A former governor of Lagos State, Bola Tinubu, on Saturday, tasked President Muhammadu Buhari on how to restructure Nigeria, laying emphasis on populist governance, agriculture, education, infrastructures and industrialisation.
Mr. Tinubu spoke at the combined convocation ceremony of University of Abuja where Honorary Doctor of Business Administration, DBA, was conferred on him by the institution.
Affected by years of poor management and academic strife, the University of Abuja held its 15th-20th convocation ceremony for five sets.
At the occasion, Mr. Tinubu said Nigeria’s future depended on the will and courage of Mr. Buhari’s government to turn challenges into opportunities.
“Nigeria stands in the corridor between greatness and failure, between progress and collapse, between hope and despair,” he said, adding that “Our fate depends on whether we summon the courage to take the bold steps and move in the direction. We must turn our present challenges into opportunities for the re-engineering of our nation’s economic challenges. The University and our educational system have a role to play here.”
“Nigeria needs some fundamental restructuring both politically and economically,” Mr. Tinubu said.
This restructuring, he stressed, should not be the “constant tinkering and patch-patch” Nigerian government often resorts to.
“Agriculture remains a key pillar in our development. We must return to the days when Nigeria had surplus and exported food. Now we import too much food for our own good and security.
“Our small farmers sink under the reality of rising costs and too little income from the crops they raise.
Moreover, we annually lose arable land to desert encroachment. I believe the current administration under President Buhari has set its priorities right in this regard. Our farmers will once be proud again. We believe farmers need to earn a sufficient enough income that will bring prosperity back to their families. They must be encouraged and supported,” Mr. Tinubu said.
He said Nigeria must also improve its capacity to provide jobs for growing urban population.
Speaking further, he highlighted how the APC Government would be lifting 20 per cent of Nigerians out of poverty.
“As a progressive government we have as one of our top priorities the lifting of 20 per cent of Nigerians out of poverty within the first four years of our administration.
“To happen, the state must be a catalyst for job creation and economic development that touches all the people not just a narrow growth that benefits a small number.
“We shall do this by implementing a national industrial policy linked to a national infrastructural plan and a national employment strategy.”
Mr. Tinubu also stressed the importance of education.
“Our position is that we make a special effort to draw all children to school, particularly the poor. We cannot afford to allow poverty to keep children out of the classroom. If so we are suborning a life of ignorance and poverty for millions of our young ones.”
He said Nigeria faces multiple challenges but assured APC Government could combat them.
“We have demonstrated the courage and determination to change a non-performing government through a democratic election. This electoral success has brought new challenges.
“These challenges are numerous and we must brace up and confront them.
“We dare not rest on the satisfaction of electoral victory alone. We must continue to strive toward democratic governance that can usher in a progressive era of broad prosperity, development, democracy and human dignity for our people. This is our preoccupation, our desire,” he said.