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‘I Have No Excuses To Underperform’: Tinubu Seeks Private Sector’s Support To Make Nigeria Prosperous 

While breaking fast with entrepreneurs, Tinubu said, “If the private sector is not flourishing, there is no growth, no prosperity…”

President Bola Ahmed Tinubu, on Thursday night, told the corporate Nigeria that he had no excuses to underperform because he campaigned for the job of the president of the country.

He, however, declared that Nigeria’s economy was at a turning point and would require the steadfast support of the private sector for sustained growth and prosperity.

In yet another meeting on Thursday, the president also disclosed that his administration was working round the clock to bring the nation’s inflation rate down to a manageable level.

Speaking during Iftar at the State House, Abuja, with members of the Nigerian business community, the president expressed gratitude for their support and pledged to engage with them more frequently.

He said, “I have no reason to underperform as the elected President of the country because I campaigned for the job. I cannot complain about the job. I appreciate the gesture, and what you have told me this evening is very inspiring. 

“Cut the costs. Fix the bends. Summon courage. Save the money, but push the economy. We will be there. There are some countries that have failed. There are some countries that have succeeded. In our time, in my time, all of us must work together to succeed. Thank you very much.”

Laying the template for discussion, the president said, “I would have summoned you before now, not during Ramadan, because you are a very valuable part of my constituency. 

”There is no driver of the economy that is bigger than the private sector. If the private sector is not flourishing, there is no growth, no prosperity, no employment or development. No matter how flowery the speeches are, not even a mushroom will grow. 

”Thank you for persevering. We are at a turning point in our economy. I do not have to do a quadratic equation to illustrate all of that to you. I just want to appreciate you for your endurance and perseverance.”

He reiterated his commitment to fulfilling his mandate, emphasising that he could not afford to underperform, given the trust placed in him by the electorate.

Sharing insights from his visit to the New York Stock Exchange in 2023, the president  noted Nigeria’s self-belief and determination to drive economic transformation from within. 

According to him, “At the New York Stock Exchange, I appealed to foreign investors to consider Nigeria as a prime investment destination.

“At the end of my remarks, I told them we only want them to show their face and diversify Nigeria’s economy not as if we cannot do it ourselves.

“Tony Elumelu walked up to me and thanked me for making that statement. We can do it. 

Nigeria is a self-believer and can always deliver on its own. We know our first name and our last name. Our first name is: Spirit, and our last name is: Can do.”

Earlier, in separate remarks at the Ramadan dinner, industrialists, bank executives, and entrepreneurs pledged their support towards the success of the administration’s economic programmes. 

Chairman of Heirs Holdings, Mr.  Tony Elumelu assured the president that the Organised Private Sector (OPS) in the country is solidly behind him.

“Your transformation journey to turn around the economy and businesses are very appropriate for the country. 

“We appreciate what you are doing. We know the journey will not be smooth, but given the will, we will get to the Promised Land. 

“We admire your decisiveness, and we appreciate what you are doing. You are extremely passionate about taking Nigeria to the Promised Land.  

“On behalf of the OPS, we want to assure you that we are 100 percent with you. We have engaged with your ministers and associates; we share ideas, and we support them. We know that under your leadership, you have the ability to heal Nigeria permanently,” Elumelu said.

Chief Executive Officer, Air Peace, Allen Onyema, charged business owners and manufacturers to work towards bringing down the cost of products and services.

Citing the example of Air Peace in reducing the cost of air tickets to London, Onyema thanked President Tinubu for improving the ease of doing business in the country. 

”President Tinubu is thinking of the Nigeria of the future. The ease of doing business is coming back gradually. I can attest to that in the aviation sector because of the people you appointed to head that sector. 

”I can also attest to what our High Commission in the United Kingdom did in making Air Peace flights into Gatwick Airport a possibility,” he said. 

Pharmacist and founder of Emzor Pharmaceutical Company, Dr Stella Okoli, on her part, urged the president to look into providing more support for the pharmaceutical industry in the country to make it self-sufficient and self-financing. 

Hosting members of the APC Presidential Campaign Council and the Independent Campaign Council to Iftar at the State House in Abuja, Tinubu said, “The economy is looking much better. 

“Yes, we have challenges of inflation, but we will bring it down. When the exchange rate was going haywire, it looked like we were asleep, but we worked on it diligently, and it is going down; it is getting better. 

“Borrowing was higher a year ago, but today, we are reengineering the financial landscape, and our revenue is expanding. And we are taking up our sovereignty and earning our respect back in the comity of nations.”

The president added that the future of the Nigerian child was going to be brighter as the path to take them out of poverty had been cleared with his signing into law of the Student Loans Re-enactment Bill.

According to him, “The only thing that can fight poverty is education. Today, I signed the bill for the Student Loan Scheme. Imagine the children of the poor; what about people going through the mud, fishing in the ponds? 

“How do you tell their children that their future will be brighter? It is only through education that we can fight poverty. A promising future awaits our children.”

 Acknowledging members of the PCC and ICC for their rigorous efforts toward his election, Tinubu said, “It is your footwork and footprints that made me the President. I campaigned on hope, and you promised Nigerians hope and a good result when campaigning for me. 

“There are a lot of expectations. I, therefore, have to work hard for it. There is a windy road we are traveling on. We have to navigate carefully. Otherwise, one ends up in the bush, and that is all I have been focused on.

“It is your effort, resourcefulness, and dedication that has brought us here. The results will not come suddenly, you have endured the campaign, you must endure more.

“I assure you that a very bright light beckons for you and your children. Nigeria will prosper, and we will all reap the benefits. We will work with determination and persistence.”

While urging citizens to continue to have faith in Nigeria by supporting his administration to succeed for the benefit of all, the president  noted that, “Europe and America did not get to where they are today in one day, but through persistence and hard work, which takes time and consistent focus.

“Pray for Nigeria, think Nigeria. This is not play time. Let us believe in ourselves. We must ask questions. What is happening to our solid minerals?  No rival wants you to be bigger than them. We must be dogged. We have to sort out our problem ourselves,” the President said.

Earlier, Vice-President Kashim Shettima, Senate President Godswill Akpabio, Director-General of the defunct PCC, Senator Simon Lalong, and the Director-General of the defunct ICC,  thanked the supporters for their perseverance, assuring them that the president had not forgotten all their efforts and would not disappoint them.

Meanwhile, Shettima has said innovation was essential to attaining Nigeria’s dream of becoming one of the top countries in the world.

He urged Nigerians to bring up innovative ideas and actions to advance the ongoing transformation agenda in the country.

Speaking at the third i-FAIR cohorts graduation ceremony of the nine-month mentorship programme for budding innovators and entrepreneurs on Thursday in Abuja, he implored Nigerians to support the Israel-Nigeria Innovation Fellowship for Aspiring Inventors and Researchers (i-FAIR) initiative to advance the transformation agenda in the country.

Shettima, who was represented by the Special Adviser to the President on Economic Affairs in the Office of the Vice-President, Mr Tope Fasua, commended the graduands for boosting the Nigerian population efforts to achieve the transformation agenda of the federal government.

“We live in a kinetically dynamic and digital world, where we are seeing today’s reality and tomorrow’s innovation by power of technology, Artificial Intelligence (AI), machine learning, internet and others.

“We commend the Innov8Hub for what it has been doing so far amongst our youth and the innovative at heart. We have seen numerous innovative display, many of which have been commercialised and are having impact on Nigeria and beyond.

“We believe this is merely the beginning, I appeal to all and sundry to show maximal support to the idea behind the hub, as it is indeed transformative. Our very survival in a fast paced world depends on it.”

The Ambassador of Israel to Nigeria, Michael Freeman, said the programme comprised twelve components spanning health, climate change, and agriculture, and embodies the spirit of innovation and resilience.

“I-FAIR was established by the Israeli embassy in collaboration with the Nigerian government; this initiative epitomises the collaboration and innovation pivotal to the Israel-Nigeria relationship.

“President Bola Tinubu’s Renewed Hope agenda resonates deeply with the ethos of the i-FAIR programme in championing empowerment, growth, and prosperity for Nigeria. 

“This is with a focus on nurturing the talents of our youth, this programme aligns seamlessly with President Tinubu’s vision of propelling Nigeria towards excellence, notably in digital economy where job creation is paramount.”

Minister of Foreign Affairs, Ambassador Yusuf Tuggar, represented by Ambassador Bolaji Akinremi, Director, Economic, Trade and Investment at the ministry,  traced  the success of the programme to the partnership between Israel and Nigeria.

“This is evidence of innovation. We have no doubt this government and the administration standout as the most innovative government Nigeria ever had.

“It is pertinent to mention that the idea of I-FAIR is predicated on the need to overcome domestic challenges with innovative made in-Nigeria solutions tailored around inspiring Nigeria to become a start-up nation,” Tuggar said.

Minister of Communication, Innovation and Digital Economy, Dr Bosun Tijani, said it was important to prioritise transformation agenda to achieve meaningful growth.

“We must prioritise the complete deployment of fibre active network which Nigeria must achieve in the next two-three years and we have backing of the President,” he said.

Deji Elumoye and Michael Olugbode

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