I'm anxious to make Nigerians smile again, Betta Edu declares - NEWS FRONTIER DAILY


Monday, August 21, 2023

I'm anxious to make Nigerians smile again, Betta Edu declares

Minister of Humanitarian Affairs and Poverty Alleviation, Dr Betta Edu declared that she was anxious to put smiles on the faces of Nigerians by fulfilling her mandate in the ministry.

She said under her administration in the ministry, there will be no playing games, biting corners and calling figures and data left, right and centre without Nigerians feeling the impact of the money released.

According to her, the nation's poverty rate which claims that 136 million Nigerians were poor, was unacceptable to President Tinubu, adding that the president was out to arrest the situation.

To this end, she appealed to staff of the ministry for their full cooperation so that she can achieve her mandate as assigned to her by the president.

Edu, whose assumption of office coincided with the 4th anniversary of creation of the ministry, noted that any failure in education, health or any other sector will all end up as humanitarian crisis in the system, hence their support.

She said:" We will do our best to meet the needs of all the people who are affected by humanitarian crisis, renew their hopes and really give Nigerians the reason to smile like the president said 'let the poor breath'.

" This is not a joke, if you know me, if you know my antecedent and where I'm coming from, you will know that I can afford to be on the road for 24 hours, 48 hours, 72 hours without batting an eyelid.

"There will be no playing games and putting figures here and there. I will like to see you smile,I will love to see you happy but that happiness is dependent on how many Nigerians you have made happy . You will smile based on those you are making to smile

"There will be no bitting corners,no playing games and calling figures, putting data left right, right and centre,no. We want to really do the work. And of course looking up to development partners,we will be looking up to the private sector to get them fully involved in humanitarian interventions as well as poverty alleviation."

She said the nation's current poverty rate which indicated that 136 million people out over 200 million Nigerian population were poor and over 71 million extremely poor persons living in Nigeria was unacceptable to President Bola Tinubu.

"I am happy to meet all of you here today and I bring you the goodwill of the president of our country, President Bola Ahmed Tinubu. He has an agenda and the agenda is simple -renew the hopes of Nigerians.

There is a whole lots of work to be done. I will take my time with you some few days to go through some data. We learnt that we have 136 million poor Nigerians. That 136 million Nigerians are poor is alarming and it is completely unacceptable to President Bola Ahmed Tinubu,our dear president."

She lamented that different data sources have also claimed that Nigeria has 71 million extremely poor persons living in Nigeria, vowing that the Tinubu administration will quickly arrest the situation.

She said:"There is a reason why the ministry was renamed. It is to refocus us back. We need to bring smiles to the faces of Nigerians and I'm not saying data, I'm not saying numbers. I'm referring to people. 

"At all costs,Nigerians must smile again. Before we finish the first tenure of President Bola Ahmed Tinubu,we have huge tasks to deliver on. We must get down to every single spot in this country and reach those who are underserved,those who are poor and those who need a renewed hope. We are not going to play again,we are going to increase our efforts and I'm going to be sincere, transparent and accountable. 

"We are going to be very sincere,we are going to be very transparent and we are going to be very accountable to Nigerians. We are going to speak out and tell that what we are doing, it's not a secret business. If we are spending one naira,it would be one naira and if we are spending N10 billion, it would be N10 billion. And Nigerians must be able to feel the result of that expenditure."

She told the staff of the ministry that:"I want to plead with you, I'm a team player. I push really hard. I push really really hard. We have a huge job to do and so,all hands must be on deck. People are watching,the minutes are counting already. Nigerians are waiting. I want to beg us all to drop and lay aside any bargage that will not allow us do this job the way we should do it. I want to plead with us to fasten our dear belts because we will be flying at the speed of light. I don't know if it is good for you but it's good for the president and it is good for Nigerians. We need energy,we need innovation,we need speed to reach 136 million people as a matter of urgency.

"Any failure in education,health or any other sector,they all end up as humanitarian crisis in the system.

"President Bola Tinubu will be bringing a very new people centred grassroots based life changing programmes. Some of the most successful programmes in the history of poverty allegation in the world. We are going to be working on the ideas and we will unveil them very soon to Nigerians. We are going to be practical and we are going to be smart about it. We will give ourselves timelines and we must work to meet it. And I plead with you that when you do this service, it's not service to man but service to God,so commit everything you have to it.

"I am a child of a missionary, sometimes I sit back and I wonder why I was brought here. All my life,all I have done is to reach out to people who are poor and downtrodden. I read Medicine just for that fact because I grew up seeing my father going out to villages that you can't even spend one minute and he would take us with him. When we get there,he would be giving them food, clothing and some other things and I see the people with ringworms, scabies and all sorts of things. And I said as he was doing this,maybe something was missing in the back and  maybe I should go read Medicine so I can be reaching out to them and I have been doing that. But this is a big scale,this is Nigeria. A lot of people are affected by humanitarian crisis,over 15.5 million people, according to the United Nations. It will not continue. President Bola Tinubu has said no,this is the end,we must bring renewed hope.

"I am open to suggestions,I am open to advice and I will run an open door policy,I like to listen. I like to learn and again,I like to push,push really hard. So when I call you by 2 am because I'm thinking about some groups of people who we need to reach by 6am in the morning, forgive me because we just have to do the job,we have to go get the job done."

She disclosed that she would effect some changes in the ministry as she settles down.

"We will be rejigging a couple of things as we go on. I will be bringing several innovations on board, through the ministry and through the agencies that the ministry supervises but what is most important is that we keep our focus on lifting 133 million out of poverty. 

"We can do it in phases with determination, strong will , strong political backing from the president and every member of the cabinet and we will achieve success. 

"We will play down on politics,we will play down on some bargages,we will face the real business that we are here for,that way,we will achieve results,"she emphasized.

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