President Bola Tinubu says he is determined to follow through on his promise of reforming Nigeria, even if it earns him an infamous reputation.
Tinubu spoke while meeting with António Guterres, United Nations (UN) secretary-general, in his office at the UN headquarters in New York, United States, according to a statement issued on Thursday by Ajuri Ngelale, presidential spokesperson.
The president said his drive to ensure that democracy stands in the country was met with arrests in the past but added that it did not deter him.
“I fought for democracy. I was detained for democracy. I am now President and I am determined to prove that democracy can provide the development that our nation and our continent so urgently demands,” Ngelale quoted his principal as saying.
Tinubu added that the country has focused too much on talks instead of actions to curtail the high levels of poverty.
The president said he is committed to taking decisions that would change the narrative.
“Trace those of us here to our foundations and you will find that we have ties and links with poverty,” he said.
“We must not be ashamed of that history, but poverty is unacceptable. I am one of the lucky survivors of gripping poverty.
“Nigeria is truly a giant, 240 million people and counting with a massive youth population.
“We are done saying too much. We seek much action. We have arisen out of poverty as individuals, but until our people have arisen out of that, we will not rest, even if it requires decisions at home that make me temporarily unpopular.”
Since his assumption of office on May 29, some of his economic decisions, including the removal of the petrol subsidy and unifying foreign exchange rates, have attracted criticism.
But many analysts have applauded the president’s policies, which they said were long overdue reforms despite the rising inflation and high cost of living in the country.
Tinubu has repeatedly assured that it is only a temporary phase that would birth a new Nigeria.
Guterres said the president’s reforms have raised “high expectations” from the UN, adding that the global organisation would continue to offer support.
“Nigeria is an indispensable voice in the sub-region. We will give you every support needed for your success to be achieved. Your success is Africa’s success and we wish you well,” the UN secretary-general added.