Tinubu urges states to prioritise grassroots development

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President Bola Tinubu has appealed to state governments to prioritise the needs of local communities by ensuring accountability and effectiveness in the administration of local governments.

The President made this known at a meeting with the leadership of Arewa Consultative Forum (ACF) on Thursday at the Presidential Villa, Abuja.

“We are running a constitutional democracy. I will appeal to you to summon the governors. I am doing my very best to enhance the revenue base of the country.

“They must equally be sympathetic, and they must urgently consider the needs of the local people. People who reside in the local communities. That is where they work, farm, and live.

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“If the local governments are not effective in delivering services; as leaders, we must not hang on to the numbers. We have 774 local government areas, but are they truly effective? Do they solve problems for Nigerians?

“Do they coordinate development programming with the state and federal governments? Who is being held accountable for the performance of the 774 local governments? Maybe we should look at recalibrating.

“What was good four years ago may not be good today. When we want the votes, we go to the locals; when we get the votes, we move to and focus on Abuja,” the President said.

Highlighting the significance of education in nation building, the President described the situation of out-of-school children in parts of Nigeria as unacceptable.

Tinubu said that education is a tool against poverty and social mobility, adding that education should be used to serve the people and improve their conditions.

He said that educational system is the backbone of the economic development of the country, noting that the administration will collaborate with stakeholders to curb out of school challenge.

“We are still building Nigeria, and I am glad that you have emphasized the need for development. The infrastructure decay is unacceptable, and the level of poverty in the north is unacceptable. We must eliminate the source of these trends,” he said.

On security, Tinubu said: “Everybody wants to be secure, and we need to invest more in technology. We will do it, I promise you. We will put our heart and soul into ensuring that Nigeria is secure and its citizens are protected.

“The AKK project, the dredging of the River Niger, and improving port access and infrastructure nationwide, in order to shorten travel time, will make us more prosperous as a nation. We have to fight insecurity so that people can make a decent living anywhere they live.”

The President also addressed economic development and livestock management, stating: “Animal husbandry has been a huge problem for Nigeria. Dairy farms can grow our economy significantly.

“Talk to the governors and tell them to make more land available. Talk to herders to collaborate with the states. The lands are with the states.

“We are ready to put funds in place to help the herders. We can do it, and we will be able to do it. If the Brazilians and the Dutch are doing it, we can also do it,” the President said.

The President also used the occasion to appeal for national unity and continued support for his government as it solves decades-long challenges confronting the populace.

“As long as we are together, and we have to be together, there is strength in our diversity. Our strength and opportunity are built into our population.

“I thank the cabinet members for their efforts, but I will relieve any of them of their duties anytime I feel that they are failing Nigerians,” the President affirmed.

The President directed the establishment of a committee to follow up on the issues raised at the meeting and assigned the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Sen. George Akume, to lead the follow-up efforts.

“We must tick the boxes on all that we must quickly do,” Tinubu said.

The leader of the delegation and Chairman, Board of Trustees of ACF, Barrister Bashir Dalhatu, congratulated Tinubu on his first year in office and expressed the Forum’s appreciation for his achievements and service to the country.

‘’Your Excellency may wish to recall the invitation extended to you, which you graciously honoured and which led to a robust interactive conference at the Arewa House on the 19th of October, 2022.

‘’We make bold to say that Your Excellency’s vigorous, firm, and credible commitments and assurances to Northerners, made at that meeting and during the course of your election campaign, proved to be a game-changer.

“Your tireless support for and collaboration with Northerners that helped many to win elections into various positions, including that of the presidency in the past, has consolidated the love and trust in the hearts of Northerners for you, as confirmed by the pattern of voting in the last presidential election,’’ Dalhatu said.

The ACF BOT Chairman further highlighted several achievements within the President’s first year in office, including the prioritisation of funding for agriculture and education, as well as the maintenance of good relations with Nigeria’s neighbours.

The ACF applauded the President for the Sokoto-Badagry Highway and the Trans-Saharan highway and his implemented measures to fast-track the completion of the Ajaokuta Steel Complex.

‘’With these developments, we feel greatly motivated and even more confident that Your Excellency will look upon the North with even greater sympathy and strive harder to alleviate the dire economic and social pains in Northern Nigeria,” the leader of the delegation said.(NAN)

By Ismail Abdulaziz

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