Saturday, February 27, 2016 5:37 pm
“Nigeria needs some fundamental restructuring both politically and economically. Not the constant tinkering and patch-patch we often resort to. We must therefore begin with fundamentally restructuring the economy if we are to rid ourselves of joblessness”, he said.
He spoke in Abuja today at a ceremony at University of Abuja where he was awarded a doctorate degree in Business Administration. Former vice-president Dr. Alex Ekwueme and two former chief justices of Nigeria, Justice Idris Kutigi and Justice Maryam Aloma Mukhtar were also honoured with doctorate degrees.
Tinubu spoke on behalf of other honorees and devoted his speech on the problems besetting the nation and how to steer it out of the problems.
“Our nation faces many challenges, some imposed on us by forces beyond our control, some self inflicted due to the errant ways of past leadership and governance.
“Nigeria stands at the threshold of sober decision. The ways in which we have grown accustomed to running this nation suddenly no longer suffice. If we are to continue as we have done over the years that malpractice will deliver us into the vice grip of national failure. That which we used to do and laugh at ourselves for our errant ways is no longer a joking matter. It is now fatal.
“We must reform and do so quickly and with alertness to the severity of the circumstances mounting about us.
“While confronting multiple major challenges. I believe this government has the chance and the mission to better our society and forge a new model for our political economy. We have demonstrated the courage and determination to change a non-performing government through a democratic election. This electoral success has brought new chaallenges. 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 our 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.
“If you asked me to describe the state of the nation I would say it is a difficult but encouraging one, we are emerging from a period of great moral uncertainty where vice and virtue were too often indistinguishable and too often confused, one for the other.
“We must ask- are we hopeless due to the sordid nature of the past 16 years? No. Are the challenges left behind too much to surmount? No.
“Even though the nation before stood half in the light of progress and half in the darkness of injustice, there is much hope because we now have a government committed to a new era of discipline and prosperity. The journey we have embarked upon will not be easy. It requires us all to make sacrifices and persevere until we achieve…
“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.
“A vibrant agriculture sector will produce enough food for domestic consumption and for export, thus earning foreign exchange as it did decades ago. It will also create and maintain jobs.
“We must also create jobs for our growing urban populations. We must create production to meet the rapidly expanding population. This means changing the oil export model upon which our economy has for too long been based. This means shifting to were human labor and ingenuity now feature as the catalyst of economic development and wealth creation. This means the creation of industries. This means government must embark on fiscal policies and programs that encourage industrial development and employment to create the openings and opportunities that shall employ many of you seated here and many others like you.
“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.
“Before our children can dream of a university education they must first enjoy the foundational education of primary school. 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.
“This progressive government is committed to providing all school-age children one free meal daily. This seems a simple thing. But it is also wise and prudent. A hungry student does not learn. If the child is too hungry too often, he stops attending school altogether.
“By this program, students will more eagerly attend because their stomachs as well as their minds shall be fed. Parents will encourage children to attend because this will take the children off the streets while also alleviating pressure on the family to feed the children.
This current leadership will anchor its efforts to re-build Nigeria on massive industrialization and the re-structuring of the economy to allow for growth. Then, will hope be rekindled for millions of our people and a country of great potentials and possibilities will emerge.”