The National Leader of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Senator Bola Tinubu, has hailed the President Muhammadu Buhari-led administration for championing a redirection in the affairs of the country.
Tinubu who spoke on Tuesday at the eighth colloquium to mark his 64th birthday declared opened by Buhari in Abuja, said Nigeria had no other option than to redirect her priorities and get the economy right.
“We must take the hard decision now. I salute the president, the vice-president and the entire cabinet, that Nigeria is being redirected, there is no other option for us, but to revalidate our faith in our country, and take the hard decision now. Our renaissance must come within. We have the might; we have the capacity; we have the intellect and we have the ability,” he said.
Tinubu accused that former ruling party, Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), of being deceptive in its presentation of facts on the state of economy.
“It could not have been a better subject at this time that we have economic downturn in this country. To take this topic, we have had series of discussions, series of promises before Nigerians in the last 50 years and particularly in the last 15 years.
“I remember the article I wrote after the launching of the book, ‘Financialism,’ Fetching the Water from a Dry Well, it was about this commodity exchange. The deceptive government of that time announced it immediately that same week that commodity exchange has been established. It took an Ethiopian to discover their lies. But thank God we are taking it more seriously, our future is being redirected.
“I appreciate the governors of the APC, ‘The Cure,’ for your efforts in redirecting our economy and bringing life back to Nigeria which is most critical and more important to me, and it is another birthday present to say we are going to feed ourselves. It is a good commitment and this nation will not go hungry.
“There could not have been a better topic than this when we are experiencing economic downturn in the country, to take to agriculture as a substitute.
“This has set us on critical path to our salvation and recovery. I want to thank him most sincerely for finding time to preside over a birthday that would have been ordinary. Just a year ago when the parties were merged and formed into APC, the only birthday wish I requested and prayed for was that we will achieve victory in that poll and that wish was granted and I want to thank all Nigerians for that.
Conspicuously absent at the colloquium which had almost all the big wigs in the APC were the Senate President, Senator Bukola Saraki and Speaker House of Representatives, Yakubu Dogara.
One of the media aides to Saraki who tried to make excuses for his boss, said the senate president was out of the country.
However, the colloquium attracted top APC leaders, governors, traditional rulers and other government officials.
Speaking with journalists at the event, the Lagos State Governor, Akinwumi Ambode, said the present state of the economy requires a lot of innovation in the direction of backward integration to promote the country’s areas of comparative advantage.
“We have to be fair and truthful to ourselves, we have to reintegrate backwards and get the economy back.
“We should not start lamenting that the economy is going bad, that the dollar is getting high, the real solution lies in our hands, and the platform for it lies in agriculture, that is the message that was being sent here.
s just a pointer to tell you the direction in which this APC-led government of Buhari is going,” Ambode Stated.
Commenting on the collaborative arrangement between Lagos and Kebbi States governments, the governor said there was need to build synergies among the states to harness the great potentials that would lift the economy.
“We will bring our comparative advantages to the table and move the economy forward. There is the need to bring up such ideas so as to move the country’s economy forward, that is all we have said here,” he said.
Also speaking at the colloquium, the Ooni of Ife, Oba Adeyeye Onguwusi, urged Nigerian leaders to partonise made-in-Nigeria goods so as to encourage small scale production and grow the economy.
Meanwhile, President Buhari has said his government is taking appropriate steps to cushion the effects of the current harsh economy in the country.
President Muhammadu Buhari has said his government is taking appropriate steps to cushion the effects of the current harsh economy in the country.
The president also promised that there were better days ahead.
Eulogising Tinubu, Buhari said the former governor of Lagos State had shown commitment and zeal to Nigeria’s growth.
He stated that the government would continue to invest in human capital development.
“There are very few patriots alive today that can match the commitment, zealous, creativity that Tinubu has demonstrated in his contribution to national growth. In the coming months, Nigerians will see much more actions. Government will continue to invest substantially in human capital development and this is just the beginning.
“We are going to hold ourselves accountable. We will measure results. There will always be some skepticism, some have even become disorientated and impatient enough to think that barriers are insurmountable. Anyone who claims great change is impossible can only look as an ordinary success,” he said.
Apparently gauging the enormity of work to be done to better the lots of Nigerians, Buhari urged all hands to be on deck.
“We can achieve more with partnership that link up and scale up our respective efforts. I am declaring that we need a new approach that challenges more states and local governments, more organisations, companies and non-governmental organisations and individuals, some of the younger people who are here to step up and play a role because government cannot and should not do it alone. All hands should be on deck,” he said.
The president, who commended the organisers of the colloquium for the choice of the theme of the event on agriculture, stated that the intention of the government was to create enabling environment that would bring viability on the economic potentials of the private sector.
The president said: “We intend to organise an efficient market infrastructure that will make agriculture viable for investors. We are providing an enabling environment so as to ensure certainty and predictability for the private sector.
“We intend to also ensure that the market is fair and worth to transform small holder farmers from beggars to businessmen. Furthermore, we are going to keep focusing on improved nutrition for children. We know the effects of hunger and poor nutrition can last a life time. Children are thrown out of school to earn a living.”