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Tinubu, Brazilian President Da Silva mull stronger ties in education, agric, aviation, healthcare

President Bola Ahmed Tinubu and President Luiz Inácio Lula Da Silva of Brazil, in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia Photo: State House

*President Bola Ahmed Tinubu and President Luiz Inácio Lula Da Silva of Brazil, in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, agree to strengthen bilateral ties in all critical sectors of the two countries’ economies

Isola Moses | ConsumerConnect

President Bola Ahmed Tinubu and President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva of Brazil Sunday, February 18, 2024, met in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, and had fruitful discussions on comprehensive strengthening of bilateral ties in all fields between the two countries.

Chief Ajuri Ngelale, Special Adviser to President Tinubu on Media and Publicity, stated the Nigerian leader, while speaking at the meeting, emphasised the strength of the West African country’s economic potential and influence.

The President noted Nigeria is witnessing a leap forward, despite some short-term reform pains, as his administration is removing all encumbrances to business.

The statement also disclosed President Tinubu explained that his administration is investing in critical sectors of the economy, such as healthcare, education, and agriculture to ensure the welfare of all Nigerian citizens and to create sustainable economic prosperity for future generations.

He stated: “We have a very vibrant population of young Nigerians who are trainable, dependable, and should be empowered.

“The economic potential of Nigeria is enormous. We are ready to break all the walls standing in our way to progress.”

Tinubu further said: “We are ready to fight corruption from top to bottom.

“We are ready to invest in critical sectors like healthcare, agriculture, education, infrastructure, and others.

“I have one of the most dedicated teams on agriculture.”

I’m back to restore our good relations with Nigeria, says President Da Silva

In assessing the Nigeria’s natural and human resource wealth akin to Brazil’s, President Lula Da Silva said Nigeria as Africa’s largest economy and South America’s largest economy have a long and interesting history together.

The Brazilian leader also observed that Nigeria and Brazil once had a trade volume of more than $10 billion in the past, which has now plummeted to $1.6 billion.

He, however, affirmed his determination to strengthen bilateral relations between the countries.

“I am back to try to restore; to reclaim our good relations with Nigeria.

“I cannot imagine that a country of 216 million people and another of 213 million people do not have strong relations,” stated Da Silva.

The Brazilian leader further said: “Mr. President, I am 78 years old. You are 71. What keeps me energetic is that I fight for a cause.

“The cause of my nation and people. A great cause is the elixir of sustained vitality for experienced leaders.”

He stated: “Nigeria and Brazil need stronger relations from the academic viewpoint; from the cultural viewpoint; from the commercial viewpoint; from the agricultural viewpoint; from the industrial relations viewpoint, and from trade relations viewpoint.

“It is meaningless that there are no direct flights from Lagos to Sao Paulo and vice versa.

“I cannot understand that. We have to sit at a table and find a solution for that.”

The President noted: “In aviation, there are many areas of potential collaboration with our manufacturers who seek to have a greater presence in Africa.

“I only have three more years left of my term, Your Excellency, to do everything I have not done yet.”

Da Silva added: “The time is very short. I am in a hurry to make my contributions to improve these relations with Nigeria.

“To make this happen, we have to put our ministers to work.”

Responding to Da Silva’s suggestions, President Tinubu said Nigeria is ready to deepen ties with Brazil.

He noted that it is a “legacy of what can be done together to change the future for countless millions of our citizens.

“We are stopping at nothing to remove all encumbrances to business.”

Tinubu also said: “Red tape is being shredded around us. There is nothing we will not do to manifest the great potential of our nation.

“We are fighting corruption from the bottom to the top. We will prevent it, and we will remediate.”

The Nigerian President stated: “We are very aware of your progressive legacies of social security provision, infrastructure, and reforms in Petrobras.

“We are in the process of implementing similar reforms in the NNPCL.

“We are focusing on investment in new production and new energy sources.”

Tinubu further noted: “We are investing in research, and we are removing obstacles to further partnerships in all areas of operations.

“There is an opportunity for both companies in partnership.”

While identifying solid minerals exploration, agriculture, education, and healthcare as areas of immediate concern, President Tinubu emphasised that the will of the two leaders to collaborate is firmly established.

“I agree that our countries must now have direct air links. I will form a committee of cabinet members who will work directly with your cabinet ministers, and they will urgently form a joint plan of action for the benefit of our two great countries.”

He said: “We may have missed opportunities in the past, but we now look ahead.

“Brazil and Nigeria share similarities. Let us forget old mistakes. The phenomenal growth achieved by Brazil in agriculture is exemplary.

“We will work with you to mechanise our food production systems to enhance quality and quantity of output.

“I will work with you to re-energise Nigeria’s relations with Brazil across the board.”

Ngelale stated that the leaders of the largest democracies in Africa and South America, respectively, agreed to work out the modalities for a state visit to Brazil by President Tinubu after President Lula da Silva extended an invitation, which the Nigerian leader warmly accepted.

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