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Tinubu’s profligacy amid mass poverty

By Steve Osuji

Our government has allied itself with the goals of the European conservatives and not with the needs of the people. No one plucks a chicken to feed his children feathers. Nor does a man set his house on fire just so people can bring him water… There has been no nation on the planet that has developed or achieved long-term prosperity by devotion to conservative, ultra-free market economic ideas that dominate this government.” — Tinubu writing against fuel subsidy removal in January, 2012.

THE IMPULSIVE PRESIDENT: Something tells me that Mr. Bola Tinubu in just five weeks may have suffered a certain recidivism. We mean the kind of relapse in which he wishes he could turn the hand of the clock and return to his Bourdillon haven jeje. Yes, there’s a sneaky feeling out here that having been garbed with the title of ‘president’, taken the salute, slept in the Aso Rock Villa bed and perhaps, gotten back at his nemesis, (Emefiele, and company), the job is no longer fun anymore. It could well be that too soon, Tinubu has found out that smashing, grabbing and running away with another man’s mandate is actually the easy part?

In journalism school of our days, among the most common joke was: writing is easy, just take a blank sheet and scribble on it!

And I say being president is easy, just sit on the power seat and proclaim! Yes, proclaim whatever comes to mind and it’s done!

This seems exactly what Tinubu has done in five weeks, IMPULSIVE PROCLAMATIONS! He proclaims petrol subsidy removal; signed into law, four Bills he never initiated nor expensed any rigour upon, lined up a rash of taxes and tariffs that would finally exterminate the people when they are operational unless of course, the people elect to fight for their dear lives!

But melancholy seems to have set in as he finds out that leadership at the presidential level is a mind bending chore that tests the best of men. He finds out the hard way when he sits among world leaders (as happened in France recently) and he probably wished he would vanish. When the crushing weight of expectation from over 200 million Nigerians is lofted on his shoulders and it has to be borne for perhaps four years. Then the scales begins to fall…

The situation in Nigeria today is more surreal than real and sustained contemplation of it is bound to denude one’s mental health. Take one instance: Tinubu’s APC led Nigeria to the status of the poorest country in the world in just eight years of Buhari administration. Tinubu coming to power still under APC with a mantra of RENEWED HOPE would be expected as a first charge, to address the chronic poverty his predecessor afflicted us with and seek urgent remediation. On the contrary, Tinubu has worked hard in five weeks to slam the most cruel policies ever unleashed on Nigerians since 1960.

BACK TO GWONGWORO ECONOMY: The deleterious impact of this leadership by infantile impulsiveness on the people has been spontaneous and debilitating. The only reason Nigeria is not burning already is that many of the ethno-religious bigots who helped Tinubu steal the mandate can’t wail too soon in the day. They are already beset by a sinking feeling but they convince themselves Jagaban is on course… But of course they know. As the adage says, that the needle has slipped from leprous fingers already and may be difficult to retrieve (abere bo lowo adete) …

Images of the 1960s played in the media last week which captured and indeed buttressed the shakedown Tinubu has handed the people. The rough-hewn, jagged lorry and trucks which was mass transit in the days of yore but now used to ferry cattle, has regained it old usage as mass transit for Nigerians. They were sighted last week moving Nigerians from the north to the southwest for the Sallah holiday. Some of the travellers who hitherto preferred buses and taxis said they could not afford decent commute anymore.

SUFFER TODAY, ENJOY TOMORROW: Travelling long distances in gwongworo is human degradation of the most lowest kind. Many stand or crouch in the manner of cattle through the journey that spans hundreds of miles. As Nigerians are pushed to commuting like cattle, their oppressors, oblivious of their conditions, are living like Arab Sheikhs. As the news of the gwongworo commute was trending, it was to be displaced by the news of the over 120-vehicles convoy of Mr. Tinubu returning to his residence from the airport after a trip to London. Imagine the bedlam of 120 vehicles moving in a convoy from Ikeja to Ikoyi in the usually crazy traffic of Lagos. Imagine a total shutdown of the city to grant access to one man. And don’t laugh, because this is not a joke: there’s probably a presidential aide in charge of organising (orchestrating) a Rousing Welcome for President Jagaban. There must be a tidy budget too! But for the people’s outcry, the Special Assistant on Rousing Welcome, would have been applauded for the total eclipse of the city for Mr. Tinubu.

Hours later, the Senate President, Godswill Akpabio, was to exhibit his extended convoy of exotic vehicles. Presidency in Nigeria is a gross enterprise.

While the country is almost shutdown as a result of high cost of petrol, our leaders who imposed the austerity are burning fuel with reckless abandon. Of course they’ve never had to buy fuel. While they bound the population in deathly strictures, the so-called leaders are living large.

NO CABINET, VACUUM PERSISTS: Twelve weeks after election and additional five weeks after inauguration, the president is yet to form a government. Any serious president/governor would name his cabinet in two weeks max. We will not get tired of reminding here that the Executive Council is the heart of any sovereign state. One man can only do so much. Not even with all the aides in the world because aides are not part of Council. The affairs of a country revolves around the Executive Council and its members are accounting officers.

The inertia at federal level has spread to state governments where governors seem to follow the example of the federal government. Apart from Abia State where a list is already in the parliament, it’s all quiet across the country. The economy is too pale for such a long interregnum.

ECONOMY ON TENTERHOOKS: We need to drive the economy. We need to produce. We need to get the refineries working. We need to export. We need to check the runaway exchange rate. We are in dire need of electricity. We need to stem the galloping inflation (24%). The masses need some palliative measures, lest mass discontent erupts across the land. Get to work… stop the grandstanding and gallivanting!

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