- Tasks Tinubu to revive Ajaokuta Steel Rolling Mills for economic diversification
From Noah Ebije, Kaduna
The Bishop of Diocese of Kaduna, Anglican Communion, Timothy Yahaya, has blasted political leaders over the recent completion and commissioning of the Dangote refinery in Lagos, saying that what a whole country cannot achieve, an individual has achieved, only for the nation’s leaders to play politics with oil, the mainstay of the country’s economy to the detriment of over 200 million population.
Dangote refinery is owned by the Kano-born business mogul, Aliko Dangote, and it was commissioned early last month by the immediate past President Muhammadu Buhari.
Bishop Yahaya who fielded questions from Reporters on Sunday at the end of a 3-day Synod of the church said the nation’s leaders should bury their heads in shame for failing to provide such huge functional economic value and benefits to the teaming population of the country over the years.
The theme of the third session of the 22nd Synod was titled, “The God of Restoration”.
However, the Anglican Cleric tasked President Bola Ahmed Tinubu to as a matter of reality, declare a state of emergency in Ajaokuta Steel Rolling Mills, saying that it was high time the nation’s economy was diversified to stop overdependence on the oil sector.
He described Ajaokuta Steel Rolling Mills in Kogi State as a Diamond Mine that has been neglected for several years, adding that a lot of people will be lifted out of poverty if the Mills are revived to boost the economy.
“Another thing that I must talk about is that if Dangote can build a refinery, a world-class refinery, the biggest of its kinds in the world, it is a shame to the leaders of this country. Do you mean an individual can do what 200 million people cannot do? And today fuel has become politics in our country. The reality of what is happening in the oil sector can only be imagined, the rot and corruption in that sector, only God can deliver this country.
“We want to see a situation whereby if you want to revive the economy we must talk about Ajaokuta Steel Rolling Mills, which is a diamond mine that we have neglected in this country. And you know the triple effect of Ajaokuta Steel Rolling Mills? A lot of people will be lifted out of poverty. Apart from that, another agenda for this new administration is agriculture, any nation that cannot feed itself can never progress.
“When I say agriculture I don’t mean political agriculture. The Anchor Borrowers’ money, I make bold to say that it did not reach farmers. It was shared among politicians, 80 or 90 per cent of the money went to the politicians. We know what we are talking about, we are talking about nationalism and patriotism. When we talk of agriculture, we want to go to the market and see a bag of rice for N5000 because rice is actually produced in Nigeria. We also talk about the value chain of agriculture, not just producing raw materials and then importing finishing products.
“Apart from this, human capital development is through education, look at our schools today, every parent except he is not financially empowered he is ashamed to take his children to the school he graduated from before. The people leading us today went to government schools, went to unity schools, went to federal schools, went public schools. Let’s be sincere, even you journalists, are you proud to take your children to government schools? That is why today most Corpers cannot write essays, they cannot defend the certificate they have. In this nation that means the future is not there. If you joke with education, you joke with the future of this country.
“Again another agenda is national unity, this country has been divided along tribal and religious lines to the point that whatever you are saying is very sincere, your religion counts in what you are saying, your ethnicity counts in what you are saying. If you want to help this country, let me say it very clearly, we must think Nigeria, act Nigeria and behave like Rwanda. In Rwanda today, everybody is a Rwandee. When they are filling out forms they fill as Rwandas. Even in the government circle, we promote these sectional differences. What has your religion got to do with what you are going to deliver, what has your tribe got to do with what you are going deliver?
“These issues are very serious issues that are dividing us. They are entrenched in the system to continue to divide us. And I want to plead that the debts this country has taken are enough. This country has reached enough. And we need to ask ourselves what is the Rwandan model. We need to ask ourselves what did Lee Kuan did in Singapore to turn the story of his country into the great story of the world.
“Another agenda for this country is to say finally, the fight against corruption must not be about fighting political opponents. Anybody that is corrupt is corrupt. And corruption is the big monster we have. Our own corruption is a senior brother to corruption. And what is the senior brother to corruption?, it is greed. When you somebody stealing trillions, you ask yourself, that man, does he not need to go to a psychiatric hospital? Because how many years are we going to live in this life? What are we going to do with that amount of stupendous wealth? So this is the agenda this Synod have for this new government.
“This is the third session of the 22nd Synod of the Diocese of Kaduna Anglican Communion. We believe there is hope for Nigeria. This is just what we have done for the past three days. My advice to the new administration in the country is that security should be number one on the agenda. No security nothing can function in any nation. When there is security, foreign investors will come, and even domestic investors will have confidence in their own country. Secondly, the president must ensure that the economy of this country is not politically diversified, but diversified in reality. I have my reasons for saying this; politicians heat up the politics, talking about things people don’t see on the ground, when you say roads are built, you don’t need to tell us. We will tell you that you have built roads because we can see the roads,” Bishop Yahaya said.