Northerners ‘ve embraced restructuring — Atiku

People’s Democratic Party presidential candidate Atiku Abubakar has said that the governors of the North and the North in general have embraced his idea of ​​restructuring, unlike in the past when they opposed it.

Atiku said restructuring simply means giving states more powers and responsibilities while running individual programs in their respective states.

The presidential candidate made the remarks while appearing in Kaduna on Saturday as a guest of the Arewa Joint Committee’s interactive sessions alongside other presidential candidates.

The former vice president explained that part of his government’s agenda is to boost revenues and taxes, thereby moving away from an oil-based economy, by making agriculture the top priority, by giving the North the support it wants.

He explained: “When I first started campaigning for restructuring in 2004, I had a very strong opposition from the north; today the governors of the north have committed themselves and the people of the north to restructuring.

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“This means giving states more power and responsibility to own their funding to run their own individual programs in their respective states. It doesn’t mean you get less of what you will get. But it just means more responsibility in terms of governance.

“So what can we do to ensure that we wean ourselves off our dependency on oil? Agriculture is the top priority. I want to make sure the North gets the widest possible support so we can reinvent our agriculture.”

Referring to SMEs, Atiku further explained: “They provide prosperity and employment for the country’s low-income earners.

“I can give you an example that I have always given. I have a micro-standard financial bank that’s one of the best in the country today and pretty much only empowers women. As a result, in my state, we have lifted 45,000 families out of poverty into a state of prosperity. All are women.

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“I have proposed that we allocate $10 billion to support our young entrepreneurs who leave school before they can start their own business. There is something very important, which is to make sure that entrepreneurship is part of our curriculum,” he added.

Speaking of education, he noted that despite the degree, his educational institution in Yola teaches every student the necessary entrepreneurial skills.

“If you attended my university in Yola, whether you study law, engineering or science, you must study entrepreneurship. It’s a compulsory subject. Because when you come out, you don’t have to look for a job. We want you to create jobs for both yourself and others instead.

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“And then of course the repositioning of our education system throughout Northern Nigeria, there was no break. Those of you my age or older than me can attest to that.”

He told the gathering about his passion for education, his optimism for unity, peace and security.

“I have a passion for education, which is why I have an educational facility that I call Cradle to Grave. I have a kindergarten, kindergarten, elementary school, high school and university all in one place.

“So for me, education is fundamental. It’s non-negotiable. I am an optimist and I believe we can band together and do it together and take Northern Nigeria or the Northern States to a greater level of prosperity, peace, security and unity.”


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