2023: What Tinubu told Southwest Muslim leaders at townhall parley 

Going by the words of the presidential candidate of All Progressives Congress (APC), Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, on Sunday, December 11, at a townhall meeting, there is little or no doubt that the former governor of Lagos state is committed to to bringing to an end the woes of the country if he becomes Nigeria’s president next year. BAYO AGBOOLA reports from Ibadan  

Townhall meeting with Muslim clerics 

The occasion was a townhall meeting with Muslim leaders of Southwest Nigeria held at the Jogor Centre in Ibadan, Oyo state and the body of Muslim clerics have confronted him with the myriads of problems plaguing Nigeria such as insecurity, unemployment, poor economy, amongst others.

The response of Tinubu did not fell shot of his usual show of confidence when he said, “I’m the only one that can do it, God will help me to fulfil all my promises to Nigerians, God is our pathfinder, God will set my foot to the right path when I get there.” 

Roll call

The meeting paraded notable Islamic leaders from across the South West states including President of Muslim Ummah of South West (MUSWEN), Alhaji Rasaki Oladejo MUSWEN Executive Secretary, Professor Muslih Yahya, Director of Muslim Rights Concern (MURIC) Professor Isiaq Akintola and President-General, League of Imans and Alfas of Yorubaland, Sheikh Jamiu Kewulere Bello, among others

The APC presidential candidate had arrived the venue of the meeting at about 1:20pm with a quality entourage comprising the Deputy Governor of Lagos state, Obafemi Hamzat, former Speaker of the House of Representatives, Hon. Dimeji Bankole and Hajia Hadiza Bala Usman and others.

Tinubu’s entourage alone spoke volume of his wide acceptability and support for his candidature among his kinsmen from across Yorubaland regardless of their religious leaning and affinity.

Setting the agenda

Welcoming the APC presidential candidate to the Town hall meeting, President-General, League of Imams and Alfas of Yorubaland, Sheikh Jamiu Kewulere Bello was on hand to set agenda for the erstwhile Lagos state governor in the event he is elected as president of the country.

They asked Asiwaju Tinubu to tackle the increasing spate of insecurity and unemployment in Nigeria if elected, bearing in mind that as at present, insecurity and unemployment are of utmost priority to the Imams and Alfas in the South West region.

They also expressed displeasure  with the rising insecurity and unemployment in the country, adding, “there have been kidnapping cases in the country. Please help us to tackle it. Secondly, our children have gone to school, they have graduated, and most of them have no jobs. We want you to help us to provide jobs for them when you get there”.

President of Muslim Ummah of South West (MUSWEN), Alhaji Rasaki Oladejo in his own welcome remark said, “This meeting was organised for Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu to directly engage Muslim leaders in the South West, to unveil his plans. A good government will lead to economic development. With your pedigree, we believe that you can take Nigeria to a greater height when elected.”

Asiwaju’s response

It was the turn of the presidential candidate to mount the rostrum and address the League of Imams and Alfas as well as other prominent Islamic leaders and scholars at the meeting.

Tinubu left no one in doubt that he was versed in the Nigeria project and knew exactly what to do and how to do them in reshaping Nigeria for good if given the chance in 2023.

He told them, “Nigeria is a great country bless with many natural resources, but it’s citizens have not utilised it.

“I’m the only one that can do it, God will help me to fulfil all my promises to Nigerians, God is our pathfinder, God will set my foot to the right path when I get there. There was commotion when I said it’s my turn, one is when someone said it’s my turn, another is for God to answer prayer, only God enthrones, I don’t just want to get there but always do the service to humanity. 

“If elected, there would be credit for traders and there would be commodity market which would serve as an avenue for selling their goods and services. There will also be stable power supply, Nigeria started with Indian in terms of electricity, Indian have moved forward, it is not as if they are wiser than us, our education sector would also be taken care of; there wouldn’t be any strike in the public institution if I emerge. It is not good not to have doctors and instrument in our hospitals, I want to assure you that if I’m elected with your vote as the president, health of Nigerians will be prioritised”.

Asiwaju Tinubu stressed: “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 vision for a peaceful, prosperous Nigeria where tolerance and compassion undergird our constitutional and legal rights. 

“My pledge for fairness and justice is consistent with the tenets of Islamic faith. A leader in a plural society like ours is enjoined to be a leader of all. If elected, I shall govern in an honest and democratic manner in harmony with our nation’s constitution.”

The APC presidential candidate while making reference to his excellent stewardship as Lagos state governor 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.

“There will be no going back in his determination to end reign of terror, kidnappings and other violent crimes in the country by recruiting more personnel that would be trained and retrained, in addition to providing more security tools and gadgets for effective fight against criminal elements.

On Nigeria’s economy, the APC Presidential candidate said it  would be diversified and restructured towards achieving at least six per cent growth annually and that these goals would be achieved through the reforms of our industrial policy, infrastructural enhancement, power sector innovation and significant budgetary reforms, saying,   

“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 so as 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 six percent growth annually through reform of our industrial policy, infrastructural enhancement, power sector innovation and  significant budgetary reform”.

In the agric sector, he promised to guarantee food security through enhanced productivity and improved farm incomes in order 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 what tomorrow might bring. Instead, let all of our children, regardless of their faith or creed, be able to lay their head down believing in a better tomorrow of hope renewed.”

At the end of the townhall meeting, most of the people that graced the event were of the views that considering the analysis, ways out and points raised and clearly marshalled out by Asiwaju Tinubu, there might be hope of better days ahead for Nigerians and the country with the coming 2023 general elections.

UNI Agric Markurdi
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