Nigeria Has Suffered Leadership ‘elephantiasis’, Tinubu Laments To US  Delegation 

0 266

President Bola Tinubu on Wednesday lamented to the United States Congressional Delegation that Nigeria as the giant of Africa, has suffered what he described as ‘leadership elephantiasis’ for many years.

Tinubu also said that his administration is committed to deepening democracy by ensuring adherence to the rule of law and expediting the sustainable provision of good governance, justice, and fairness to all Nigerian citizens.

Speaking when he received a delegation from the United States Congress led by Senator Cory Booker at the State House in Abuja, President Tinubu said that while democracy must be defended, it must translate into tangibles of quality healthcare, good education, food security, shelter, and overall economic prosperity for the people of Nigeria.

He said Nigeria is a necessary partner for the sustenance of democracy in Africa and beyond, noting that as the continent’s biggest economy and largest democracy, Nigeria is well-positioned to set the best continental example by delivering good governance to its people.

President Tinubu in a statement issued by his Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Chief Ajuri Ngelale, was quoted as saying, “Nigeria, as the giant of Africa, had suffered leadership elephantiasis years back. I am determined to change that. Adhering to the principles of democracy and the rule of law is very important to us. I wonder how democracy will survive if we do not fight for it. I fought for this democracy. I risked my life for it. Military truncation of democracy is unacceptable. The power of our citizens is and must remain supreme.”

Emphasizing the need for the United States to evolve a more prudent and pragmatic partnership with Africa, the Nigerian leader told the U.S. Congressional delegation that the United States should consider upscaling critical development programmes to strengthen ties with the continent.

According to him, “It is important for our partners to help strengthen democracy in Africa. Our developmental programmes need serious capital. We are not asking for freebies. All we are asking for is understanding. After the Second World War, Europe was impacted. America developed and executed the Marshall Plan to pull them back up. Today, Europe stands firm and tall as a result. What about a Marshall plan for Africa?

“How can we be categorized and thrown into the IMF’s basket of trickle-down slices? We are blessed in Africa, but these are the same resources causing conflicts because of exploitation and a lack of alignment. The presence of resources does not reflect in the living conditions of the people. We must not use yesterday’s methods to address today’s challenges. Nobody wants to risk their life to run away from Africa.

“America needs to look at the situation in Africa critically. What is happening in Burkina Faso, Mali, and Niger emanates from a helpless feeling people have that they are not being helped economically. They find that their former colonial masters are not letting go and are still seeking to exploit them.

“We have mineral resources. What technology can you bring to help turn that into economic prosperity? Can you put de-risking finance in place to incentivize John Deere to assist us in massively mechanizing our food production processes? There is so much we can do in the advancement of education. See Africa as a necessary partner for the sustenance of democracy.

“We are capable and willing to lift our own people out of poverty,” President Tinubu affirmed.

Speaking earlier, Senator Cory Booker described President Bola Tinubu as a visionary leader who took tough but necessary decisions for the good of Nigerians.

“You are a leader of particular character. You have the courage to do very difficult things, right at the beginning of your term. Something that many American leaders should look to; someone who believes so much in their people that they can make difficult decisions and know that their country is resilient and strong to endure so that it can emerge stronger on the other side,” Senator Booker said.

The U.S. Senator noted that Nigeria and the United States are partners bound by shared values of democracy, rule of law, and commitment to peace and good governance.

“I share my enthusiasm about the deepening partnership between Nigeria and the United States. We know in America that there is no greater or more important partner for the United States on the African continent than its biggest country, its biggest democracy, and its biggest economy.

“I am excited about the opportunity we have had to learn, to listen, to meet these extraordinary people in your community that share our common values of democracy, entrepreneurship, and commitment to peace and strong growth. We know the investments we make in this country in different sectors, and our partnership on security and counter-terrorism are not just for Nigeria’s benefit but for both of our countries’ benefit.

“I can relate with what you are doing, Mr. President. I was the Mayor of Newark, New Jersey, for years, and I know what I had to go through to reverse the fortunes of one of America’s most impoverished and troubled megacities. Several Newark Mayors before me fell on corruption charges. I had to restore hope and confidence. I had to beg investors to come in and believe in our city. We were persistent and we broke through. Newark is dramatically different today. I see so many similarities between the sustainable turnaround I led and the efforts you are making to transform Nigeria for the better. You have a partner in the United States,” Senator Booker said.

Minister of Foreign Affairs, Ambassador Yusuf Tuggar drew the attention of the delegation to a resolution of the U.S. House of Representatives seeking to designate Nigeria as a country of concern over allegations of religious intolerance.

“Appeal to them (the House), Nigeria has a constitution that pays critical attention to the rights of all citizens. There is no government that will support anything inimical to the provisions of the constitution,” the Minister said.

Responding, U.S. Congresswoman Sara Jacobs said the broad consensus in the U.S. House of Representatives and in the White House is not to place Nigeria back on the list of countries of concern.