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Time to tell President Tinubu; enough is enough

Nigerians being led to believe by President Tinubu’s spin doctors that things will get better under the present administration should wake up and smell the…

Nigerians being led to believe by President Tinubu’s spin doctors that things will get better under the present administration should wake up and smell the coffee. It is time to draw the line.

It is almost a year now since President Bola Ahmed Tinubu has been in office and from the policies the administration has implemented it leaves the unmistakable impression that the well-being of the Nigerian people is the least of its concerns.

It is no rocket science and one certainly does not need to decipher that thus far into its tenure the Tinubu administration is on a trajectory of unprecedented mass pauperisation and impoverishment of the Nigerian people. On the flip side, the administration seems clearly hell-bent on transferring our patrimony into the hands of an identified tiny one per cent of Nigerians in the president’s circle of influence, thereby creating a two-speed Nigeria made up of the vast poor and few rich.

The principal policy instrument through which the administration has been doing this is the removal of subsidies. President Tinubu told us he was removing subsidies on petroleum products because it amounted to a misapplication of resources in which the government commits huge sums of money to supply petroleum products which benefits only a few well connected people and players in the sector who invariably do not supply the products but pocket the money. The president said the money thus saved will go into providing social and infrastructural services that will benefit indigent Nigerians directly.

But it has now been established convincingly a couple of months ago by the IMF and World Bank and as recently as last week by CEO of Rainoil Gabriel Ogbechie that the government is still paying subsidies amounting to about two times over and above what was being paid previously. In effect, the subsidy component that President Tinubu removed was the one that provided succour for the Nigerian people replacing it with so-called palliatives that merely provide temporary relief but are unsustainable. The subsidy on petroleum products he now pays under the table goes to people in his circle So who is deceiving who?

Similarly, when the administration increased tariff on electricity recently, it was hinged on the huge subsidies the government pays to the sector to sustain power distribution and supply in the country.  But then the previous government had told us that it had totally withdrawn the huge subsidies on electricity. Why then is the Tinubu administration telling us it had been subsidies to a sector that had been privatised and expected to run on market principles? Again it is clear that the administration has been paying private electricity companies with public funds. By the new electricity tariff, the administration is transferring and imposing on the people the burden of paying to sustain the owners of the electricity sector in business for their inefficient services.

The corollary to all this is the rising inflation rate which has been recorded at nearly 34 per cent by the latest figures from the National Bureau of Statistics. It is a reflection of the ever-rising prices of commodities and services which have gone beyond the reach of the Nigerians occasioned by the policies of the Tinubu administration. To make matters worse, prices of petroleum products and electricity are both projected to shoot up before the end of the year adding more hardship to the already overburdened people.

If Nigerians are under any illusions that things will get any better as President Tinubu’s publicists have been leading us to believe they had better think again.

President Tinubu is riding on the belief that his presidency is the reward owed him for his contribution to installing democracy after years of struggle to oust the military from power. That is the underlying idea of his ‘’E mi lokan’’ proclamation. It may well be so, but the fight for democracy had different fathers and followed different trajectories. The records have it that at the time President Tinubu fought his democracy struggle from the comfort of his bolthole abroad where he was also conducting his private businesses. But it must be said that President Tinubu did not experience the inside of a cold, dank underground cell covered in filth like some of us did. He also was not paraded around DSS and police detention centres crowded with deadly cutthroats and other criminal types like a good many of us whose travails in the struggle for democracy were for the benefit of Nigerian people not for the pages of newspapers. His role in the democratic struggle though notable was however grossly over-embellished by his paid publicists who promoted it beyond what he really contributed. That however does not grant him the sole right to disdainfully treat Nigeria and Nigerians as economic chattels as he is currently doing.

Nigerians should realise that President Tinubu is embarking on a course of action that is likely to snap the already fragile social and economic fabric of the country if we let him. He has distorted the economic framework of the country by disrupting the flow of economic activities in both the real and informal sectors. He has jerked up interest rates making the cost of investment and business prohibitive. He has virtually depleted our foreign reserve in a forlorn and foolish attempt to prop up the naira against major currencies. And most damaging of all he has embarked on a war against the subsidies that provided the cushion for business to thrive and for millions of Nigerians to have a sense of social belonging.

No administration in the history of Nigeria has proven to be so anti-people than this administration. Not even the military dictators that have ruled this country have treated us with such a scale of contempt and disdain. From the President right down to his cut-and-paste policy wonks, Nigerians are people who can accept anything even glaring incompetence mixed with condescension and move on without complaints or pushback.

Now that Nigerians have seen and experienced the trajectory of the Tinubu administration and its intention to further subject us to continuous misery, we should borrow a leaf from what President Tinubu did in the past. He fought oppressive governments military and civilian for democracy and social justice in this country. Now that having ascended to power he is seen to be embarking on a similar path of economic and social injustice, Nigerians must in many ways tell him; Enough is Enough we will not tolerate your oppressive economic and social policies anymore.

 

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