In 2015 when President Muhammadu Buhari defeated former President Goodluck Jonathan of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) to become the President-elect, the mood of the country automatically changed with a popular slogan: “A new Sheriff in Town.”
Operators of most government institutions, especially the ones that fall under the purview of the Federal Government began to sit up and straighten things pending when the incumbent would be sworn in on May 29, 2015.
Buhari showed a gesture of someone who was battle-ready to fight corruption to a standstill. Expectations were high for him to deliver the dividends of democracy to Nigerians.
But barely a year into his first term in office, hopes began to dim.
Seven years on, Nigerians have not had many reasons to celebrate as corruption has remained entrenched, the economy failed to improve and insecurity is threatening the unity of the country.
The emergence of the former Governor of Lagos State, Bola Ahmed Tinubu as the flag-bearer of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) for the 2023 general elections seems to have reawakened the hopes of many Nigerians that good times may be imminent.
The euphoria that trailed President Buhari’s victory as president-elect is exactly what is currently trailing Tinubu’s victory since last Wednesday when the ruling APC drew curtains on its presidential primary.
Indeed, the party’s National Leader has wasted no time starting mending fences and rebuilding trust among the ethnic nationalities. This achievement would probably not be difficult for him having succeeded as governor of Lagos (1999-2007) to work with not only Yoruba but citizens across ethnic divides in his cabinet or parastatals under him.
For instance, since his emergence as the APC candidate, he has met with the northern governors, and other contestants including Governor Yahaya Bello of Kogi State and the Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, who ordinarily some naysayers branded him as a traitor for daring to contest the party’s presidential ticket with Tinubu, having been his (Osinbajo) former boss.
Beyond the hope of rekindled unity, the former governor of Lagos has reeled out his economic blueprint to Nigerians on how he intends to improve their living conditions if eventually elected president next year.
In the agenda, he noted that the Nigerian police sector needed to be reformed to address escalating insecurity in the country. His desire is that the current policing structure must be decentralised just as he also intends to create jobs for teeming unemployed youths.
The agenda also proposed a 25 per cent annual budget for education, 10 per cent annual budget for health, the introduction of commodity exchange, total deregulation of the oil market and building of national storage to sustain supply, stimulation of production and manufacturing for export and target of 15,000MW generation and distribution of electricity.
In the manifesto, Tinubu expressed optimism to lead Nigeria to a new era of economic prosperity, peace, security and political stability.
A statement signed by Mr. Bayo Onanuga, the director of media and communication, noted that “Tinubu, the Governor of Lagos State between 1999-2007, presented his vision within five thematic areas.”
He promised to transform Nigeria into an enviable country and one where there will be justice, peace and prosperity for all, with a “robust economy”.
Titled ‘My Vision for Nigeria’, Tinubu promised: “a nation transformed into greatness, the pride of Africa, a role model for all black people worldwide, and respected among all other countries.
“A vibrant and thriving democracy and a prosperous nation with a fast-growing industrial base, capable of producing the most basic needs of the people and exporting to other countries of the world. A country with a robust economy, where prosperity is broadly shared by all irrespective of class, region, and religion.
“A nation where its people enjoy all the basic needs, including a safe and secure environment, abundant food, affordable shelter, health care, and quality primary education for all. A nation founded on justice, peace, and prosperity for all.”
On economy, Tinubu promised to build an economy that would make the nation’s Gross Development Product grow quicker annually for the next four years while also providing jobs for millions of youths in the country.
He also promised to launch a new National Industrial Policy focused on special intervention to reinvigorate specific strategic industries, saying, “I will focus on stimulating jobs, which will be my top priority as President. I will get Nigeria to work by launching a major public works program, a significant and heavy investment in infrastructure, and value-adding manufacturing and agriculture.
“My administration will build an efficient, fast-growing, and well-diversified emerging economy with a real GDP growth averaging 12 per cent annually for the next four years, translating into millions of new jobs during this period.”
Tinubu also promised to create six new Regional Economic Development Agencies, which will establish sub-regional industrial hubs to exploit each zone’s competitive advantage and optimise their potential for industrial growth.
He also promised to formulate a new National Policy on Agriculture to boost food production and to promote the establishment of new commodity exchange boards, while also strengthening the one in Lagos in order to guarantee minimum pricing for agricultural products such as cotton, cocoa, rice, soya beans, corn, palm kernel, and groundnuts.
On infrastructure, Tinubu promised to “Build A New Nigeria (BANN)” by developing a National Infrastructure Plan, which will cover strategic roads, bridges, rail, water, power, seaports, and airports spanning the length and breadth of the country.
He said his administration will combine government funding, borrowing, public-private partnership, private sector financing and concession to initiate a medium and long-term financial model for the BANN initiative.
He assured Nigerians he would target an electricity distribution goal of 15,000 megawatts across the country and ensure a sustainable 24/7 supply. “On Electricity, I will embark on a renewed action-oriented focus and take immediate and urgent action on resolving existing challenges of power generation plants, gas purchasing, pricing, transmission, and distribution. My administration’s critical goal is to have 15,000 megawatts distributable to all categories of consumers nationwide to ensure 24/7 sustainable supply within the next four years.”
On the oil and gas sector, Tinubu said there will be no need for subsidies because the market will be open and transparent.
“Supply will come from local refineries, and the forces of demand and supply will determine the price of petroleum products.”
He also assured Nigerians his administration will establish a National Strategic Reserve for Petroleum Products to stabilise supply during unexpected shortages or surplus periods. This will eliminate any form of product shortages and prevent wild swings in prices.
Tinubu also spoke on education, promising to increase the budgetary allocation to 25 per cent.
He promised to continue the free school feeding programme of the APC, feeding “millions of primary school children across the country”.
Worried by the epileptic state of the education system in the country, Tinubu said his administration will eradicate strikes by tertiary institution workers by encouraging the tertiary institutions to source funds through grants and corporate sponsorships, with all the institutions granted financial autonomy.
Just like education, Tinubu also promised to increase the funding for health care in the annual budget to 10 per cent. According to him, the National Health Insurance Scheme will be relaunched to grant health insurance cover to most Nigerians.
Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu PHOTO: TWITTER/ BOLA AHMED TINUBU
Nigeriaís ruling party (All Progressive Congress) presidential flagbearer, Bola Tinubu (middle) is flanked by Nigeriaís President Muhammadu Buhari (C) and APC Chairman Abdullahi Adamu (right) after the party announces Tinubu as the winner of its presidential primary during APC special convention to elect the party’s presidential flag bearer for 2023 election at the Eagle Square in Abuja, Nigeria on June 8, 2022. – Former Lagos governor Bola Tinubu is announced the winner of Nigeria’s ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) primary as its candidate for the 2023 presidential election to succeed President Muhammadu Buhari. (Photo by Kola Sulaimon / AFP)
Significance Of Tinubu’s Visit To Governor Bello
THOSE who know the story of Tinubu, Bello, James Faleke and the role played by the “Abuja Cabal” in 2015 when the incumbent governor of Kogi State emerged as governor in the wake of Prince Abubakar Audu’s death moment away from being declared governor would commend the national leader’s magnanimity.
It is also good to say that Bello himself has proven to be a worthy ambassador and the unsung hero of the just concluded APC national convention.
The Kogi State governor, who has become a toast of Tinubu ran a well-coordinated campaign to get the APC ticket based on three critical issues around the youths, women and people living with a disability. It is gratifying that Governor Bello has placed his campaign structure at the disposal of the party’s flag-bearer to strengthen the APC presidential campaign for the 2023 general elections.
The immediate past Kogi State Commissioner for Information and Communications, Kingsley Fanwo said the visit was a great move to build an unbeatable momentum ahead of the 2023 Presidential poll.
Fanwo hailed Asiwaju Tinubu for his efforts at rallying all the “progressive forces” together in order to build a “formidable force” that will ensure APC retains power beyond 2023.
“Our Presidential flag-bearer has shown he is the master of the game by visiting all the key leaders of the party, especially the presidential aspirants to make them see reasons they need to work together to deliver victory for the party. The move will instil confidence in all the stakeholders and party members to rally behind him ahead of the poll.”
A former local council chairman in Lagos State and human rights activist, Adewale Ayodele, said, “The emergence of Tinubu as APC presidential candidate is already motivating Nigerians to register and collect their PVCs. Tinubu’s candidacy seems to have rekindled hope among Nigerian voters that the situation of the country would change for the better if eventually elected.”
But some leaders of Southwest socio-political organisations, Yoruba Council of Elders (YCE) and Afenifere Renewal Group (ARG), yesterday said Tinubu must carry a large heart to embrace all those who contested and lost in the primary to him. Interestingly, that is exactly what Tinubu has embarked upon since last Wednesday.
In another reaction to Tinubu’s victory, erstwhile leader of Igbo Think Tank group, Aka Ikenga, Goody Uwazurike, said the 2023 contest is going to be a battle of personality between the candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, who has been on the political trench for over 30 years and Tinubu, whose life ambition is to rule Nigeria.
Uwazurike, however, said Mr. Peter Obi, who represents the Southeast geopolitical zone on the platform of Labour Party (LP) for the 2023 presidential election could pull a surprise.
Speaking, yesterday, in separate telephone conversations with The Guardian, General Secretary of YCE, Dr Kunle Olajide said Tinubu’s victory at the primary was exciting and shows the maturity displayed by the leadership of APC that insisted power must shift to the south.
National Chairman of ARG, Mr Wale Oshun said it was not right to assume that because Atiku emerged on the PDP platform and Tinubu on APC was a marginalisation of the Igbo.
According to him, “Obi, who emerged on the platform of LP is also a good representation and the party also has what it takes to win the election.”