BusinessDay

Tinubu distances self from weak economy under Buhari

Bola Tinubu, the presidential candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC), on Monday, tactically distanced himself from the fragile economy that President Muhammadu Buhari looks set to hand over to his successor on May 29, 2023.

The former governor of Lagos, who spoke at Chatham House, in Londom, asked Wale Edun, his then commissioner on finance, to answer the question on the economy posed to him (Tinubu).

After his presentation, which was livestreamed on Arise TV, some members of the audience asked him some questions bordering on insecurity, oil theft, education and economy and how he planned to address those issues in those areas, if elected president.

But he asked Governor Nasir El-Rufai of Kaduna State to speak on how his (Tinubu) government would address insecurity, and Dele Aleke, director of strategic communication of the APC Presidential Campaign Council, to respond to the question on oil theft.

“I guess my name is Bola Ahmed Tinubu and the current President is Muhammadu Buhari and there is no where in the Constitution that says that a current administration cannot be a continuity in their some ways. It doesn’t remove me from my adaptation to my economic philosophy and developmental programme. I did it in Lagos,” Tinubu said.

“I will choose the first question assigned to Dele Alake, the second question I will assign to Nasir El-Rufai. I will call on Wale Edun to answer the question (on economy),” he added.

The Nigerian economy has remained fragile since it fell into its second recession under Buhari in 2020, with inflation soaring to its highest in 17 years in 2022 amid high unemployment and poverty levels. Last month, the National Bureau of Statistics put the number of Nigerians facing multidimensional poverty at 133 million.

Edun said the key to Tinubu’s policy for increasing economic growth is to enable the private sector to make the investments that will increase productivity, grow the economy, create jobs and reduce poverty.

He said: “As the presidential candidate said in his address, the need is to increase economic growth. The key to his policy for increasing economic growth is to enable the private sector to make the investments that will increase productivity; grow the economy, create the jobs and reduce the poverty. That is the trajectory.

“In particular, he is going to implement as he mentioned the monetary and fiscal policies that will free up the space for private investments, particularly in infrastructure and promotion of agro-allied industrial processing zones. It is in agriculture in particular where the jobs will be created for inclusive growth that provides enough employment opportunities that will lead to reduction of poverty.”

Edun said the Tinubu administration would essentially be about private sector-driven economic growth, and foreign direct investment would also be key in that process.

Earlier, Tinubu said his administration would continue to provide quality leadership to the sub-region, to ensure democratic ideals reign in nations of the ECOWAS region.

He vowed that as President, Nigeria would epitomise values of democracy during elections anywhere in Africa, by ensuring compliance with democratic ideals, and all forms of electoral violence would be rejected, allowing only the will of the people to prevail.

Read also: Buhari wants Tinubu as next president; he’s Nigeria’s worst enemy

He said: “Every election, wherever it is held, is important to the people or entity directly concerned. It is also important to the global democracy community as well. Equally, there are also countries whose elections, on account of their weight and influence, carry wider implications way beyond their immediate geographical boundaries. Nigeria is one of such countries.

“I stand firmly against all forms of electoral violence and intimidation. Having spent most of my career in the political opposition, I have long fought against electoral malpractice and any attempts to extinguish the legitimate choice of voters. I will continue to do so.

“And I urge all my fellow contestants in this election to do the same. Let the sovereign will of the people decide the path of our nation. And let this election be determined by voters making their choice freely rather than the domineering intimidation of the troublesome few.

According to him, as Africa’s most populous country and the continent’s largest economy, it is generally acknowledged that the fortunes of the African continent and indeed the Black race is tied directly to the health of Nigeria.

The APC presidential flagbearer said: “Also the Nigerian elections of 2023 are coming up at a time when the country’s immediate geographical neighbourhood of West and Central Africa is undergoing serious political turmoil that has manifested itself in the incursion of the military to power in a number of countries. In spite of the legitimate concerns being expressed by observers, Nigerians are resolutely committed to democracy, regardless of their political differences.

“Nigeria shares direct land borders with four sister African countries with whose peoples Nigerians also share historical and cultural affinities. This effectively means that the relationship between Nigeria and its immediate neighbours is much more than just a geographical expression.

“To be fully secure at home, Nigeria has always believed it must be the brothers’ keeper. It was out of this understanding that Africa’s premier regional economic community, ECOWAS, was established in 1975. Uniquely, ECOWAS had embedded in its mandate, the promotion of regional economic integration as a good in its own right and in addition undertook sub-regional peace and security.

“I am convinced, as I am sure most of us are, that the broad principles that enabled successive Nigerian governments to interface development and security, and establish an organic link between national security and economic development with regional peace and prosperity is both impeccable and remains relevant. It is an approach which I commit myself to upholding and advancing.”