Calabar, Cross River state – The All Progressives Congress (APC) presidential candidate, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, on Tuesday, December 20, met with the stakeholders of the ruling party in Calabar, Cross River state.
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The former Lagos governor addressed the APC stakeholders, telling them of his numerous plans for the south-south zone and Nigerians in general if elected in 2023.
Here are some key points from the APC flagbearer’s speech at the Cultural Centre, Calabar, as contained in a statement sent to Legit.ng by his media aide, Tunde Rahman.
1. We can build in difficult time, says Tinubu
Tinubu assured Nigerians and stakeholders of the party from the south-south region that he would lead Nigeria to build back better and stronger even in difficult times if elected in 2023.
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Drawing a parallel from the experience of the United States during its civil war, Tinubu charged Nigerians and party members to focus on what the country can accomplish.
“We can build in the middle of difficulty, the US was fighting the civil war and still building rail track. We should focus on the things that we can accomplish.
“We have a lot – there is the waterfront here, we have minerals here, we have arable land, we must conquer hunger, we cannot allow hunger conquer us,” he said.
2. Less focus on crude oil
Tinubu also pointed out that for the nation to experience economic recovery, less focus should be placed on crude oil while harnessing other areas.
The APC candidate promised to work towards industrialisation while also focusing on the production of goods and services across the country.
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“My campaign is built on the firm conviction that our greatest good and best deeds still lie in front of us and not in our past.
“The industrialisation of our economy represents a most vital step towards achieving the Nigeria of our dreams.
“From its very beginnings, our nation’s economy was established on an incomplete foundation. It was built to rely too heavily on oil exports. This means we have always experienced a large gap in the national economic structure. Greater industrialisation shall fill this gap through the production of more and better goods which improve our standard of living while creating better jobs, providing workers with a living wage and establishing businesses that will drive this economy for generations to come.
“Because of this gap in our economic structure and the resultant lack of economic activity, Nigeria has experienced unacceptably high rates of unemployment for several decades. The problems this causes for our society are not limited to simply slowing our economic progress. This gap has affected our nation in profound ways, straining the social fabric in ways that no nation wishes for. Now is the time to repair these fissures our country should never have had to experience,” Tinubu said.
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3. Tinubu speaks on industrial policy
Tinubu said his industrial policy will prioritise strategic industries that are vital to the development of our national economy.
If elected president, the former Lagos governor said he will grow the nation’s industrial base to provide decent jobs and improve wages to the nation’s ever-increasing urban population.
Speaking on how they can better achieve this, the APC flagbearer said primary and secondary industrial hubs would be created across each geopolitical zone in the country.
4. Tinubu’s special plan for Cross River
Tinubu also promised to bring Cross River into the industrialisation plan through the state’s resources.
“Our industrial plan encourages manufacturing on a massive scale across the country. Nigeria will become known as a nation that produces high quality goods worthy of export to anywhere in the world. We shall use an array of policy measures.
“On the fiscal side, we shall employ tax credits and holidays, youth employment incentives, import relief, export credits and well-tailored subsidies where necessary.
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“Cross River State will play a leading role in our economic uplift. This state is blessed with limestone, clay, salt, tin, granite, basalt, quartzite, and kaolin deposits in commercial quantities.
“Our policies will afford local artisans and craftsmen throughout the region the necessary tools to provide for their families and, ultimately, boost overall economic activity for the national good. I enjoyed the stimulating cultural entertainment the performers displayed. This is a town hall meeting of great minds, brains and visions. My concern is the development of Nigeria, this is a talented nation and moving this country forward is a task that must be done. Let’s put together and conquer hunger by using the God’s great space on agriculture,” he said.
He described Cross Rivers as a land of joy and love.
“Cross River is blessed in Agriculture. Oil palm, rubber, cocoa, cashews, cassava, yam, rice, plantain, and bananas are abundant and already being processed, strengthening the agro-allied value chain in ways that create better jobs and raise the standard of living,” he added.
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Governor Ben Ayade speaks
In his own address at the event, Governor Ben Ayade of Cross said the focus of the next administration should be on human beings first and Gross Domestic Product as a measure of economic growth should shift to Human Happiness Index, adding that government must focus on the industrialisation to create jobs for the masses.
“We must move from GDP to the Human Happiness Index. When God has empowered you, it is for the people,” said Ayade
The director-general of the APC Presidential Campaign Council, Governor Simon Lalong assured the people that Tinubu has the capacity to provide the leadership that will create prosperity for all Nigerians.
“Asiwaju turned mammy water in Lagos ocean to Money Water through his brains,” he added.
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In a related development, the APC presidential candidate, Tinubu urged Organised Labour to pitch its tent with him in the 2023 presidential election, saying he has a track record for good governance.
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The former Lagos governor said this during a Townhall meeting with Organised Labour at Chida Hotel Conference Centre in Abuja on Monday, December 19.
The session, which was used to dissect the Tinubu-Shettima Action Plan for a Better Nigeria was well attended by Labour leaders from the Nigerian Labour Congress (NLC) and Trade Union Congress (TUC), among others.