The National Leader of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, has again blamed successive Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) administrations for the nation’s woes.
The former governor of Lagos State, who spoke yesterday as the special guest at the 35th annual Aminu Kano Memorial Symposium in Kano, accused the PDP governments of frittering away billions of dollars and trillions of naira that would have been used for the country’s development.
Represented by the Governor of Oyo State, Senator Abiola Ajimobi, Tinubu particularly described the immediate past administration of former President Goodluck Jonathan as the worst culprit in the pillaging of the nation’s resources.
He said the APC-led Federal Government has, in the past three years, been labouring hard to clean the rot left by the PDP to give the people a new lease of life.
His words: “The APC government may, at times, be imperfect in fulfilling the spirit of Aminu Kano, but we are far from the PDP, which has perfected the malign craft of giving selfish ambition primacy over the public good.
“Consequently, the Buhari government has spent inordinate time cleaning the rot and plugging the holes in the corrupt system the others had institutionalised as their strategic policy and national direction.
“The APC has been working to steer our national ship from this awful direction in order that we may bring the people and their welfare into safe harbour.
“Had the billions of dollars and trillions of naira that were stolen by past governments been used for the people, the nation would have been able to acquire the infrastructure and implement the programmes that bring greater development and economic justice to all.
“Instead, the select few ate more than their bellies could contain. Distorting the cause of justice and hijacking the means of national welfare, they wildly enriched themselves and left the average Nigerian to dine on the passing wind.”
Tinubu said that even with less resources, the APC administration has done more than what previous governments which had more money.
According to him, “The government has launched school feeding and stipend programmes for the poorest among us. These programmes have enabled millions to eat at least one solid meal a day and for countless children to attend to their education instead of allowing the world to pass them by at an early age.
“The programmes have also increased local economic activity by boosting consumer demand. These things were done with the welfare of the people in mind. When someone can do for you in three years what another did not even try in 16, any person with an open eye can see the difference between giver and taker, between friend and thief.”
He, however, acknowledged that more needs to be done, saying: “I envision a time of even bolder action that modernises national infrastructure, implements an industrial plan that revives the textile sector and builds new industries, agricultural reform that provides farmers minimum incomes and greater access to credit, mortgage reform that opens the door to affordable housing for millions of families, pension reform that insulates our aged from poverty and an expansion of the school feeding into every state and local government.
The APC leader noted that the theme of the symposium; “Democratic governance in Nigeria and the imperatives of party ideology and supremacy” is apt and timely and commended the Aminu Kano Centre for Democratic Research and Training and Bayero University for the initiative.
He described Aminu Kano as a “great man that could have lived an easy life by exploiting, for selfish objectives, all the opportunities opened to a man of his great abilities and social status,” but opted to devote himself to the welfare of the people.
“He took the harder path because it was the true and correct one. As Aminu Kano did, we must do! The spirit of this great man must guide more than our deliberations here today. That spirit must direct our political intercourse and actions.”
Convener of Arewa Research and Development Project, Dr. Usman Bugaje, raised a few posers such as the difference between power and authority, legality and legitimacy, as well as eligibility and sustainability.
He argued that it was possible to have power without having authority, adding that it was also possible to be eligible, but not suitable for a given position or office.
In order to succeed, Bugaje said a leader must be knowledgeable, courageous and selfless.
Publisher of Premium Times, Mr. Dapo Olorunyomi, in his own presentation, stressed the need for the country to be in accord and be united in purpose.
He cited example of Rwanda, saying that in spite of the challenges the country recently went through, it was able to bounce back into a unified entity where law and order reigns because of unity of purpose.