President Bola Ahmed Tinubu has initiated a multitude of policy reforms in our country over the past six months, indicating an active administration. However, tangible evidence of the positive impact of these reforms is not yet apparent. Currently, his work may seem thankless as it is not completed to a point where the masses can readily appreciate it. Despite this, President Tinubu’s regime is undeniably off to a promising start.
As we are well aware, the visible manifestation of a pregnancy does not occur on the first day a man impregnates a woman. It typically takes approximately nine (9) months for a pregnant woman to develop a noticeable baby bump, progress through the stages of pregnancy, and ultimately give birth.
Similarly, the development and implementation of government policies and programs undergo a comparable process. The timeline for a government program or policy to materialize is even lengthier than the gestation period of a child. This protracted duration is reflected in the tenures of governments or the terms of elected public officials, which commonly span a minimum of 4-6 years.
This extended time frame is necessary to ensure the comprehensive planning, execution, and evaluation of policies and programs, mirroring the intricate and time-intensive nature of fostering meaningful societal change.
In Nigeria, there exists a customary limitation of two four-year terms for the presidency, mirroring the governance structure observed in the United States, that is linked to the fact that Nigeria adopted this presidential governance system from the USA.
In my assessment, considering that President Tinubu has been in office for a relatively brief period of only six months, expecting immediate dividends from his policies and programs is unrealistic.
So, the deliberate question intrinsic in the title of this piece serves the purpose of addressing concerns that have surfaced in public discussions, reflecting the inquiries and uncertainties on the minds of certain Nigerians.
The unequivocal response to the inquiry, “Is President Tinubu Reforming Without Concept?” is a resounding no.
Contrary to the allegations made by detractors, Tinubu’s reforms are meticulously conceptualized, marked by aggressive transformations in the economic and sociopolitical fundamentals of our nation—unprecedented in their scope and impact as has been laid out in this discourse.
After a cursory look it would become obvious that President Tinubu exhibits bravery by directly confronting challenges instead of avoiding them, although he is not without imperfections. Unlike his predecessors, who shied away from combating the powerful petrol subsidy mafia, Tinubu has chosen to confront this issues bedeviling Nigeria head-on.
Numerous Nigerian leaders, spanning multiple regimes, were challenged and ultimately defeated by the petrol subsidy mafia. This resistance persisted through the tenures of military heads of state, including Gen. Mohammadu Buhari (1983-1985), Gen. Ibrahim Badamasi Babangida (1985-1993), and Gen. Sani Abacha (1993-1998).
The challenge endured into the democratic era, with Chief Olusegun Obasanjo’s presidency (1999-2007) and continued through the administrations of Umaru Yar’adua and Goodluck Jonathan (2007-2015).
Former President Buhari’s eight (8) years reign is generally believed to have reversed the fiscal gains made by previous administrations with subsidies in petrol and naira becoming more deeply entrenched and corruption assuming unprecedented dimension.
President Tinubu’s courage in addressing this longstanding issue sets him apart, demonstrating a willingness to tackle challenges that his predecessors avoided.
By retaining the subsidies on petrol and the naira, which were akin to a suffocating giant anaconda constricting our nation, the leaders in question implicitly share responsibility for the current hardships endured by Nigerians.
The only leader from the past who bears less culpability for subjecting Nigerians to unnecessary suffering is General Ibrahim Babangida. He attempted to address the subsidy issue on Premium Motor Spirit (PMS) by introducing the Structural Adjustment Program (SAP).
This homegrown initiative served as an alternative to the International Monetary Fund’s (IMF) conditions for providing a loan to Nigeria, aiming to help the country navigate financial challenges.
Regrettably, this endeavor faced a spectacular failure due to a lack of political strength to see it through to a logical conclusion.
At this juncture, it is pertinent to note that the reforms advocated by the International Monetary Fund (IMF) in 1985, which the military regime of President Babangida replaced with a domestic alternative known as the Structural Adjustment Program (SAP), are akin to the reforms initiated by President Tinubu since assuming office in Nigeria on May 29th of this year. These reforms have been consistently implemented through executive and parliamentary bills signed into law over the past six months, all of which are aimed at resetting the nation and the economy with a view to putting the ship of state on even keel.
While the nomenclature “Tinubunomics” has not officially been labeled as his reform policies identity, some of us (yours truly in particular) have colloquially adopted this term. This inclination stems from the discernible pattern observed in the economic and financial landscape of Nigeria since his inauguration on May 29, approximately six months ago and which mimicks Bidenomics in the USA that entails a package of reforms revolving around investments in infrastructure , empowering education and workers to grow the middle class thereby boosting employment and rescuing the economy. The appropriation and investment of $1.9 trillions dollars COVID 19 pandemic rescue package aimed at significantly impacting the socioeconomic landscape of that country , appears to tie in with the rescue package of N5 billion that Tinubu’s administration has advanced to the 36 states of the federation to cushion subsidy removal fallouts on the masses .
This media intervention seeks to systematically consolidate and analyze the multitude of policies articulated during this six months period of Tinubunomics . The primary objectives include elucidating the rationale behind these policies, delineating the criticisms that have accompanied the introduction and execution of select initiatives, and, ultimately, furnishing the public with a comprehensive understanding of the anticipated outcomes as envisioned by the current administration.
By undertaking this effort,it is hoped that we can dispel any misconceptions held by skeptics regarding the perceived disconnect between the policies and programs of the current administration and the expectations of the Nigerian populace. It is essential to rectify the inaccurate notion circulating in the public sphere.
Upon closer examination of the prevailing circumstances, characterized by a sense of urgency, it becomes evident that despite the initial rapidity in policy formulation – exemplified by the president’s pronouncement on the abolition of petrol subsidy during his inaugural speech on May 29 – there exists a method to the seeming disorder .
President Tinubu’s address in Berlin, Germany, as part of the Germany-Africa Campact meeting during the G-20 summit, has been lauded for its masterful display of salesmanship.
“….look at me—I come from the private sector, trained by Deloitte. I served as the treasurer in Exxon Mobil. Define corporate governance in any way, and I am in it. I governed Lagos for eight consecutive years. Today, I can proudly beat my chest that Lagos state is on the horizon and the fifth-largest economy in Africa, rising from ground zero.
“This is the track record that led me to the presidency. Nigerians voted for me for reforms, and from day one of my inauguration, I implemented the reforms. My inaugural speech did not disclose what I would do. I removed the fuel subsidy that is a great burden to Nigerians from the moment I stepped into office.
“The arbitrage regime is gone forever. Now, you can bring your money in and out as you wish. If you encounter any problems, rest assured that I have built one of the most reliable teams Nigeria has seen to address them.
“I appeal to you to forget the past and focus on building a relationship that removes obstacles, fostering progress and prosperity in Nigerian-German relations.You can rely on us; we can rely on you; both of us can chorus Hallelujah at the same time….”
It incredible that in his apt presentation president Tinubu front loaded the apparent negative reputation challenges shackling Nigeria and addressed the fears of his audience which is a strategic way of getting investors to buy into their initiative. By so doing he exhibited a trait identified as a deal clincher in
the book titled: “Backable. The Surprising Truth Behind What Makes People Take A Chance On You” written by Suneel Gupta a faculty member in Harvard university where he teaches how to be backable.
Mr Suneel argues in his unique book which Mike Krieger co-founder of Instagram endorsed in the following glowing terms: “Backable provides a super-readable and actionable look at how to make your ideas take flight. Whether you are pitching a brand new startup or an idea for your company’s next product , you will find a wealth of insights and stories throughout ” and Mr Reid Hoffman, co-founder of LinkedIn amongst other notable authorities also took notice of and recommended it thus: “Whether you want to get ahead inside a company or build a start up from the ground up, this fascinating book is a must read”.
It is not a mean feat that president Tinubu’s marketing pitch to the various audiences from France to India, United Arab Emirates, UAE, and Saudi Arabia where he has visited in the past six (6) months in quest of foreign direct investments into our country, can be likened to “secret steps that anyone can take to stand out and achieve their dreams” which is how Reshma Saujani, founder of Girls Who Code characterized the sagacity displayed by President Tinubu during his marketing storms as encapsulated by the nuggets of wisdom in the book by Suneel earlier referenced.
Before delving further into an analysis of the concrete measures undertaken by the current administration to steer our nation away from the precipice of collapse by attracting foreign investors to bolster the Nigerian economy, fostering job creation, and enhancing prosperity, it is imperative to scrutinize the underlying reasons for Nigeria’s fundamental economic challenges.
This examination is aimed at highlighting the necessity for increased discipline among public servants in managing the country’s limited resources and the formulation of policies conducive to a transformative journey akin to Singapore’s remarkable progression from a third-world to a first-world nation within a relatively brief time frame.
Aside from the unjust trade practices imposed by industrialized nations on African countries, another significant factor contributing to Africa’s, particularly Nigeria’s, economic struggles is the prevalence of theft, graft, and corruption among public officials, including both politicians and civil servants.
This assertion finds support in the case of Mr. Jonah Ogunniyi Otunla, who served as the Accountant General of the Federation from 2011 to 2015 in Nigeria. During this period, Mr. Otunla openly admitted to defrauding government of public funds out of which he is refunding a substantial sum of N6.3 billion. That is likely a minuscule portion of the public funds he had illicitly diverted from the federal government treasury while holding the position of the country’s treasurer.
The successor to the role of Accountant General of the Federation, Mr. Ahmed Idris, similarly faced legal action in 2022 when he was apprehended by the nation’s anti-graft agency, the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), on charges related to the misappropriation of a staggering N80 billion Naira.
A recent updated report reveals that the aggregate sum of public funds pilfered by the Accountant General of the Federation (AGF) and his accomplices, who are presently undergoing trial in Nigerian courts,has surged to N109 billion.
In a prior instance, Mr. Abdulmalik Maina, a senior public official entrusted with the task of recovering pension funds lost to corruption syndicates within the pensions office, paradoxically became implicated in embezzling the very funds he was assigned to reclaim for the government. Although he was tried and sentenced to incarceration, the current status of his serving term in any penitentiary remains uncertain.
The cornerstone of our nation’s economy lies in the exploration and export of crude oil and gas, a vital source of foreign exchange earnings. It is approximated that a minimum of 80% of our foreign exchange income is derived from the export of these petroleum products.
Nigeria’s allocated export quota from the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) stands at 1.8 million barrels of crude oil per day. However, as of June of this year, approximately six months ago, the officially available quantity for export was less than 1 million barrels. The shortfall is primarily attributed to the rampant theft of crude oil from the pipeline responsible for transporting the product to the export terminal.
Despite the encouraging news of a current increase in crude oil production to approximately 1.3 million barrels, credited to enhanced surveillance and anti-theft measures implemented by the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) Ltd, the nation’s oil giant, which engaged Tantita Security for pipeline protection in the past year.
Sources within the oil industry have disclosed that an astonishing amount of funds, were being lost to international crude oil theft syndicates that held sway in the oil and gas-rich Nigerian Niger Delta region. This situation persisted until recently when authorities discovered their clandestine pipelines used for siphoning products and successfully apprehended vessels engaged in transporting stolen goods, subsequently setting them ablaze.
Arising from the above revelations, a significant conduit for draining our nation’s wealth is corruption perpetrated by past leaders. One notable example is the late Gen. Sani Abacha, a former head of state who unexpectedly passed away in 1998. It is widely believed that he embezzled billions of dollars, dispersing the ill-gotten gains across multiple countries worldwide.
Following his demise in controversial circumstances, a substantial portion of Abacha’s looted funds, concealed in approximately half a dozen countries, has been gradually repatriated to Nigeria in periodic installments. Notable among these countries are the United States, Switzerland, the relatively obscure Lichtenstein, and France, among others.
The consensus is that Abacha, the military dictator, pilfered and concealed up to six billion dollars in foreign jurisdictions.
Due to the implementation of misguided economic policies, such as subsidies on petrol and the exchange rate of the naira with foreign currencies, as previously mentioned, our nation has experienced a situation where expenditures surpass income.
Furthermore, during President Muhammadu Buhari’s eight (8) years two (2) terms tenure, the prevalence of corruption reached alarming levels. Despite our abundant human and mineral resources, our country’s fortunes plummeted, leading to a distressing state of affairs where 133 million out of the 200 million citizens find themselves ensnared in what economists term as multidimensional poverty.
The prevailing situation of inheriting a financially distressed nation appears to be the impetus behind President Tinubu’s endeavors to arrest the downward trajectory of our economy and the nation’s position in the human development index.
Daron Acemoglu, a Turkish-American economist, and James A. Robinson, a British political scientist, presented a comprehensive analysis of economic development in their seminal work, “Why Nations Fail: The Origins of Power, Prosperity, and Poverty.” This work serves as a valuable framework for comprehending why Nigeria, despite its abundant human and natural resources, has continued to face economic challenges and persist as a nation marked by poverty.
In their 2012 publication, the authors contested prevalent explanations, asserting that commonly cited factors such as geography, climate, culture, religion, race, or the lack of political leadership awareness fall short in comprehensively accounting for certain phenomena.
To reinforce their arguments, the authors conducted a comparative analysis of case studies involving various countries. Notably, they underscored instances such as the disparity in economic outcomes between North and South Korea, where analogous factors resulted in divergent trajectories.
Acemoglu and Robinson assert that the pivotal factor for economic prosperity lies in the establishment of inclusive economic and political institutions. Their argument posits that inclusive institutions facilitate widespread participation in decision-making processes and cultivate incentives for the expression of talent and creativity. In contrast, the authors contend that extractive institutions, designed to benefit a privileged minority, impede economic growth.
Drawing on historical events like the Glorious Revolution in Great Britain to underscore the significance of democratic pluralism in fostering economic development, proponents assert that China’s remarkable economic growth can be attributed to the adoption of inclusive economic policies by its leadership.
This democratic pluralism, akin to the approach embraced by President Tinubu, is evident in his recent initiatives over the past six months. During this period, he has actively pursued policies aimed at enhancing Nigeria’s productive capacity by dismantling barriers to entry across various sectors, with a particular focus on public utilities.
In addition to discontinuing subsidies on petrol and the national currency (naira), which have markedly rubbed off on society harshly, President Tinubu has enacted four bills that are reshaping Nigeria’s socioeconomic landscape.
Some of these policies particularly the electricity bill is expected to facilitate the catapulting the economy from less than $400m economy to one trillion dollar one which is the target of the current administration.
That ambition is realizable if electricity production is ramped up to the extent that Nigerian economy can operate on a twenty fours a day , seven days a week (24/7)basis.
It is my contention that, despite the apparent hardship endured by Nigerians,President Tinubu’s comprehensive reform policies, underpinned by the Renewed Hope agenda, collectively aim to provide the populace with a revitalized quality of life.
Consequently, the reforms implemented by this administration can be characterized as possessing a discernible coherence and cadence.
Consider the context of public electricity production. While the baseline for maintaining a stable electricity supply is set at about 33,000 megawatts, Nigeria falls significantly short, providing slightly more than 12,000 megawatts with only about 4000 available for distribution to end users.
The recent enactment of the electricity power bill by President Tinubu on June 12 marks a transformative moment for the sector. Initially semi-liberalized in 2005 and further reformed in 2013, the electricity sector has undergone a shift reminiscent of the banking and telecommunications industries.
Previously restrained by government control, the aforementioned sectors are now driven by private sector entities following the removal of entry barriers which is why they are formost contributors to the GDP of our country.
A bit of background information on the situation which president Tinubu is building upon in the electricity power sector is in order.
In 2013, the federal government implemented a strategic move to reform the power sector and foster growth by privatizing 11 electricity distribution companies (DISCOs) and six generating companies (GENCOs). Simultaneously, the government retained full ownership (100%) of the Transmission Company of Nigeria (TCN).
This initiative was part of a broader plan to enhance the sector’s efficiency and stimulate economic development. Ongoing comprehensive reforms in Nigeria’s power sector are geared toward expanding capacity, increasing electricity accessibility, and upgrading transmission infrastructure.
Traditionally, Nigeria has primarily relied on thermal and hydroelectric sources for power generation, boasting an installed capacity of approximately 12,522 MW. However, the recent signing of the new electricity act 2023 by President Tinubu signals a robust exploration of gas-based electricity generation, marking a strategic shift in the country’s energy landscape.
Now, investors including state governments are free to make investments in the power sector. The transmission aspects of electricity power sector had been under the control of government which is a friction point between GENCOS and DISCOS
In addition to the emphasis placed on electricity by President Tinubu, three other key legislative initiatives have been prioritized . These include the Judicial Officers Law, the Access To Higher Education Act, and the Data Protection Law.
It is worth recalling that during his inaugural address on May 29, President Tinubu committed to building upon the accomplishments of his predecessor, former President Muhammadu Buhari. In delineating his vision, President Tinubu also outlined various forthcoming changes and initiatives.
Significant changes have recently transpired. On June 8, the Judicial Officers Law, officially titled ‘Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 (fifth alteration) (No.37), 2023,’ was enacted.
This legislation establishes a standardized retirement age of 70 for judges and ensures uniformity in the pension rights of judicial officers across different levels.
Furthermore, the Access to Higher Education Act, signed into law on June 12, is designed to provide financial assistance to Nigerian students in tertiary institutions.
This law that would be effective from January 2024, aims to facilitate students’ access to interest-free loans from the Nigerian Education Loan Fund. Eligibility for these loans is contingent on the student’s or family’s annual income being less than N500,000.
The Data Protection Law, enacted on June 14, establishes the Nigeria Data Protection Commission (NDPC) and provides individuals with the authority to seek remedies in the event of a data breach. The legislation underscores the importance of fair, lawful, and accountable processing of citizens’ personal data.
Furthermore, the Act prohibits the cross-border transfer of personal data, except in cases where it is legally permitted. It reinforces accountability by requiring all data controllers and processors deemed of “significant importance” to register with the regulatory authority within six months of the law’s commencement, effective from June 26, 2023.
Undoubtedly, it is widely recognized that President Bola Tinubu assumed leadership in Nigeria during challenging socio-economic circumstances. He is acutely aware of the myriad challenges afflicting the country, and this awareness likely influenced many of the decisions he has made since officially taking office at Aso Rock Villa over the past six months.
As the well-known aphorism suggests, “Uneasy lies the head that wears the crown.” Therefore, it is pertinent to examine the effects of some of the formidable policy measures implemented and the corresponding benefits accrued to the Nigerian people at this juncture.
The All Progressives Congress (APC), the ruling party, initiated a process of self-reflection upon assuming office in the current administration. This introspective endeavor, resembling a form of self-immolation , was notably instigated by its former chairman, Adams Aliyu Oshiomole. Mr. Oshiomole, who previously served as the governor of Edo state and held the position of president of the Nigerian Labour Congress, currently serves as a senator.
In a candid admission, Mr. Oshiomole acknowledged that the immediate past president, Mohammed Buhari, who governed the country from May 2015 to May 2023, had a profound impact on the nation’s economic and political landscape, characterizing it as a period of considerable detriment.
Nigerians are urged to exercise patience with President Tinubu as he endeavors to revive Nigeria’s ailing economy, which has been ensnared in a staggering debt of N88 trillion. This substantial debt has been exacerbated by the injection of N23 trillion through unconventional means, such as the printing of currency without adequate economic backing.
President Tinubu’s efforts to extricate the nation from this precarious financial situation should be acknowledged, considering the magnitude of the challenge. It is reminiscent of the critical juncture when the notorious military dictator and former military head of state of Uganda, Field Marshal Idi Amin Dadda, harshly confronted his central bank governor.
In that instance, the central banker candidly informed Amin that the Ugandan currency had become virtually worthless, leading to a state of economic disarray. Amin, responding with disdain, retorted, “You call Ugandan money ‘sh*t money’?” This confrontation resulted in the central banker facing severe repercussions for his unfiltered honesty.
Drawing parallels to this historical event, was Emefiele as CBN governor facing similar pressure?
It is imperative to appreciate the challenges faced by leaders in positions of authority.
While the comparison between Uganda’s Central Bank governor under Idi Amin Dadda and then Nigerian President Buhari and Emefiele serves to highlight the gravity of the economic predicament, it is essential to approach the situation with a commitment to rebuilding and stabilizing the economy.
In doing so,President Tinubu’s efforts, though very difficult , can be seen as a necessary step towards revitalizing Nigeria’s financial landscape.
This narrative also brings to mind the title of a recent book authored by the venerable elder statesman and leader of the Niger Delta movement, Pa Edwin Kiagbodo Bekeredemo Clark, titled “Brutally Frank.” which underscores the importance of addressing sociopolitical and economic realities with unflinching honesty, even if the message is difficult to digest.
As Nigeria grapples with its economic challenges, a collective understanding and support for the measures being taken will be crucial for the nation’s recovery.
In contrast, the Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) did not face severe consequences from President Buhari despite exceeding the prescribed 5% threshold for currency printing, which the apex bank is obligated to provide as a lender of last resort to the government.
Rather, the Governor was permitted to violate the CBN rules. President Buhari addressed this infringement just before his term ended by influencing the National Assembly (NASS) to enact a law that revised the disbursable threshold from 5% to 15%.This law was retroactively applied to encompass the period during which the violation occurred.
To be equitable, the printing of currency or the violation of Ways and Means rules by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) appears to have been primarily driven by the objective of extending financial assistance to sub-national governments. Upon assuming governance responsibilities, President Buhari inherited a situation where many civil servants were owed substantial arrears of salaries, some accruing over a year or more.
In this context, the CBN essentially attempted to address an existing issue by creating a new one—namely, the accumulation of debt used for infrastructure development, particularly in projects involving Chinese collaboration such as railways and airport terminals.
So,the governor Emefiele was somewhat too unorthodox hence the economy got derailed.
Consequently, the economy became burdened with debt, and the nation has experienced significant financial hemorrhaging. The inability to effectively address multiple financial challenges has resulted in the country’s current state of insolvency. This is exacerbated by the need to allocate a substantial portion of income, up to 98%, to servicing these debts.
As the saying goes, “the road to disaster is often paved with good intentions”.
In considering this perspective, one may reflect upon the economic management of our nation by President Buhari and CBN Governor Emefiele. Although their intentions were undoubtedly well-meaning, the resultant impact on the country has proven to be calamitous.
So, the current administration finds itself grappling with the burdens of this economic challenge, diligently attempting to navigate and mitigate the consequences.
To provide context, it is worth recalling the 2017 confrontation between Godwin Obaseki, the former investment banker turned governor of Edo state, and Governor Godwin Emefiele, who was the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) governor at that time. The dispute revolved around the contentious issue of printing money to meet salary obligations, an accusation leveled by the investment banker against the central banker.
Before venturing into politics, Obaseki had been a co-owner of the investment bank Afrinvest, and his prior involvement provided him insights into the alleged wrongdoing. Consequently, Obaseki voiced his concerns about the practice, prompting a rebuke from CBN governor Emefiele.
In response, Emefiele not only reprimanded Obaseki but also issued a threat to call in the loans that had been extended to state governments for the purpose of clearing the backlog of salaries for civil servants. This threat was contingent on Obaseki persisting in drawing attention to the perceived misuse of the “ways and means” rule by the CBN.
Obaseki was subdued, allowing perfidious activities to persist until the situation reached a critical point, often described colloquially as when “the shit hit the fan.” The responsibility of addressing this dire situation now falls upon the Tinubu administration.
The current Minister of Finance and Coordinating Minister of the Economy, Mr. Wale Edun, has sounded the alarm regarding the compromised state of the economy inherited by the present administration.
Additionally, Mr. Nuhu Ribadu, former anti-corruption czar and the current National Security Adviser to President Tinubu, underscores the fact that Tinubu’s administration has taken charge of a financially depleted nation.
President Tinubu has consistently emphasized his position during recent visits to Saudi Arabia and Germany, where he actively promoted foreign direct investment. Despite the prevailing socio-economic challenges eliciting widespread concern, President Tinubu, in a poignant address, asserts that Nigeria is far from being a basket case, contending that the country possesses all the necessary economic fundamentals to thrive as a great nation.
However, its potential has been hindered by misguided policies, notably the subsidies on petrol and the naira. President Tinubu, upon assuming office on May 29 as the President and Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, promptly eliminated the fuel subsidy. Additionally, he abandoned the practice of expending billions of dollars to defend the naira against foreign currencies, a strategy that was severely draining the nation’s treasury.
Several critics have based their critique of President Tinubu’s economic policies, dubbed Tinubunomics, on the apparent anomaly of declaring the significant change “petrol subsidy is gone” without outlining a viable alternative. However, in my assessment — a case I have presented on multiple occasions — the assertion that President Tinubu erred in removing the petrol subsidy lacks rigor.
His critics may not have fully grasped that the petrol subsidy, involving the importation of the commodity from Europe at significant costs to our nation, constitutes an organized crime orchestrated by a potent cabal with influence extending beyond Nigerian borders.
If President Tinubu had delayed in announcing the withdrawal of the petrol subsidy, as argued by some analysts, it might never have occurred. The cabal could have fiercely opposed it, potentially with even greater force than the current resistance mounted post facto, as opposed to ipso facto.
The reality is that had he not decisively disrupted the plans of the cabal, catching them off guard as they failed to anticipate the removal of the subsidy , President Tinubu’s efforts to reduce Nigeria’s heavy reliance on fuel imports would not have gained the momentum currently witnessed. This nefarious move by the petrol subsidy mafia involved persuading then-President-elect Tinubu’s advisers to dissuade him from following his unconventional intuition of not toeing the established route of not disrupting the status quo.
In his capacity as a political maverick, President Tinubu successfully outmaneuvered the petrol subsidy mafia—a syndicate that had previously held administrations hostage. He achieved this by ending the policy of subsidizing the pump price of petrol into a self-perpetuating mechanism.
This masterful approach to ending the detrimental petrol subsidy deserves commendation, contrary to the characterization of it as a misguided decision by the president’s detractors.
Let us bear in mind that as an opposition leader, Tinubu spearheaded resistance against the petrol price increase implemented by then-President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan in 2011/2012. Consequently, it is unnecessary to emphasize that the current president possesses a comprehensive understanding of the politics surrounding petrol subsidy, surpassing the comprehension of his critics.
Acknowledging the challenges faced by a significant portion of the Nigerian population, steps are currently being taken to address policy gaps and the hardships that have been wrought on the masses . This includes the implementation of palliative measures such as providing N5 billion in loans to states to mitigate the adverse impacts of petrol and naira subsidy removal. Additionally, a direct transfer of N25,000 is being extended to the most economically vulnerable individuals, aiming to alleviate the effects of the policy changes on those who are most susceptible.
Just as adoption of Compressed Natural Gas, CNG which is cheaper than petrol for powering mass transit buses to reduce the cost of transportation is also afoot.
Additionally, the President has strategically diversified his efforts from seeking assistance from various regions of the world that past leaders had been turning to , including Europe, North America, China, to the Arab World. It started with financial support being sought from the UAE and Qatar, followed by the current active engagement with Saudi Arabia. By the way rumor exists that back in the hey days of Nigeria she loaned money to Saudi Arabia and some of the leaders of that oil rich Arab nation used to turn to university of lbadan for medical needs. That implies that back in the days,Nigeria used to benefit from medical tourism which is today one of the drain pipes in her foreign treasury.
Preceding the current initiative of seeking inflow of investments from the Arab world , the Islamic bank from the Arabian world had already committed to collaborating with the Nigerian government. This partnership had been manifesting in infrastructure development through the application of sukuk funds, notably in the construction of roads such as Ahmadu Bello Way in Victoria Island, Lagos, and the Abuja-Makurdi road in the middle belt, among other notable projects.
It cannot be claimed that President Tinubu’s policies and plans lack rhyme and rhythm because they have yet to deliver the intended results. Sooner than later , the endeavor would eventually reach the gestation stage,so that the people can start breathing normally again.
In addition to the widespread recognition of the effectiveness of policies articulated by global institutions like the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund (IMF), President Tinubu has recently garnered the endorsement of a prominent Nigerian monarch, namely the Oba of Benin. This monarch, HRM OMO N’ OBA N’ EDO, UKU AKPOLOKPOLO, EWUARE II, a key custodian of traditional institutions in Nigeria, has conveyed his belief that Tinubu’s presidency is divinely ordained by God.
The monarch issued the declaration on Sunday, November 26, during a courtesy visit to the Governor of Lagos State. He earnestly appealed to Nigerians for their support in his endeavors to stabilize our nation.
President Tinubu is currently benefiting from both institutional and international support. Furthermore, the recent endorsement from the Bini royalty adds an extra boost to his endeavors aimed at liberating our nation from the challenges of poverty.
As the administration attains the midway point of its inaugural year in Aso Rock Villa, anticipation is palpable among Nigerians. They eagerly await the tangible manifestation of the long-awaited dividends of democracy they have fervently desired.
And president Tinubu has promised to make the wait worth the while of the critical mass of Nigerians, and they are anxiously looking forward to it.
Magnus Onyibe,an entrepreneur,public policy analyst ,author,democracy advocate,development strategist,alumnus of Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy,Tufts University, Massachusetts,USA and a former commissioner in Delta state government, sent this piece from Lagos, Nigeria.
To continue with this conversation and more ,please visit www.magnum.ng