From Fred Itua, Abuja
Moves by the Middlebelt region to produce the next President received a boost at the weekend as the Paramount ruler of Tiv Kingdom, and chairman, Benue traditional council, Begha U Tiv, Professor James Ayatse, anointed an All Progressives Congress (APC) presidential aspirant, Moses Ayom, to run in the 2023 election.
The Tor Tiv and the entire Council of first-class chiefs in Tiv land, gave their ancestral blessings when Ayom was presented to them in Gboko, Benue State by the council of Imams and Bishops.
In his remarks, the Tor Tiv expressed happiness about the steps so far taken by Ayom towards the actualisation of his presidential ambition.
He also promised to offer his support as much as is permissible under the ambit of the law to the presidential aspirant.
Ayom, who is the first member of APC to declare for the Presidency ahead of the 2023 general election, unveiled his plans on the first day of January 2022, after he received support from Interfaith Clerics in the middle Middlebelt including the council of Imams and Bishops.
The Council of Imams and Bishops in presenting the presidential aspirant to the Tor Tiv and his council extolled the virtues of Ayom as a youthful, industrious and detribalised Nigerian who has proven his mettle through his antecedents in business and nation-building efforts.
Making a case for the middle belt region to produce the next president of Nigeria, they identified the region as the only one that has neither produced a democratic president nor vice president since the advent of democratic rule in Nigeria.
The Muslim clerics also appealed for other Muslim aspirants in the race to respect the long age culture of rotating the presidency between Christians and Muslims and allow a Christian to emerge after President Muhammadu Buhari.
The presidential aspirant stressed the need to reverse the negative trends in Nigeria’s socio-economic development noting that the country has all the natural and human resources to guarantee a good life for every Nigerian, lead Africa and play big in the top league of the advanced world economies.
According to him, ‘Nigeria requires a sound leader; one that is committed to stimulating inclusive economic growth, technological innovation, and entrepreneurship that creates jobs and increases the standard of living for every Nigerian. A leader that is religiously committed to the promotion of justice, equity, and representation to give all entities in this country a practical stake and deep and heartfelt sense of inclusion as well as prioritising competence in public service where governance is seen as a tool for the service of all rather than an avenue for political patronage.’
As a first significant step towards reviving the economy, Ayom said his presidency ‘would implement initiatives that would help turn the South East region into the Gwanzhou manufacturing hub of Africa and support locally produced goods with tax incentives.
‘We would encourage the manufacture and use of Made-in-Nigeria goods. As president, I would drive Innoson vehicles and make it mandatory for government agencies to follow suit. According to the World Bank, over 85 million Nigerians representing 43 per cent of our population, don’t have access to grid electricity. The lack of reliable power is a significant constraint for both citizens and businesses. The World Bank estimate that we record annual economic losses estimated at $26.2 billion (10.1 trillion) which is equivalent to about two per cent of GDP,’ he said.
The presidential aspirant also briefed the traditional rulers about his vast experience in the mining industry, a feat he noted promoted his recognition internationally.
Ayom cited the example of how his trip with President Buhari to China alongside other key industrialists prompted a landmark partnership between his company, Granite and Marble Ltd and SBM China Ltd with massive potential to transform Nigeria’s mining sector was initiated.
He explained that the deal provided for the construction and equipping of the largest mining plant in Africa.
Ayom said the actualisation of this partnership will lead to the creation of jobs, wealth, and inclusive growth for millions of Nigerians.
‘The CBN later granted my company Granite and Marble, a N1 billion naira facility under its Real Sector Support Facility (RSSF) intervention to get things started. Ismaila ISA FUNTUA, a great philanthropist, and a patriotic Nigerian facilitated the whole process. As a president I will immortalise him,’ he added
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