BY Kunle Daramola
Tony Blair, former prime minister of the United Kingdom, pays a visit to the President-elect Bola Tinubu ahead of his swearing-in on May 29.
In a statement on Tuesday, Abdulaziz Abdulaziz, a media aide to the president-elect, said Blair, pledged his commitment to partner with his administration especially in prioritising its goals and delivery.
He said the Tony Blair Institute for Global Change, which he founded, would be a willing partner of the Tinubu administration especially in prioritising its goals and delivery.
Blair said since leaving office as the UK prime minister, he had been working with governments around the world to help them deliver on their mandates.
He said his institute has a project in place in Nigeria and felt it was incumbent upon him to meet Nigeria’s incoming president to understand the administration’s priorities.
“We would like to help in any way with your administration. We only need to know what the leadership priorities are and help in how to actualise them,” Abdulaziz quoted Blair as telling Tinubu.
He commended Tinubu’s campaign focus on key areas of security, economy, agriculture and power, describing the intertwined nature of the areas as critical to the development of any society.
He expressed optimism that with the appetite shown by investors to invest in Nigeria, the Tinubu administration could get the support it needs to spur economic development in the country.
However, Blair acknowledged the difficult task before Tinubu and other leaders, at a time of global turmoil.
“Being in government today anywhere in the world is tough. You have things happening around the world which affect you and for which you can’t do anything much,” he said.
President-elect Tinubu, in his response, expressed appreciation to Blair for the visit and for his offer to work with his administration.
He spoke of the shared vision between him and Tony Blair Institute in their priority areas but underlined the importance of tackling investment challenges and the need for social investment to fight poverty.
“Yes, we are challenged. But where is our courage? We can eliminate ignorance, diseases and poverty in Africa. We must work hard to ensure democracy works for our people,” Tinubu said.
“We have to invest more, put technology in place and keep terrorists at bay because without effective security, there is no guarantee investors will come,” he added.
The president-elect promised to provide a conducive environment that would encourage investors and open up opportunities for the people.
TheCable had also reported that UK Prime Minister Rishi Sunak has written to Tinubu ahead of his inauguration.
In the letter seen by TheCable, Sunak said he “looks forward to working” with Tinubu who won the presidential election on the platform of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in February.
Sunak said he hoped to welcome Tinubu to London in April 2024 for the second Africa investment summit.
He said the summit would be a “key moment” to strengthen UK-Nigerian business partnerships “in order to create jobs and growth, increase bilateral trade and investment, and support your aim of boosting Nigeria’s export competitiveness”.