Presidential candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Bola Tinubu, and his running mate, Kashim Shettima, are currently meeting with leaders from the northern part of the country under the umbrella of the Arewa Joint Committee for an interactive session.
The meeting is part of a wider interaction with selected presidential candidates to discuss their plans for the region, ahead of the 2023 general elections.
Tinubu’s meeting with Arewa is coming two days after his rival in the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Atiku Abubakar engaged in a similar interaction with the northern leaders.
The interactive session which is holding at the Arewa House in Kaduna is organised by a coalition of six groups from the North including the Arewa Consultative Forum, Sir Ahmadu Bello Memorial Foundation, Northern Elders Forum, Jamar Matan Arewa among others.
The event is part of the decision of the APC presidential candidate to engage all segments of Nigerian society with his campaign message of hope, national unity and prosperity.
Speaking on his plans for Nigeria as president, the Jagaban Borgu promised to consolidate on the investments of the President Muhammadu Buhari 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.
The former Lagos State Governor noted that the whole country is endowed with resources that can be harnessed for greater economic development. He said he would focus on tackling underinvestment and effective management.
“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.
“The APC Federal Government has taken several measures to build infrastructure and improve the ease of doing business across the country. This has been complemented by the efforts of some of our states to attract investments in diverse sectors of the economy.
“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.”
On 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.
Tinubu also promised to focus on using his experience of building human capital, which made Lagos one of the largest economies in Africa to grow the nation’s economy to an enviable height.
“Using my experience of building human capital, industries, and institutions, which has led to Lagos being one of the largest economies on the continent, I will reposition our existing industries and make them a competitive source of industrialization and growth not just for the North but the entire country. It is time to fetch water from a dry well and I, Bola Ahmed Tinubu, have done it before and I will do it. We will find a way where there are no roads!
“I will ensure that we take advantage of our resources to convert cotton to textile, plants to pharmaceutical products, groundnut to edible oil, cassava to ethanol and starch, etc., thereby building competitive advantage for our farmers through value addition.
“I will attract investments and create the enabling environment that will ensure the resurgence of our moribund industries and continue the infrastructural revolution of this administration on the railways and highways all over the country and invest in our inland waterways for safer and efficient transportation to complement this industrialization vision,” he said.
Tinubu further 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.
He said, “Agriculture is of special interest to me. It is both an economic and existential issue for every country.
“Experience in the last seven years has shown the potentials of agriculture in solving the problem of unemployment and boosting our GDP. For example, recent investment in the rice value chain has led to the springing up of rice mills across the country with attendant wealth creation and a reduction in our import bill.
“The North has greater advantage in this regard due to its large and abundant arable land. My vision is for the region to be the hub of agribusiness in sub-Saharan Africa.
“We will improve investment in our livestock value chain. Specifically, subsectors like the dairy industry that has the potential of adding billions of dollars into our economy will receive significant attention.
“In collaboration with the private sector and governments at sub-national levels, we will make available high yield seeds and inputs, invest heavily in post-harvest storage and processing facilities so that we can significantly increase the value of what we produce. To ensure optimizing the full value of their produce, we will utilize Commodity Exchanges to guarantee return on investments, and enhanced wealth for the farmers.
“We will make available funds for research and development to provide the right inputs that will ensure greater yields, and tackle climatic challenges bedevilling farmers such as flooding and desertification through enhancement of national drainage architecture and investment in shelter belts.
“Financing is critical to our vision for the agricultural sector. I assure you; I will attract the much-needed investment and re-engineer financing institutions to provide impactful interventions for maximal output.”
Tinubu is accompanied by the Director-General of APC Presidential Campaign Council and Plateau State Governor, Simon Lalong as well as the Deputy Governor of Kogi State, Edward Onoja.
Kaduna State Governor, Nasir-El-Rufai and his colleagues from Nasarawa, Abdullahi Sule, Atiku Bagudu (Kebbi), Abubakar Badaru (Jigawa), Mai Mala Buni (Yobe), Babajide Sanwo-Olu (Lagos) and Bello Matawalle (Zamfara) were also in attendance.
Other dignitaries present are the former Governor of Zamfara State, the Speaker of Kaduna State House of Assembly, the National Chairman of Arewa Consultative Forum, Chief Audu Ogbeh, the Chairman of Northern Elders Forum, Professor Ango Abdullahi and a host of other northern leaders.