It is an honour to return to the City of Kaduna and to participate in the Arewa Joint Committee Interactive Session, and rub minds on some fundamental issues germane to the future of Nigeria.
I thank the leadership and stakeholders of the Sir Ahmadu Bello Memorial Foundation for their gracious invitation.
I wish to preface my remarks by setting out our mission and vision. We are all Nigerians. I am a Nigerian running for the Nigerian Presidency to serve every Nigerian. I continue to insist on a show of respect for every candidate, ethnicity, religion and person.
The mission and vision of the incoming Obi-Datti Administration is to give full expression to our democracy by moving our country from consumption to production; we shall achieve this by giving primacy to implementing the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
Our dear country today has become a shadow of itself. Indeed, there is evidence that Nigeria exhibits two known indices of a failed state; parlous economy and loss of territory and emergence of ungoverned spaces.
The purpose of politics and governance is to generate economic and social progress for the citizens in larger freedom. But the status quo is the reverse. This is more so here in the North, where poverty, unemployment and insecurity are the new normal.
The North has the highest number of out-of-school children in the world. It has highest number of school kidnappings in the world. The North also has the highest number of internally displaced persons (IDPs) in Nigeria.
The vast agricultural lands of the north – the so-called food basket of the nation stand desolate and abandoned. This situation is painful and needs to be fixed. Great nations are built through visionary policies, programmes and projects, anchored on the people.
This was always the hope and wishes for Nigeria by our founding fathers. Sadly, things changed. Our leaders became selfish, myopic and stopped listening and caring for the common man. Bad leadership, divisive rhetoric, and impunity became the norm.
Nigerians have suffered; they have lost jobs, and lost their farms and herds and their trust in our leaders. That narrative must change.
The Nigerian people want solutions to the many problems confronting them. After all economic prosperity for all is an all important aspect of a successful leadership, there is hope. We know this for sure. A new Nigeria is Possible.
But we must return to dreams of our founding fathers to create an egalitarian society. The Nigeria we seek will be a United and Secure Nigeria that symbolizes the spirit, letters, and exhorting ethos of our national anthem – “one nation bound in freedom, peace and unity” where “peace and justice shall reign.” As we seek to come to power in May 2023, we are aware of the daunting array of domestic and external challenges confronting our dear nation, and we are fully prepared to lead from the front.
We are cognizant of the domestic policy challenges that have accumulated over time; and that the lack of adequate public policy responses has made them worse, with a devastating impact on national unity, social cohesion, public trust in government, and economic performance.
We have a grasp of prevailing challenges.
Nigeria’s needs and unmet needs are very huge. Yet hunger, insecurity, poverty and deprivation know no tribe, religion or gender.
With all sense of urgency, we will, pursue aggressively policies programmes and projects to enhance the productivity and competitiveness of all the sectors of the Nigerian economy.
For the North we will do the following:
– a) We will offer immediate and decisive long-lasting and permanent-effect resolution of all security challenges in the North;
-b) Ensure that farmers return to all farmlands for the 2023 farming Season. We will make Nigeria’s arable land in the North her new oil and gold;
-c) As part of our Marshall Plan for Education, we will foster Federal intervention in education at all levels in the North and partnership with State Governments and international organizations in order to improve access to affordable and quality education at all levels;
-d) Ensure very adequate representation in government, equitable appointments especially in the Security and Economic Sectors;
-e) Incentivize the resuscitation of the moribund cotton and textile industries; and full exploration of the cattle economy value chain, notably the $75b global hide and skin economy. Nigeria’s share of the global industry is envisaged to generate over $1bn by 2025;
-f) We will ensure very generous deployment and allocation of economic and social projects and infrastructure in the North – with keen attention to Roads, Energy, Power, and Dams- and Solar energy from Sunlight.
In closing, let me say this on record. I have come in peace to develop, to secure, and to unite, and I will do so with every commitment to the growth of Nigeria, as one great and united country.
We shall pay as much attention to the development of the North as to the development of all other parts of the country; but with much greater emphasis on the development of the Agricultural resources.
The North remains where the biggest ad sustainable wealth of this great Nation lies.
If elected President, I shall govern with the fear of God and with all good conscience and intent. The Constitution and the rule of law will always prevail.
I thank you for your kind attention.
May Almighty God bless you all and bless