By NBF News

Alhaji Bamanga Tukur, erstwhile Governor of the defunct Gongola State, member of the Board of Trustees of the ruling People's  Democratic Party, PDP, Chairman of African Peer Review Mechanism, Africa Business Roundtable is a top flight businessman who came to national attention as the General Manger of the Nigerian Ports Authority in the mid seventies.

Now one of the leading candidates for the office of the national chairman of the PDP, Tukur in an interview he speaks on recent national issues including the formation of the federal cabinet and the solution to the job crisis.

What is your impression of President Jonathan's new cabinet

You can see that the team is strong with obvious highfliers who will help the President in delivering on his numerous promises to the nation. I am very impressed with the marching order by the President to the Ministers who have virtually hit the road running even as they moved into office in batches. This is a sign of his great concern for the immediate transformation of the economic and socio political life of the nation.

Are you impressed by the two-day retreat for the new Ministers?

The retreat was a thoughtful move which will not only fast track the learning process for those of them who have not been Ministers before. The quality of the presenters at the retreat was very high and this helped the Ministers to get straight into the business of governance. The President used the timely retreat to roll out his vision for the country and the new administration.

Your party, PDP has appointed a new Acting National Chairman. What is your take on this?

Alhaji Baraje performed very well as the National Secretary of the party and his elevation to the Acting Chairmanship position is politically correct. He will steer the ship in the right direction along with his colleagues in the National Working Committee most of who are dedicated party men. I am also sure that they will give the President one hundred per cent support as the acknowledged leader of the party.

What do you think should be the focus of the new administration?

I agree with his no point agenda, but he knows that people will judge him on what he does with power, security, job creation and his contribution to fighting corruption. As you know the international community is very interested in what he does concerning the fight against corruption as Angela Markel stressed during her recent one day visit last week. They will give him maximum support depending on his zeal in fighting corruption which you know has reached endemic proportions.

What do you think the President should do to create jobs?

The answer in one sentence is Agriculture, Agriculture, and Agriculture. Look at it this way. If the 36 state governments mount a serious agriculture offensive, they can create farm settlements in their regions by producing what each state is good at. The East can concentrate on palm produce; North can face groundnuts, cotton, hides and skin, onions, yam, rice etc, etc. The West is good with cocoa. The Governors can return to the First Republic and study the pattern of political economy across the four regions and get the answer to tackle unemployment.

I am very enthusiastic about agriculture being the short and long term answer to job creation not only in Nigeria but across Africa. My recent speech at the University of Port Harcourt was based on Agriculture as the remedy for job creation in Nigeria. First we achieve food security, second our youths get the ultimate empowerment and you see an end to youth restiveness. Oil revenue has blinded us from seeking growth in non-oil export and consequently poor internally generated revenue for states and local governments. We must embrace agriculture and get out of poverty.

Why exactly do you want to be the PDP chairman?
I want to bring back the vision of the founding fathers of which I was one and return the party into its cohesive best and enable it play the critical role expected of it in transforming Nigeria into a great country in line with Vision 20-20-20.