Nigerians are still suffering, Tinubu tells President Buhari
• Canvasses lower interest rates
• Accuses Jonathan’s govt of corruption
• ‘We should move towards true federalism’
• Buhari pledges to ease economic hardship
The national leader of the All Progressives Congress (APC) and former Lagos State governor, Bola Tinubu, has challenged President Muhammadu Buhari to do more to improve the lot of citizens. Tinubu gave the advice yesterday while unveiling a book, Making Steady, Sustainable Progress for Nigeria’s Peace and Prosperity, at the old Banquet Hall of the Presidential Villa, Abuja.
The 360-page book is a mid-term scorecard on the Buhari administration put together by the Presidential Media Team. The APC chieftain who refrained from commenting on the 2019 elections, said although Buhari had used the last two years to lay foundation for a better Nigeria, many citizens were still in lack, due to the prevailing economic crunch.
“Many of our people are without basic needs. Too many parents cannot properly feed and clothe their precious children. Too many young adults exist in the void of joblessness, and too many of us do not have the resources to care for elderly parents who once cared for us. We must cure these wrongs,” he said.
Tinubu implored the Buhari administration to hasten and complete the good works it had started. “Do it the more. The good that you are yet to achieve, get to it with a laser-like focus,” he said.The former governor, who was special guest of honour at the occasion, noted that Nigeria could not make appreciable progress without robust industrial capacity.
“Our national industrial revolution plan must be more than mere words. It must be refined. Just as the private sector may partner with government on public endeavours, government must guide and support the private sector into new areas of industry and production.
“Government must invest in research and new products the private sector may find risky and uncertain at the initial stage. Government policy must push and incentivise the private sector into production of goods that will be demanded in the immediate future and for some time to come.
“Whether we focus on steel, textiles, cars, machinery components, processed agricultural goods, other items, or any combination of the above, we must manufacture things the rest of the world wants to buy and not necessarily the things we think are the easiest to do,” Tinubu said.
According to him, as a corollary to the push for industrial maturity, Nigeria needs a national infrastructural plan that accords with both the industrial plan and with extant agricultural activity. The fulcrum of the plan must be continued progress in the achievement of adequate and affordable electric power, especially solar and wind.
“We must help the common farmer by improving rural output and income. We must return to commodity exchange boards or similar mechanism to allow farmers to secure their income and prevent loss. An active and expanded agricultural loan scheme is needed to further promote these goals.
“More needs to be done to make business and consumer credit available by lowering interest rates. We also must move toward true federalism by the balance of power and responsibility between the Federal Government and the states. In so doing, we attain the correct balance between our collective purpose on one hand and our separate grassroots realities on the other,” he said.
Tinubu further accused the administration of former President Goodluck Jonathan of corruption, saying so much money grew feet and ran away from the country, faster than Usain Bolt ever could.
“The prior government used the public treasury as a private hedge fund or a charity that limited giving only to themselves. One minister and her rogue gallery picked the pocket of this nation for billions of dollars. While poor at governance, these people could give a master thief lessons in sleight of hand. In governance, they earned a red card. But in corruption, they won the gold medal. It was not that our institutions had become infected by corruption; corruption had become institutionalised,” he said
President Buhari seized the occasion to reiterate his resolve to prosecute anyone who dips his hand in the public coffers. He assured that his government was making efforts to ease the prevailing economic hardship by creating more jobs and social security platforms for vulnerable families.
He also promised to tame the menace of herdsmen/farmers’ clashes, kidnapping and armed robberies within the confines of limited resources, and secure the release of the remaining Chibok schoolgirls.Vice president Yemi Osinbajo said the government had begun investment in various sectors of the economy in the past two years, to provide succour to citizens.
Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed, who reeled out the administration’s achievements since May 2015, rated the Buhari-led government high, particularly in the area of power, which he claimed had risen to an all-time 7,001mw by September 12, 2017 from 5,000mw in 2015.
He disclosed that despite the downturn in oil prices, the current administration had been able to invest over N1.2 trillion in capital projects through the 2016 budget.