From Esther Akaa, Lafia
The presidential candidate of the
All Progressives Congress (APC) Sen. Bola Tinubu says his administration would prioritise the resuscitation of the nation’s economy through the development of the solid mineral sector for economic prosperity of the country, if elected president in 2023.
Tinubu stated this at a town hall meeting on mining and security held on Thursday at the Aliyu Akwe Doma Banquet Hall, Government House Lafia, Nasarawa State.
According to him, the country was blessed with abundant natural resources that are found in various states of the federation, saying he will dismantle bottlenecks that hinders the exploration of mineral resources in the country for economic prosperity.
Tinubu said that the sector would contribute more to the nation’s economy by building the Gross Domestic Product (GDP), saying that it was the obligation of government to use its natural endowments wisely to benefit the nation and improve the living standards of its citizens.
“The solid minerals sector contributed less than 1% to our GDP in 2020. We need to increase this amount every year. My administration will develop the solid minerals sector, establishing policies that will encourage investment for growth in that sector.
“Solid minerals and mining will play key roles in our campaign toward prosperity and our economic offensive against poverty and underdevelopment.
“We seek to turn this economy into a more active engine of growth, productivity, jobs and income. We seek to establish a broad-based economy that ensures broadly-shared prosperity for all.
On his campaign, the former Governor of Lagos State said it will only be issue-based, centred on bringing prosperity to the nation and eradicating poverty among citizens of the country.
“We shall allow the desperate, devoid-of-substance campaigns of others engage in divisive identity politics and the promotion of untruths and ugly rumours.
“We, the APC, shall continue to stand before the Nigerian people to discuss the real issues of the day and offer insight into the policy solutions we intend to deploy to solve them. In this, we remain the best and only hope for progressive good governance in Nigeria,” he said.
On agro-processing, Tinubu said that his government will continue the progress and shall focus on expanding the development of agro-industry to boost domestic food production and enable our farmers and industrialists to add value to their products.
The presidential candidate of the APC said that his agricultural policy encompasses the creation of storage facilities, affordable farm loans and mortgages, creation of modern agricultural hubs in each geo-political zone amid other measures.
He, appreciated the Nasarawa State Governor, Abdullahi Sule for giving him the opportunity to share his vision.
In his remark, the APC National Chairman, Sen. Abdullahi Adamu said Nasarawa was endowed with a lot of mineral resources spread across the 13 local government areas of the state and needed to be properly harnessed.
“On mining sector, every local government in Nasarawa State has a solid mineral deposit. I can say this with authority as a former governor of this state and I don’t want to say Nasarawa has potentials but I will say the huge opportunities are here.
“We are tired of potentials in this country, we want to see the real things. Nigerians need to see the action plan of our candidate and they will see in details what Tinubu and our party want to do. We are convinced our tomorrow will be better than our today,” he said.
He, charged Tinubu to get ready to lead the country to the Promised Land, even as he re-echoed the position of President Muhammadu Buhari that all indicators and indications were pointing to the fact that the APC presidential candidate is going to be the next President of Nigeria.
Also speaking, the former Governor of Nasarawa State and Senator representing Nasarawa South Senatorial zone, Sen. Tanko Al-Makura, called on the Federal Government to fast track its diversification policy in the solid mineral sector and unbundle the sector for increase productivity.
According to him, the Nigeria Mineral and Mining Act of 2007 was an Exclusive List business, explaining that it has stagnated wealth creation and job opportunities due to lack of participation of both states and local government areas.
He, however, said that the senator was considering the necessity to enact a law that will legislate on the framework which will bring about active participation of all stakeholders in the sector for the benefit of the nation.
“I am happy to say that as the Chairman of the Senate Committee on Solid Minerals, Mines, Steel Development and Metallurgy, I am privileged to put forward a bill which has already passed 1st and 2nd reading. We have even done the public hearing and the results coming from it is positive,” he said.
He, called on Tinubu to address all the challenges confronting the mining sector if elected president, come 2023.
On his part, the Governor of Plateau State and Director General of the Tinubu/Shettima Campaign Organisation for the 2023 elections, Simon Lalong said town hall meeting was another worthy engagement between APC presidential candidate and critical stakeholders in Nasarawa State after similar events in Kano, Lagos and Niger States.
Lalong described Nasarawa State as the home of huge solid mineral deposits that have remained untapped with attendant insecurity caused by illegal miners.
He, therefore, expressed optimism that when Tinubu becomes the next President of Nigeria, he will address security challenges in the sector and the country at large.
Earlier, in his welcome address, Governor Sule, said Tinubu’s engagement with the mining community would afford the opportunity to know the economic potentials of the state in mining and agriculture.
The governor listed 20 solid minerals in commercial quantity in the state which include lead, gold, barite, mable, and zinc among others.
“I thank Asiwaju Tinubu for visiting our state and our people have always wanted to see you to ask you questions and you are here to answer their questions,” he said.
The Voice reports that the town hall meeting was attended by Speaker, House of Representatives, Femi Gbajabiamila, Governor of Kastina, Aminu Masari, Governor of Borno, Prof. Babagana Zulum, former Speaker of House of Representatives, Dimeji Bankole, APC National Working Committee members, Emir of Lafia and Chairman of Nasarawa Council of Chiefs, HRH Hon. Justice Sidi Bage Muhammad (Rtd), APC NWC and PCC members and stakeholders in the mining industry, among others.