Mr. President, You Are Suffocating The Poor. By Izuchukwu Ahuchaogu
It is now longer naysaying that no one is safe from bad government policies, including its cheerleaders.
The effects of a wrong-headed approach to governance are evident in every home, on every plate of food (if any), and on the quality of living; even on Abuja’s now near-empty streets, and the near collapse of small-scale businesses. We all bear the brunt of ill-advised and ill-timed policies, as recently enunciated by the new government of President Bola Tinubu.
Already Tinubu has lost the euphoria and initial advantage going for him. Going forward, he may have to do a lot to mitigate the negative impacts of his initial policies to prove his doubters wrong and make meaningful impact in a bleeding country.
It will be too bad to associate his regime with only enriching the rich and further pauperising the poor.
In contrast, the convoy of over 100 cars in the president’s recent movement in Lagos, the almost 50 SUVs seen earlier during his triumphant return to Abuja in preparation for the inauguration; the governors’ and lawmakers’ convoys, numerous aides and the flamboyance, lavish lifestyle, waste associated with them and their retinue — of staff, family members, appointees, all show the polarity in the lives of those in authority and the governed.
Most Stakeholders have warned that if President Bola Ahmed Tinubu fails to follow the recommendation of his policy advisory council by sequencing the reforms of his administration, more Nigerians will be plunged into poverty.
They said that while most of the initiatives of the president to revamp the economy are good, Tinubu must not “set the cart before the horse” so as not to at the end of the day erode any gains that might be recorded.
The stratified society being created by dimming the hope of Eldorado that Nigerians had thought the new president represents, speaks volumes, from his actions so far.
Welcome to President Bola Ahmed Tinubu’s republic. Within one month of his coming to power, everything has nosedived, for worse. The initial euphoria of ‘an action government’ has since given way to disillusionment.
Replacing President Muhammadu Buhari, who took almost six months to appoint some principal staff, with the same dullness dogging his government in eight years, the Tinubu regime was ushered in with open hands and excitement because he was at least proactive, having taken some salient actions and made key appointments early in the day. How good or bad those decisions are, are now measured and talked about in every home, office or street corner in the country.
Tinubu told us to tighten our belts and make sacrifices for the country. He removed petrol subsidy, the last semblance of government impact in the lives of the people, and floated the naira almost in one fell swoop, with devastating consequences.
These twin actions erased all pretensions about renewing our hopes in good governance, because there was no iota of thought for the poor.
Normally, before a new government unleashes terror, it tries to cuddle and romance the people with some positive vibes in friendly policy pronouncements, as a means of appreciation.
No, not with Tinubu. From the get go, he has shown the ugly signs of things to come. The cancellation of the official forex rate has raised the naira beyond the black-market rate that he inherited.
A group in the All Progressives Congress (APC) known as the League of Youth Voters for Tinubu and Shettima, has already begged the president to address the rising cost of living in the country as rise in the cost of living is unprecedented and unbearable. “The president is expected to revamp our ailing and critically dysfunctional economy” they said.
HERE ARE THE 30 CHALLENGES FACING PRESIDENT TINUBU AS PUBLISHED BY THISDAY NEEWSPAPERS
1. WHERE IS THE FOREX LIQUIDITY?
Despite the two laudable initiative by Tinubu, it is a common knowledge that the major issue with the country’s forex market remains the shortage of dollar supply as demand continues to surge. Therefore, the president must ensure that measures are taken by both the fiscal and monetary authorities to improve dollar liquidity in the country. Therefore, there must be deliberate efforts to address the massive crude oil theft as well encourage non-oil exports so as to boost inflows of dollar to the country.
2) WHERE ARE THE PALLIATIVES TO CUSHION POVERTY?
One area in which the Tinubu-led administration has been severely criticised is its inability to structure measures and palliatives to ease the pains suffered by Nigerians due to the removal of the fuel subsidy. The sudden fuel subsidy removal has caused untold hardship as Nigerians now grapple with the challenges of meeting up with not only the high cost of petrol but also the increase in the prices of goods and services. To many analysts, the new government ought to get the National Assembly’s approval of the World Bank’s $800 million and commence its rollout to alleviate the suffering of the masses. The NLC and TUC had suspended their planned protest in the hopes that the new government would address the adverse effects of the policy on workers. The government had directed the National Economic Council (NEC), led by Vice-President Kashim Shettima, to devise an approach and work on palliatives.
3. STATE GOVERNORS TO GET RICHER
With the removal of petrol subsidies, federation account allocations to the state governors are expected to increase. This could lead to wastage by the governors as there had been allegations of wasteful spending and money laundering by some of them.
4. HOW WILL TINUBU CAGE INFLATION?
Although the Consumer Price Index (CPI), used to gauge inflation, increased marginally from 22.22 per cent in April to 22.41 per cent, it is expected that inflation will accelerate further when the impact of the policy percolates. While the World Bank has already projected that Nigeria’s inflation would hit 25 per cent in the coming months due to the adverse effect of fuel subsidy removal, analysts at KPMG are projecting 30 per cent, with more Nigerians expected to be pushed into poverty.
5. HOW WILL TINUBU MANAGE RISING POVERTY?
The World Bank recently disclosed that no fewer than four million Nigerians were pushed into the poverty trap in the first six months of this year, with another 7.1 million more expected to join the conundrum if properly targeted measures are not taken to manage the impact of fuel subsidy removal. According to the Washington-based financial institution, “compensating transfers will be essential in helping to shield Nigerian households from the initial price impacts of the petrol subsidy reform.”
The multilateral development institution disclosed this during the Nigeria Development Update (NDU) launch last week. Dissecting the NDU, the World Bank Lead Economist for Nigeria and co-author of the report, Alex Sienaert, said four million more Nigerians were pushed into poverty in the first half of 2023. Sienaert, who stressed the need for a new social compact to protect poor and most vulnerable Nigerians in the aftermath of fuel subsidy removal, noted that about 7.1 million more Nigerians would further slip into the poverty quagmire at the end of the year if the right incentives were not properly channelled to help poor and vulnerable Nigerians. Commenting on the headwinds of the forex reforms, he observed a number of adverse consequences, including rising inflation and the increase of debt-to-GDP to about 46 per cent.
6. ANTICIPATED JOB LOSSES
As a fallout of the high energy cost, some businesses may find it difficult to retain their workers, which may lead to layoffs and unemployment in the country.
7. REDUCED PRODUCTIVITY
One of the effects of the fuel subsidy removal without emplacing measures to cushion the impact of the policy is reduced productivity, as some state governments have already announced a reduction in the number of working days. This they did to reduce the number of days civil servants commute to their workplaces.
Insecurity remains a challenge to the Tinubu administration as the spate of killings and activities of terrorists have continued unabated.
9. MASSIVE OIL THEFT
Beyond the fuel subsidy removal, the Tinubu-led administration would have to address the massive crude oil theft in the country that has for decades remained a huge drain on the economy of Nigeria. For this government to succeed, it must end crude oil theft and channel the funds to other critical sectors of the economy.
10. FIGHTING CORRUPTION
The fight against corruption at national and international levels continues to be a serious challenge. The Tinubu-led government must address this challenge as it erodes trust, weakens democracy, hampers economic development and exacerbates poverty.
11. ELECTORAL REFORM
There is a need for electoral reforms to encourage continuous participation in the country’s electoral process and address some irregularities observed during the 2023 general election that brought Tinubu to power.
12. WEAK HEALTH SYSTEM
Nigeria has a poor health system, especially at the local government level. This is responsible for the high death rate in the country, especially the high maternal mortality rate, one of the highest in the world. The Tinubu administration must work hard to fix this challenge. Also, Nigeria continues losing medical practitioners to developed countries due to poor working conditions and remuneration. The country’s doctors-to-patient ratio is about one to 5,000.
The previous government anchored its economic diversification agenda on agriculture with programmes such as the Anchor Borrowers’ Scheme. There is a need for the present administration to either maintain it or introduce other innovative initiatives to encourage agricultural activities.
14. NNAMDI KANU
The government must also address the issue of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) leader, as Nnamdi Kanu’s continued incarceration is believed to be part of the reason for the instability in the South East. In addition, the perceived injustice that has led to the rise of some separatist groups in the country must be addressed to ensure stability in Nigeria.
15. RISING DEBT PROFILE
At about N77 trillion, there are concerns that the country’s debt is becoming unstainable. Therefore, the federal government must take steps to shore up its revenue and reduce its appetite for debt.
16. ORONSAYE-JODA’S REPORTS
Steve Oronsaye’s report appears to be gathering dust on the federal government’s shelf. The Oronsaye Panel was set up in 2011, culminating in the submission of an 800-page report on April 16, 2012, recommending the disbandment and merger of 102 government agencies and parastatals. “Ahmed Joda’s Report is equally as important as Steve Oronsaye’s Report,” said Eric Teniola, a political analyst. He added, “On Ahmed Joda’s Panel Report, the full recommendations must be implemented by the next President. The recommendations summarised are for both the core and indirect poverty alleviation.”
17. MINISTERIAL APPOINTMENTS
Nigerians are watching to see how Tinubu would navigate this challenge and manage the expectations of the political class. Presently, the politicians who helped him to power are insisting that they want to be part of the government, while some others have advised the president to prioritise competence and experts. Specifically, some have warned the president to avoid persons like former Rivers State Governor Nyesom Wike, who appears to be forcing himself on the president.
18. SHORING UP REVENUE BASE
The federal government must initiate deliberate efforts to increase revenue. And to achieve this, there must be an alignment between the fiscal and monetary policy authorities.
19. NATIONAL COHESION
Nigeria is more divided since the 2023 general election, and the government must ensure that the divisions and fault lines pushing the country to the brink are bridged.
20. POOR FUNDING OF EDUCATION SECTOR
The government must address the education sector’s poor funding to improve the output level and address perennial industrial action by members of the Academic Staff Union of Universities and other unions in the higher institutions.
21. WEAK PUBLIC SERVICE
Reforms in the public sector are highly necessary to ensure efficiency and better service deliveries in parastatals, agencies and ministries of government.
22. DILAPIDATED REFINERIES
The federal government-owned refineries must be fixed to decrease imports, generate currency savings, fight inflation, and ultimately improve the country’s macroeconomic outlook.
23. INADEQUATE POWER SUPPLY
Nigeria’s power supply remains poor, a major factor constraining industrial development and production output. The new government must take steps to improve the power supply from its present level.
24. SUSTAINING ECONOMIC REFORMS
Inconsistent policy administration remains a challenge in Nigeria, and Nigerians would eagerly look forward to the government sustaining some of the policies it has introduced.
25. INSTITUTIONAL REFORMS
Nigeria has weak institutions and would require institutional reforms to implement its reforms and development programmes to achieve the desired outcome.
26. BAD ROADS
The government must commit more funds to road projects to reduce the travelling time and deaths on the roads.
27. POOR RAIL INFRASTRUCTURE
More funds are also expected to be committed to developing more railways in the country.
28. CREDIT FOR MSMES
Operators of micro, small and medium-scale enterprises (MSMEs) would look up to the government to initiate policies that would unlock financing to support their businesses and make them competitive.
29. MULTIPLE TAXATION
One of the challenges affecting businesses in the country is multiple taxation. Businesses face different taxes, levies and fees, which eat deep into their profitability.
30. ILLEGAL MIGRATION/JAPA
Lack of job opportunities, poverty, and corruption force thousands of young Nigerians to leave the country every year for greener pastures. Most of these persons go through extremely dangerous routes to Europe, and many die on the road.
The government must create a conducive environment for its citizens. There are even more concerns that millions of Nigerians disillusioned by the outcome of the last presidential election, which not a few strongly believe was systematically rigged, are bent on leaving the country by hook or by crook.
The disenchanted lot is torn between patriotism and partisanship, with several questions on their minds wondering if Tinubu’s presidency will be a departure from the norms associated with the establishment and tokenism. Or, will the new government, which they have declined to confer any legitimacy on, be more or less the same as the old order?
Tinubu’s Government of National Unity loses Kwankwaso.
Tinubu’s Government of National Unity loses Kwankwaso.
The NNPP has also resolved to provide the needed opposition to the All Progressives Congress (APC). NaijNews reports.
A source within the party disclosed that the NNPP has “carefully reviewed the situation on ground with regards to our relationship with the Bola Ahmed Tinubu-led government and we have decided not to be part of it.”
The source also said that the party has “been observing all the programmes, actions and policies of this government since it came on board, and we have decided that they (the actions) are clearly anti-people and are at odds with the philosophy and aspirational goals of our party.”
Additionally, according to the source, the NNPP has also expressed concern about the involvement of personalities with corruption allegations in the government.
“We have continued to see people with allegations of corruption and corrupt practices trailing them being made to play an important role in government,” the source said. “This runs contrary to the ethos and philosophy of our party which is made up of decent and responsible members of the public who are public spirited and development oriented.”
Prior to the release of ministerial nominees by Tinubu, there were reports that he planned to bring the opposition party into the fold to form a rumoured government of national unity.
Ganduje, Al-Makura, Ebute line up for Adamu’s replacement as APC Chair
Ganduje, Al-Makura, Ebute line up for Adamu’s replacement as APC Chair
NaijaNews reports that a major task before the All Progressives Congress, APC, is who replaces Abdullahi Adamu as the party’s National Chairman.
A few days ago, Adamu and Iyiola Omisore, APC’s National Secretary, resigned from their positions without explaining the reasons for their action.
Their resignation was confirmed by the party’s National Working Committee, NWC, which appointed its Deputy National Chairman (North), Senator Abubakar Kyari, as interim Chairman.
While in office, Adamu is believed to have endured a frosty relationship with President Bola Tinubu, a situation which became more visible when Adamu disowned the list of Principal Officers named in the National Assembly.
But the Progressive Governors Forum endorsed the new officers.
The party’s former National Chairman had stressed that APC’s NWC was unaware of the list transmitted to the Senate and House of Representatives.
“I am just hearing it as a rumour from the online media that there have been some announcements in the Senate and House of Representatives.
“The national headquarters of the party, the NWC, has not given any such information or communicated about the choice of offices,” Adamu said about the list.
Amid the misunderstanding, APC has maintained that there is no crisis within the ruling party.
There are feelers that President Bola Tinubu has sealed a deal with governors of the party to settle for the former governor of Kano State, Abdullahi Ganduje as Adamu’s replacement.
With the curtain already drawn on Adamu as APC National Chairman, some names have emerged as possible successors.
A former Nasarawa South Senator, has been tipped by some stakeholders as the best person to replace Adamu.
Al-Makura, who is a former governor of Nasarawa State, has been described as a man with the relevant qualities to head the APC.
A Forum of State Chairmen of Defunct Congress for Progressives Change, CPC, described the former governor as a unifier and bridge builder.
They said that Al-Makura’s emergence would promote cohesion within the party.
Endorsing Al-Makura for the role of the APC National Chairman, the group said: “The Forum for State Chairmen of the Defunct CPC is of the considered opinion that Al-Makura is the best hand for the vacant seat.
“This is sequel to the recent resignation of the immediate past National Chairman of the APC and the need to search for a capable, experienced and reliable personality to occupy the seat.”
According to them, Al-Makura has, over the years, exemplified remarkable leadership roles needed to lead the governing party.
He is the sixth President of the Nigerian Senate during the third Republic who hails from the North Central area of Nigeria.
In July 2023, Ebute had declared his interest to become APC’s National Chairman following Adamu’s resignation.
Ebute said he is ready to sacrifice himself as he did alongside President Bola Tinubu during the heydays of the military for APC to move forward.
The former governor of Plateau State is believed to be eying the office of the APC National Chairman.
Like Ebute, the former APC presidential campaign Director-General hails from the North Central which the ruling party, according to feelers, might zone its National Chairmanship to.
Lately, the two-time governor has been in the news over his likely emergence as Adamu’s replacement.
Reports have it that President Bola Tinubu is backing Ganduje to replace Adamu.
Despite the reports, a former acting National Chairman of APC, Hilliard Eta, said Tinubu has not revealed his choice.
Speaking with DAILY POST, the ex-National Vice Chairman, South-South, said: “I’m conscious of the sensibilities of Nigerians towards zoning.
“I’m conscious of the dictates of the constitution of our party, but I’m also conscious of Mr President’s leadership of our party.
“This President will sell the best interest of the party, and for the position of the National Chairmanship, I sincerely yield to the position of Mr President, and if he makes his choice, I will stand by him 100 percent.
“Though Mr President has not made his decision, I hear there is a NEC meeting, and I believe that his choice would be made known.”
On his part, a former National Publicity Secretary, Yekini Nabena warned over the constitution of the party’s leadership.
Nabena wondered why the party would consider zoning the office of the National Chairman to the Northwest after it initially zoned it to North Central.
“Whoever they like, they should bring, it was zoned to the North Central, but they want to take it to the Northwest.
“If they want to do that, it’s not a problem, but the party will continue to fight and will not get it right until they do the right thing,” Nabena told DAILY POST.
APC crisis: Pressure mounts on Adamu to resign
APC crisis: Pressure mounts on Adamu to resign
AHEAD of this week’s meeting of the National Caucus and National Executive Committee, NEC, of the All Progressives Congress, APC, strong indications emerged that the party’s National Chairman, Senator Abdullahi Adamu and National Secretary, Senator Iyiola Omisore are under pressure to resign.
Vanguard gathered that some leaders of the party had been going about with a list of alleged “sins” committed by Adamu against President Bola Tinubu weeks before the latter declared his interest to vie for the presidency last year.
An APC official, who is privy to the internal workings of the party, disclosed that the NEC meeting, slated for Tuesday, is likely to approve a timetable for a midterm elective convention to fill party vacancies.
The party leader said: “Consequently, there are some forces within the party who are likely to meet with Adamu on Sunday night or early Monday to pressure him into resigning rather than been shown the exit door.
“As you know, many of the new state governors have not made all their appointments. Even at that, some party officials have been appointed into government.
“At the national level, it is very likely that some national officers or members of the National Working Committee NWC would be appointed into government. Once that is done, there will be vacancies which would be filled through the convention. The convention could also provide a window to get Adamu out.”
Another source informed Vanguard that the move to oust Adamu would also see Omisore being eased out of the equation as some aggrieved members of the NWC have consistently accused him of running the party alone with Adamu.
The party official said the controversial audit report of the party would be part of the issues to use against Adamu.
He said: “Under our constitution, only the NEC of the party can appoint an external auditor to audit the accounts of the party but Adamu, after being forced to render financial accounts, decided to enlist his own auditor, bypassing NEC. He thereafter presented the report of his auditors to the NWC for ratification. The party has an auditor. Adamu should simply have allowed him to do his job and present his report to the NWC. After that, the NWC will go through the report of the National Auditor, deliberate on it and present to NEC, which has the powers to appoint an external auditor to go through our accounts. But this has not been the case.”
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