President Bola Tinubu, on Thursday, promised to permanently change the country’s ugly story of poverty, insecurity, and underdevelopment, saying Nigeria has no business being in such situations.
Tinubu spoke at State House, Abuja, when he received in audience a 62-man delegation of leaders from Rivers State, who were on a courtesy visit to him. He vowed to work hard with purpose, determination, and dedication to reverse the current unpleasant socio-economic trend in the country and achieve possibilities.
The president added that Nigerians, unlike the postulation of his predecessor, Muhammadu Buhari, were not a lazy people. He said he was focused on creating wealth for all Nigerians.
The delegation comprised leaders from both All Progressives Congress (APC), which controls the federal government, and Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) that governs Rivers State.
According to a release by his media adviser, Chief Ajuri Ngelale, Tinubu told the Rivers delegation, “We are not meant to be in a position to be poor. We will turn the tide! Somewhere, somehow in this storm, there’s a quiet and peaceful place for us. We will locate it.
“We are not lazy people. We are richly endowed. We just need to be our brother’s keeper, and good neighbours to one another. I am not a president that will give excuses. I will work hard for our nation with purpose, determination and dedication to create wealth for all Nigerians. We have no reason to be poor! We will not look back, we will run aggressively forward.
“Today, we may be swimming against the tide. But the waves will soon propel us forward from behind. We will achieve the goals and dreams of our forefathers. I am inspired by the nation of people I now lead.”
Advising the younger generation to be more patient with the processes of government, Tinubu said, “I am the captain and chief salesman of the country. We have to reverse the trend and achieve possibilities within a short period of time. Our people have high expectations for us. I pledge to work hard, and I pray to God to put me on the right path, not to disappoint Nigerians.”
Tinubu said after being blessed with enormous human capacity and natural resource wealth, neither Rivers nor Nigeria had any business being associated with poverty, insecurity or under-development. He assured the people that under his leadership, the narrative would be changed permanently and positively.
He pledged the commitment of his administration to the reconstruction of the Eleme axis of the East-West Road, stating that he has heard the cries of prominent Rivers sons and daughters, particularly, with regard to the Eleme Junction-Onne axis of the East-West Road, linking the Port Harcourt Refinery.
The president said Minister of Federal Capital Territory (FCT), an indigene of Rivers State and immediate past governor of the srare, Nyesom Wike, was a strong adviser, and he would follow up on the East-West Road reconstruction issue for prompt action.
According to Tinubu, “The Honourable Minister, Wike, is not just the Minister of FCT, he is also my adviser and an admirer of mine.
He has hit the ground running and he should be encouraged by the state.”
The president said Wike had left big shoes for the current Rivers State Governor, Siminalayi Fubara, to fill and Wike, being one of his most trusted allies, Rivers State would always have direct access to him in their joint march toward sustainable development.
Earlier, Fubara told the president that the delegation, which included leaders of political parties and past and present members of the state and national assemblies across party lines, was on a solidarity and thank you visit.
The governor said, “The people of Rivers State voted for you in the last general election based on their belief in fairness, equity and justice.
This is the first time that Rivers State is truly feeling the impact of the federal government since the inception of democracy in 1999.”
The governor noted that the delegation greatly appreciated the president for appointing capable sons and daughters of the state into highly strategic positions within his administration.
Fubara particularly thanked the president for the appointments of Wike and Ngelale, as well as other sons and daughters of the state into the Boards and Management of the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) and other institutions.
He hailed the president for attracting a $14 billion dollars investment approval for projects nationwide during the G-20 Summit, including the expansion of Indorama Petrochemicals in Eleme, Rivers State. He said the state had just allocated 209 hectares of land in support of the new investment.
Speaking with newsmen after the meeting, a member of the delegation and former President of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA), Chief Joseph Okocha, said the team came to thank the president for appointing Rivers indigenes into his government. He said included in their demands “was the state of the East-West Road, leading to the refinery, and we did mention that that will enhance the movement of petroleum products when the Port Harcourt Refinery comes on stream.”