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Subsidy Removal: Tinubu Directs National Executive Council To Come Up With Interventions 

Governors rally support for subsidy removal, other policies of new govt

President Bola Tinubu has directed the National Economic Council (NEC) led by Vice President Kashim Shettima to commence the process of working on intervention initiatives to ameliorate the impact of fuel subsidy removal on the citizenry. 

Governor Dapo Abiodun of Ogun State, who disclosed this to newsmen on Wednesday after leading members of Depot and Petroleum Products Marketers Association of Nigeria (DAPPMAN) and Major Oil Marketers Association of Nigeria (MOMAN), on courtesy visit to the President

He said the President has asked the NEC led by the Vice President to swing into action and come up with necessary interventions to mitigate hardship associated with petroleum subsidy removal.

He noted that President Tinubu’s action showed his determination and courage to remove the hermorage that had bedeviled the country for decades.

The governor said that while there would be some discomfort on the part of the people, the move would eventually pay off as there can be no gains without pains.

Commenting on the issue of government’s interventions to ease the hardship streaming from the removal of fuel subsidy, Abiodun said President Tinubu instructed a coordinated approach between government, through the NEC and the economic team, and petroleum marketers to structure out a wholesome intervention.

His words: “Mr President has announced today that NEC should immediately begin to sit, led by His Excellency, the Vice President, Senator Kashim Shettima, and the committee of NEC, alongside with the economic team and the marketers should sit down and come up with a wholesome approach that will be beneficial to the common man and the generality of Nigerians.

“In completeness, like I said, whatever it is we do today, be it minimum wage increase, be it transport allowance, be it the provision of any form of intervention, are only stopgaps, what we need to begin to look at is energy transition for the whole country, where we haven’t appreciate the fact that we can no longer power our vehicles with either diesel at the prices or with petrol.

“We need to begin to look at what obtains in other countries like Egypt that’s, right here on the continent, where they have converted all their mass transit to run on CNG. In some other countries, their vehicles are running on either CNG or running on electricity.

“These will be what will be sustainable that will allow us to transport people, goods and services at prices that are reasonable. That is the kind of thing that we are looking at, the kind of discussions that we’re having with Mr President and the kind of approach that this administration looking at in terms of sustainability”.

Meanwhile, the 36 state governors on Wednesday at a meeting with the President expressed strong support for his decision to end fuel subsidy payments in the country and other early policy initiatives of the administration.

According to a statement issued by State House Director of Information, Mr Abiodun Oladunjoye, said the President  had earlier called on the governors to collaborate with the Federal Government in tackling the menace of poverty in the country, saying the level of impoverishment was unacceptable. 

The President advised the political leaders to downplay their differences and jointly focus on alleviating the sufferings and pains of the people.

“We can see the effects of poverty on the faces of our people. Poverty is not hereditary, it is from the society. Our position is to eliminate poverty. Set aside partisan politics, we are here to deliberate about Nigeria and nation-building,’’ he said.

President Tinubu stated that the nation should be seen as one big family.

According to him: “We are a family occupying one house, and sleeping in different rooms. If we see it that way and push forward, we will get our people out of poverty. A determined mind is a fertile ground for delivering on results”.

The President said good governance would safeguard the future of democracy.

“Present in this room is our diversity in culture and politics, but we are one nation. The unity and stability of the country rest upon us.

“We are in a democracy and we have to nurture the democracy. It is a hard-earned system and not easy to manage. If anyone thinks it is easy, look at other nations who are over a hundred years in democracy.

“We have managed ourselves very well to have a democracy. We have campaigned and arrived at our present destination. We must work for our people,’’ President Tinubu told the governors, while assuring them that he would maintain an open-door policy.

The President said he was prepared to share ideas, strengthen institutions, and create bottom-up frameworks that will improve the livelihood of Nigerians.

“What do we do in the face of crushing poverty? What do we do with our development goals? We took the bull by the horns by removing the elephant in the room, before the nation sinks. 

“We need synergy to fight other vices like corruption. We are trying to get smugglers out of the way. How do we work together to galvanize the economy, and put resources in place. We must think and perform.

“After removing subsidy, there must be savings accruing to the Federation Account,’’ he noted. 

President Tinubu said the education sector must be improved as part of efforts to reduce poverty and penury, saying “how do we address the unacceptable level of poverty? How much are we investing in education, which is the only tool against poverty? I am ready to collaborate with you.’’

He also drew attention to the security problems in some states, admonishing the governors that all efforts should be put in place to tackle the security situation, without thinking it’s only for those facing it.

The governors, who took turns to speak when the President hosted members of the Nigerian Governors’ Forum (NGF), led by its chairman, AbdulRahman AbdulRazaq of Kwara State, at the State House, expressed happiness with the President’s subsidy-removal decision, all-inclusive leadership and statesmanship.

They congratulated President Tinubu for tackling the fuel subsidy behemoth, promising to work with him to ameliorate the short-term impact of the decision.

NGF Chairman  and Governor of Kwara State, AbdulRasaq, thanked the President for the invitation to deliberate on the challenges of poverty and security, promising that the governors would support the Federal Government in meeting the targets of human development.

“The NGF will follow the tradition of working constitutionally and harmoniously with you,’’ he said.

The governors made suggestions, highlighting the plight of citizens in their states, assuring the President of their support in proffering solutions through the National Economic Council.

The meeting, which was attended by Vice President Kashim Shettima and new Secretary to the Government of the Federation George Akume, had 22 governors and two deputy governors from Edo and Niger States, in attendance. Those present at the NGF’s maiden meeting with President Tinubu include the governors Dauda Lawal (Zamfara), Abba Yusuf (Kano), Agbu Kefas (Taraba), Yahaya Bello (Kogi), Dapo Abiodun (Ogun), Abdullahi Sule (Nasarawa), Douye Diri (Bayelsa), Ahmadu Fintiri (Adamawa), Francis Nwifuru (Ebonyi), Babajide Sanwo-Olu (Lagos), Siminalayi Fubara (Rivers), Ademola Adeleke (Osun), Umar Namadi (Jigawa), Rev. Ft. Hyacinth Alia (Benue), Sheriff Oborevwori (Delta), Peter Mbah (Enugu), Seyi Makinde (Oyo), Caleb Mutfwang (Plateau), Nasiru Idris (Kebbi), Alex Otti (Abia), Hope Uzodinma (Imo), and Bala Mohammed (Bauchi).

The deputy governors of Edo, Philip Shaibu and that of Niger, Yakubu Garba, represented their states at the meeting.

Those conspicuously absent at the meeting were governors of Dikko Radda (Katsina), Uba Sani (Kaduna), Inuwa Yahaya (Gombe), Professor Babagana Zulum (Borno), Bassey Otu (Cross River), Umo Eno (Akwa Ibom), Professor Charles Soludo (Anambra), Biodun Oyebanji (Ekiti), Rotimi Akeredolu (Ondo), Mai Mala Buni (Yobe) and Ahmad Aliyu (Sokoto).

Deji Elumoye in Abuja 

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