A Presidential aspirant on the platform of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Dr Ibrahim Bello Dauda has said that if elected he will make the Ajaokuta steel project the backbone of his industrialization agenda for Nigeria.
He made this known while speaking to newsmen on Friday in Lokoja on the state of the nation and his hope for the future.
Dauda who is a former coordinator of the Buhari Support Organization (BSO), said his multivaried professional background, particularly in management consultancy and years of experience in practical politics has given him exceptional insight into Nigeria’s industrialization needs and challenges.
He said while successive Nigerian governments have made policy declarations on the project, none of them had the political will and economic competence to walk the talk.
He said, “Steel production is bedrock of any real and sustainable industrialization drive. And industrialization is the only way to break Nigeria over dependence on oil and make it an export oriented economy.
“With steel production we can compete with other industrialized advanced economies in the world. So if we must diversify to create jobs and increase revenue, we must embark on large scale industrialization which is based on steel production.
“We can see the role steel production plays in the economic advacement of Europe. We see how these countries are producing cars, ships, armaments and their likes. Steel can also be seeing in the making of large scale industrial equipments used in the manufacturing sector and even in service delivery.
“So steel production will make Nigeria to be reckoned with as a global power. So we need to revive the Ajaokuta steel project and build the requisite connecting infrastructure that will benefit our existing industries and transform them to world class standards. It will also lead to new innovations and large scale production.
Dauda who said zoning is not in the constitution of Nigeria and the APC, added that is government will focus on entrepreurial develoment, by transformating and emowering existing institutions of governments including the National Directorate of Employment (NDE).
“Majority of our youths will be trained and their energies will be redirected towards the private sector and we are going to remove most of the red tapes and bottlenecks in accessing funding.
“We are going to do a lot in liberalizing and opening up the economy in such a way that the common average Nigerian have the opportunity as long as you have an idea without the need to bribe your way, or to look for a God father. All you need as a Nigerian is to have a positive idea of what you want to do and the government will create the enabling environment and the support, infrastructure and facility.
“Not only to train them but to give them the equipment and set them up. And then we are going to do what the African countries have refused to do. The entrepreneurs will produce goods and services to be added into the pool of what we have in the market. The government will take charge of setting up commodity and exchange centers, so that whatever these young men and women produce will be taken up by the government and we are going to open the equivalent of what is known as China town, call it Nigerian town in strategic areas in different countries and the government will take it upon itself to market those products .
“We are going to take it over from there, move it to countries where we feel we have a very good trade and bilateral agreement. Open up a Nigerian own mall and market those products, Dauda stated.