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President Tinubu tells Arewa, “Governors responsible for Accountability”

Abuja, May 31, 2024 — President Bola Tinubu has made a strong appeal to the governors of Northern Nigeria to take responsibility for the region’s high levels of poverty and to improve the effectiveness of local governments. During a meeting with the Arewa Consultative Forum (ACF) at the Presidential Villa in Abuja, President Tinubu emphasized the need for accountable and effective local governance.

“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 they must urgently consider the needs of the local people,” President Tinubu stated.

The President highlighted the critical role that local governments play in the daily lives of Nigerians. He questioned the effectiveness of the 774 local government areas in Nigeria, stressing that they should be more accountable and better coordinated with state and federal governments to address the needs of the populace.

“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?” Tinubu asked.

He also called for a review of local government performance, suggesting that what worked in the past might not be effective today. The President pointed out the discrepancy between politicians seeking grassroots support during elections and then focusing on Abuja once in office.

In addition to governance, President Tinubu addressed the critical issue of education, particularly the alarming number of out-of-school children in Northern Nigeria. He described the situation as unacceptable and stressed the importance of education in combating poverty.

“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,” he said.

On security, Tinubu praised the efforts of National Security Adviser Mallam Nuhu Ribadu and pledged to invest more in technology to enhance security across the country. “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.”

President Tinubu also discussed economic development, specifically focusing on animal husbandry and its potential to boost Nigeria’s economy. He urged governors to allocate more land for dairy farming and called for better collaboration with herders.

“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,” the President said.

In a call for national unity, President Tinubu emphasized the strength in Nigeria’s diversity and appealed for continued support for his government. He also warned that he would not hesitate to relieve any cabinet member of their duties if they were not performing.

“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,” he affirmed.

The President directed the establishment of a committee to follow up on the issues raised during the meeting, assigning the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Senator George Akume, to lead these efforts.

The leader of the ACF delegation, Barrister Bashir Dalhatu, congratulated President Tinubu on his first year in office and expressed the Forum’s appreciation for his achievements and service to the country. He reiterated the strong trust and confidence that Northern Nigeria places in the President, highlighting his efforts in prioritizing funding for agriculture and education and maintaining good relations with Nigeria’s neighbors.

Dalhatu concluded by expressing hope for greater efforts to alleviate the economic and social challenges facing Northern Nigeria.

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