By BENJAMIN OMOIKE
Nigeria is moving through phases of recovery, President Bola Ahmed Tinubu said on Wednesday, noting that the difficulties currently facing the country is part of the pains of ongoing reforms to set the nation on the path of economic stability.
The President said his resolve to address the contemporary challenges slowing down the nation’s growth remained unshaken, just as he stressed there would be light at the end of the tunnel for the country.
Tinubu spoke at Lagos State Government’s House in Marina, where he had a meeting with political leadership and traditional rulers in the State.
Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu received the President in company of members of his cabinet, National Assembly members from Lagos, House of Assembly members, and chairmen of Local Government Areas.
Nigeria, the President admitted, is challenged at various fronts, but added the country would come out of the difficult moment at the fullness of his administration’s economic reforms.
Tinubu likened the current situation to labour ward pain, which would be overturned by the joy of a successful delivery.
He said there had been a record of positive transformations trailing his policies, passing a vote of confidence on his economic team.
He said: “Nigeria is challenged as it has always been, but we will go through it. We are already seeing the blossoming of our current efforts. We have embarked on reforms and lots of changes that will transform this economy. Financial engineering of our country is ongoing; we cannot just push the policies out in a command and control manner. But we are determined to take Nigeria out of the tunnel to a new hope, stability and sustainable economic prosperity.
“Nigeria is in good hands. My team is reliable and we are working to deliver the results. We have to take the baby steps, so that we won’t break the bones. We are working hard and I am sure the result will manifest itself for the goodness of our country. We recognise the hardship people are going through, but this is a good example of labour pain. When mothers hear the noise of the newborn, the relief is achieved and they forget their agonies. I assure that we will work hard to give Nigerians the best economy and leadership.”
Sanwo-Olu shared the President’s optimism on economic recovery, pointing out that Tinubu’s economic team had been working round the clock to restructure the economy and set the country on the path of growth.
The Governor said Tinubu’s audacious approach to governance had raised the hope of the people and confirmed the President’s resolve to tackle the challenges.
He pledged Lagos Government’s support and commitment to Renewed Hope agenda of the Federal Government, expressing the hope that the country would come out better after the storm.
Sanwo-Olu said: “This difficult time is not peculiar to our country; there has been economic shakeup across the world. But the President has hit the ground running from his first day in office. This audacity has raised our hope that the President will take the country out of the woods. We are in the middle of a storm, after which the country will come out stronger and better.
“That President Tinubu is the right man for this tough job of repositioning our country in the right direction is never in doubt. We are solidly behind you, Mr. President, for the reforms you have started and the progress you expect. We are proud of the successes you’ve achieved within the first six months of your tenure. This is a sign of the progress we will see under your leadership.”
The Governor assured President Tinubu that his vision for Lagos’ development remained on track, stressing the Lagos Metropolitan Area Transport Authority (LAMATA) created by the Tinubu administration in Lagos had been the leading agency changing the city’s landscape through implementation of development master plan conceived by Tinubu decades back.
Tinubu commended Sanwo-Olu, his Deputy, Dr. Obafemi Hamzat, and Speaker of Lagos House of Assembly, Rt. Hon. Mudashiru Obasa, for holding forth and committing themselves to progressive values.
The President also acknowledged Sanwo-Olu’s “result-oriented approach” to turn around Lagos, while creating opportunities out of challenges.
Tinubu said: “What I see in Lagos today is the result-oriented approach in a team to turn the ship around from cascading into turbulence and make it steady. Governing Lagos is not easy for you, but we went through it. Today, Lagos is the most viable State in Nigeria.”
Oba of Lagos, Oba Rilwanu Akiolu, described Tinubu’s as “a pride of Lagos”, noting that the President made history as first indigene of Lagos to occupy Aso Rock.
Represented by Oba Kabiru Shotobi, Ayangburen of Ikorodu, Akiolu urged Tinubu to work for the mass and birth a new country that would be habitable for all citizens, regardless of their status.
The monarch used the occasion to raise the longstanding demand for a special status for Lagos.
Obasa urged the President to stop the assault on legislature in some parts of the country, noting the ugly incidents of assault on legislative chambers in some states were a stain on the fabric of democracy in the country.
“Mr. President, you are a complete democrat and anything that will stain your reputation should be addressed. The idea of removing the roofs of the House of Assembly, demolition and blocking the House of Assembly as seen in some parts of the country should be looked into. The independence of the legislature must be established and sustained,” Obasa said.
The President, Governor and participants of the meeting observed one-minute silence in honour of Ondo State Governor, Arakunrin Rotimi Akeredolu, SAN, who died in the early hours of Wednesday in Lagos, following a prolonged battle with an illness.