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Sacrifice: Lead by example, Nigerians reply Tinubu

Nigerians have asked President Bola Ahmed Tinubu to lead by example after saying that Nigeria needed sacrificing citizens to fulfil the dreams of its founding…

Nigerians have asked President Bola Ahmed Tinubu to lead by example after saying that Nigeria needed sacrificing citizens to fulfil the dreams of its founding fathers.

They also tasked the president to ask those directly working under him like ministers, advisers and heads of agencies, as well as governors at the subnational level, and other people in position of authority, to also live by example, saying sacrifice must start from top to bottom, instead of the other way round.

Tinubu had, while addressing journalists after observing the Eid-el Kabir prayer at Dodan Barracks, Lagos, on Sunday, stressed the need for the people to follow the path of sacrifice to make the nation great.

“Being a very good citizen comes with responsibility. As citizens, what do you do to be a very committed member of our society? Go and sacrifice. Love your country, love your neighbours, share what you have with one another and be thankful to Almighty God. That’s all,” he had said.

The comment had elicited reactions from Nigerians, civil society organisations, and the opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), among others.

An economist and lecturer at Saadatu Rimi University of Education, Kumbotso, Kano, who is also the Director, Fiscal Discipline and Development Advocacy Centre (FIDAC), Dr. Abdulsalam Kani, said the government had failed to fulfil its part of the bargain, especially promises made to Nigerians.

 “The government has removed fuel subsidy and increased electricity tariff, plunging many into difficulty. Nigerians were promised that Port Harcourt refinery will begin production in December last year, and that has not happened. Despite these and the failure of the administration to fulfil promises, they are making plans to buy new aircraft for the president and vice president,” he said.

He said the government had equally failed to address rising inflation which is above 33 per cent at the moment.

“The primary responsibility of government is to ensure welfare and security of its citizens,” he said.

The Secretary-General, Nigeria Political Science Association (NPSA), Dr Bakare Adegbola, said: “The statement of the president is a normal thing politicians say during eid celebrations, especially Eid-el Kabir, which is all about sacrifice. But when politically contextualised, then we begin to read meanings to it.

“An average politician cannot make sacrifices in terms of what they get when they get into power because they see the position as a business investment and must recoup their money,” he said.

 “However, before demanding such from the masses, he should have shown that he is leading from the front. The cost of governance is too high and yet, we are talking about buying new carriers for the president when we already have ten. Why not sell some of those ageing ones?

“The number of cars in their convoys has shown that they are not making any sacrifice. They need to govern by example and take the lead in their campaign of sacrifice,” he said.

Abdullateef Abubakar, a resident of Kano, said the Tinubu administration should rather reduce cost of governance instead of asking poor Nigerians to make sacrifices.

He said the president appointed more ministers with retinue of aides who are paid allowances from the government’s coffers.

“People are really facing difficulties. Food is beyond the reach of many families. What else do they want people to do,” he asked.

He said despite increase of allocation from the Federal Account Allocation Committee (FAAC) to the states, the life of the poor citizens has not improved.

Umar Tijjani, a school teacher said Nigerian leaders should fear God and make life easy for the people as life is already unbearable for them.

“Tomato price has never in our history been this high. Things are so expensive that my salary means nothing,” he said.

Peter Azi, a resident of Jos, said: “The Sallah message of President Tinubu that Nigerians should sacrifice is very worrisome and disturbing. How can ordinary man sacrifice amidst massive killing, maiming and kidnapping of citizens every day?

“Minimum wage is a total mirage while the cost of governance is on the increase at all tiers of government”, he said.

Danjuma Salihu, another resident of Jos, said: “There is no way Nigeria will have sacrificing citizens when those in government are not willing to make enough sacrifices”. 


CSOs react

Tunde Salman, the Team Lead/Convener, Good Governance Team (GGT) Nigeria, said that President Tinubu and his team should also practice what the administration is preaching.

“But unfortunately, Nigerian leaders have not been known to have practiced what they preached. As such, the expected import of the presidential appeal would most likely be ignored”, he said. 

Also, the Senior Communications Officer at Yiaga Africa, Mr. Mark Amaza, said that it was unconscionable to ask citizens to make more sacrifices in order to make the nation great, as though they have not been making sacrifices already, especially when the leaders were not doing the same.

“Sacrifices such as cutting down the cost of governance need to be made and be seen to be made, from the size of the cabinet, to spending priorities such as renovation and construction of new official residences for the president and his vice, to other extravagances rub salt into the wound of citizens who are going through some of the hardest times in Nigeria’s history,” Amaza said.

Equally, the Executive Director, Resource Centre for Human Rights and Civic Education (CHRICED), Comrade Ibrahim Zikirullahi, said that the call by President Tinubu on Nigerians to sacrifice more to make the country great was the height of insensitivity.

He said that neither the president nor any other member of the current ruling class had the moral right to make such demand on Nigerians, who had already been reduced to beggars and destitute in a country so blessed with abundant human and natural resources.

 “The question we should be asking the president is: what has he and the other members of his cabinet sacrificed so far, to make Nigeria great? I think the only thing left for the citizens to sacrifice is their lives,” Zikirullahi said.

The Country Director, Action Aid Nigeria (AAN), Mr Andrew Mamedu, said that the president’s call must be accompanied by demonstrable actions from the highest levels of government.

 “The nation is currently grappling with inflation, leading to a significant rise in the cost of living that disproportionately burdens ordinary Nigerians. Those who peacefully protested for a change a few days ago were arrested.

“The Nigerian Labour Congress (NLC) has rightly called for an increased minimum wage to help workers cope with the escalating expenses. Yet, we see the glaring disparity between the sacrifices expected of the average Nigerian and the opulent lifestyle and substantial wages of our lawmakers”, he said.

On his part, the Executive Director, Cleen Foundation, Mr. Gad Peter, said that the request by President Tinubu for Nigerians to make sacrifices is a request he has been asking for since he came into the office.

“But the fundamental question is that as Nigerians have made sacrifices for him to become our president, what are the things he doing as an individual? What sacrifices are his government making to ensure that Nigerians are enjoying the dividends of democracy and for electing him into office?”, he asked.

A former National Secretary of the Committee for the Defence of Human Rights (CDHR), Yinka Folarin, described Tinubu’s statement as unfortunate, and one that could agitate the consciousness of Nigerians at this critical time.

Speaking with Daily Trust, Folarin said Nigerians have been sacrificing, enduring and dying in the face of the economic hardship and failed promises.

He said: “Obviously, the president appears to be in complete disconnect with the people, knowing fully well that Nigerians have been sacrificing and have been enduring even in the midst of unprecedented hardship.

“So, I wonder what the president wants from the suffering masses whose future appears to be bleak? We were promised renewed hope when the hope is even not forthcoming and we have to keep enduring? I wonder”, he exclaimed.


Leaders must lead by example – PDP

The main opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has asked President Tinubu to stop corruption in his government and make sure that members of his administration lead by example before telling Nigerians to make sacrifices.

National Publicity Secretary of the party, Debo Ologunagba, told Daily Trust on phone, that: “If you look at our recent outing on the state of affairs in the country, we have told the president to take action and reduce profligacy and corruption in government.

“Yes, we agreed that every citizen needs to make sacrifices, but the leadership must lead by example; the government should show the way in making sacrifices by leading by example. That way, the people will be connected to the government.

“What we are saying as a party is that there are times everyone must make sacrifice for the good of the country, but the government must show the way by example; because that is the only way the people can be connected to the government.

“What is happening is that Nigerians have resorted to providing their own security, they have taken over the role of government, because government has apparently failed them and they are disappointed”, he said.

Ologunagba also said because of the situation in the country, “Majority of Nigerians have completely lost confidence in the APC government, which has failed to articulate any clear-cut, development-oriented policy direction that is geared towards guaranteeing the security and economic wellbeing of the people, leading to despondency and uncertainty”.


Sacrifice call unfair – YPP

The National Publicity Secretary of the Young Progressives Party (YPP), Comrade Egbeola Wale Martins, said that President Tinubu asking Nigerians to make more sacrifices was unfair. He said that it is now clear that he (Tinubu) was insensitive because it is not clear what further sacrifices should be made after the removal of fuel subsidy, increment in electricity tariffs, introduction of stamp duty and other taxes to mention but a few, without providing any social safety net to ameliorate the suffering of Nigerians.

“Charity should begin from the president and all our so-called leaders across the board as they are the ones who should sacrifice because it’s obvious they are oblivious of the degree of sufferings being experienced by Nigerians”, he said.


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