All Progressives Congress, APC, presidential candidate, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, has assured Muslim leaders in the country that he will offer fair and just leadership to all Nigerians if elected president.
Tinubu gave the assurance in a town hall meeting with Muslim leaders from the North West geopolitical zone in Kano on Tuesday.
The APC candidate urged the religious leaders to ensure that they preached unity and harmony among their followers rather than division and disunity, saying that was the only way the nation could experience development.
He said: “Religious leaders like you are agents of harmony and hope, not division and disunity. All well-meaning Nigerians, regardless of political affiliation, must join hands against violence, hunger, ignorance and bigotry.
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“We all must live together. No one has the right to try to lord over the other. Allah stands against such injustice. And where Allah stands, all bad things must fall. Mean-spirited politicians – those thinking only of themselves or those who think they mean more than the nation itself – will go to great lengths to deceive or recruit eminent persons to unknowingly preach division and hatred.
“They cannot win with the truth. So, they will try to win with a lie. But a lie never wins in the end. Those they cannot beat with honesty, they seek to beat them with untruth and falsity. They want to turn servants of God into preachers of division and hateful sentiment.”
Speaking further, Tinubu told the Muslim leaders that he had demonstrated a sense of unity and oneness in all his campaigns and would continue to do so.
Tinubu pledged to conduct himself in public office on the values and ideals of fairness and justice, adding that he would always speak about facts and truths, policies and programmes.
On expectations from him if elected president, he reminded the faith leaders of his record as Lagos State governor.
Tinubu said: “I promise to be a fair and just leader. This pledge is based on the Islamic teachings on leadership. A leader in a plural society is enjoined to be a leader for all. If elected, I shall govern in harmony with our nation’s democratic Constitution.
“More than that. I shall tackle this nation’s problems with a commitment to solving them. I say this not as a boast. I say it based on my record. As Lagos governor, I assembled perhaps the most diverse team by any state government. That team was based on competence, not tribal this or regional that. It was not based on the attire one wore or the accent one spoke with, but on the quality of one’s ideas and contributions to society.
“If given the chance by Almighty Allah, I will operate in the same spirit of inclusiveness and innovation in order to renew the hope of our people. My highest priorities shall be the protection of our land and prosperity of its people.”
He further dwelt on his plans for the economy, promising to make security, making the economy one of widely shared prosperity and agriculture the three pillars of his government.
“Regarding security, my policy is not an artificial created to sound good for this campaign. My security policy is based on dedicated study and long conversations with experts in this field. This is the same approach I used to tackle the bad security situation that faced me when I became governor of Lagos. I created programmes and institutions to solve the real and dangerous challenges Lagos faced,” he said.
“We shall increase security personnel and better equip them. Advanced air and ground surveillance technology will identify, track and attack the criminals until they are utterly defeated. As we fight terror and crime, we shall also attack poverty, hunger and the despair they cause, ” he added.
On the economy, he said: “My plan is to turn this economy into a more robust and broad economy where those who want work can find a good job. We will revive the manufacturing and textile sectors in Kano and elsewhere by reforming tax and import policies to create jobs for our people. These policies will also produce the goods and services that improve the daily lives of the average person.
“We all should find it unacceptable that Kano is no longer the manufacturing hub it once was. My policies will do more than revive it. It will expand it beyond what it once was to make it what it should be.
“As I said during the commissioning of the Kolmani oil wells, we will invest in that project and indeed all vital infrastructural projects such as the Mambilla Power Project, the AKK gas pipeline projects. We shall revive our inland waterways through the dredging of the River Niger and make sure we cut down on our steel import bill by making the Ajaokuta Steel Company work.”
He added, “Regarding agriculture, we will increase food security through enhanced productivity and improved farm incomes. Farming will be adequately returned to its prominent position. To strengthen our social fabric and guarantee the future, massive investment in education will ensure that we nourish and guide our youth toward better lives.”
The APC standard-bearer also promised to provide a lasting solution to the almajiri challenge by appointing a special commission to work towards that.
That, he said, was expedient because “every child has the right to an education. It is a social wrong to see them roam the streets or drop out due to poverty.”
Jigawa and Kano state governors -Muhammad Badaru Abubakar and Dr Abdullahi Umar Ganduje – respectively, described Asiwaju Tinubu as a visionary person who is trustworthy.
Badaru also stated that Tinubu was physically and mentally healthy, contrary to mischievous insinuations.
“People spread fake news about his health status. We that are with him know that he is very healthy. Aside bodily health, he has very high mental alertness,” he said.
The Jigawa governor recounted how he joined Tinubu on a recent trip to London and Saudi Arabia where they had the stressful lesser hajj ritual and came back to Nigeria without having any rest.
He said Asiwaju “has deep respect for our people and we have found in him a dependable friend who will not shame us, by the grace of God”.
Ganduje said religious leaders had a role to play in choosing political leadership in the light of their role as guardians of the society.
“As people who are after the wellbeing of the society, you have every reason to be interested in who leads the people to greater prosperity,” he said.
He added that Tinubu had over the years demonstrated that he was a fair leader who was not driven by ethnic sentiments.
Some Muslim leaders who spoke at the occasion including Ustaz Aminu Aliyu Gusau, Sheikh Dr Khalid Aliyu Abubakar, Malam Tijani Imam Kano, among others declared support for Tinubu.