Hardship: Shettima Begs Nigerians To Protest Responsibly


BY SEGUN ADEBAYO – Vice President Kashim Shettima says the Federal Government is not against Nigerians protesting and expressing their feelings responsibly over the current biting economic situation in the country.

According to him, Nigerians must act in a responsible manner even in the face of hard and difficult decisions being taken by the President Bola Tinubu-led administration to fix Nigeria because there are no easier ways to arrive at the desired destination.

“We have to fix this country, and failure to do this is not an option. All the options we have are difficult and challenging, and they are, without a doubt, more telling on the poor.

“If there are easier and reliable alternatives to the policy choices we’ve adopted, we would have adopted them”, the Vice President said in Lagos during the 29th pre-Ramadan lecture organised by the University of Lagos Muslim Alumni, with the theme ‘Economic Reforms for Nigeria: Challenges and Prospects for the Future’.

Represented at the occasion by Dr Hakeem Baba-Ahmed, Special Adviser on Political Matters in the Office of the Vice President, Shettima, who is an alumnus of the institution, noted that the forthcoming Ramadan would come with “severe” challenges for many Nigerians.

For him; “The road to where we’re today was long and full of missed opportunities and tragic failures to build on our great potentials.

“Yet, my brothers and sisters, we do not have the choice of continuing in the direction that brought us where we’re today.

“Our administration does not plan to make the lives of Nigerians more difficult. Nor do we intend to deceive fellow citizens that the change in direction and the expected outcome can be achieved without pain or sacrifices.

Furthermore, he said in the present circumstances, Nigeria’s problems required local solutions, adding; “We’re also acutely aware that ours is a set of related Nigerian problems, and the solutions we seek must be genuinely informed by a Nigerian context, not the experiences of others or the preferences of special foreign interests which are removed from consequences of missteps or errors of judgement.”

Also urging the university’s alumni to “make space” for the present administration to achieve the goal of turning Nigeria around, the Vice President said; “We expect that Nigerians should express their feelings over our circumstances in a responsible and mature manner. We’re also a deeply religious people, and we believe in the powers of faith and prayers.

“Let’s be reminded that Allah Subhanahu Wa Ta’ala tests His servants with ease and hardship, and He asks that we pray to Him for relief from hardship, and discipline in times of abundance”.

In his remarks, an Islamic scholar, Sheikh Dawud Alfanla Abdul-Maheed Eleha, attributed the Nigeria’s economic problem to the nation’s “extravagant lifestyle”

He maintained that considering its abundant and rich natural and human resources, “Nigeria has no reason to be poor”.

For Professor Jameelah Yaqub of the Lagos State University and Dr Jubril Salaudeen of the Nungu Business School, the current economic reforms must be holistic for them to be meaningful and impact positively on the citizens.

Also addressing the audience, Chairman of the occasion, Malam Yusuf Ola-Olu Ali, represented by Wale Sonaike, said economic reforms must not only be well thought out but also diligently implemented by the government at all times.

He advised that for Nigeria to make the much-needed progress in the economic sphere, it must transform from a consumption to a production nation.

On his part, President, Muslim Ummah of South-West Nigeria (MUSWEN), Alhaji Rasaki Oladejo, pleaded with Nigerians to be patient with President Tinubu and give the administration time to turn things around in the country for good.

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