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100 Days of Uncertainty and Contradictions

If you want to see how Tinubu’s presidency will fare, you must look at his first 100 days in office. Surprisingly, this milestone coincides with…

If you want to see how Tinubu’s presidency will fare, you must look at his first 100 days in office.

Surprisingly, this milestone coincides with the much-awaited PEPT judgement announcement. So, if the judgement goes in his favour, it will be a double celebration for the government. But knowing the judicial process in Nigeria, the PEPT judgement will not end the tribunal; they will take it up to the Supreme Court. That means there will be another 60 days to look forward to before hearing the last of the tribunal. Nonetheless, that should not stop us from looking at the 100 days of President Tinubu.

The government was swift in suspending the CBN Governor and the EFCC Chairman but is dithering to confirm their replacements, giving them limited powers and the independence to drive their institutions forward. They took 60 days, the maximum number of days stipulated, to announce the Ministers. And even after doing that, they still came up short with mistaken nominations, and Kaduna is yet to have a Minister. Unlike a marksman who emphasises shooting and following through on a target, the Tinubu presidency seemed to lose sight and commitment post-initial actions.

If 100 days is meant to draw a picture of an administration’s tenure, then Tinubu has a video. There is a trademarked phrase attributed to him that will be remembered for years to come. It is the viral video recorded on Democracy Day, June 12, where he was caught preaching Let the poor breathe.

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Truly, the poor are being suffocated. Children’s school fees and cost of living are high, purchasing power has been weakened, and everything is difficult to come by—thanks to Tinubu’s policies.

To be fair, there is a consensus that Tinubu assumed office amidst a severely struggling economy on its knees. His surprise announcement during his presidential inaugural speech was meant to signal a commitment to implementing crucial economic reforms and instil a sense of Renewed Hope. Like an idealist, he promised that the exchange rate system would be unified, interest rates would be lowered, and fuel subsidies would be removed. But, after 100 days in office, Tinubu’s actions have disappointedly worsened the Nigerian economy—pushing it further down to fall flat on its face.

Like the poor, the rich are not left behind. Dangote and Abdulsamad Rabiu lost $5.85 billion in the first 30 days of the administration. GlaxoSmithKline has joined Deli Foods, ShopRite, Procter & Gamble, and Surest Foam to discontinue their business in the country. Large corporations reported huge forex losses in the last few weeks as they presented their June 30 second-quarter statements. These include Nestle Nigeria, Dangote Cement, MTN, and Airtel, with forex losses amounting to N123.7 billion, N103.8 billion, N131.4 billion, and N471 billion, respectively. Like large corporations, small businesses are not breathing, and neither are the poor people. There is no reason to ask why, as it is blinking, obvious. Since the removal of fuel subsidies, fuel prices in the country have tripled. The rise in fuel prices is channelling into all sectors of the economy, and the devalued currency is making the economy less attractive for investors. Life is hard.

But that is not the only worry. The key issue about the government is the lack of sticking to policy and objectives, like the marksman analogy. That is why I say whoever wants to predict the right outcome of Tinubu’s government, all you have to do is to predict the opposite of what they say they want to achieve, and you will have an accurate prediction.

For example, Tinubu claimed that subsidy removal would enhance prosperity and lead to fighting the elite of the elites. We all see the results now: misery and economic hardship. After receiving approval to spend N500 billion on 12 million poor households from the National Assembly, his government is still searching for ways to disburse palliatives to people experiencing poverty. Following the last announcement of N5 billion to each state, the Finance Ministers contradicted the announcement that only N2 billion out of the N5 billion loan has been disbursed to the states. Another example is the recent comments by the acting CBN Governor saying that they are not operating a free-floating exchange rate system, which makes one suspect that they may be taking a U-turn on the exchange rate unification plan or lack thereof. Indeed, these large corporations are not breathing well, and the business leaders will see the real outcome contrasts with what Tinubu preached to them when he hosted them to discuss his economic plans.

Similarly, the announcement by the Minister of Solid Mineral regarding a 30-day grace for illegal miners contrasts with the government’s objectives. One would think they would make an instant announcement to stop illegal mining as they did with fuel subsidy removal and the exchange rate system because it is the elite of the elites that are benefitting. Disappointingly, they did not. This will come at a cost to the economy, the law-abiding citizens, and the victims of the displaced lands. I will call on people to disregard the Minister’s unrealistic projection that the ministry will add at least 50% to the Nigerian economy because campaign promises are over.

So, this is where we are with Tinubu. Who would have taught Gabon would be treated differently after Tinubu’s one-week deadline to Niger’s military government? We will let that one slide.

And yes, as deduced in the first few weeks, I can confirm that the Tinubu administration was unprepared for governance, as many expected.

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