A national leader of the governing All Progressives Congress, APC, and a former Governor of Lagos state, Bola Tinubu, on Thursday advised President Muhammadu Buhari to use the remaining part of his tenure to build a better country and help “suffering” Nigerians.
Mr. Tinubu took advantage of his position as a keynote speaker at the presentation of a book “Making steady, Sustainable Progress for Nigeria’s Peace and Prosperity: A Mid-term Scorecard on the Muhammadu Buhari Administration”, which held at the State House conference centre, Abuja, to tell Mr. Buhari that although he has done well in his first two years, he still has a lot more to do.
Mr. Tinubu said Nigeria relies on crude oil which is expendable.
Mr. Tinubu advised the government to train its policies to ensure that when oil is finally no more, the country will not suffer.
The APC leader warned that his decision to offer the advice publicly should not be mistaken as evidence of “space” that exists between him and the president.
He said such representation will be “ false” and the news about it “will be fake”.
“What I proffer today is done in the spirit of utmost respect and affinity by one who wants the best for this government and for Nigeria. I say these things to encourage the government to achieve the greatness the times demand and of which this government is capable,” he said.
Mr. Tinubu said for Mr. Buhari to succeed, he must face and work on the economy.
He said the 2018 budget estimates submitted by the president last week has the potential to move the nation in the right direction.
He said the most important aspect of the budget is the capital expenditure badly needed for infrastructure.
“This investment means that the government fully recognises our economy must grow but that it cannot expand beyond the parameters of the infrastructural grid that serves it,” he said.
He also said “It is time to lead our people to a place where poverty and hunger become infrequent and where prosperity and hope are the daily fare of the common man”.
Mr. Tinubu said as one of the most populous nations of the world, Nigeria cannot attain prosperity without first establishing a robust industrial capacity.
He also said developed countries such as England, Japan and China implemented key policies “to protect industries, promote employment and encourage exports. These nations represent the past, present and immediate future of national economic achievement”.
He said if Nigeria is to be a leader in the next phase of global economic history, it must learn from the successes of these countries.
Mr. Tinubu also said henceforth, Nigeria’s national industrial revolution “must be more than mere words”.
He said the government must invest in research and work closely with the private sector.
“Government policy must push and incentivize the private sector into the production of goods that will be demanded in the immediate future and for some time to come,” he said.
Mr. Tinubu said whatever the nation chose to produce, such products must be “things that the rest of the world wants to buy and not necessarily the things that we think are easier to do”.
He said Nigeria needs a national infrastructural plan that accommodates both industrial and agricultural activity. He said the “fulcrum of this plan must be continued progress in the achievement of adequate and affordable electric power, especially solar and winds”.
The APC leader also advised the president to help the common farmer by improving rural output and incomes.
To this end, he said Nigeria must return to the commodity exchange boards or “similar mechanisms to allow farmers to secure their income and hedge against loss”.
He said there should be an active and expanded agricultural loan scheme.
He said the government should also make business and consumer credit available by lowering interest rates.
The former Lagos governor also advised Mr. Buhari to “ move towards 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.
Mr. Tinubu also informed the president that a lot of Nigerians are suffering and that he needed to do more.
“Through no fault of their own, too many of our people are without.
“ 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 the elderly parents who once cared for them. We must cure these wrongs,” he said.
Speaking further, Mr. Tinubu said “If I were an architect, I would say that President Buhari has used the last two years to wisely lay the deep and wide foundation for a new building called a better Nigeria”.