Presidential aspirant Bukola Saraki has pledged to resuscitate Ajaokuta Steel Company, the country’s vast but moribund iron milling complex.
The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) top shot also promised to revamp the agriculture sector if elected Nigeria’s president in 2023.
Mr Saraki, a former president of the Nigerian Senate made the pledges when he met party delegates in Lokoja, the Kogi State capital on Sunday, to seek their support for his ambition to govern the country.
”In the first one year of my government, resolving the issue of Ajaokuta will be our number one priority because it is crucial to Nigeria’s economy,” said Mr Saraki, “as well as mining and agricultural sectors.
”These are the sectors that could easily help our local industries to grow, our economy is too dependent on oil which is not too good for us.
”So, steel will be my social contract with Nigeria if I am elected as president.”
Mr Saraki that he would concentrate more on the non-oil sector, which according to him, is key to boosting the economy and creating job opportunities.
”I did not see why it should take seven years to resolve the Ajaokuta issue. As president, I will take charge, bring all the parties together, come up with a lasting solution and Ajaokuta will be running,” he said.
On security issues, Mr Saraki said it had been of great concern to Nigerians, stressing the need to ensure that new professionalism was brought into the process, provide the necessary equipment, proper training and accountability.
”With the 21st century, you cannot tell me that we cannot use technology to curb insecurity our country is currently facing.
”We believe that security is a priority and definitely we will end banditry, we will also ensure we put an end to kidnappings through technology and intelligence sharing, and more importantly we must professionalise the security agencies,” Mr Saraki stressed.
Mr Saraki, a two term Governor of Kwara State, is the only PDP presidential aspirant from the North Central.
While appealing to the delegates to cast their votes for him in the PDP presidential primary, Mr Saraki noted that the North-Central zone has not produced a president since 1999.
”Today, we are so close to history. I am asking us to support an aspirant who has the capacity and the most experienced among other aspirants to rule this country.
”My national delegates, let us go and make history; I am a bridge between the north and the south; Muslim and Christian; and between the young and the old.
”Every office I have occupied I have left it better as I met it from two term governor to senate and as Senate President,” he asserted.