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Tinubu’s 100 Days In Office: Leading Nigeria Out Of The Wilderness



President Tinubu Approves Initiative To Provide Five Million Eyeglasses To Nigerians With Sight Impediments

The Insight by Lateef Adewole

On Tuesday, 5th of September, 2023, marked the first 100 days of the new administration of President Bola Ahmed Tinubu. This milestone has been greeted with mixed reactions. While some Nigerian celebrate the coming of the new government and the strides it is taking so far to reshape our economy and the country as a whole, many others are groaning due to the serious hardship that they are currently facing.

This is occasioned by the difficult but necessary reforms that the administration has embarked on immediately after taking over. Top on them are the twin decisions of petrol subsidy removal and the unification of the exchange rates. These two have affected the the lives of the people in many ways than they could imagined. The sudden rise in the cost of living generally has put many in difficult situations.

In the last three months, prices of goods and services have skyrocketed. The transportation fare has shut up. Foods and other basic necessities are getting out of reach of the people due to their rising costs, especially for the poor masses. Inflation has gone up. The petrol price went from the previously less than N200. per litre when it was subsidised to between N560. and N700. per litre across the country, after subsidy removal.

The naira has lost its value substantially. It was at official rate of around N450. to a dollar as one of multiple rates before, but has depreciated to N760. per dollar at the official E&I window. Worse still, the parallel market being avoided still exists and running different rate between N800. and 950. per dollar, depending on the demand and liquidity in the forex market. It is not unexpected that those who have lived on the forex arbitrage will keep trying to sabotage government’s efforts at stabilising the value of naira by circumventing the system, given the yet to be adequate supply of the forex. That could explain what has been going on. So, no one in their right senses can deny the current challenges being faced by Nigerians.

These first 100 days in office have been turbulent and challenging to the leadership of the country, as well as the people of Nigeria. It has been like the Jews in the wilderness. In as much as Tinubu should have been aware of the dare strait of the economic situation that Nigeria was while he showed interest to be the president of Nigeria, I doubt he would have imagined the depth of the rot that existed and the extent of the damage to the economy by the previous administration.

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Unfortunately for him, he is of the same party as the previous administration. In fact, he was given an “unofficial” title of “National Leader”, something usually reserved for the sitting president only. This was because of his immense contributions to the formation of the party APC and its subsequent electoral successes at the polls since the 2015 general elections. This put him in difficult position all through the eight years of Buhari, as it was impossible to dissociate himself from anything the government of his party was doing, even when he had different opinions and had no hands in them.

This was why his traducers and opposition parties did everything to pin all the failures and wrongdoings of that government on him during the campaigns, so as to de-market him before the electorates. He was blamed for virtually everything wrong in the country. I had quite a running battle with many of them while trying to explain that Tinubu was never given any office to hold or any official title or assignment to carry out as part of that administration. But all that fell on deaf ears. It was a case of calling a dog a bad name so that it can be hanged. Although, he survived it all and he is now the president.

Apart from surpassing 100 days in office, his electoral victory was further affirmed on Wednesday by the outcome of the cases challenging his mandate, instituted by the presidential candidates of the PDP, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar and that of Labour Party, Mr. Peter Obi. Also another party APM. He got a resounding victory in unanimous decisions by the five eminent judges of the Presidential Election Petition Tribunal (PEPT), who dismissed their petitions on all grounds. It was like a gift for him to celebrate his 100 days in office. That’s by the way.

In a religious programme on Sunday, the 14th Emir of Kano, Sanusi Lamido Sanusi, was invited as keynote speaker, which he joined virtually. While speaking, he digressed to address some economic issues that Nigerians are currently facing. He confessed that those who wanted him to comment on the hardship being faced by the people desperately were hoping that he would attack President Tinubu, but he did not. He was frank and objective in his assessment and comments. He stated that he had to deviate from the religious theme of the event to remind Nigerians about his position on the badly managed economic policies of the immediate past administration.

In his words: “If I am to be fair and just to President Bola Tinubu, he is not to blame for the current hardship; for eight years, we were living on a fake lifestyle with huge debt from foreign and domestic debts. The Central Bank of Nigeria owes over N30 trillion, which resulted in debt service surpassing 100 per cent.”

“I can’t join other Nigerians criticising Tinubu on the current economic hardship, and I am not saying he is a saint free from wrongdoing, but in this current economic situation, President Tinubu is not to be blamed. I will also speak if I see any wrong economic policy of the Tinubu administration in the future. It’s injustice for anyone to blame the Tinubu administration for the current economic hardship because there is no other alternative than the removal of the fuel subsidy. After all, Nigeria cannot even afford to pay the subsidy.”

These are things many won’t like to hear or accept, but truth is truth. These are what some of us have been saying but people felt we were saying so because we supported Tinubu. So far, the president has refrained from making such categorically attacking statements against Buhari’s administration. He has managed the communication as much as possible while doing everything to reset the country. He did not resort to blame games. Rather, on many occasions, he always took responsibility for asking for the job. He even said no one should pity him. That’s what we called responsible leadership.

Sanusi also said: “In the last eight years, the Central Bank continues to print more money, andthe naira continue to depreciate. There is too much naira in circulation because the CBN is printing the currency without restraint. The economy was poorly managed, and they were not willing to take advice; in the last eight years, apart from sycophancy, nothing has been done; those sycophants are those buying the dollar at the official rate of N400 and selling itat the rate of N600 to N700. A boy who has no record of service has a private jet and owns houses in Dubai and England just because he is buying dollar at so so a rate and selling them.”

This was a regular thing under the last administration. Yet, the people who criticised the hard but critical decisions that Tinubu had to take, wanted him not to do so. Is that the kind of economy we are supposed to run? Will that take Nigeria to anywhere? Can the country even survive it for much longer? While acknowledging peoples’ pains and apprehensions, what must be done must be done. Nigerians have to decide what they really want as we can’t eat our cake and keep it still. “Wa pe l’aye, oju re ko ni r’ibi, okan ni wa f’owo mu n’ibe”.

It is not all gloom as it is being painted. Right now, Tinubu, as the president of Nigeria, is the “beautiful bride” that world leaders now court globally. This is exampled in the special invitation extended to Nigeria by the Indian Prime Minister, Narendra Modi, to the ongoing meeting of G20 countries, which Nigeria isn’t a member. As being reported, the president hit the ground running when he landed in India. Within a spate of 48 hours, the president has gotten commitments from global industrial giants that will bring foreign direct investments to the tune of $14.3 billion dollars to Nigeria. Many more still followed.

They cover many sectors like power, steel, vehicle manufacturing, telecommunications, petrochemicals, hospitality and so on. All these are targeted at improving domestic economy, create massive employment for Nigerians at home, and generating revenues for the government. All these were achieved even before the start of the summit proper. One needs to see the excitement of these foreign investors and the confidence that Tinubu, as the president, and his economic reforms, are giving them. One would be proud to be a Nigerian once again.

In similar manner, the President of the United States of America, Joe Biden, has also specially sought private audience with President Tinubu, on the sideline of the upcoming United Nations General Assembly (UNGA), which will take place from 18th to 26th of September, 2023. It was emphasised, while communicating the invitation, that he is the only African leader that Biden wants to meet. That should count for something.

We know that sceptics will always read negative meanings to everything but that does not matter. The point I am making is that, if some things are not being done right in Nigeria by the new administration, the world wouldn’t have shown much or any interest in the affairs of the country. But, “ewure ile o moyi ode”.

Even in the country, all these challenges can be put in perspective. Is it half full or half empty glass? This will be dependent on individuals. All the reforms going on are what I have advocated for, for decades. I have criticised many past administrations who did not have the courage to take these bold steps to save our country. So, naturally, I have been substantially impressed with the performances of the government so far, despite also bearing the brunt of these reforms. I also buy fuel, spend money on foods, other goods and services, which have burnt holes in my pocket too.

However, I take it as necessary sacrifice I have to make for the betterment of my country and her future. There is no gain without pain. I take this stand only because I could see the genuineness of the reforms. It is not a case of people in a rudderless ship who are asked to be patient and endure the pain and scares of the storm. No. This government has a leader who knows what he needs to do, how he needs to do them and what he is doing. So, my hope is renewed for a better and greater Nigeria!

This opinion piece is not to simply list what the government has done in 100 days in office, which are many, whichever way they are perceived, positively or negatively, but what impacts the actions of the government have made on the country and the citizens, and what trajectory is the government on, whether in the right direction or not. Based on objective non-politically coloured assessment, as reflected in the interests that those actions have stimulated about Nigeria, we are on the right track so far.

A 100 day period might be too short to give more comprehensive assessment, but the strength of the superstructure of the house being built will be greatly impacted by the quality of the foundation on which it is being built. This period can be considered as the time to put the solid foundation in place. And that is being done diligently. This is the period for tilling of the ground and planting of the seedlings. Germination will follow with the anticipation of bountiful harvest in future. This, we shall witness, by the grace of God.

Like I often said, most Nigerians focus all their attention on the Federal Government and the presidency, while other levels of government at states and local, lounge away. This should not be so. By now, all the state governors sworn-in on 29th of May, 2023, should be scrutinised for what they have been doing in their 100 days too, but Nigerians hardly do so. Not even now that they are getting jumbo FAAC allocations should the residents of each state allow them freedom to do as they wish, mismanaging the state funds and running down the states. No. Citizens should ask them questions, demand accountability and transparency. Time to do so is now!

Congratulations to President Bola Ahmed Tinubu on his 100 days in office and his victory at the Presidential Election Petition Tribunal (PEPT) on Wednesday, his Vice President Kashim Shettima, his party APC and Nigerians in general, who freely gave him that mandate. I wish him more victories and great success as he pilots the affairs of our country.

May God continue to protect us and guide us aright.

God Bless Nigeria.

You can follow me on:
Twitter: @lateef_adewole
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Email: [email protected]
Whatsapp: +2348036034685

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September 9, 2023.


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