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Chief Bola Ahmed Tinubu gave Nigerians assurances on Thursday that the story of the country’s present struggles would be altered in the upcoming year.

The Minister of Information and National Orientation, Mohammed Idris, who introduced Tinubu, made this statement during his speech at PUNCH Nigeria Limited’s 50th anniversary lecture, which was held at the Civic Centre on Ozumba Mbadiwe Road in Victoria Island, Lagos.

The minister asked for patience while assuring Nigerians that Tinubu is still dedicated to keeping his campaign promises.

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“Obviously, there will be challenges; nobody is denying their existence, but we see a scenario where the story would be very different in a year.”

The minister of information urged Nigerians to emulate Soyinka, saying he usually waits a year to assess a new government’s performance.

“Maybe go back to what Professor Wole Soyinka said when he visited President Bola Tinubu, I listened to the journalist who was asking him to comment on the current administration and what he said, ‘even in my character, I wouldn’t talk until whoever is in office stays for at least one year.”

Speaking on the efforts being made by the government to take the country out of the woods, the minister said, “Only a few days ago, we invited captains of industries, Dangote, the BUA, the Elumelu, and ministers, among others, and we all locked ourselves in a room for about three and a half hours discussing how Nigeria is going to get better, and everyone in that room, from the private sector, from the central governments and the sub-nationals, believe that this country is going to get better.

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“So, I urge you to see this in line with what Professor Wole Soyinka has said, around what time? Of course, you can criticise, you can offer suggestions, but the country has to exist. Let us, please talk about all those good things happening; it’s not bad stories all the time.”

The minister used the current recession in the UK as an example to highlight how similar Nigeria’s economic problems were to those of other countries.

Idris said, “Nigeria is going through hard times, as we see, but this is not new and peculiar to this country. All the issues we are discussing now are issues that are also being discussed around the world.

“Only a few weeks ago, we heard that the United Kingdom had gone into recession. I am glad that it did not happen here. Otherwise, the story would be ‘Oh, Nigeria is in recession’ as if it is going to be the end of the world for the country.”

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He said that the current administration got started right away, highlighting the government’s conviction that every obstacle facing the country eventually contributes to its improvement.

He said, “The government of President Ahmed Tinubu, as you know, took bold steps from inception, the first one being that upon the resumption of office on day one, the President took away fuel subsidy; second, he also brought clarification to the foreign exchange regime. Now, these suggest that two major issues have been eating deep into the economy. As someone put it, the economy was a dead horse by the time the President came in, so whether the subsidy was removed or not, it would be very challenging. The President took it very boldly, ensuring that this subsidy goes away for the benefit of all, and he was prepared from day one that it was not going to be an easy thing.

“Of course, 10 months down the road, we are seeing the effects of some of these hard decisions, but I can tell you, the good story is that the government is taking bold, proactive decisions to ensure that Nigeria’s economy returns. Let me say this: The government believes that all these things are happening for the good of the country, and the economy is going to be good again.”

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Describing the accomplishments of the current administration thus far, the minister encouraged the populace to concentrate on the favorable aspects.

“The National Bureau of Statistics recently said for the first time in a very long time that capital imports are improving by about 66 per cent. If we want to continue this movement, fuel subsidy had to go. One reason is that our consumption has decreased by over a billion litres; domestic refining capacity has increased.

“The insecurity inherited by the government; my house is in Kaduna and I drive frequently between Kaduna and Abuja. Months back, it was difficult for you to ply that road; it is either you are on a train, which is very challenging, as you know, going by some of the things that have happened, but now you can leave Abuja and go to Kaduna by 9 pm, and you can guarantee that you would get there.

“The Governor of Borno State has acknowledged that the insecurity that is there in terms of Boko Haram and banditry, among others, has been almost pushed to the back. We are not saying that insecurity has completely disappeared, but it has improved significantly in these 10 months.

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“All the kidnappers that were around Abuja, making Abuja a little bit difficult, are either not with us anymore or are with the security agencies. So, these challenges will continue to be there, but the most important thing is that the government is being proactive and taking the right steps towards ensuring that all these challenges go away.”

Idris also revealed that nearly all of the requests of the Nigeria Labour Congress had been fulfilled, and that the petroleum industry should anticipate a significant policy change that would improve the sector’s operations.

“I want to tell you that very soon, you will hear a major policy shift within the petroleum industry that will enhance operations and increase investments in that sector.

The minister gave a statement to the media about the conclusion of the work of the President’s appointed ministerial panel.

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Furthermore, the minister of information asked the media to present their efforts truthfully.

“This is our country; we do not have any other country. If we run down businesses, and there is no other place for all of us to go to,” he added.


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