Tinubu: One Year After, Nigerians Are in Pain and Anguish

Tinubu: One Year After, Nigerians Are in Pain and Anguish

For President Bola Tinubu, who promised Nigerians a renewed hope agenda, his first year has brought more pains and hardships, through a combination of policies that have impoverished the people. Many Nigerians are worse off one year later. Tinubu’s one year is like a decade of suffering for the ordinary folks, even the rich are

For President Bola Tinubu, who promised Nigerians a renewed hope agenda, his first year has brought more pains and hardships, through a combination of policies that have impoverished the people. Many Nigerians are worse off one year later. Tinubu’s one year is like a decade of suffering for the ordinary folks, even the rich are crying.

He never hid his intention to prosecute a reform agenda during the campaigns; speaking of his plan to reset the economy and restore it to a growth path. But no one expected a watershed. In one of his campaign messages, he told Nigerians that fuel prices would rise steeply to about N500 but assured all to relax as this would thereafter tumble and find its equilibrium. True to his promise, in his maiden speech he announced that fuel subsidy was gone. This became a catastrophe that came with unintended consequences of hyperinflation and several disruptions to the economy; the government is still groping for solutions but Nigerians are bewildered.

The inflation rate has remained hydra-headed since the removal of the fuel subsidy. The National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) April report says: “In April 2024, the inflation rate increased to 33.69% relative to the March 2024 headline inflation rate of 33.20 percent. Looking at the movement, the April 2024 headline inflation rate increased by 0.49% compared to the March 2024 inflation rate. On a year-on-year basis, the inflation rate was 11.47 percent points higher compared to the rate recorded in April 2023, which was 22.22 percent. This shows that the inflation rate (year-on-year basis) increased in April 2024 when compared to April 2023.

The Naira plummeted and massively lost its value as the government experimented with its floatation, a policy that resulted in a disaster for the national currency. As if every commodity and farm product in the country were denominated in dollars, prices hit the rooftops, taking a cue from the exchange rate of Naira to the dollar that rapidly accelerated and tumbled more than 1000 percent in six months. The Nigerian economy accelerated into a free fall mode and the suffering of the people soared attaining unbelievable heights. The word palliative became a cliche as governments at the three levels of federal, state, and local government scampered to bring succour to the people. Nigerians have never in their history experienced this kind of hardship.

This has tempted millions of Nigerians to doubt democracy as a system of government more because of the profligate lifestyle of their leaders; they continue to live in opulence as immune people from the general hardship in the country. The leadership of the country both executive and legislative, has not demonstrated austere living imposed on the people. The story of corruption in high places is more commonplace and the clamour for a violent change of government has never been louder. The military high command has persistently responded that it remains a loyal force and will continue to support the constitutional government.

Without a doubt, many Nigerians have become disillusioned about democracy since Tinubu assumed office. There are viral videos of chants and protests of people lamenting about hunger in the land. Many of the protests were by women and youth, who believed the election was rigged in favour of Tinubu and some of them have sworn never to vote again in future elections.

Former President Obasanjo recently described the National Assembly as a den of unarmed robbers. “They engage in project and budget padding. They insert in the budget constituency projects and provide contractors through proxies and the projects are either poorly executed or not executed at all. They collect the salaries of aides who are never appointed”. According to him, each Senator goes home monthly with an average sum of N15 million, and their counterparts in the House of Representatives N10 million monthly. These cannot be justified in an economy where the minimum wage is still N30,000.00 per month.

In Tinubu’s Nigeria, one year after, banditry and kidnapping have become thriving businesses. Crime and criminal gangs have grown in leaps and bounds from across the land. Kidnappers demand ransom in hundreds of millions of Naira, robberies are on the rise as many able-bodied persons are thrown into the labour market due to companies’ divestment from the country for unfavourable conditions. Nigerians have never had it this bad.

Meeting with state governors at the commencement of Ramadan, sometime in March, the President said the economic challenges are beginning to respond to the solutions being implemented by his administration. ”I am glad that the headwinds are almost over. The tunnel is not as dark as when we started. It is going to be brighter and brighter. We must communicate with each other, stick together, and share joy,” the President said. But that remains a theory as nothing by people’s experiences testify to that yet.

It goes against the grain that President Tinubu who was marketed to Nigerians as the most prepared candidate for the job with an enviable antecedent as governor in Lagos state would perform abysmally poorly in office. Tinubu’s performance in one year neither reflects that preparedness nor his touted antecedent. His tenure has been characterized by flip-flops and acts signifying that Nigeria has become a laboratory for experimenting policies. This often led to actions being taken only to be reversed later. The most recent was the cybersecurity charges on bank deposits and services.

It is not yet Uhuru but Nigerians could still keep hope alive for a promised transformation to a land of milk and honey in the next three years under President Tinubu. Without a doubt, Nigerians are straining at the leash to see their country work and pledged their goodwill to Tinubu’s administration, tolerating policies hitherto unenforceable by his predecessors. That trust was because of his perception as a visionary leader with a clear vision and ideas of how to reignite and reengineer the Nigerian construct. He is yet to justify that trust and confidence reposed in him, one year after.

Ayo Aluko-Olokun
ADMINISTRATOR
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