President Bola Tinubu has said though there is poverty and suffering in the country, Nigeria is not the only nation facing such situation, and cautioned criminals against vandalism of rail tracks, and stealing of electric cables, describing such acts as pure sabotage

He also said that good economics at a harsh time was the challenge his administration must face, adding that no matter how difficult and how challenging it could be, he would not turn his back on Nigeria.

President Tinubu, who spoke in Lagos when he received a delegation from the National Assembly who came to felicitate with him on the occasion of Eid-el-Kabir, on Monday night, urged citizens to embrace a new value system to make progress.

The president’s comment that Nigeria was not the only country facing poverty elicited criticisms from former Vice President, Atiku Abubakar, and the Labour Party, LP, who said he was elected to tackle, instead of amplifying poverty, and should stop making excuses for allegedly inflicting multidimensional poverty on Nigerians.

Suffering in the land

Said Tinubu: “Yes, there is poverty; there is suffering in the land. We are not the only people facing such but we must face our challenges. We must find a way to eliminate banditry and terrorism so that farmers can bring out food from the farmlands.

“If you do not have good roads to bring the food to the population, even if you grow the food and you are losing 60-70 per cent to damage, you will pay the price. “

President Tinubu contended that Nigerians must have a change of value system if the nation is to make progress.

The delegation, led by the President of the Senate, Senator Godswill Akpabio, included the Deputy Senate President, Senator Jibrin Barau; and Deputy Speaker of the House of Representatives, Hon Benjamin Kalu, among others.

“Good economics at a harsh time is the challenge that we must face. As I said in my speech, no matter how difficult it is and how challenging it can be, I will not turn my back on Nigeria,” the President stated, and challenged citizens to have a change of mindset about Nigeria for the nation to overcome her current challenges.

“The need (for some citizens) to change the rent-seeking mindset and become more productive to the economy is a challenge.

‘’There is need to stop smuggling and all economic sabotage. Why should we have people removing rail tracks and all that, stealing electric cables and sabotaging the economy? We must embrace the campaign to change our value system.

“We must tell our people that the challenge we face is for all of us to change our mindset about our country,” President Tinubu said.

He commended the leadership of the National Assembly for the support extended to his administration, which has resulted in some of the important developments recorded by it.

“It is great pride for me to have the best of partners in the National Assembly. We have to drill down and be all-inclusive in our bid to satisfy our people. It is daunting, but we cannot run away from the fact that this country must survive the hardship,” the President stated.

Speaking with journalists after the meeting, Senate President, Godswill Akpabio, said he came with the leadership of the National Assembly to pay homage and felicitate with the President on the occasion of Eid-el-Kabir and to thank him for the purposeful leadership in the first year of his administration.

On what Nigerians should expect from the legislature in the days ahead, Akpabio said: “Looking forward, the National Assembly will tinker with some existing legislation to further improve on the nation’s ease of doing business.”

After meeting with the leadership of the National Assembly, the President proceeded to a meeting with the Oba of Lagos, His Royal Majesty, Oba Rilwan Akiolu.

Stop mocking poor Nigerians, LP tells Tinubu

Reacting, the LP expressed disappointment with President Tinubu’s statement which it described as making mockery of Nigeria’s poor.

National Publicity Secretary of the party, Obiora Ifoh, in a chat with journalists, said the President needs to be reminded that he was elected into office to reduce, if not eliminate poverty, and not exacerbate it.

Ifoh said: “We are disappointed but not surprised by the comments made by President Bola Tinubu about the excruciating poverty his administration’s policies have unleashed on Nigerians since he took office over a year ago.

“It was to say the least disheartening to hear Mr. President mock his citizens by saying Nigerians are not the only ones facing poverty.

“Assuming but not conceding that what he said is true, Nigerians who are at the receiving end of his harsh economic policies don’t need to be reminded about the pain and hunger they have been forced to live with by the very people who put them in that situation in the first place.

“May be this administration needs to be reminded that it was elected to reduce if not eliminate poverty, hunger and disease but what we have seen is an obsession with opulence.

“We are yet to get over the billions appropriated for the renovation of the President and Vice President’s lodges, now we hear they want new jets to join the Presidential fleet.

“Our schools and health institutions are on their knees, the same government claims it cannot afford to pay public servants a living wage but has enough to make itself comfortable at the expense of the suffering masses.

“Mr. President, we implore you to uphold the constitution you swore to protect. The constitution says the security and welfare of the populace shall be the primary purpose of the existence of your government. Enough of this mockery”.

Atiku speaks

Speaking in a similar vein, former Vice President Atiku Abubakar, through his Special Adviser, Paul Ibe, said: “There’s a saying that the baby goat watches the mother goat eating grass and consequently learns to eat grass.

“There are little or no values nurtured and promoted by Tinubu and his administration. What Nigerians are seeing manifest is insensitivity, bigotry, nepotism, corruption, and wastefulness.

“For the President to speak about us finding a way to eliminate banditry and terrorism is an acknowledgement of failure.

“What we expect to hear from him are the measures and the strategy to deal with the menace and not to regale us with the problems we are all well aware of.

“The poverty in Nigeria is multi-dimensional. It was exacerbated by the policies of the Tinubu administration that did not prioritise production and cutting costs.

“Policies that were not well-thought-out and are only aimed at pauperizing the citizens. Tinubu’s trial-and-error policies have continued to dig the country deeper into economic degradation. “His government is characterised by a lack of transparency and accountability. For example, his administration is paying for subsidy, contrary to the claims that it is gone for good.

“According to his minister of finance, last year (the very same year they allegedly stopped payment of subsidy), Tinubu paid a subsidy of N3.6 trillion and this year, he is projected to pay a subsidy of N5.4 trillion.

“Why are they lying about this other than to divert money away from the federation account? Truth be told, Tinubu is the one causing the deepening poverty in the country”.

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