President Bola Tinubu has implored governors elected on the platform of the All Progressives Congress (APC) to design and implement policies that prioritize all Nigerians and to always consider the national interest above political affiliations.
The President, who received members of the Progressive Governors Forum (PGF) at the State House in Abuja, on Friday, said development policies would only find full relevance in people’s lives when there is inclusivity, ownership, and sustainability.
Tinubu told the governors that one of the biggest challenges the nation faces was divisiveness, but that the governing party must work towards healing and unifying the country by ensuring a collective national vision, and channelling energy and resources into nation-building.
“You can convert people. You can appeal to people to come to your side,’’ he stated.
The President said Nigeria is too blessed with human, natural, and material resources to be struggling with a dearth of quality infrastructure, quality education, and world-class health facilities.
He said the entire financial system of the country would be re-engineered for inclusivity, effectiveness, and efficiency.
“We have no reason to be poor. Looking back on where we are coming from, where we have been, why we are facing infrastructural decay, a lack of quality and comprehensive education, as well as a lack of health facilities. We are not a cursed country, but blessed,’’ the President said.
Tinubu asked the governors to come up with a framework that will make the implementation of the school-feeding programme more comprehensive and successful across all states of the federation, taking into consideration the peculiarities of each locality, but working towards having all children in school.
“We have children of school age who are out of school. The way to promote education is to get all governors, including the opposition governors, involved in the school-feeding programme. Please, take it seriously.
“We should not measure the children as statistics. We should measure their return to classrooms as our achievement. We should see economic growth in terms of value and empowerment. We should set up a committee to look into the methods. I am ready to invest in school feeding,” the President said.
The President said the school-feeding programme would encourage more investments in agriculture, particularly in livestock farming and dairy, adding that the former Kano State Governor and APC Chairman, Dr. Abdullahi Ganduje, had already worked on a proposal that would be shared for input and implementation. President Tinubu equally congratulated the Governor of Borno State, Prof. Babagana Umara Zulum, for restoring irrigation systems that provide water for year-long cultivation of crops.
On security, the President said the deployment of forest guards was being considered, with better training, modern technological gadgets and weapons to strengthen security, and that the solid mineral and marine economic sectors will also be secured by special police.
“We have a big marine economy, and I do not see why we should not have the marine police. We will have the same in solid minerals to keep the scavengers away. I am ready to invest in security. We will buy our own minerals and keep them in reserves, especially gold, which will be effective in our foreign exchange reserve,’’ the President told the governors.
The Governor of Imo State and Chairman of the Progressive Governors Forum, Hope Uzodinma, thanked the President for involving governors in the design and implementation of policies, as well as for intervening with financial support in the states.
“We will continue to support you as your able ambassadors, willing ambassadors, and capable ambassadors,’’ Governor Uzodinma said.