…Says welfare, security of citizens top priorities
…Assures of better national minimum wage
…Promises open-door policy
…You must make a difference in people’s lives, he tasks govs
….PGF pledges support
President Bola Ahmed Tinubu on Friday in Abuja said the improved livelihoods of Nigerians “remain a top priority” of his administration, with more people-focused economic policies.
He gave the assurance that the national minimum wage needed a review to reflect current realities.
The president, who stated this when he received members of the Progressive Governors’ Forum (PGF) led by the chairman, Sen. Hope Uzodinma of Imo state, at the State House, stressed that the national and sub-national governments would work together on the minimum wage “which already requires soul searching.”
“We need to do some arithmetic and soul searching on the minimum wage. We will have to take a look at that together, and the revenue. We must strengthen the source and application of our revenue.’’
The president urged the governors to seize the opportunity of being chosen among millions of the citizens in their states to make a difference in the lives of the people, adding that he would work for the benefit of Nigerians.
“This meeting is not strange to me, and the content of the meeting is so valuable. The camaraderie is very stimulating. This is about the Nigerian project, not Bola Tinubu,” he said.
President Tinubu said further that the multiple exchange rates would be streamlined, adding that governance was a continuum.
“I have inherited the assets and liabilities of my predecessor. This is the first time you entered the Council Chambers, and it is my first time too for a meeting.
“As progressives and thinkers under the umbrella of the All Progressives Congress (APC), you have a role to play in educating our people and making sure we manage ourselves,” the president told the governors.
President Tinubu said it was a good and encouraging sign that the APC had the majority in the National Assembly and some Houses of Assembly which, according to him, will make it easier to develop policies that will directly impact the economy and the people.
“If we work together, the Nigeria of our dreams is not far away. Rest assured that we will not have multiple exchange rates anymore. You asked for this meeting and I had to set aside time to be here.
“We have a political party that we will need to manage, whichever way; we have inherited assets and liabilities and we cannot complain.”
The president also said he would maintain an open-door policy and was willing to entertain issues, deliberate, and collectively find solutions to the challenges facing the country, including security.
“It is in our hands, and I am ready to work and listen at any time.”
VP Shettima’s remarks
In his remarks, the vice-president, Sen. Kashim Shettima, called on the governors to rally around the president as he tackles the challenges that have held back the economy, like the oil subsidy and multiple exchange rates.
“Let us rally around the president and not bulge; there are vested interests that may want to resist the subsidy removal. Its removal will free resources for the development of your states,” he said.
PGF boss’ views
Also speaking, Governor Uzodinma pledged the support of the progressive governors to the president, stressing that the initial decisions already foretold good intentions for the economy.
“We are here today as members of the APC to fraternise with you as our leader, and congratulate you on your election as President, and Commander-in-Chief. We are using this opportunity to express our support for you at this trying time in our history,” he said.
He said the president had started well by placing the economy and welfare of the people on a priority list, with honesty of purpose.
According to him, “We are aware of your capacity and excellent track record.”
Gov Zulum’s take
Also speaking, Governor Babagana Umara Zulum of Borno state said the development of the national and sub-national economies remained interwoven and gave the assurance that President Tinubu would receive their support to succeed.
Other governors present at the meeting were the chairman of the Nigerian Governors’ Forum and governor of Kwara state, AbdulRahman AbdulRazaq; Yahaya Bello of Kogi state; Babajide Sanwo-Olu of Lagos state; Dapo Abiodun of Ogun state; Mai Mala Buni of Yobe state; Muhammad Inuwa Yahaya of Gombe state, and Dikko Radda of Katsina state.
Governors Abdullahi Sule of Nasarawa state, Hyacinth Alia of Benue; Umar Bago of Niger state; Nasir Idris of Kebbi state; Uba Sani of Kaduna state; Umar Namadi of Jigawa state; Nwifuru Francis Ogbonna of Ebonyi state; Ahmed Aliyu of Sokoto state, and Bassey Otu of Cross River state were also present.