‘The dawn of a new era towards building the NEW NIGERIA of our dreams’
Congratulations on your landslide victory at the Presidential primary election of the APC.
It was exactly 2.28 pm on Wednesday June 8 2022 under the dry, scorching sun at the eagle square Abuja that the official results of the Presidential election of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) were announced.
That day marked the dawn of a new era. The beginning of a new rhythm in the search for a NEW NIGERIA that can be a prominent player in the comity of nations. A Nigeria that creates rather than just consume wealth.
While sitting in one of the seats in the general area within the precinct of eagle square Abuja, I listened rather anxiously and attentively to your lucid and inspiring acceptance speech. I wasn’t disappointed after that speech which rekindled my commitment to my dear country Nigeria just as it did for many other young Nigerians who listened to it.
Yes I enjoyed and even laughed off the friendly banters you threw at your bosom friend, political ally and contemporay, President Muhammadu Buhari when you skilfully apologised to the President for ‘keeping him waiting’ during the long speech. You didn’t mince words to justify your keeping the President waiting when you said the President had also kept you waiting severally on previous occasions. So the equation is now balanced. This was hilarious and it wasn’t surprising when the eagle square busted into laughter.
Aside the affectionate Yabis and friendly banters, what caught my attention during your speech was one short but profoundly inspiring reference to the current comatose state of technology in our dear country. You were spot-on when you said in that speech: ‘You see a very beautiful car in Nigeria and you like it but the car was not made in Nigeria. In fact you cannot produce even a brake part for that car. This is a shame and we will fix it’
Nothing can be farther from the truth: it is a big shame that our country imports almost everything when indeed, we have the talents and brains that can manufacture everything if the enabling environment is created.
Nigeria must create wealth from agriculture and solid minerals rather than just consume wealth from oil.
Your excellency, the two areas that I think you should focus on in your campaign and upon your inauguration as the next President of the federal republic of Nigeria on May 29 2023 insha Allah (SWT) are:
The ECONOMY and SECURITY.
When you win the 2023 Presidential election (and I honestly think you will), it is necessary that your government invests heavily in technology to boost economic development.
To this end, there is the need to prioritise SKILLS ACQUISITION among the youths by building SKILLS ACQUISITION CENTRES up and down the country. There is the need to build at least one skills acquisition centre in each of the 774 local government areas in the country to impart hands-on skills on our teeming unemployed youths. This will create millions of jobs and enable the youths to set up small businesses and be self-reliant.
To boost Nigeria’s technological development, there is the need to set up a TECHNOLOGY VILLAGE in each of the 36 states of the federation and the FCT to serve as a hub and grooming ground to nurture the youths and instil a ‘technological mentality’ into them through both theoretical and practical technical education.
Nigeria’s economy is designed to consume rather than create wealth. This is unsustainable and utterly unacceptable.
Under your watch as President insha Allah (SWT), Nigeria’s economy should be designed to produce rather than consume wealth. Wealth creation is sine qua non to building a strong, virile and working economy.
Both the present and the future belong to information and communications technology (ICT) hence the need for your incoming government to invest heavily in ICT so that Nigeria can key into the digital era and take its rightful place in the comity of nations.
To build an ICT-compliant economy that can create jobs, there is the need to build a COMPUTER VILLAGE in each of the 774 local government areas in Nigeria to train and build capacity in ICT amongst the youths and young people.
To diversify the economy and promote production rather than consumption, Nigeria must not forget its history in agriculture. In this regard, there is the need to invest heavily in agriculture to ensure food security. The groundnut pyramids and cotton production in North-west, the palm kernel oil and cocoa production in the South east and south west respectively should be brought back, re-invented and reformed in tune with the modern era. Those beautiful groundnut pyramids of the should in Kano and Gusau Zamfara state in the 60s and 70s should stand again to encourage the setting up of oil mills and MSMEs for job creation.
The TEXTILE INDUSTRY is one that can reposition Nigeria’s economy and create millions of jobs hence the need to revive it. The textile industry should be the centre of agricultural revolution in Nigeria because it has the potentials to birth a swathe of micro, small and medium enterprises ;MSMEs) across the country. The achievement of the current administration in rice production should be sustained even if to ensure food security in our dear country.
Some parts of Nigeria are awash with solid minerals particularly GOLD in Zamfara, Sokoto, Kebbi, Nassarawa and other states. The solid minerals sector is a viable option in economic diversification. There is so much ILLEGAL MINING currently going on in Zamfara state leading to deaths of many children from LEAD POISONING and massive loss of revenue for the government. This needs to be addressed even if to save the lives of innocent children and boost revenue generation for the government. Indeed, the need to regulate the mining sector to drive revenue generation and ensure efficiency and effectiveness cannot be overstated.
Government cannot do everything as resources and supply are scarce while demand and population continue to rise. In this regard, you should deploy a policy of prioritisation such that the exploitation of GOLD in Zamfara state is prioritised over other solid minerals through a strategic public private partnership (PPP) with the international mining companies (IMCs).
The need to diversify the economy towards agriculture and solid minerals is more so when juxtaposed with the fact that crude oil is a resource of the past. Oil cannot sustain Nigeria for too long. There is the need to look for other areas of revenue generation through agriculture, solid minerals and ICT.
The world is moving fast towards renewable and unconventional sources of energy such as solar power and hydrogen. This brings to the fore, the urgent need for ENERGY DIVERSIFICATION from the conventional fossil fuels (oil, gas etc) to the unconventional sources (solar power, hydrogen etc). It is not good enough that Nigeria’s power generation ossilates between 4,000 to 4,500 MW of electricity. Sufficing to state that no meaningful economic development can be achieved without sufficient power supply. Our dear country should join the global rat race to replace fossil fuels with renewable energy so that appropriate capacity can be achieved in the power sector to drive economic growth and create micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) which are the engine room of economic development.
Under your watch as President, fuel importation should stop. In this regard, there is the urgent need to fix Nigeria’s ailing refineries in Port harcourt, Warri and Kaduna. It is a shame that Nigeria produces crude oil but still spends so much money to import refined petroleum products made from crude oil particularly premium motor spirit (PMS) at a huge cost. More disturbing it is when considered from the angle that Nigeria sells crude oil to some countries and these countries (who have functional refineries) refine the crude oil they bought from Nigeria only to sell it back to Nigeria at a very high cost. All this is happening because the refineries are not functional.
In 2021, Nigeria spent N6.3 TRILLION to import petroleum products majorly Petrol or PMS. This huge amount could otherwise have been used in critical sectors such as education, health etc. The funds spent on fuel subsidy are huge and there is the need to stop the fraud and waste called fuel subsidy. If you are able to stop FUEL SUBSIDY after your 4 year tenure (or 8 years as the case may be), you would have reset Nigeria’s economy and left a lasting legacy for the young generation to build upon.
On security, there is the need for your incoming government to squarely face the twin Issues of terrorism and banditry in our dear country. To tackle these scourges, there is the need to use ICT to digitally demobilise the bandits and stop the use of mobile phones to negotiate ransom payments.
If the bandits are refused access to the use of mobile phones to negotiate ransom payments, 99% of the problem of banditry will be solved. To this end, there is the need for your incoming administration to introduce a realistic SIM-NIN registration to replace the current one which has failed.
Nigeria is the only country on planet earth where a kidnapper can use a mobile phone to negotiate ransom payment without being tracked, neutralised or arrested and brought to justice.
Apart from the use of ICT, your incoming government should institute justice reforms such that bandits are apprehended and made to face the full wrath of the law through a court process.
It is preposterous that to date, no bandit has been prosecuted/convicted in the North west despite the free-for-all kidnappings and killings going on unabated in the region. There is also the need to fully equip our gallant military and also set up local vigilante who know the terrain and can stand to defend their communities against these bandits and terrorists.
It is not a coincidence that section 14(2)(b) of the 1999 constitution (as altered) clearly identified security of life and property as the primary purpose of government.
Without security, no meaningful development can be achieved and the citizens will not realise or acknowledge any efforts the government is making to make life better.
Your excellency, I have no doubt that with the totai support you enjoy fron the North West and South West (the first and second biggest voting blocks in the country), you hold the momentum to cruise to a fair and square victory in the 2023 Presidential election. Indeed, your election as the next President of the federal republic of Nigeria is a fait accompli insha Allah (SWT).
You have demonstrated sterling leadership qualities as Governor of Lagos state and nurtured talents and built leaders who have distinguished themselves in the task of nation building.
You are a destabilised Nigerian who will uphold the unity, sovereignty and indivisibility of this country. Nigerians expect so much from you.
I once again congratulate you on winning the APC Presidential ticket and wish you success in the 2023 Presidential election just as I look forward to your swearing in on May 29 2023 as our next President insha Allah (SWT).
DR ABUBAKAR ALKALI
Convener, Movement for a New Nigeria (MNN).
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