to contend with the dangerous tree it has become. Yet, as surely as I can state my name, the next APC government shall uproot this evil such that, never again, shall it try to take hold in this land.
Blunt counsel to Mr. President
Forecasters are predicting a global recession within the next 12-18 months (Pre Covid-19). I render these observations not to frighten anyone but because they ring true. Wisdom requires that we accept reality instead of obscuring it under the cloak of wishful thinking. We must build policies that interact with the world as it is, and not with the world as it should be.
We must recognize these harsh economic tidings as advance warnings to the wise. Hence we must think deeper and work harder for our people in Nigeria. I would be a most wicked friend (to Buhari) if I knew a storm was approaching yet convinced you to ready your family for an outdoor picnic under the tallest tree. The truth is always a more valuable guardian than fantasy.
Working for the people
Wages stagnate while prices are on a ceaseless march upward…. We must amend our basic ideas about the economy. We must divorce ourselves from our fixation with GDP rates and similar statistics. These things were initially intended to be indicators, suggestive measurements. However, we have misinterpreted these road maps by treating them as if they were the destination itself. This has caused us to distort the organic relationship between the people and the economy. This dominant train of thought has made the people servants to the dictates of abstract economic theories. In a more effective system, the economy would be fashioned to serve the concrete needs and legitimate aspirations of the people.
Our economy must be redefined to be an efficient yet moral social construct with the primary goal of optimizing the long-term welfare of the people through the sustained, productive and full employment of labour, land, capital and natural resources. To pull the nation from poverty, the government must play a decisive role. It must at times direct and even develop markets and opportunities. This is nothing novel. I am only restating what the established economies did when they were young and assumed their trajectories toward growth. We must do more than simply work for the people. Government must “work for the people in a way that enables them to better work for themselves.
Affordable and reliable power will drive the industrialization that shall provide jobs in our cities and produce needed goods for all our people. In a more poetic rendering, it will take our people out of the dark ages and bring the nation into the light of a better day.
I believe we will work to increase electricity generation, transmission and distribution by more than 50 percent. We require serious and bold reforms to achieve this. What is happening to our gas pipelines? Whatever we have to invest now for our future is a task that must be done boldly. Put experts together for a more constructive reform to improve generation, transmission and distribution by any means necessary. We cannot afford to be too legalistic about this.
We must commit ourselves to a national highway system linking our major cities and towns, our centres of commerce, with each other. This will save lives, spur commerce, cut costs and bring Nigerians closer together. Water catchment and retention systems in strategic locations should also be introduced to end the destructive cycles of flood and drought affecting many areas. In working to transform the face of our economy, the government must also enact policies that encourage industrialization and modern agricultural practices.
We must applaud President Buhari for the historic innovations made in the agricultural sector. We must further encourage him to do even more. Government-funded social security for the aged and government-backed affordable housing and mortgage facilities are things we must continue to explore in an aggressive manner. Our goal is nothing less than enabling people to enjoy lives free of penury and lack.
His experience to lead
I step forward because I can help lead our nation to become what it ought to be.
I do not say this as a boast. I claim not to be special nor great. My training, experiences, and acquired knowledge are what is special and uniquely suited for this moment. I am merely a conduit, a servant of a cause much larger than myself. Now is a time for progressive vision and singular purpose. There is a general agreement that 2023 will be an encounter with destiny when our nation shall need a certain type of leader to realise a better Nigeria. My experience in office and the knowledge gained through hard work, tough trials and patient undertaking have prepared me for this hour. I am a man of purpose with a serious mission. My vow is to use all that I know and all of my abilities to the benefit of the nation and its people. I do not step forward because I think this nomination is my due. I step forward because I can help lead our nation to become what it ought to be.
A daring-do mentality
Do we dare reform our national economy such that prosperity grows as poverty vanishes? Yes, we dare.
Do we dare provide meaningful education and jobs for our youths so that they may strive for a better future? Yes, we dare. Our teeming youth population is our nation’s greatest asset. We will create jobs for our youth from the Zamfara and Osun gold deposits to the vast agricultural lands across the country. We will create new opportunities in the FINTECH sector, the creative and entertainment industries, digital skills and other areas.
Do we dare feed our nation and provide the farmer a solid income for his toil? Yes, we dare.
Do we dare construct a society where the vulnerable, the weak, the disadvantaged and the elderly are attended to and loved? Yes, for we must care for those who cannot care for themselves.
Do we dare muster our collective strength to conquer terrorism, kidnapping, and violent evil of any form? Yes, we dare.
Security and competition between terrorists and governments for recruitment of youths
We are under-policed and we are competing with armed robbers and bandits to recruit the youths who are unemployed. 33% unemployed? Recruit 50 million youths into the army and take away from the recruitment source (of terrorists). What will they eat? Cassava, agbado, corn in the morning, yam in the afternoon and all these are grown here and you create demand and consumption for over 5 million army of boot camps. Don’t call these (criminals and terrorists) illiterate. Anyone who can own a gun, handle a gun, cork a gun, service it, clean the chamber and shoot, is technically competent to repair a tractor in the farm. We can create jobs here. (So, recruit our youths and get them engaged in farming)