Nigerians, Not So Batified Any longer
It is a truism that the eight years of Buhari were the years of the swarmy locusts, colossal stagnation and uninspiring governance culture. It was for this reason that Nigerians were looking for a vibrant successor. Because of the propensity and desire for good governance, I also joined the Labour Party. At least I needed a man like Peter Obi to be given a chance to provide a paradigm shift in leadership. No regrets. Ultimately, we shall be vindicated by history.
In Bayelsa State, I worked for Timipre Sylva because of the conviction that he has a better idea on how to develop the State. His five years as governor created a huge impact on all facets of development. The incumbent governor has succeeded in dragging Bayelsa State to the rank of the second poorest State in Nigeria. In his second tenure, this ugly situation may worsen.
Alas! the great JAGABAN of Africa got the shot at the Presidency. Whatever happened before and after the Feb, 25th, 2023 election is now history. Indeed history has a way of repeating itself especially when the office-seekers are not genuinely interested in the development of the nation.
President Bola Ahmed Tinubu campaigned on the basis of renewed hope, hope for a steady economic recovery, security, stability and to embark on policies that will attract investment. With all the tell-tale stories of Tinubu turning Lagos State around, most Nigerian believed in his capacity to deliver. This renewed hope with BAT as it's generalissimo conjured the mystique of Singapore's Lee Kuan Yew and the certainty of daylight. Now, eight months down the line, the ferocious and pernicious economic policies appear not only to have dimmed the hope of economic recovery but imposed a harsh regime of economic terrorism, with hunger as the most lethal weapon of war against the victims of a Debt-trap economy.
Apologists of Tinubunomics are struggling hard to defend its reforms, with the apologia of nonsense argument that the presidency is poised to inflict short-term pains but will inevitably fix the “grim economic reality” inherited from previous administrations. What I expected the "sorcerers" of this regime to do is to take responsibility for the policy flip-flops, that have visited untold hardship on Nigeria. Let me turn attention to the seven bad economic policies that have turned the renewed hope agenda into a nightmare.
Firstly, the policy of subsidy removal was a positive development but the woodwork for distributing the subsidy windfall was so defective that it has worsened the misery index of Nigerians. Why will the Federal Government distribute the subsidy yields through the same fantastically corrupt State Governors? In Bayelsa, more than 90% of the population did not receive a sachet of indomie.
Secondly, the Federal Government surreptitiously devalued the naira by over 150% for the purpose of accessing more loans. The coordinating Minister of the economy Mr. Wale Edun has severally emphasized the need for Nigeria to access a loan of $1.5billion to shore-up the economy. He insulted the sensibilities of Nigerians when he asserted that Nigerians are better-off now than eight months ago. Only voodoo economists can tell lies when the facts and figures say otherwise.
Thirdly, we have a tax-conscious President. Tinubu is enamoured to tax and more tax. Frankly, Nigeria is not Lagos State. The cruel reality is that the much touted tax policy can only work when there are good roads, electricity, and job opportunities for the youths.Tinubu's tax policy has further strangled Small and Medium Scale businesses. Even pedestrian carpenters understand this basic economic principle.
Fourthly, government's inability of control the forex regime puts a question mark on the credentials of Cardoso - the macroeconomic general of government. Now, it seems the free fall of the naira will continue until the naira becomes another Zimbabwe's currency under Robert Mugabe. Tinubu needs better technocrats for such positions.
Fifthly, there are too many corrupt people in Tinubu's cabinet. The social media has exposed so many of them that they are contemplating a totalitarianism where the government will control the social media. Tinubu should not hesitate to replace corrupt cabinet members with more competent appointees. Satan cannot cast out Satan.
Sixthly, Tinubu is pampering the Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs. He will make history by scrapping that Ministry to deploy the money to create jobs, fund education and invest massively in commercial agriculture. The Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs is a LOOT SHARING Ministry, which should not be allowed to endure in a reform-minded administration.
Finally, the administration appears helpless in the face of rising cost of living. On the soapbox, the President promised to review the minimum wage but it seems, BAT wants to set up a Committee to kill a snake.
President Tinubu should stand up and provide leadership. The time for empty rhetorics is over. Government must take responsibility for grey areas and be firm in taking decisions affecting the welfare of the ordinary Nigeria. Nigerians are dying and there is no Senior Perfect in the cemetery.
Idumange is Executive -Director, Herdadi