On Monday, December 5, the presidential candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, spoke on his plans for Nigeria at Chatham House in London.
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The former Lagos governor spoke on various issues, including security, economy and foreign policy, ahead of the 2023 general election.
His address was titled "Nigeria's 2023 elections: Security, economic and foreign policy imperatives".
Here is a major takeaway from Tinubu's speech. The points were extracted from a statement sent to Legit.ng by the APC flagbearer's media team led by Bayo Onanuga.
1. Nigeria as big brother in Africa
Tinubu said Nigeria plays the role of a big brother in Africa, adding that the country has continued to be a beacon of hope to the continent and the ECOWAS sub-region through entrenched democratic ideals, having run an unbroken democracy for over two decades.
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He said if elected as Nigeria’s president in 2023, he will continue to provide quality leadership to the sub-region to ensure democratic ideals are formed in nations of the ECOWAS region.
2. Plans to improve elections
The APC presidential candidate also vowed that under his watch, Nigeria would epitomise values of democracy during elections anywhere in Africa by ensuring that democratic ideals are followed, and all forms of electoral violence rejected, allowing only the people's will to prevail.
“Every election, wherever it is held, is important to the people or entity directly concerned. It is also important to the global democracy community as well. Equally, there are also countries whose elections, on account of their weight and influence, carry wider implications way beyond their immediate geographical boundaries. Nigeria is one of such countries.
“I stand firmly against all forms of electoral violence and intimidation. Having spent most of my career in the political opposition, I have long fought against electoral malpractice and any attempts to extinguish the legitimate choice of voters. I will continue to do so.
"And I urge all my fellow contestants in this election to do the same. Let the sovereign will of the people decide the path of our nation. And let this election be determined by voters making their choice freely rather than the domineering intimidation of the troublesome few," he said.
“Nigeria shares direct land borders with four sister African countries with whose peoples Nigerians also share historical and cultural affinities," Tinubu said.
He added: "This effectively means that the relationship between Nigeria and its immediate neighbours is much more than just a geographical expression.
3. On security
Tinubu also noted that Nigeria has to cooperate with neighbouring countries to ensure adequate security.
“I am convinced, as I am sure most of us are, that the broad principles that enabled successive Nigerian governments to interface development and security, and establish an organic link between national security and economic development with regional peace and prosperity is both impeccable and remains relevant. It is an approach which I commit myself to upholding and advancing," he said.
Tinubu further promised to tackle the security situation Nigeria is facing heads on, so that the country can also effectively provide security support for its neighbouring nations.
“The challenges which have manifested themselves with regard to our national and regional development and security trajectories are very well-known to all of us here: radical extremist violence, terrorism, banditry, kidnapping, human trafficking, trafficking in weapons, trafficking in d*rugs, climate change and resource driven conflicts etc."
4. On Energy generation and distribution
The former Lagos state governor also reiterated that effective energy generation and distribution would help build the nation's economy.
He promised to improve the framework already in place to boost the generation and distribution of energy across the country.
5. Plans for Agriculture
If elected, Tinubu said his administration would place emphasis on the use of technology to improve the agricultural sector for better production and contribution to the nation’s economy.
“The present administration has invested heavily in agriculture, providing loans and expanding the country’s total acreage of cultivated land. We will build on this, but our focus will be on using technology and expertise to accelerate growth and development by providing the critical infrastructure necessary to achieve the commodity transformations in the agriculture value chain.
“Roads, rail, access to ports, and storage infrastructure are what we require to radically transform the agriculture sector and increase its value to the nation. Providing these will be the areas of our focus so that the full potential of our agro economy can be achieved, and we can reap the benefits in jobs, improved economic opportunities and increased prosperity," he said.
Tinubu also said the current situation where the federal government fixes petrol price is a broken model.
“The Federal government as regulator and operator, and price fixer is a broken model and one that we fully intend to fix if elected.
“We have privatised power distribution in Nigeria and generation to a certain degree. What we need to do, going forward, is to improve the enabling environment and further reform the legal and regulatory framework to attract more private investments in the sector as we have experienced in the telecom industry," the APC flagbearer said.
6. Plans to engage the private sector to develop the economy
He promised to engage the private sector to better drive economic development across the country.
“My belief that the private sector is the fulcrum of economic progress is evident and documented. However, fundamental flaws with the basic design of our national economy imperil the private sector from playing the role it ought to and adding the value it is capable of. In this instance, the government must act as a catalyst.
"We shall do this on all fronts. We will address the conflict between monetary and fiscal policies. Budgeting will be based on the projected spending levels needed to push real annual growth rate above 7 per cent while reducing the unemployment rate so that we can double the economy in ten years," the APC presidential candidate said.
7. Age, identity and certificate
Tinubu also responded to a question on his age and identity.
He said his birthday remains March 29, 1952 and his age and other records are with Chicago State University he attended and Mobil Oil that he worked with and left as Treasurer.
8. Youth development
Taking another question on youth development, he said the youths are part of today and the future of the country who the nation needs to invest in for tomorrow.
He also singled out Lagos Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu as a youth who he said is running the state that is the 5th largest economy in Africa and who is actualising the legacies he left behind as governor.
9. Tinubu invites El-Rufai, others to respond to questions
Legit.ng gathers that Tinu also invited Governors Nasir el-Rufai and Ben Ayade, former Lagos Information Commissioner Dele Alake and APC National Woman Leader Dr Beta Edu to respond to questions that fell within their areas of core competence.
His media aide said the APC flagbearer made the move to demonstrate his team spirit, though some Nigerians are criticising him for not answering the questions by himself.
List of APC chieftains who accompanied Tinubu to Chatham House, UK
- House of Representatives Speaker Femi Gbajabiamila
- Governor El-Rufai (Kaduna)
- Governor Abdullahi Umar Ganduje (Kano)
- Governor Dapo Abiodun (Ogun)
- Governor Sanwo-Olu (Lagos)
- Governor Abubakar Sani Bello (Niger)
- Governor Ben Ayade (Cross River)
- Governor Abubakar Badaru, (Jigawa)
- Governor David Umahi (Ebonyi)
- Former governor of Ekiti, Dr Kayode Fayemi
- Former Governor of Edo state, Comrade Adams Oshiomhole.
- APC Woman Leader Bet Edu
- Deputy APC Woman Leader, Hajiya Zainab Ibrahim
- Former deputy governor of Lagos, Chief Femi Pedro
- Former Lagos Commissioner for Information, Dele Alake
- Former Lagos Commissioner for Finance, Olawale Edun
- Senator Tokunbo Abiru
- Senator Fatai Buhari
- Senator Adeola Olamilekan.
- Senator Musiliu Obanikoro
- Senator Tokunbo Afikuyomi
- Former deputy governor of Ogun State, Chief Segun Adesegun
- Hadiza Bala-Usman
- Popular Lagos chieftain, Alhaji Mutiu Are.
Chatham House: Tinubu dodges security question, asks Governor El-Rufai to respond
Earlier, Legit.ng reported that Tinubu asked Governor El-Rufai of Kaduna state to answer the question asked him on security issues.
The questioner had noted that though Tinubu had talked about the country's insecurity, he had not talked about how to reduce insecurity in the country.
But the presidential hopeful directed the question to the governor of Kaduna state who said the APC blueprint for solving the security challenges in the country involved three major steps.