A national leader of the All Progressives Congress, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, says Nigerians are tired of fasting, adding that the Federal Government must introduce a stimulus package rather than preaching austerity.
Tinubu said this at the 12th Bola Tinubu Colloquium held in commemoration of his 69th birthday in Kano on Monday.
Speaking at the event with the theme, ‘Our Common Bond, Our Common Wealth: The Imperative of National Cohesion for Growth and Prosperity,’ the former governor of Lagos said the United States had released a stimulus package of $1.9tn to its citizens and more was on the way, adding that such was the way to go.
He stated, “It is time to put stimulus in place. This is no time for austerity. I hope you listen carefully. This is not the time to constrain the economy. This is the time to create the opportunity.
“If you hear America spending $1.9tn and they are not looking back and they are still asking for $3tn for infrastructure and renewal and creating jobs and your own unemployment rate is 33 per cent and you ask us to keep on fasting. We are not fasting any more.
“We have been fasting for many years. I hope the National Assembly; I hope the President himself will not pay attention to austerity.”
He noted that the high rate of unemployment had made banditry and terrorism attractive to the youths.
He urged the Federal Government to recruit at least 50 million youths into the Nigerian Army to boost Nigeria’s fight against terrorism, banditry and all forms of internal and external security threats confronting the nation.
The APC leader said, “We are under-policed and we are competing with armed robbers and bandits to recruit from the youths who are unemployed – 33 per cent unemployed?” Recruit 50 million youths into the army.”
The APC chieftain, while reacting to statistics by the National Bureau of Statistics that over 23 million Nigerians are jobless, also urged the government to create jobs for youths in the agricultural value chains.
He said, “Don’t talk about illiteracy; anybody who can handle a gun, who can cock and shoot is technically competent to repair a tractor in the farm.”
The former Lagos State governor, however, saluted “very creative” youths in the country, saying, “They are angry, they are showing their anger, but we will appeal to them.”
Reacting to the recent rise in secessionist agitation, Tinubu said he chose Kano State as the venue of colloquium to prove to Nigerians that the Yoruba and Fulani people were united.
Tinubu, who is rumoured to be nursing a Presidential ambition, also made a veiled reference to the marriage of the daughter of Kano State Governor, Abdullahi Ganduje; to the son of the late Oyo State Governor, Abiola Ajimobi, which took place in Kano in 2018.
He said this showed the unity between people of different ethnic groups.
The APC leader said, “Why are we in Kano? It is to demonstrate to Nigerians at this critical time. It is because there is a Fulani man, a herder (man) who gave his daughter to a farmer, (a) Yoruba man… and some people are agitating wrongly.”
The former governor argued that if Nigeria broke into smaller countries, he would not be able to visit Kano without a visa.
Tinubu stated, “I was encouraged to spend a couple of days with my brother and in-law in Kano and demonstrate that he has not quarrelled with me, he has not seceded from Nigeria, I didn’t need a passport or visa to get to Kano; maybe others will have peace of conscience, live in peace and harmony and be loving to one another. That is what Ganduje and I are showing to Nigerians and that is the purpose of this colloquium, end of story.”