By Clifford Ndujihe
Mr. Oluwaseun Faleye, Lagos based commercial lawyer, public policy analyst and a chieftain of the All Progressives Congress, APC, in this chat speaks on the 2023 presidential poll and the chances of the APC Presidential Candidate, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, and his plans for all sector among others.
On how the renewed hope message and Tinubu’s campaigns across the country are going
We are buoyed by the message of hope that Asiwaju Tinubu is delivering to people at these campaigns and very happy at the reception that he is getting across the country from Kano to Lagos, Benin, Jos, Enugu, Minna and all the parts of the country that he has been to. The reception of our renewed hope at every place he has been must have made the difficult task of organizing the campaigns and rallies much more bearable and fulfilling for everyone involved.
On qualities that stand Tinubu out among the 18 presidential candidates:
There are so many qualities that he has that set him apart from other candidates vying for the same post.
First is his deep knowledge of the issues that we face as a country and his unyielding commitment to deal with them. I am not sure any of the other candidates have that level of commitment to resolving our security and economic issues.
Second is his compassion. Asiwaju Bola Tinubu is a very compassionate leader and the Nigeria of today needs nothing more than a strong, committed and compassionate leader to lead her in a fair and equitable manner.
Very key is his great determination and can-do spirit that he has exemplified all through his life in private and public service.
Indeed, his experience in establishing much needed public institutions that have now been replicated all over the states in Nigeria, delivering life-changing public infrastructure in Lagos under a financially challenged circumstances given that Lagos State funds were withheld by ex-President Obasanjo at that time as well as his ability to marshal intelligent men and women of expertise to action as a formidable team to tackle our developmental challenges certainly set him apart from other contestants.
On why he and his friends recently held a Business Lunch with Tinubu in Lagos
It was an intellectual engagement between the business community and political stakeholders in Nigeria, setting the stage for what should be a sustainable collaboration between the public and the private sectors for collective benefit in the form of accelerated growth of the Nigerian economy.
Represented at the event were dynamic individuals playing leading roles in key economic sectors such as the healthcare, insurance, legal, mining and solid minerals, construction and housing, entertainment, technology, finance, education, oil and gas, power and energy, infrastructural development, sports, and creative industry among others.
It was in recognition of their rich background in economic activities in different sectors that we invited them to give their practical insights to the candidate on policies that will move their respective sectors forward and unleash the economic potentials of Nigeria. For the participants and invited guests, it was to provide useful insights, inputs and feedback gained from their practical experiences to better enrich the APC Action Plans under Asiwaju’s leadership.
And for the candidate it was a listening session, to receive well-intentioned and well-informed feedback from those operating the engine room of our economy such that policy formulation and regulations become all-inclusive and undertaken with extensive collaboration of key stakeholders.
In response to some of the participants’ comments, Asiwaju made a lot of bold policy statements such as his commitment to remove oil subsidy and use the funds saved from the removal on social programmes and providing infrastructure; his commitment to increasing our gas utilization and monetization by targeting the African and European markets with his plan to continue building the necessary evacuation infrastructure to these markets; as well as his commitment to increase our power generation, transmission and distribution capacity including his commitments to public private partnership to delivering public infrastructure.
On how Tinubu will solve the protracted challenge of power in Nigeria
Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu has indicated that he will make sure that Nigerians have the energy requirement to excel in their different endeavors and that is a bold policy statement. And he intends to do this by continuing with the huge investment that has gone into improving our transmission lines to make sure that all of the power that is currently being generated is getting to our homes.
If you are observant, you will see the various transmission components that are required as part of the deal struck with Germany and Siemens to improve our transmission and distribution capacities being transported to various locations across the country. I have seen a couple of them on our roads and we will begin to see the benefit in more power to our homes very soon.
Another great initiative of the APC and Asiwaju’s Action Plan is also to deepen reforms and bring forth a policy framework to grow the renewable energy sector, looking at alternative sources such as solar panels to bring power to millions of Nigerians who are outside the national grid. Of course, also worthy of mention are his plans to reinvigorate the rural electrification programmes of this present administration and he has given his commitment to mobilize both public and private capital for the delivery of electricity to our rural communities.
Asiwaju is promising to restructure our economy, grow the GDP by 10 per cent by 2027, and cut the unemployment rate by half within four years. Where is this growth going to come from? How does he intend to achieve these promises?
Asiwaju’s economic plan is to restructure our national economic model by leading us towards a production and export-led growth rather than being an import dependent nation. This economic model restructuring is hinged on enhancing our national productivity by increasing our agro-allied activities, encouraging and increasing local manufacturing and industrial revolution as a substitution for the things we import, particularly the everyday items that we use as a people.
Asiwaju also intends to intensify Nigeria’s national infrastructural campaign to reconstruct and expand the numbers of our highways, railways, airways, supply portable water and renovate our old dams and new ones that will provide irrigation for agriculture and power generation.
We see a nexus between our national economic growth and increased agro-allied productivity, the enablement of agro-allied value adding local manufacturing as well as our national infrastructural campaign focusing not only on major highways but also prioritized rural roads that will serve as conduit of agricultural produce from farm to market and food processing factories.
The combined efforts of increasing our agro-allied productivity, enabling and increasing local manufacturing and undertaking a national infrastructural campaign will be a panacea for his job creation endeavours such that our unemployed population including the very youthful ones will begin to see and take opportunities in agro-allied businesses.
The mandate to increase our arable land for cultivation from the present 35% to 65% will come with increased productivity in the sector and that will also be a catalyst for job creation.
The local manufacturing entities will be employers of labour and the national infrastructural campaign will be done on the back of the labour of our youthful population so you can begin to see where the jobs will come from when he said he will halve the youth unemployment numbers in four years.
These objectives are achievable with the right strategies that Asiwaju has put before Nigerians. Certainly, all of these activities will ultimately translate into growth in real GDP terms and that is also why we believe that Nigeria will see growth under the administration of Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu.
On how Tinubu will tackle insecurity
He has stated it clearly that the safety, freedom and prosperity of all Nigerians shall be his highest priorities at all times. His commitment in that regard is not hollow.
His commitment is borne out of his past experience. We know he sanitized the security situation in Lagos during his tenure as Governor using creative policies and interventions to tame violent crimes.
He has promised very radical changes to our security architecture. First is the plan to bolster our security forces that will take cognizance of the number of our security and law enforcement personnel vis-a-vis our population. We believe that the number of our military personnel is low compared to our national population. It is grossly below the globally accepted standard and increasing the number of our personnel as well as enhancing their welfare and salaries will not only bridge that gap but also bring about more jobs.
Asiwaju has promised to set up and train specialist units to be known as Anti-Terrorist Battalions to combat terrorism, kidnapping, banditry and other violent crimes. This specialized unit will be highly trained and incentivized to undertake this important work. He will also continue the heavy investment to upgrade our tactical communication and logistic support as well as upgrade our weaponry systems which are keys to give the sort of aerial and technological advantage needed to suppress insurgents and bandits.
For businesses, Asiwaju’s plan to set up a critical national infrastructure protection plan is most important because it seeks to protect infrastructure that are critical to businesses realizing their potential. The critical infrastructure protection plan will provide measures using technology that will eliminate attacks on national critical infrastructure like pipelines, power stations, transmission and distribution networks, rail transportation, sea and airport and other telecommunication assets that are critical to our day-to-day business activities.
On performance of APC governments in the states and how it will affect the party’s chances at the elections
Without a doubt there have been challenges in governance given the global economic outlook generally but from the perspective of the governors, at least the one that I have been privy to observe in Lagos I would say they have done considerably well. We also hear commendable news about the performances of other APC Governors in Borno, Kaduna and other APC states in the delivery of public infrastructure and services.
In Lagos for instance, we have seen unprecedented investment in social infrastructure such as healthcare with increased investment in maternal and child healthcare infrastructure, in the area of education with visible investments in school infrastructure and teachers’ training and welfare.
We also see the full commitment being devoted to enhancing mass transportation in Lagos through massive investment in the rail network to ease the movement of people and goods across the metropolis. The State just announced the award of a concession to build the 4th Mainland Bridge.
The Lagos example of dedicated leadership overtime starting from the time of Bola Tinubu leading to the present Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu is a great example of how men and women committed to a common developmental agenda can bring about incremental development to a society and it is important that we transmit that mindset to the Federal level under Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu.
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