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Servicing external debts with 90% of our revenue amidst developmental challenges unacceptable — Tinubu


President Bola Tinubu has declared that Nigeria will not sustain a failed economic policy that sees to the wastage of 90 percent of its scarce revenue for the servicing of external debts in the midst of many development challenges facing the country.

The President made the statement on Sunday in Abuja while declaring open the 63rd Annual Conference of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) at the Velodrome, Chief MKO Abiola Stadium, Abuja.

With over 16,000 lawyers in attendance, Pres Tinubu stated that the prosperity Nigerians require will only occur once poverty is banished from the society with the focused cooperation of Nigeria’s private sector leaders, many of whom were present at the opening ceremony.

“Can we continue to service external debts with 90% of our revenue? It is a path to destruction.

“It is not sustainable. We must make the very difficult changes that are necessary for our country to get up from slumber and be respected among the great nations of the world,” he said.

Speaking on the theme of the conference, “Getting it Right: Charting the Course for Nigeria’s Nation-Building,” the President said hard decisions must be made to set the country on a growth trajectory, despite the initial pains that meaningful reforms usually bring.

Tinubu said: “We cannot have the country we desire without the reforms we have initiated. It is painful at the beginning, in the short and medium term, but we must do what we have to do to take this nation to its great destiny.

” It is not about you and it is not about me. It is about our generations yet unborn, for whom we must bequeath a great and prosperous country.”

Against the backdrop of the renowned judicial reforms he undertook as Lagos State Governor, Tinubu renewed his commitment “to deal conclusively with the pressing issue of remuneration for judicial officers and legal practitioners”, noting that true justice reform must begin with world-class salaries and benefits for legal professionals in Nigeria.

“You are learned. I want to learn. Why are we so blessed and we are still lacking? We must have a change of attitude and a change of our mindset. We accuse our nation and its previous leaders.

“We complain a lot about the past. Is that the solution? No! Let us look forward and be determined! God has given us what we need. We must work hard with determination to make our country great and it begins with you who are seated here with me,” he said.

Referring to the keynote address delivered by the Chairman of UBA Plc and Heirs Holdings, Mr. Tony Elumelu, while also applauding him for setting an agenda for economic growth and development, Tinubu bemoaned the inability of the country to eradicate poverty and tackle poor electricity supply, despite Nigeria’s abundant gas resources.

He made a commitment that his administration will ensure that Nigeria generates and distributes the electricity the economy requires to thrive.

“Yes, it is a shame not to have adequate electricity for the mass majority of homes in Nigeria and to power our industries. How can we address poverty without electricity?

“We can take many people out of poverty with uninterrupted electricity supply. Poverty is not acceptable, and we must banish it,” Persecondnews quotes the President as saying.

In his welcome address, NBA President, Mr Yakubu Maikyau (SAN), expressed the confidence of the NBA in the ability of President Bola Tinubu to deliver good governance to Nigeria because of his pedigree and past track record of excellent performance in Lagos State, where he was the governor between 1999-2007.

“President Tinubu got it right in Lagos, and it is our considered expectation that as President of Nigeria, you will not only replicate your achievements in Lagos, but surpass them for our country.”

According to Maikyau, this year’s conference is centered around three thematic areas – security, economy, and the administration of Justice.

He expressed the hope that after the conference, the NBA can set an agenda for Nigerians around these themes with which to engage the Presidency for the good of the country.

Dignitaries who attended the ceremony included the CEO/Chairman of Trancorp and Heirs Holdings, Mr Tony Elumelu; FCT Minister, Nyesom Wike; Former Secretary to the Federal Government, Boss Mustapha, and Minister of Justice and Attorney-General, Prince Lateef Fagbemi (SAN).

The 63rd edition of the conference represents a novel platform for knowledge exchange on the continent that brings together, political icons, judges, leading lawyers, thought leaders, policymakers, business icons, and civil society, not just to discuss but also produce an implementation plan for the adoption of policies, standards and practices leading to socio-political stability, economic growth, sustainable and infrastructural development for accelerated regional and economic integration.

The 63rd Edition of the Conference which commenced from the 25th of August and is expected to run through to the 1st of September 2023, is the leading annual event of the NBA and a staple on the calendar of the Nigerian legal profession.

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