President Bola Tinubu has described the petrol subsidy which he cancelled on 29 May as the big elephant that was capable of destroying Nigeria.
Tinubu spoke today at an interactive session with members of the National Council of Traditional Rulers of Nigeria (NCTRN) in Abuja.
“Why should we in good heart and sense, feed smugglers and be Father Christmas to neighbouring countries?
‘‘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 potentials to encourage ourselves. I think we did the right thing,’’ he said.
While appealing to the traditional leaders to persuade Nigerians to have faith, he gave an assurance that the pump prices of fuel would eventually come down.
‘‘I am grateful that you are paying attention to what I have been doing. You have paid attention to the subsidy removal.
He told the monarchs that his administration would run an open-door policy that listens in order to transform the country’s rich potentials to reality.
He also spoke on the major programme of his administration, such as security, jobs creation, enabling business environment and election of National Assembly principal officers.
‘‘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,’’ he said.
While acknowledging concerns on the need for critical infrastructure in different parts of the country, Tinubu pledged that any road block on the way of the progress of the country would be removed.
‘‘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.
On the leadership of the National Assembly, the President urged the Royal Fathers to counsel their subjects on the need to manage their ambitions and create harmony within the legislative house.
Tinubu said he was ready to work with any elected representative, stressing that the Nigeria project was of paramount importance to him.
On security, the President reiterated his pledge to prioritise the sector until Nigerians “go to sleep with their two eyes closed.’’
He said that the unity of the country could not be compromised, adding that 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.’’
He decried crude oil theft in the Niger Delta region by a ‘tiny percentage’ of the population, adding that it was counterproductive to the economy.
“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.’’
Tinubu told the traditional rulers he was primed for governance now the campaigns and elections were over.
On electricity, the President said a constitutional amendment signed into law now allows Nigeria’s 36 States to generate electricity.
“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.
Tinubu thanked members of NCTRN for their early visit and prayers for the success of his administration.
The NCTRN Chairman and Co-Chairman, the Sultan of Sokoto, Alhaji Muhammad Saad Abubakar, and Ooni of Ife, Oba Adeyeye Ogunwusi, pledged the support of members from the six geo-political zones.
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.
“We will contribute our quota to the development of the country once you reach out to us,’’ the Sultan said.
The Ooni of Ife expressed delight that the country had remained united and focused in spite of its challenges.
He urged the President to explore the reach of traditional rulers in complementing the programmes and visions of the new government.
Members of the NCTRN at the interactive sessions include Shehu of Borno, Alhaji Ibn Umar Al Amin El-kanemi; Obi of Onitsha, Igwe Alfred Achebe and Emir of Kano, Alhaji Aminu Ado Bayero.
Others are Amanayabo of Nembe, Edmund Daukoru; Tor Tiv, Prof. James Ayatse; and Deji of Akure, Oba Aladetoyinbo Aladelusi.(