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Tinubu To Ministers, Advisers: I Must Succeed By All Means, If You Can’t Perform You’ll Leave

He promised them a free hand to carry out their duties, and encouraged them to ask questions if in doubt.

President Bola Tinubu has emphasised the need for him to succeed by all means to deliver on the expectations of Nigerians who voted him into office.

He has, therefore, charged his ministers, advisers, aides and other government officials to help him in the realisation of the goal.

The President spoke Wednesday at the opening of a three-day retreat with the theme, “Delivering on the Renewed Hope Agenda,” organized for ministers, presidential aides, permanent secretaries, and top government officials at the State House, Abuja. 

President Tinubu declared that he would not spare any resources in his bid to successfully redeem Nigeria from its current state.

He also reminded all participants at the event that everything needed to lift the country are within government’s disposal.

According to him: “It’s our country, we have no other one, let’s be proud that we’re Nigerians and we can do it, you can show leadership. We can fight to make democracy a lasting reference for the rest of Africa.

“Don’t be afraid to take decisions, but don’t be antagonistic of your supervisor. If they are wrong, debate it. I stand before you and I have claimed several occasions and I’m saying today again, as the President I can make mistakes, point it to me, I will resolve that conflict, that error. Perfection is only that of God almighty.

“But you are there to help me succeed. Success, I must achieve, by all means necessary. We have great minds, great intellects and all that we need”.

The President also said he would not complain about the enormous task of piloting the country through economic and social recovery, saying he had accepted to inherit all the assets and liabilities of his predecessors.

Said he: “I accept the assets and liabilities of my predecessor, it is part of my professional background. You are in this ship, don’t wreck it. See the minister as part of a team that will navigate and take it out of troubled waters.

“Healthcare is priority, education is a must. No other weapon against poverty than education. You have the opportunity to change things.

“One of the key complaints of the German Chancellor and his delegation was… those obstacles are gone, never to come back again, we are open for business. This is why we have set up results”.

The President stressed the need for all public servants to work for the interest of the millions of Nigerians who elected the government, particularly the need to end corruption and pull not less than 50 million Nigerians out of poverty.

President Tinubu told the Ministers: “We are going through the reform, painfully, and we still have other challenges. Don’t be a clog in the wheel of Nigeria’s progress. Let us look forward. Let us be determined that corruption will go, progress will be achieved, better wages for our workers, and living wages.

“We will transform the economy to work for millions of our citizens. We must take 50 million people out of poverty. We must build healthcare that works for all. Look around. Don’t be wicked. Look at the standard of education, look at the classrooms, and look at the roads. We can only spend the money, we will find it, we cannot spend the people.

“No crime in borrowing. Thank you World Bank for being a lending friend, but let your achievement be homegrown. The determination that Nigeria can do it is here.

“If it had not started six months ago, we are here to switch off the light, make you included, and make all Nigerians included. Our path for tomorrow is charted for our children and grandchildren. Don’t be selfish about it. Poverty is not a shameful thing, it’s only unacceptable and we have to banish it because it’s unacceptable. Let’s work on other identifiable areas”.

The President also canvassed for unity among Nigerians, assuring that he is a President of all regardless of religious, ethnic, political or otherwise.

He charged the retreat participants to work towards a great Nigeria, reassuring them that a great Nigeria is possible and a greater Nigeria will come with their commitment, guidance and resolute to give the nation direction.

President Tinubu stressed that rebuilding Nigeria is a collective responsibility and called on the members of the Federal Executive Council to join hands with him to renew the foundation of the nation and give hope to the near-hopeless.

“It is our country we have to build it, we have to renew the foundation. We have to give hope to the near-hopeless. With strong determination, we have brought together the best brains, and the best hands to navigate the future of Nigeria. We can’t complain and give excuses”.

The President who emphasised that no one succeeds alone assured the top government functionaries of his support in the discharge of their duties reaffirming the need for all the participants to be determined and collaborate towards the achievement of the eight-point agenda of his administration.

His words: “A great Nigeria is possible and a greater Nigeria will come under our commitment, guidance and resolute determination to give the country a direction. I am with you and please be assured that this great country is one family in one house geographically located partitioned and living in different Rooms but we are one family.

“And we are here to make allegiance and give direction to that one family, making sure that relationship can only be stronger if we give hope to our people and can only achieve our vision with boldness and strong determination with collaboration”.

He charged civil servants to positively contribute to the success of the Renewed Hope Agenda, cautioning that they must not see political appointees as opportunists.

According to him: “I am here to assure you that I will work with you, the best brain we can put to get in civil service, the best brains that we can put together in our democratic parliament and has been chosen for us by the public.

“Don’t see the minister as an opportunist but a partner that you must take this ship forward. Navigate it through turbulent and clear weather. But you are in this ship, you will make good of it but not wreck it. 

“We are lucky we have a nation, the challenges are all over the world, you can see the chaos all around you, but be focused and be committed to the values and principles of results that will affect you, your neighbour and the entire nation”.

President Tinubu added that all participants at the three-day retreat will, among other things, sign the Ministerial Performance Bond, which will periodically be reviewed. 

The President also announced the establishment of the Result Delivery Unit (RDU), to be headed by his Special Adviser on Policy Coordination, Hadiza Bala-Usman,  to measure the performance of ministers and other top government officials serving in his administration.

He said all ministers and aides as well as other top government officials serving in the present administration would sign a bond of understanding with him to enable the government measure their performance with key indicators and reference to objectives of the Renewed Hope Agenda.

The President assured the Ministers that he would grant significant level of autonomy, provided that they demonstrate intellectual curiosity by asking questions about the reasons, methods, and timing of tasks assigned.

“At the end of this retreat, you’re going to sign a bond of understanding between you, the ministers, the permanent secretaries, and myself. If you are performing, nothing to fear; if you miss the objective, we’ll review; if there is no performance, you leave us.  No one is an island, and the buck stops on my desk.

“I assure you, you have a free hand. You must be intellectually inquisitive to ask how, why, when, and why it must be immediate. You have the responsibility to serve the people.

“I’ve taken a young lady very dynamic, Hadiza Balla Usman, to head that delivery unit. If you have any complaints about her, see me. If you’re ready to work with her, stay there. Delivery, yes! we must achieve it for the sake of millions of our people”, he said.

President Tinubu also explained that the evaluation of the officials will be across the eight priority areas of his administration which include food security, economic growth and development through job creation, and to end Poverty

Other focus areas include Inclusivity: Drawing on all Skills bass—To prominently feature women and youth in national activities; Security—To defend the nation from terror and all forms of criminality; Fairness and rule of law—To be impartial and govern according to the constitution and ensure the rule of law and Anti-Corruption Stance—To discourage corruption whilst strengthening the effectiveness and efficiency of various anti-corruption agencies.

Earlier in his welcome address, the Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF), Senator George Akume, while delivering the context setting, said the retreat will provide the opportunity to deepen the understanding of participants in best practices in conducting government business.

Akume also noted that the retreat will specifically the keep members abreast with essential government matters procurement, budgeting anti-corruption drive as well as exposing the executives to federal executive councils, roles of the Ministers and the Perm secretaries in managing Ministries.

“It will also discuss critical enablers for robust management of relationships with stakeholders of government relating to addressing any tasks and expectations of the President may highlight and direct”, the SGF further said.

Deji Elumoye in Abuja

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