Mr. President, do the job, quit blame game

Tinubu made a fundamental mistake in whimsically removing the so-called subsidy on petroleum products

By Emeka Alex Duru

You would notice organised efforts by programmed minds and sidekicks to absolve President Bola Tinubu of the economic crisis in the land. From seasoned praise singers as the All Progressives Congress (APC) publicity machine and senator representing Edo North in the national assembly, Adams Oshiomhole to presumed measured commentators as the former Emir of Kano and erstwhile governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Dr. Lamido Sanusi, there seems an agenda to ensure that Tinubu is never associated with the hardship Nigerians are going through.

Former governor of Ogun State and current Senator representing Ogun East, Gbenga Daniel, joined the chorus, the other day, asking Nigerians to bear with the President, who he said, inherited a failed economy from the last administration. Minister of State for Defence, Bello Matawalle, had earlier injected subtle threats to Nigerians making ‘unwarranted’ and ‘unguarded statements’ against President Tinubu’s government over insecurity and rising food prices, warning that such engagements will have consequences.

From its end, the APC announced its support for what it called President Tinubu’s bold and far-reaching reforms, emphasizing their significance for Nigeria’s economic recovery, sustainable growth, and prosperity.

On the flip side, former President, Muhammadu Buhari, is being fronted as the fall guy, a scape goat sort of and the architect of the piteous state of the national economy. And he is living with it! To be sure, the Buhari administration is not one deserving the tears and defence by any right-thinking Nigerian. The eight years of Buhari set Nigeria back considerably in all departments of national life.

Here was a man who rode to the presidency on a crest of overwhelming national appeal and international support but ended up widening the dangerous fault lines in the country. From his parochial tendencies manifested parceling out major positions to his Fulani kinsmen and skewing government policies towards his northern region of birth, Buhari made absolute mockery of Nigeria’s corporate existence.

Buhari commenced his odious journey by blaming the ills of the country on his predecessor, Goodluck Jonathan at any forum he attended or participated. Initially, the citizens had thought that he had an agenda at repositioning the country. But after eight years, it became apparent that he struggled for 12 solid years to attain power, on one occasion, shedding tears in public, just to occupy the office and bear the title; Mr. President.

He was lifeless to his office and issues troubling the country. It is therefore hardly surprising that many accuse him of contributing substantially to the present rot in the country. But any attempt at exonerating Tinubu from the sorry situation, is a serious disservice to the nation.

Nigerians need to be careful with the antics of obviously procured agents bent of presenting President Tinubu on the garb of a good boy that he does not deserve. That is how the march to imperial presidency commences. William Shakespear in his great work, Julius Caesar, rightly observed that “lowliness is young ambition’s ladder, whereto the climber-upward turns his face; But when he once attains the upmost round, he then unto the ladder turns his back, looks in the clouds, scorning the base degrees by which he did ascend”.

The danger in the Nigerian elite whitewashing the President and by extension, exonerating him from the piteous state of the nation, is that literally, a monster is being created that may end up devouring all, including those propping it. It is akin to feeding a cub that on growing to a tiger, ends up eating its handler.

Tinubu made a fundamental mistake in whimsically removing the so-called subsidy on petroleum products and floating the foreign exchange market without putting on ground any strategy to absorb the shock. This is the truth that he must be told and be further guided on how to pull the country from the edge. Anything to the contrary is sheer sycophancy and cannot situate.

It may sound lucid and elegant to make elevated arguments on Buhari’s poor management of the economy. Global finance agencies and government image managers, can also humour the president with doing much in re-engineering the economy. But the practical economy which the man on the street or the woman in the village understands, is that which reflects on the prices of basic items and standard of living. Any other thing is mere academic exercise.

That is why, despite the attempts by Senators Oshiomhole, Daniel and other cheer men at deification of the president, there are certain realities and developments on ground that clearly indicate that things are not normal. The same bags of Rice that Nigerians bought at N30,000 under Buhari, are currently sold at over N90,000. Cement has gone up from N4,000 to N10,000 and beyond. The same measure of Garri that was sold at N1,200, currently goes for N2,500, in some places, higher. House rents have gone up, transport fares hiked, companies are closing shops and families in disarray due to unbearable hardship. Things are certainly not easy for Nigerians.

The other day, the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) reported that the country’s inflation rate increased to 29.90 per cent in January 2024 from 28.92 per cent recorded in December 2023.

Few days ago, hungry Nigerians rose up in Niger, Kano, Osun states, over high cost of food items. The Nigerian Labour Congress (NLC) has in consequence, slated February 27 and 28 for nationwide protest over the issue.

In a more surprising twist, Fuji musician, Wasiu Ayinde “KWAM1” and a Nollywood actor, Olaiya Igwe, who campaigned for Tinubu, have raised the alarm over the increasing prices of commodities in the country.

The Sultan of Sokoto, Muhammad Sa’ad Abubakar-led Northern Traditional Council has also warned that rising poverty, hunger and insecurity in the country may force the people to revolt against the government. The African Development Bank (AfDB) has echoed same warning.

These are objective and critical alerts that should matter to the President, not the fleeting posturing of hangers-on, who seek to tell him what he wants to hear. Government is a continuum. Tinubu sought the mandate of Nigerians to fix the country, not to offer excuses or push the blames to his predecessor. He has to do the job or quit.

Whatever steps taken by Buhari in admittedly mismanaging the country are over, except those that may require him to make explanations before relevant bodies, if the need arises.

Tinubu is the man in the dock, so to say. He is like a glass house in a market square that people see its contents. Nigerians know when their present challenges started from. No amount of propaganda or carpetbagging by persons or groups, no matter how presumptuous, can befuddle them. All that the president needs, is to roll up his pants and do the job that he signed for. The blame game must stop.

DURU is the Editor, TheNiche Newspapers, Lagos


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