By Bola Tinubu
- WORK FOR THE PEOPLE
THAT THE PEOPLE MAY WORK FOR THEMSELVES
- I want to thank President Buhari for sharing this special day with me. The pressure of affairs facing the leader of a nation is such that you could have easily found reasons why you could not participate.
- Instead you chose to be here and to even give me the compound honor of accepting to be the Chairman of this occasion.
- Mr. President, you have gone far these past few years in laying a good foundation for the economic recovery of the country. We shall go farther still so that Nigeria truly reaches the next level with you leading the way.
- Here I must also thank our dear First Lady Aisha Buhari for her zeal, support and commitment to the betterment of this nation. You are a true role model for women in Africa.
- I commend the Vice President, my dear friend, Professor Yemi Osinbajo, and his team for organizing another excellent Colloquium. VP Osinbajo and his team have done a fine job bringing us together again this day.
- You have enhanced our democratic and economic discourse at a moment when such public discussion is greatly needed.
- You see, Next Level is not just a trendy campaign phrase to be quickly discarded once victory has been achieved.
- It has a much deeper and more profound meaning, perhaps even more than its authors contemplated. This is because we are a nation still in the process of defining itself politically and economically.
- In this process, it is tempting and easy to borrow indiscriminately from those nations that seem to have mastered the art of democratic governance and to have achieved economic prosperity.
- However, to achieve durable progress, we can’t afford to work hard but in mindless devotion to the ways of other nations.
- This truth is particularly acute when these very nations now face fundamental political and economic questions that cast doubt on the social utility and viability of the economic model under which they have travelled for the past 50 years.
- Forecasters are predicting a global recession within the next 12-18 months. We must recognize these harsh economic tidings as advance warnings to the wise. Hence we must think deeper and work harder for our people in Nigeria.
- Mr. President, you have warned several times that the storm that approaches is not inevitable. It is born of a human folly and reckless greed. This means that it can be rectified by human wisdom and prudential action.
- The Next Level must be seen as part of this global and historic dynamic.
Our pursuit of the Next Level cannot be achieved by blindly following the economic path of other nations.
- That would be tantamount to racing to live in a building just as its long-term occupants were frantically rushing out, screaming that the edifice was mean and crumbling. If we are smart, we dare not enter.
- To pull the nation from poverty, government must play a decisive role. It must at times direct and even develop markets and opportunities. This is nothing novel.
- The single most important sector for the government’s focus is infrastructure. The most important of our infrastructural demands is power. This has been the greatest discovery of humanity in the last thousand years.
I believe the second Buhari administration will work to increase electricity generation, transmission and distribution by more than 50 percent within the next 4 years.
Government should continue to aggressively implement its national infrastructure plan.
- We must applaud President Buhari for the historic innovations made in the agricultural sector. We must further encourage him to do even more.
- Government funded social security for the aged and government backed affordable housing and mortgage facilities are things we must continue to explore in an aggressive manner.
- Let it be that all may live in social contentment and tranquillity with his neighbour as well as with himself. This is what we mean by the Next Level.
- Thank you for this wonderful birthday present you have given me. I have been enriched and energized by the intellectual exchange. I hope that you have too. Now, let’s move on to the Next Level.
Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu is a former Governor of Lagos State.