In continuation of his engagements with religious groups and leaders in the country, the Presidential Candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, on Sunday again spoke of his plans to retool the economy for the benefit of all Nigerians.
Speaking at a TownHall meeting with Muslim Leaders from South West in Ibadan, the Oyo State capital, the APC standard bearer also commended religious leaders in the country for their continued prayers and sermons, which he noted, had contributed to unity and peaceful coexistence.
Describing the forthcoming 2023 general elections as “Nigeria’s momentous encounter with destiny”, Asiwaju Tinubu urged the Islamic clerics to educate their followers on the importance of exercising their franchise and voting only tested candidates with a track record of excellent public service, “and not falling for the lies and gimmicks of those that have nothing to offer.”
Tinubu, who spoke partly in Yoruba language, said: “This election season has been a hybrid of facts and falsehood, truth and lies. I would like the election to be one based on facts and truth.
“What is a candidate’s record of performance and what are his policies? I ask you to urge your followers to come out and vote and to do so wisely. Vote for a candidate that has a vision for a peaceful, prosperous Nigeria where tolerance and compassion undergird our constitutional and legal rights.”
The 2023 Presidential Election frontrunner assured Nigerians that he would be “a fair and just leader,” adding, “My pledge for fairness and justice is consistent with the tenets of the Islamic faith.
“A leader in a plural society like ours is enjoined to be a leader of all. If elected, I shall govern honestly and democratically in harmony with our nation’s constitution.”
Citing his excellent stewardship as Lagos State governor, Asiwaju Tinubu promised to use that experience to lead Nigeria in the “same spirit of innovation and pragmatic vision to uplift the nation and renew the hope of Nigerians.
On security, Asiwaju Tinubu vowed to end the reign of terror, kidnappings and other violent crimes by recruiting more personnel that would be trained and retrained, in addition to providing more security tools and gadgets for an effective fight against criminal elements.
The nation’s economy, according to Tinubu, would be diversified and restructured towards achieving at least 6 per cent growth annually. These goals would be achieved through the reforms of our industrial policy, infrastructural enhancement, power sector innovation and significant budgetary reforms.
“Regarding the economy, we seek to repair the very structure of the economy. We can no longer flourish as an economy based on natural resource extraction.
“We must become a dynamic, diversified economy where those who want to work can find a good job. But let us also be a society sufficiently compassionate to help those who cannot help themselves.
“We must revive manufacturing and industrial growth to create jobs as well as produce the goods and services that improve the daily lives of the average person.
“We seek a minimum of 6 per cent growth annually through reform of our industrial policy, infrastructural enhancement, power sector innovation and significant budgetary reform,” Tinubu told the Muslim leaders.
Regarding the agricultural sector, Asiwaju Tinubu promised to guarantee food security through enhanced productivity and improved farm incomes to ensure that no child goes to bed without food to eat.
“In the end, may no Nigerian parent send a child to bed hungry, despairing about what tomorrow might bring. Instead, let all of our children, regarding of their faith or creed, be able to lay their head down believing in a better tomorrow of hope renewed.”
Earlier welcoming Tinubu to the interaction, MUSWEN President, Alhaji Rasaki Oladejo, said the event provided an opportunity for the APC candidate to interface with the Muslim leaders of South West on his plans for the nation if elected, “, particularly on how he could make the country a land of great opportunities where no man will be oppressed.”
The National Chief Missioner of Anwar-ur- Deen Movement, Sheikh Ahmad Abdulrahman, said the gathering was not to campaign or endorse Asíwájú or any candidate.
“But to seek and to know and to see whether Asíwájú Tinubu can still deliver for the country as he did as governor of Lagos State.”
Tinubu was accompanied to the meeting with the South West leaders by the Deputy Governor of Lagos State, Dr Femi Hamzat, the APC Governorship Candidate in Oyo State, Senator Teslim Folarin, former House of Representatives Speaker, Dimeji Bankole, Deputy Director-General of his campaign, Hadiza Bala Usman, Senator Fatai Buhari from Oyo and many serving and former members of the National Assembly.
The APC candidate had earlier interfaced with Bishops from Pentecostal Churches in the 19 states of the North and the leadership of the Christian Association of Nigeria, where he delivered a similar message as he did to the Muslim leaders of South West.
He had told the Christian leaders that if elected, he would run an inclusive government that will be blind to ethnicity and religion, but fair and equitable to all Nigerians.