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Where is Tinubu’s own broom?

Who like me is wondering when our freshly minted president, Bola Ahmed Tinubu, is going to start sweeping with his own broom? As a candidate,…

Who like me is wondering when our freshly minted president, Bola Ahmed Tinubu, is going to start sweeping with his own broom? As a candidate, he waved a new broom, the symbol of his party at every campaign rally. Nearly three months after getting the key to Aso Rock Villa, Tinubu appeared to have left that broom either in Bourdillon or in Aguda House. Hence the resort to using the broken, helpless and inefficient sweeper left by Muhammadu Buhari, his predecessor. As a result, not only are the streets, nooks and corners of Nigeria as filthy as Buhari left them, but also the stench of the debris is choking the nation.  

Not supposed to be any power broker’s surrogate, Tinubu is yet to unveil an own agenda for rescuing Nigeria’s sinking ship. From the onset and with only a foggy picture of the state of the Nigerian economy, without a cabinet in place and with the governor of the Central Bank in detention, Tinubu eagerly announced the withdrawal of the so-called subsidy on petroleum products.  

Any rookie economist knows that such an announcement would adversely affect the health of the naira and send the prices of goods and services hitting the roof. Yet, Tinubu has only postponed other harsh policies, not jettisoned them.  

The removal of subsidy has discombobulated the gamut of Nigeria’s class structure. The vanishing members of the middle class have dropped in status crushing the poor down the ladder. The few that could lay claim to jobs have discovered that their take-home pay is no longer capable of moving them to the bus stop. State governments are resorting to phony programmes to keep the wheel of bureaucracy running.  

Anarchy has been let loose on the Nigerian social strata as the prices of commodities have alienated half of the population from the nutrients they need to sustain themselves and their dependants.  

Our currency, the naira has finally given up on its fight for relevance among other currencies including those of neighbouring countries that used to depend on Nigeria for a lifeline. For once, the dollar is showing the naira why it could not be called a real currency.  

The way things are going, the circle of those denominating their goods and services in dollars might surge, further weakening the capacity of citizens to buy, sell or do business. It is now impossible to buy local or international tickets. Middle class parents are unable to pay the fees of children sent abroad for study. 

To further confirm that he does not have a clean or clear policy direction, Tinubu has adopted another failed Buhari policy – that of paying N8,000 monthly income to some unknown families on the lowest rung of the economic ladder. In other words, he is implementing Buhari’s failed policies taken from the IMF/World Bank.  

The president rushed through the rubber-stamp legislature a request to borrow $850 million to fund this charade and the assembly have acceded to his request prepared to take their own cut from the deal. Apparently, just like his predecessor, Tinubu has bought into the distribution of so-called palliatives by bluetooth. 

We have walked this fraudulent road with Buhari for eight years. From the fraudulent TraderMoni to the introduction of a failed School Feeding project to paying unverified millions N5,000 monthly, this is bound to fail. Yet, Tinubu expects to lift the poorest of the poor from their vicious cycle of poverty. It is daydreaming because N8,000 cannot buy enough loaves of bread to feed a family of five for two days anywhere in Nigeria. 

A nation that is unsure of its own population, unable to stop insurgency; one that critically exposes its citizens to wanton kidnapping and killing cannot effectively subsidise agriculture. Buhari’s photo-op rice silos have not reduced hunger or even the market price of the commodity. These Buhari policies that Tinubu is bent on implementing without critical evaluation have zero possibility of making direct meaningful impact on the poor.  

Nations that have implemented social cushions have done so using verifiable data and directly into people’s accounts. Tinubu plans to distribute N8,000 to some for photo-op leaving the magnets of corruption to feed fat on whatever is left. He should cut official waste instead. 

While Buhari marketed himself as a fake anti-corruption czar, it is difficult knowing where Tinubu stands. His consistent body language is not likely to discourage the barons of sleaze. Silencing anti-corruption czars with dubious appointments while dining with the emperors of tsars of graft like disgraced thieves and disdainful bandits does nothing to shore up the naira or the image of our nation. Rather, it sends signals that the country is open to corruption.  

Our president needs to wake up and smell the coffee. He cannot build renewed hope on collaboration with knaves and mercenaries. If the signals emanating from Aso Rock are that disgraced crooks and known thieves are welcome to wine, dine and leave to defend the administration, then Nigeria is doomed. True leaders are judged by the company they keep.  

Nearly three months in office, the president is yet to unveil a measurable governance blueprint. He is yet to name a cabinet prompting the circulation of what hopefully is a fake list because its content dampens all hopes for either rebirth or redemption. 

That list came just after a meeting with those who laid the foundation for Nigeria’s flip-flop democracy. Pulling out crooks from political Siberia for rehabilitation is like fortifying ringworm and reintroducing it back into the belly of its victim. A country with citizens that are hot cake for global hire should not be recycling its thieves.  

Very few, if any, politicians that have served Nigeria in an elective position in the last 20 years merit a new appointment or rehabilitation. They should count themselves lucky that they are sucking off the fat of the nation without prosecution. Nigeria has way too many talents in the employment pool at home and abroad to be recycling thieves and buccaneers in leadership. 

The question is – what is Tinubu’s game plan? Why is he yet to unveil a measurable roadmap worth his hype? Why these early policy summersaults? Why the tendency to recycle old brooms when you have brand new ones in the cupboard? Is it for lack of vision or seriousness or is the president overwhelmed and/or intellectually incapable of backing his mandate with concrete plans? 

The final joker for this president is who eventually makes his cabinet. They should be women and men of impeccable character and international professional clout and not political thugs and leeches. We hope that last week’s unauthorised list is the evil machination of enemies trying to under-estimate the capacity, political dexterity and sagacity of this president. A confirmation would reveal that Nigeria is not only done, but finished.  

Tinubu needs to prove that he is his own man, one who is imbued with the vision to transform Nigeria into a socio-economic and political giant and the person with the zeal and determination to pull it through. He does not have a second chance to prove this.

 

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