All Progressives Congress (APC) stalwart Asiwaju Bola Tinubu yesterday said herdsmen attacks on farmers festered because past administrations did not deal decisively with the problem.
He said the crisis had assumed dimensions that troubled the body politic because it had not been addressed.
“Now, the current administration is moving to arrest the lethal situation,” Tinubu said.
The former Lagos State governor, who spoke at the 15th Annual Daily Trust dialogue, believes that the nomadic way of life is fast becoming obsolete.
According to him, large scale nomadic practice does not belong in this day and age.
“Thus, herders have no right to cling to this way of life by killing others. Government must stop their violence but also offer them a viable new way of life by moving them toward more modern, non-nomadic cattle rearing,” he said.
Tinubu, who spoke on the theme: Nigeria and the Challenges of 2019: This is not a game, was represented by one-time Lagos State Commissioner for Finance Mr Wale Edun.
President Muhammadu Buhari was represented by Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF) Boss Mustapha. There were key speakers, such as former Jigawa State Governor Sule Lamido and the representative of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Prince Soyebi, among other eminent Nigerians.
The APC chieftain described the crisis as “evil”, which did not suddenly appear as Nigerians have been “living and dying with this lethal situation for many years”.
“We should have been agitating in this manner five, 10, 15 years ago. Lives would have been saved. For reasons I cannot completely fathom, we have come late to the point of strong, collective outrage at this bloodletting.
“Yet, all in all, late is better than never in this regard. This spirit of compassion and care must be enshrined in our political culture because it is integral to national greatness and democratic progress.
“True patriotism requires that you love more than the concept of Nigeria. You must love the people who comprise this nation, whether they worship in a church, mosque, and shrine or not at all.”
Tinubu believes too much political and economic power resides in the hands of too few, resulting in unemployment, inadequate infrastructure, too little food and too much poverty.
“For the debate needed on how best to tackle these structural problems, 2019 must not be a game between players similar in every way save the political party costume they wear.
“The election to come must be a contest of different visions for the nation’s present and future.
“As a progressive, I believe we must transform the nation by embarking on deep and impactful reforms, by creating more jobs, providing social policy initiatives and building an infrastructure befitting a leading nation.
“Social services must become a reality close at hand and not a vague dream lying in the distance,” he said.
Tinubu called for a reform of the fuel subsidy regime, saying it causes more problems than it cures.
“It sweetly profits the elite who manipulate the programme to their own advantage. We need to allow market forces to more directly determine price.
“We need to open the now closed market to more suppliers. In this way, we may better harmonise supply and demand, where they do the most sustainable economic good,” he said.
Tinubu advocated a repair of the social safety net in the interest of old people, whom he believes are shortchanged and forced to live in penury despite their past labours.
He noted that longstanding arrears of pension payments and retirement benefits to public sector workers remain outstanding.
“I maintain the unshakeable belief that smart, progressive governance can bring prosperity, tranquility and justice,” he said.
The frontline politician and strategist praised the Federal Government for successfully beating Boko Haram into a retreat, and for progress made in the fight against corruption.
“As progress is being made on these fronts, Nigeria also must face its biggest structural problem: our imbalanced economy and the poverty and misery it has caused,” Tinubu said.
Ahead of next year’s election, Tinubu said the battle waged during one election cycle was not enough.
“Curing the ills that plague our house will require many years of outstanding governance,” he said.
According to him, it is imperative for Nigerians not to allow “politics as usual” to claim the 2019 election season.
“We must insist on the principle that elections do not return to being games played by well-heeled elite while the rest of the nation is left to struggle and starve.
“The people must resist all appeals to unthinking passions and old prejudices. We must adhere to what our conscience reveals as the best path to good governance for all.
“For me, that path has always been a progressive one that harks to the need to materially transform the power relationships upon which this political economy is based,” he said.
Tinubu would like to see a national industrial policy that will create jobs, a national infrastructure plan, economic stimulants, accessibility of credit, government-backed home mortgage system, and a return to commodity exchange boards so farmers can secure good prices and hedge against loss.
“To achieve better levels of overall governance, we need to re-balance the duties between federal and state governments by giving states more power, authority and resources.
“The challenge we face leading into 2019 is not to fall backward in governance and development as we move forward in time. Reform and change are difficult because they are always and everywhere resisted by those who benefit from the old order.
“But we must insist on a better life for our people. As such, the electoral politics of 2019 cannot be played as if a game that has no end other than itself.
“Here again, we must insist on politics having a nobler and larger goal than just registering certain people into the fraternity of officeholders. People must not only aspire and hold office; they must seek to govern prudently from that office,” Tinubu said