Tinubu laments poor governance, urges improvement at councils

President Bola Tinubu has again lamented the poor delivery of democracy dividends at the grassroots and called on state governors to prioritise the needs of local communities.

This, according to him, should be done by the governors by ensuring accountability and effectiveness in the administration of local governments.

President Tinubu made the call when he received the leadership of the Arewa Consultative Forum (ACF) at the Presidential Villa in Abuja yesterday.

He also spoke on out-of-school children, security, and the economy.

Noting the lack of attention for the grassroots, where he said the highest number of votes come from during elections, Tinubu said the ACF leadership should wade in by imploring governors to urgently pay attention to the needs of people in the councils.

Tinubu, in a statement by his Special Adviser(Media and Publicity) Ajuri Ngalale, said: “We are running a constitutional democracy. I will appeal to you to summon the governors. I am doing my very best to enhance the revenue base of the country. They must equally be sympathetic and urgently consider the needs of the local people.

“People reside in the local communities. That is where they work, farm, and live. If the local governments are not effective in delivering services; as leaders, we must not hang on to the numbers. We have 774 local government areas, but are they truly effective? Do they solve problems for Nigerians? Do they coordinate development programming with the state and federal governments?

“Who is being held accountable for the performance of the 774 local governments? Maybe we should look at recalibrating. What was good four years ago may not be good today. When we want the votes, we go to the locals; when we get the votes, we move to and focus on Abuja.”

Highlighting the significance of education in nation-building, the President described the situation of out-of-school children in parts of Nigeria as unacceptable.

“The question of out-of-school children is unacceptable. Education is a tool against poverty, and that is what brought many of us here. We must use our education to serve the people and improve their conditions. We must develop the backbone of Nigeria’s economy, which is the education system. We will collaborate with you on this intensively.

“We are still building Nigeria, and I am glad that you have emphasized the need for development. The infrastructure decay is unacceptable, and the level of poverty in the north is unacceptable. We must eliminate the source of these trends,” President Tinubu stated.

On security, President Tinubu commended the National Security Adviser, Mallam Nuhu Ribadu, for his efforts, saying: “Everybody wants to be secure, and we need to invest more in technology. We will do it, I promise you. We will put our heart and soul into ensuring that Nigeria is secure and its citizens are protected.”

“The AKK project, the dredging of the River Niger, and improving port access and infrastructure nationwide, in order to shorten travel time, will make us more prosperous as a nation. We have to fight insecurity so that people can make a decent living anywhere they live.”

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The President also addressed economic development and livestock management, saying: “Animal husbandry has been a huge problem for Nigeria. Dairy farms can grow our economy significantly.

“Talk to the governors and tell them to make more land available. Talk to herders to collaborate with the states. The lands are with the states. We are ready to put funds in place to help the herders. We can do it, and we will be able to do it. If the Brazilians and the Dutch are doing it, we can also do it.”

President Tinubu also used the occasion to appeal for national unity and continued support for his government as it solves decades-long challenges confronting the populace.

“As long as we are together, and we have to be together, there is strength in our diversity. Our strength and opportunity are built into our population. I thank the cabinet members for their efforts, but I will relieve any of them of their duties anytime I feel that they are failing Nigerians,” the President affirmed.

He directed the establishment of a committee to follow up on the issues raised at the meeting and assigned the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Senator George Akume, to lead the follow-up efforts.

“We must tick the boxes on all that we must quickly do,” President Tinubu said.

The leader of the delegation and Chairman, the Board of Trustees of ACF, Bashir Dalhatu, congratulated Tinubu on his first year in office and expressed the forum’s appreciation for his achievements and service to the country.

Dalhatu said: “Your Excellency may wish to recall the invitation extended to you, which you graciously honoured and which led to a robust interactive conference at the Arewa House on the 19th of October, 2022.

“We make bold to say that Your Excellency’s vigorous, firm, and credible commitments and assurances to Northerners, made at that meeting and during the course of your election campaign, proved to be a game-changer.”

Dalhatu said Northern Nigeria reposed strong trust and confidence in the President, adding: “Your tireless support for and collaboration with Northerners that helped many to win elections into various positions, including that of the presidency in the past, has consolidated the love and trust in the hearts of Northerners for you, as confirmed by the pattern of voting in the last presidential election.’’

The ACF applauded the President for prioritising the Sokoto-Badagry and the Trans-Saharan highways.

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