By Shola Akingboye 10 November 2022
The All Progressives Congress Presidential Candidate, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu has promised to make the Ajaokuta Steel Company fully operational again when elected the president come 2023, says that the sector would contribute more to the nation’s economy by building the GDP.
Tinubu said this during a townhall meeting with mining and agro-processing stakeholders in Lafia, Nasarawa State capital on Thursday as he declares that his campaign for the nation’s number one seat will only be issue-based, centred on bringing prosperity to the nation.
The former Lagos State governor said he would prioritise the resuscitation of the nation’s economy through the development of the solid mineral sector, stating that the nation is richly blessed and can cater for itself.
He appreciated Nasarawa State Governor Abdullahi Sule for giving him the opportunity to share his vision.
“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.
“Few nations are as well-endowed as Nigeria, given our industrious, energetic population and our vast inventory of land, water and natural resources. Our beloved nation has abundant, commercially viable solid mineral deposits such as coal, limestone, iron ore, bitumen, lead, zinc, gold and a variety of gemstones.
“It is the obligation of government to use these gifts wisely to benefit the nation and improve the living standards of the average Nigerian,” he said.
On his plans for the sector, Tinubu promised to make the Ajaokuta Steel Company fully operational again.
He also added that the sector would contribute more to the nation’s economy by building the GDP.
“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.
“Solid minerals and mining will play key roles in our campaign toward prosperity and our economic offensive against poverty and underdevelopment.
“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.
“My administration will ensure the full completion and operation of the Ajaokuta Steel Company under a viable Public-Private Partnership structure,” he added.
He also said his administration would enact legislative reforms and forge strategic partnerships with private sector investors with requisite skills and proven capacity to support investment in the mining sector.
On agro-processing, Tinubu added, “My government will continue the progress and, in particular, 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.
“My agricultural policy encompasses the creation of storage facilities, affordable farm loans and mortgages, creation of modern agricultural hubs in each geopolitical zone amid other measures.”
In his welcome address, Nasarawa State Governor Sule said Tinubu’s engagement with the mining community would also afford the opportunity to know the economic potentials of State in mining and agricultural. 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 states and our people have always wanted to see you to ask you questions and you are here to answer their questions.
The well-attended town hall session had in attendance the National Chairman of APC, Senator Abdullahi Adamu, House of Representatives Speaker Femi Gbajabiamila, Governor Simon Lalong and Director-General of Tinubu-Shettima Presidential Campaign Council, Governor of Kastina, Aminu Bello Masari, Governor of Borno, Professor Babagana Zulum, former Speaker of House of Representatives, Dimeji Bankole, former Governor of Nasarawa State and Chairman, Senate Committee on Mines and Solid Minerals, Senator Umaru Tanko Al-Makura, APC National Working Committee members, Emir of Lafia and Chairman of Nasarawa Council of Chiefs, HRH Hon. Justice Sidi Bage Muhammad, APC NWC and PCC members and major players in the mining industry and agro-processing sector.
Governor Lalong described the Lafia Town Hall meeting as another worthy engagement between APC Presidential candidate and critical stakeholders in Nasarawa State after similar events in Kano, Lagos and Niger States.
He also said Nasarawa is the home of huge solid mineral deposits that have remained untapped with attendant insecurity caused by illegal miners promising, Tinubu as next President of Nigeria would squarely address during his tenure
‘Tinubu is a man with untainted records of solving challenges. We are lucky he is ready to serve our country at this time,” said Lalong.
Also speaking at the session, APC National Chairman, Adamu charged Tinubu to get ready to lead Nigeria to the Promised Land. He re-echoed the position of President Muhammadu Buhari that all indicators and indications point to the fact that the APC Presidential candidate is the next President of Nigeria.
On mining opportunities in Nasarawa State, Adamu said his state is endowed.
“On mining sector, every local government in Nasarawa State has a solid mineral deposit. I can say this with authority as former Governor of this state and Chairman of Senate Committee on Solid Minerals. 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.