President Bola Ahmed Tinubu Friday in Paris revealed that the courage to remove subsidy from the get go came to him as he mounted the podium on May 29.
Tinubu noted that previous administrations lacked the courage to implement the policy but he received divine help to do the needful. He said his team didn’t include it in his inaugural speech, but he felt it was expedient to tackle it immediately.
“God gave me the opportunity when I danced around, strategised with my team, Wale Edun and co, we started debating, putting my speech together without the question on subsidy,” Tinubu told Nigerians in France during an interactive session.
“I got to the podium, I was possessed with courage and I said subsidy is gone.
“They thought it was a joke of the century until I called NNPCL Group Managing Director, Mele Kyari. We are tired of feeding smugglers, making few people rich and subsidising the next door neighbour.”
The president assured Nigerians of repositioning the education and health sectors, while the ongoing reforms on the economy will be sustained and expanded, with a view to relieving families struggling with the burden of poverty and insecurity.
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He added that the interest of Nigerians will always be protected, even in engagements with the international community, governments and multilateral institutions on global issues relating to climate change, energy transition, food security, trade, security and diplomacy.
“We have transport challenges, electricity challenges, infrastructural challenges and others. I let out the giant elephant of fuel subsidy without bringing down the house,’’ he said, adding, “Our diversity is our asset, if we know how to use it.’’
“We must promote unity and stability for all. Whether you voted for me during the elections, or not, I am your President. I will work on your behalf to ensure a turning point of prosperity,’’ the President told the gathering of professionals, including David Alaba, a footballer.
The President said he was presented with an option of meeting with a handful of Nigerians in France, but he preferred a larger number, pledging to be persistent, determined and focused on reforms for a better country.
Nigeria’s Ambassador to France, Kayode Laro, thanked the President for accepting the proposal for the meeting with Nigerians on short notice and tight schedule, while the Chairman of the Nigerians in Diaspora Commission, Abike Dabiri-Ereluwa introduced some of the experts in France.
“We have Nigerians who are doing great today among us. We also have the diaspora day and diaspora investment summit that provides opportunities for us to celebrate them, and attract new interests,’’ she said.
Emmanuel Iga, Abiodun Odunuga, Anino Elawa and many others commended the President for the great steps taken in three weeks to reposition the economy.
“You have shown we have a committed and competent leader. You are the first President of Nigeria, who has no godfather. You are your godfather. We are impressed with the removal of subsidy and streamlining of foreign exchange. We will wait for the palliatives,’’ Iga said.
Nigerians at the event assured President Tinubu of their full support for his progressive ideas.