President Bola Tinubu has assured Nigerians that the framework for palliatives to cushion the effects of fuel subsidy removal was being worked out, adding that the decision was in the best interest of the country, especially in guaranteeing future prosperity.
Tinubu stated this on Wednesday while receiving 18 governors who were his colleagues in 1999 (class of 1999 governors), at the Presidential Villa, Abuja.
The president, in a statement by his Special Adviser on Special Duties, Communication and Strategy, Dele Alake, appealed for more patience from Nigerians while the government speeds up the process to ensure a full-proof social security structure that will not be compromised.
“I understand that our people are suffering yet there can be no childbirth without pain. The joy of childbirth is the relief that comes after the pain. Nigeria is reborn already with fuel subsidy removal. It is a rebirth of the country for the largest number over a few smugglers.
“Please tell the people to be a little patient. The palliative is coming. I don’t want cash-transfer to fall into wrong hands. I know it pinches and it is difficult. In the end, we will rejoice in the prosperity of our country.
“We served as governors and sat in this council chamber. All I wanted was democracy and the salvation of the country. I never thought I was going to be here as president, but God Almighty has brought me,’’ Tinubu said.
The president assured the former governors and Nigerians that he will work towards “unity, equity, stability and prosperity of the country.’’
“My commitment to that democratic value is unwavering. I am overwhelmed and honoured by the numbers of you here.
“I have an open door policy. You are my advisers. We went into the pond and wrestled with a pig. We got dirty and cleaned up. That is why I am here today,” the president said.
Tinubu noted that the country will not make meaningful progress without fixing electricity, assuring that his administration will harness gas resources and explore every opportunity to ensure stable power generation and supply.
On security, the president, who had earlier met with Governor Babagana Zulum of Borno State to review the situation in the North East, appealed to Nigerians, especially people of Plateau State, to sheath their swords and use dialogue in resolving conflicts, adding that issues of borders were man-made, not created by God.
“We will do everything possible to stabilise the country,’’ he added.
The former governors, led by their chairman and former governor of Edo State, Lucky Igbinedion, urged the president to pursue his vision for a greater Nigeria with vigour, steadfastness, resilience and count on their support for development policies, promising to provide the necessary social structure for actualisation.
“We are here with you. We are your foot soldiers, and you can tap into our experience. You are a person who believes in Nigeria. With your good leadership, Nigeria will take its place,’’ Igbinedion said.
Igbinedion affirmed that they were 19 at the meeting, including Tinubu, who is a former governor of Lagos State, and Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF), George Akume, who is alao former governor of Benue State, adding that 10 members of their class had passed on.
Other former governors at the meeting wwere Otunba Niyi Adebayo, Ekiti State; Sen. Orji Uzor Kalu, Abia State; Sen. Sam Egwu, Ebonyi State; Adamu Muazu, Bauchi State; Donald Duke, Cross River State; James Ibori, Delta State; Obong Victor Attah, Akwa Ibom State,; Chimaroke Nnamani, Enugu State; Saminu Turaki, Jigawa State; Sen.Adamu Aliero, Kebbi State; Aremo Olusegun Osoba, Ogun State; Chief Adebisi Akande, Osun State; Sen. Joshua Dariye, Plateau Stat; Attahiru Bafarawa, Sokoto State; Ahmad Sani Yarima, Zamfara State and Rev. Jolly Nyame, Taraba State.