President Bola Tinubu Friday in Paris–France 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.
In an interactive session with members of the Nigerian community living in France, who lauded President Tinubu for taking bold, decisive and visionary steps in fixing the economy, the Nigerian leader said more creative and innovative policies will be unfolded and implemented in areas that directly impact the livelihood of Nigerians, like electricity sports and energy.
“To all of you, our hope is renewed,’’ he said, welcoming a plethora of suggestions going forward for the economy, and explaining some of the short-term and long-term framework for providing growth opportunities for individuals, families and institutions.
President Tinubu said 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.
President Tinubu explained that the fuel subsidy was a “scam” and disincentive to growth as it rewarded smugglers and reduced the burden of cost of the commodity for some countries.
He said the Special Adviser on Monetary Policy, Wale Edun and Special Adviser on Special Duties, Communication and Strategy, Dele Alake, had excluded fuel subsidy removal in his inaugural speech, but he felt it was expedient to stop the subsidy on the first day.
“It was the next day I called the GMD of NNPlc,’’ he said.
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.
Prof 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.