The specifics of President Bola Ahmed Tinubu’s Friday meeting with traditional chiefs have been made public.
According to Abiodun Oladunjoye, Director of Information to the President, Tinubu briefed the royal fathers during an interactive session organized by the National Council of Traditional Rulers of Nigeria (NCTRN) about his administration’s decision to end fuel subsidies, enhance security, create jobs, and protect the environment, as well as the impending election of the 10th National Assembly’s principal officers.
We are all listening. At any time, we are willing to hear. I pledge to conduct myself with an open door policy. I have an open door policy, so feel free to contact me with any questions or concerns.
On the decision to remove fuel subsidy, for which various speakers at the meeting expressed support, President Tinubu appealed to the traditional leaders to persuade Nigerians to have faith that fuel pump prices will eventually come down.
“I am grateful you are paying attention to what I have been doing. You have paid attention to the subsidy removal. Why should we, in good heart and sense, feed smugglers and be Father Christmas to neighbouring countries, even though they say not every day is Christmas?
“The elephant that was going to bring Nigeria to its knees is the subsidy. A country that cannot pay salaries, and we say we have the potential to encourage ourselves. I think we did the right thing,” he said.
While acknowledging concerns about the need for critical infrastructure in different parts of the country, President Tinubu pledged that any roadblock in the way of the progress of the Nigerian people would be removed by his government.
“The lamentations about the capital projects—where will the money come from if we don’t protect our resources and boundaries? You cannot have development without capital projects,” he added.
On the leadership of the 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 declared that he is ready to work with any elected representative from the National Assembly, stressing that the Nigeria project is paramount to him.
“Nigeria must survive. Nigeria must develop. Nigeria must make progress,” he said.
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 emphasised that the unity and togetherness of the country cannot be compromised, saying that every region of the country would get what it is due.
“We are going to tackle youth unemployment. Only when we have prosperity for the country can we create jobs to employ our youths,” he said.
Condemning crude oil theft in the Niger Delta region by a ‘tiny percentage’ of the population, President Tinubu said it was counterproductive to the economy’s growth.
“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.”
“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 said.
In 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 for 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 that 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 country’s development once you reach out to us,” the Sultan added.
The Ooni of Ife expressed delight that the country has remained united and focused despite the challenges.