2019: Put Sentiments Aside, Vote Wisely – Tinubu Urge Nigerians
Former Lagos State governor and National Leader of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu has challenged Nigerians to vote wisely as the nation approaches 2019, the election year and ensure that they only vote for political parties and candidates with the potential to make meaningful positive impact in their lives.
Speaking at the Daily Trust’s annual dialogue Thursday in Abuja, on the topic ‘Nigeria And The Challenges Of 2019’, Tinubu said the decision of choosing who to vote for in the coming election should not be done based on religion, ethnic or other primordial considerations, but rather based on conviction and in the best interest of the people.
The former governor who was represented by former Commissioner for Finance in Lagos State, Mr. Olawale Edun said, “Curing the ills that plague our house will require many years of outstanding governance.
Thus, it is imperative that we not allow politics as usual to claim the 2019 election season away from us. “We must insist on the principle that elections do not return to being games played by a well-heeled elite while the rest of the nation is left to struggle and starve.
“The people must resist all appeals to unthinking passions and old prejudices. We must adhere to what our conscience reveals as the best path to good governance for all.
“For me, that path has always been a progressive one that harks to the need to materially transform the power relationships upon which this political economy is based. Despite the progress made, too much political and economic power resides in the hands of too few.
This result in a society described by too much unemployment, inadequate infrastructure, too little food, yet too much poverty.
“For the debate needed on how best to tackle these structural problems, 2019 must not be a game between players similar in every way save the political party costume they wear.
“The election to come must be a contest of different visions for the nation’s present and future.”
Tinubu who backed the much sought reform of the nation, however specified areas he believes urgently requires the reform at this time to create a more conducive environment for the people.
“As a progressive, I believe we must transform the nation by embarking on deep and impactful reforms, by creating more jobs, providing social policy initiatives and building an infrastructure befitting a leading nation. Social services must become a reality close at hand and not a vague dream lying in the distance.”
He also came down hard on racketeering in the petroleum sector, urging the government to beam its searchlight in the sector with a view to reforming it.
“we must reform the current fuel subsidy regime. At this stage it causes more problems than it cures. Bottlenecks of long fuel queues, erratic supply, resultant economic dislocations for consumers from lack of fuel and the corrupt practices of trade insiders undermine the good intentions upon which the subsidy is based.
“Currently, the subsidy does not benefit the average person. It sweetly profits the elites who manipulate the program to their own advantage. We need to allow market forces to more directly determine price. We need to open the now closed market to more suppliers. In this way, we may better harmonise supply and demand, where they do the most sustainable economic good.
“In addition, we must repair our social safety net. Old people who have given so much to the nation are being shortchanged and forced to live in penury when they should be living in the dignity due their advanced years and their former labors.”
He also bemoaned a situation where many states are unable to pay workers’ salaries despite efforts of the Federal Government to assist them in dealing with the situation.
“Mr. President won the 2015 election on a platform that included economic recovery, job creation and improved welfare for workers.
“In keeping with his promise, one of his first executive actions was to arrange federal funding of nearly N800b for states to pay salary arrears; also, the subsequent refund of over N800b of Paris Club excess payment came with a similar guidance to State Governors to prioritise salary arrears and payments.
“These laudable initiatives notwithstanding, clearing of salary arrears is still not fully achieved although it has clearly taken on an importance not seen in prior governments.
Meanwhile, the issue of longstanding mounting arrears of pension payments and retirement benefits to public sector workers remains outstanding.
“The total figure is estimated in trillions. This not only results in untold hardship for pensioners and their families, it denies the economy of needed stimulus and growth from the increased purchasing power resulting from payment of pensions.
“In short, the progressive governance we seek will open the door to affordable housing for the average family, consumer credit for those with steady employment and the provision of basic welfare to our most vulnerable citizens.
“The past 3 years have captured the essence of our collective challenge. Progress has been made in part. However, advocates of the old ways have rebelled in full against even these partial blossoms of improvement.
“Yet, I maintain the unshakeable belief that smart, progressive governance can bring prosperity, tranquility and justice.”
Speaking on the recent crisis between Fulani herdsmen and farmers leading to the loss of several lives in both Benue and Taraba states, Tinubu reasoned that the problem escalated to the present magnitude because of failure of successive government to do what is right.
While urging the Fedral Government t seriously look at alternative way of rearing animals in the country, The APC leader said the nomadic way of life is fast becoming obsolete.
“The crux of the matter is that the nomadic way of life is fast becoming obsolete. Large scale nomadic practice does not belong in this day and age. This is reality and it is inescapable.
“Thus, herders have no right to cling to this way of life by killing others. Government must stop their violence but also offer them a viable new way of life by moving them toward more modern, non-nomadic cattle rearing.
“Additionally, government should establish a relief and rehabilitation program for those families and communities that have been so grievously harmed.
“In short, to resolve this lethal problem, government must implement a multi-dimensional policy that encompasses security, agro-economic, educational and emergency relief elements. This is the art and mastery of governance that our nation and its complex problems require.
“In addition to mending this rupture of peace, I believe those who seek to enshrine good governance must boldly act to improve the quality of life of the people,” he said.