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Tinubu To Royal Fathers: Tell Your Subjects Interested In National Assembly Leadership To Manage Their Ambitions 

“Summon our ambitious people that want to be officers of the house, that we have only two chairs; Senate President and Speaker. If there are six people struggling in the same environment, they will choke.”

Nigeria President Bola Tinubu has asked traditional rulers across the country to join him in the efforts to ensure that democracy is properly managed, with regards to the incoming 10th National Assembly.

The President was speaking Friday at an interactive session with royal fathers, on the platform of the National Council of Traditional Rulers of Nigeria (NCTRN), at the State House, Abuja.

President Tinubu, who took time to listen to the monarchs, also thanked them for standing by him and appealed to them to help government secure the understanding of the people at the grassroots over the removal of fuel subsidy, saying it was the elephant that was going to force the nation to its knees.

On the leadership of the next National Assembly, the President urged the royal fathers to counsel their subjects interested in elective positions on the need to manage their ambitions, and create harmony within the legislative house. 

President Tinubu expressed his readiness to work with any elected representative from the National Assembly, stressing that the Nigerian project is of paramount importance to him. 

He said: “Equally, that takes me to the leadership of the National Assembly. We have democracy that we must manage, I need your help in managing that democracy. Summon our ambitious people that want to be officers of the house, that we have only two chairs; Senate President, one chair, the Speaker, one chair. If there are six people struggling in the same environment, they will choke.

“So it’s only through your counsel, your responses to them that we can harmonise this and take off very well. To me, I can work with anyone, but the Nigerian project is of paramount importance to me, that’s why I’m here. Nigeria must survive, Nigeria must develop, Nigeria must make progress”.

Commenting on government’s decision to remove fuel subsidy, for which various speakers at the meeting expressed support, the President appealed to the traditional leaders to persuade Nigerians to have faith and that the pump prices of fuel will eventually come down. 

“You paid attention to what I’ve been doing, I’m grateful. You paid attention to the subsidy removal. Why should we, in good sense, in good heart feed smugglers, be a Father Christmas to the neighbouring countries, even though they say not every day is Christmas?

“So the elephant that was going to bring Nigeria to its knees is the subsidy, a country that cannot pay salaries and you say potentials. We encourage ourselves. I think we did the right thing.

“It’s in your hands as the closest people to the local government, to the grassroots, to persuade our people to have the understanding that the price will be high now, but it will go down and any roadblocks on the way to our progress, we’ll remove it, I pledge.

On security, the President reiterated his pledge to Nigerians to prioritise the sector until every Nigerian “goes to sleep with their two eyes closed”. 

He stressed that the unity and togetherness of the country cannot be compromised, saying  every region of the country would get what it is due. 

“We are going to tackle youth unemployment. It is only when we have the prosperity for the country that we can create jobs that will employ our youths”.

Condemning crude oil theft in the Niger Delta region by a ‘tiny percentage’ of the population, President Tinubu said it was counterproductive to the growth of the economy. 

According to him: “We need to tame those involved in this sabotage and we will work as hard as possible to ensure that the diversity of this country is used for its prosperity, growth and stability”.

The President stressed that with the campaigns and elections over, he is primed for governance, and his government has already signed a law that extends the retirement age of judicial officers from 65 to 70 years, while also addressing pension reforms.  

Also speaking on electricity, President Tinubu said a constitutional amendment signed into law now allows the nation’s 36 States to generate electricity. 

His words: “That’s devolution of power and that should be our contribution to the developmental projects you are looking for and we will continue in ways that will help our people”.

He assured the traditional rulers in the country that his administration will run an open-door policy that is ready to listen to the yearnings of Nigerians toward transforming the country’s rich potentials to reality.

Said he: “We are all ears. We are ready to listen at any given time. I promise you an open-door policy and that is the way I will go.

“That open-door policy is for you to call me and send to me at any given time any concern that you might have.

“We may not have it right 100 per cent of the time but we must get it right 90 per cent of the time for this country”.

Responding to issues raised by the monarchs on challenges facing the country, President Tinubu assured them, saying “worry not because the country is in good hands” adding that his administration is very conscious of the expectations of Nigerians. 

While acknowledging concerns on the need for critical infrastructure in different parts of the country, the President assured that any road block on the way of the progress of the Nigerian people would be removed by his government. 

“The lamentations about the capital projects, where is the money going to come from if we don’t protect our resources and our boundaries? You cannot have development without capital projects”, he added. 

President Tinubu thanked the royal fathers for their early visit and prayers for the success of his administration. 

“Without your prayers and support, I cannot stand before you as President and I thank you for your support during the campaigns”, he said. 

Earlier in their separate remarks, the Chairman and Co-Chairman of NCTRN, the Sultan of Sokoto, Alhaji Muhammad Saad Abubakar, and Ooni of Ife, Oba Adeyeye Ogunwusi, pledged the support and loyalty of traditional rulers from the six geo-political zones to President Tinubu.

They assured the President of their continued prayers in his resolve to move the country forward under his Renewed Hope agenda. 

“We are 100 per cent in support of your government and we believe in the will of the Almighty Allah you will move this country forward,’’ the Sultan said, while congratulating him and Vice President Kashim Shettima on their election victory, peaceful transition and assumption of office. 

“We will contribute our quota to the development of the country once you reach out to us”, he added. 

On his part, the Ooni of Ife expressed delight that the country has remained united and focused despite the challenges. 

Recounting that the President had said he deserves no pity from anyone because he asked for the job, the Imperial Majesty appealed to President Tinubu not to underestimate the power and reach of traditional rulers in complementing the programmes and visions of the new government. 

The traditional ruler, who is also the co-chair of traditional rulers of Nigeria, said “There are areas we will like to work with you, one of which is security. It is time to use us the more, we are not saying we are idle…but to make your work easier use us.

“The foundation of this country today are the traditional rulers. We are here to pledge our loyalty and support.  We want to work with you to ensure you leave a legacy.

“Don’t underestimate what traditional rulers can do”, he said.

The President and his deputy listened to presentations from representatives from the six geo-political zones, including Shehu of Borno, Alhaji Ibn Umar Al Amin El-kanemi; Obi of Onitsha, Igwe Alfred Achebe; Emir of Kano, Alhaji Aminu Ado Bayero; Amanayabo of Nembe, Edmund Daukoru;  Tor Tiv,  Prof. James Ayatse; and Deji of Akure, Oba Aladetoyinbo Aladelusi.

Deji Elumoye in Abuja

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