We must listen to cries for separation, says Tinubu

Bola Ahmed Tinubu, former governor of Lagos State and National Leader of All Progressives Congress (APC), has urged the federal government to listen to — not condemn — the cries for Nigeria’s separation.

Speaking in an address at the 2017 Annual Dinner of the King’s College Old  Boys’ Association (KCOBA) in Lagos, which was presented on his behalf by Wale Edun, former Lagos State Commissioner for Finance, Tinubu attributed the ongoing agitation for the separation of the country to what he described as chronic failure of government to meet basic aspirations.

He expressed strong belief in a united and better Nigeria than a broken federation, saying: “We argue over matters that long ago should have been settled. The longer such fundamental questions fester, the more extreme become the proposed answers.

“Thus, we have people clamouring for secession and the murmur of such a course grows stronger in other sections.

“These other areas resent that some have advocated secession. Blame and recrimination become the political currency. Statesmanship falls in short supply. The dominant urge is to confront instead of reconcile.

“It would be wrong to mistake this for a tempest in a teapot. If not careful, we may be tossed about like a teapot in a tempest.

“We must listen to what is being said so that we can determine what is really meant… Yet the cry for separation has gained traction among average people; this is due to the chronic failure of government to meet basic aspirations.

“If over the years, government had delivered on the promise of growth, prosperity, and justice, those calling for such extreme remedies would be but a small fringe of little consequence.

“Our task is not to condemn but to listen and understand. I care not at all for this proposed solution. But I dare not discount the concerns and problems that have led many people into advocating such a thing.

“Here, I want to plainly state my position. I am a firm believer in Nigeria. I believe this land will become a great nation and a leader among other African nations. We can resolve our dysfunctions in a manner that will make this nation rise as a standard of decency, justice and prosperity for all Nigerians.”

According to him, “when we unite and not untie, we build on an existing maxim of one Nigeria by describing that oneness as the fabric of a larger society S.E.W.N. (South East West North) together”.

Tinubu said Nigeria needs a national industrial policy to foster the development of strategic industries that create jobs as well as spur further economic growth.

“Whether we decide to focus attention on steel, textiles, cars, machinery components, or other items, we must focus on manufacturing things that Nigerians and the rest of the world value and want to buy,” he said.

He urged the federal government to institute a policy of tax credits, subsidies and insulate critical sectors from the negative impact of imports.






     

     

    “We need a national infrastructure plan. Roads, ports, bridges and railways need enhancing and new ones need to be built, the goal must be a coherently-planned and integrated infrastructural grid,” he said.

    “A national economy cannot grow beyond the capacity of the infrastructure that serves it. Good infrastructure yields a prospering economy. Weak infrastructure relegates the economy to the poorhouse. Government must take the lead…

    “The long-term economic strength of the nation is dependent on how we deploy now idle men, material and machines into productive endeavour. And this is highly dependent on the interest rate.

    “The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) must cure its affection for high interest rates. Lower rates are required so our industrialists may borrow without fear that excessive costs of borrowing will consign them to irredeemable debt. The normal profit rates in most business sectors cannot support the burden imposed by current interest rates.”

     

     

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