Vice President Kashim Shettima has assured Nigerians, especially those living in Russia, that the country, under the administration of President Bola Tinubu, will work again.
The Vice President gave the assurance late Friday evening in St Petersburg at a forum with members of the Nigerian community in Russia.
Mr Shettima, who was addressing concerns raised by members of the community, said “be rest assured that in the next nine to 12 months there will be a swift change in the fortunes of Nigeria, I’m talking with all sense of certainty and responsibility because I believe in the capacity and commitment of President Bola Ahmed Tinubu.”
Speaking on the efforts of the administration to reposition the economy, he said “we are here for the Africa-Russia Summit, but we are also here fundamentally to pursue the completion of the Ajaokuta Steel Complex and revival of the Aluminium Smelter Company of Nigeria (ALSCON).
“It’s going to be a game changer. Having a vibrant steel industry is a sine qua non for the industrial take off of any nation. I can bet you, I can promise you that the President will bring Ajaokuta to a reality.”
“Be rest assured that if there is one legacy that President Tinubu would bequeath to fellow Nigerians, Ajaokuta is one. I’ll come back to Russia, we are going to drive this process, and my leader, my boss and principal – President Bola Ahmed Tinubu is irrevocably committed to Ajaokuta and to ALSCON.
“We have begun the discussion, and we will see to it that these two companies take off, we have no option than to bring them to reality,” Vice President Shettima emphasised.
Speaking further about the prospects for Nigeria’s transformation, he said the Tinubu administration will harness the vast human and material resources to put the country on the path of sustainable development and growth.
According to him, “this is the land of opportunities, we have the landmass and vibrant youth population. By 2035, there will be 65 million talent deficit in the world, America, Russia, Brazil will all suffer 6 million talent deficit. And Nigeria with a vibrant young population will be expected to fill the gap.
“So, opportunities abound in the digital space. Our target is to train 1,000,000 Nigerians on digital skills.”
The Vice President expressed confidence in the capacity of President Tinubu to transform Nigeria, noting that ”the President passionately believes in the Nigeria project,” and that his emergence as leader of the nation “did not happen by chance.”
Citing examples of President Tinubu’s sterling performance as Lagos State Governor, Mr Shettima said the President has shown “the propensity to inspire development across all sectors, and he has also shown the zeal, passion as well as the commitment to transform Nigeria.”
He then commended the conduct of leaders and members of the Nigerian community in Russia, stating that “the maturity exhibited by Nigerians living in Russia is an understatement, and I must confess that I am impressed by the Ambassador’s impressive achievements.”
Representatives of the Nigerian community in separate remarks commended the initiatives of the Tinubu administration to actively engage with the Russian government to improve relations between Nigeria and Russia.
Present at the forum were Nigeria’s Ambassador to Russia, Amb Shehu Abdullahi; Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Petroleum Resources, Gabriel Aduda; Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Mines and Steel Development, Mary Ogbe; President of Nigerian Community in Russia, Maurice Okoli, and Chairman of Nigerians in Diaspora (NIDO), Russia, Mr Sampson Uwem, among others.
In a related development, Mr Shettima, on Saturday in St. Petersburg, attended the second edition of the Annual Arts Exhibition of the Nigerian Embassy titled “I imagine Nigeria” which showcased art works by young Russian artists.
Besides seeing art works exhibited at the event and presenting gift prizes to young Russian artists, Mr Shettima, in a brief remark, emphasised the importance of cultural diplomacy, noting its potential in deepening ties between Nigeria and Russia.
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