Tinubu: We’re Determined to Build Nation Where No One is Left Behind

*Says Africa must utilise investment opportunities in Nigeria’s blue economy

*Wants Navy to secure nation’s maritime future 

*Says blue economy stands at over $1.5trn per year globally
* Inaugurates three newly acquired naval ships, two helicopters in Lagos

* Unveils Wuye flyover, link bridge in FCT

* Exclusion of Abuja from TSA made projects’ execution possible, Wike declares

* President assures DIA of conducive work environment 

Chiemelie Ezeobi in Lagos, Deji Elumoye, Kingsley Nwezeh, and Sunday Aborisade in Abuja

President Bola Tinubu, yesterday, inaugurated the Wuye bridge interchange, linking Wuse and Wuye Districts in the Federal Capital City (FCC), with a pledge that his administration was determined to build a nation, where no one was left behind.
Tinubu said he viewed government as a continuum and reassured Nigerians of his administration’s resolve to prioritise their welfare as the centrepiece of his national development agenda.

The president, at another event in Lagos, invited countries of the world, especially African countries, to take advantage of the investment opportunities that abounded in Nigeria’s blue economy.
Tinubu spoke when he declared open the 2024 International Maritime Conference held at the Naval Dockyard, Victoria Island, Lagos.
He implored the Nigerian Navy and its African partners, as well as other stakeholders to focus on achieving a secure and prosperous maritime future that would be beneficial to all, saying the country cannot afford to fail in its responsibilities to Africa and the world, at large.

Represented by Vice President Kashim Shettima, Tinubu observed that while a flourishing blue economy was the bedrock of every vibrant nation, the only way to attain such an economy was through “a progressive naval force”.
He said at the Abuja event, “The best way to achieve greatness is to look forward, aspire for great results, and not be hindered by obstacles. We must see opportunities in obstacles and seize them.”

Highlighting the ongoing investments in essential services, such as water supply, electricity, and road networks, Tinubu said his administration had laid the groundwork for economic growth, social progress, and improved quality of life for residents of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT).

According to him, the completion of the Wuye project would significantly improve traffic flow within and around the district.
He stated, “This facility enhances the security of our people, making them the central focus of our development efforts, which is the essence of democracy.
“Our determination to succeed and extend happiness to the teeming population, and bring about prosperity and tangible value of immense proportions to our people is the primary objective of this government.”

Commending the FCT minister, Nyesom Wike, and his team for completing a project that was initiated in 2009, Tinubu expressed his willingness to make personal sacrifices for the welfare and prosperity of Nigerians.
He said regarding Wike, “Your resilience, patience, and unwavering support have been instrumental to making this possible. Projects and results are not realised by chance. They come through thoughtful planning and execution. I am very proud of this achievement.”

Earlier, Wike said residents of the FCT had lost hope in the completion of the interchange bridge, linking Wuye and Wuse districts, but now had a reason to rejoice because of the support from the president.
He said, “The FCT is working due to the president’s significant support. This project, initially awarded in 2009 at a cost of N34 billion, was revised to N74 billion before this administration took office on May 29, 2023.”

He highlighted the 15-year struggle to complete the bridge and the difficulties faced by people and businesses during this period, saying, “Thanks to the president’s determination, we have restored hope with this project’s completion.”
The minister said the wide array of projects being inaugurated in the FCT during Tinubu’s first anniversary would not have been possible without the exclusion of the FCT from the Treasury Single Account (TSA).

“Moving us out of TSA made these achievements possible. I sincerely thank you, Mr. President, for this approval,” Wike said.
Speaking at the maritime conference in Lagos, Tinubu sought the commitment and devotion of officers of the Nigerian Navy and their international affiliates, describing them as “the lifeguards of our maritime environment”.
In his speech titled, “It’s Time to Secure Our Maritime Future,” Tinubu told the conferees: “This conference must inspire all stakeholders to see the big picture that we cannot afford to fail in our responsibilities to the continent and, indeed, the entire world.

“Let us work towards a maritime future that is secure, prosperous, sustainable, and beneficial to all our people and the generations to come.
“I urge you all to feel at home and take advantage of the investment opportunities that abound in Nigeria’s blue economy.”
Noting that the conferees had a role to play in the bid to maximise the potential of the blue economy, which he pegged per year at $1.5 trillion globally and $300 billion continentally, the president said, “The wealth of Africa can never be realised unless we prioritise the protection and development of our maritime environment.

“The blue economy is estimated to be worth more than US $1.5 trillion per year globally and is projected to increase to US $15.5 trillion by 2050. The ‘Africa Blue Economy Strategy’ estimates that the blue economy currently generates nearly US $300 billion for the continent, creating 49 million jobs in the process. The Africa Blue Economy is projected to hit US $405 billion by 2030.”
He congratulated the Nigerian Navy on its 68th anniversary, saying the country remains immensely grateful for the service they have rendered in the past 68 years, “Serving as a critical pillar of our security.”

Tinubu applauded the marine forces for creating “a sense of balance and stability” in the country.
The president specifically commended the Minister of State for Defence, Bello Matawalle; Chief of Naval Staff, Vice Admiral Emmanuel Ikechukwu Ogalla; and the naval officers for “creating a safe and secure environment for economic growth and prosperity.
“There is no greater incentive to ensure that the infrastructure and technologies at the disposal of the Nigerian Navy are of the highest sophistication than the successes we have witnessed in our anti-crude oil theft crusade since I assumed office in 2023. This has contributed immensely to the higher oil production levels we have seen.”

In his welcome address, Ogalla said the outcome of the 2024 International Maritime Conference would go a long way in enhancing its capabilities and strengthening existing collaborations in safeguarding the country’s maritime environment.

He added that the forum would also offer a veritable platform to consolidate on the achievements of the combined maritime task force in support of the development of the blue economy on the continent, in the sub-region and the country, in particular.

Matawalle, on his part, urged participants to come up with innovative ways by which the navies in the sub-region could discharge their duties, and for Nigeria, in actualising the vision of Tinubu for the safety and security of the nation’s maritime environment.

Deputy Governor of Lagos State, Dr. Obafemi Hamzat, while acknowledging the significant strides of the Navy, especially in safeguarding the country’s maritime domain, said the conference showcased the country’s rich maritime heritage and the efforts of the navies in the Gulf of Guinea.

On arrival at the Naval Dockyard in Victoria Island, the president inaugurated three newly acquired naval ships – Nigerian Navy Ship OCHUZO, Nigerian Navy Ship CHALAWA, and Nigerian Navy Ship ZUR, as well as two helicopters – Nigerian Navy 412 and Nigerian Navy 414.

He proceeded to declare open the Regional Maritime Exercise and also inspected the ongoing Seaward Defence Boats project, just as he visited the exhibition stand mounted by the navy at the event.

Meanwhile, Tinubu assured members of the armed forces and other intelligence agencies of his administration’s commitment to their welfare.

He pledged to provide other administrative and logistics requirements to enhance their productivity to enable them carry out their mandate, but challenged them to deploy the use of artificial intelligence in work.

According to a statement from the Senate President’s media office yesterday, Tinubu gave the assurance in the text of his speech read at the inauguration of the headquarters of the Defence Intelligence Agency, Abuja.

The statement explained that Tinubu was represented on the occasion by President of the Senate, Godswill Akpabio.

Tinubu said, “I assure you, along with the entire armed forces of Nigeria, that I will sustain the provision of the welfare, training and other administrative and logistics requirements to enhance your productivity and to enable you carry out your mandate.

“I am persuaded that a conducive and well- equipped intelligence outfit would positively impact on the overall intelligence gathering effort, processing and timely dissemination to various arms of the military.”

Tinubu commended the leadership of the Defence Intelligence Agency for seeing to the completion of the project.

He said, “Let me at this juncture, commend the leadership of the DIA, past and present, for conceiving and completing this beautiful edifice.

“It is my sincere belief that out of this magnificent office structure shall emerge innovations and creativity in the field of intelligence gathering that would keep Nigeria ahead of its foes and make our country and people safer.

“Since I assumed the leadership of our great nation a year ago, I have made a task of securing every inch of our country a topmost priority.

“I have no intention of relenting on this sacred duty. I am thus delighted to be here today to inaugurate the headquarters of the DIA; a key agency in our security architecture that primarily provides intelligence to our armed forces and Ministry of Defence.

“Our country is bedeviled by  myriads of security challenges across the six geo-political zones.

“We are not only faced by physical threats, but also economic and digital threats. In terms of digital threats, we are all aware of the capacity of criminals, terrorists and cyber bandits to exploit advances in technologies to undermine any nation including our own.

“This is why security tops the eight-point agenda of our administration. In our bid to combat physical threats, we deploy our armed forces in all the 36 states of the federation to assist the civil authorities.

“You have to contend with behind your computers, using if necessary, AI, which enables our military to know the position of our enemies or the games they are up to and of course you will do that in secret.”

He added, “I know that with each passing day, the adversaries wish that our commitment in responding to various threats would wane, our optimism, dreams and our courage evaporated.

“Our adversaries got our DNA wrong. The underline spirit of Nigerians cannot and will never yield to forces of darkness. You have all left me in no doubt that you have no other higher obligations than to serve this nation of ours.”

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