February 26, 2024

FG must focus on credible solutions


NO matter how popular or credible a government is deemed to be, it must face crisis situations from time to time. How it responds to such emergency situations shows its readiness and capacity for effective governance.

The government of President Bola Ahmed Tinubu may have had good intentions in taking some hard decisions in the past nine months. These include the immediate implementation of the petrol subsidy removal and floating of the naira.

The three foremost presidential candidates for the 2023 election: Tinubu, Atiku Abubakr and Peter Obi, had also pledged during the campaigns to do the same because subsidy payment was swallowing the funds for governance and development. These measures were also deemed necessary to attract investments into the economy.

In life, what matters most often is not the “what” but the “how”. Tinubu’s manner of approach in resolving the economic disaster left behind by Muhammadu Buhari has worsened the situation. What was the rationale for empanelling the largest cabinet in Nigeria’s history at a time of our worst economic and security failures? The  creeping corruption already confirmed in the Executive, Legislature and Judiciary are difficult to explain for a government that has just started work.

Also, Tinubu’s preference to toe Buhari’s path of nepotism rather than copy former President Olusegun Obasanjo’s template of looking for the most qualified Nigerians from anywhere in the world to manage the critical portfolios of his government is backfiring as it did under Buhari. The practice of making effusive promises and adopting the fire brigade strategy of “throwing money” at issues have not helped. The upshot of all these and more is that the people’s patience is running out.

Within its first nine months, the regime has purportedly released food from the national strategic reserves twice. Where is the food? What have the governors done with the publicised N5bn given to each? Why are the Dangote and the Port Harcourt Refineries yet to make their products available? Why have the armed forces failed to curtail the terrorism and banditry which are keeping farmers off their farms?

We advise the Federal Government to resist the temptation of meeting the hardship and hunger crises with hackneyed propaganda and intimidation of the citizens. No one needs to be “sponsored” to cry out when he or she is hungry. The suffering is real, and the snapping point is very close by. Responding to the crisis with the already discredited “cash transfers” is a mere pandering to corruption.

Nigerians demand appropriate government responses that will bring relief to the populace, not just a few connected acolytes. Nigerians need available and affordable food, energy and security for their survival.

Tinubu should accept help from wherever he can find it, and as soon as possible. We cannot continue like this for much longer.