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Tinubu 100 days and burden of resetting Nigeria

Henry Kissinger, former United States Secretary of State, perennial international statesman and oracle of diplomacy profiled six world leaders, now of blessed memories, in his most recent book, “Leadership: Six Studies in World Strategy’. These long departed leaders were the architects of the post-war evolution of their respective societies. The leaders: Konrad Adenauer (Germany), Charles de Gaulle (France), Richard Nixon (United States), Anwar Sadat (Egypt), Lee Kuan Yew (Singapore) and Margaret Thatcher (Britain) reshaped and redefined their national purposes, having inherited a postwar world that was in turmoil and full of uncertainties. They opened up new frontiers, confronted local political and economic challenges and significantly contributed to an enduring new world order.
Just like these global figures who shaped the circumstances of their era, Nigeria’s President, Bola Tinubu, assumed the leadership of Africa’s most populous country at a time of great economic difficulties marked by very high socio-political tension. President Tinubu came in the midst of raging storms, inheriting legacy problems including insecurity, multi-dimensional poverty, angst, high decibel of ethnic agitations and general state of despair.
Since he assumed office 100 days ago, President Tinubu has focused on how to steady the floundering ship of state, redirect the economy and remove all barriers that inhibit productivity and growth. The first thing he did was the removal of fuel subsidy that has become a bottomless pit for the country. A world class auditor and turnaround expert himself, the goal of President Tinubu is to reprioritise national spending. A nation that literally flushed down over N21 trillion between 2005 and 2023 in the name of paying for cheap petrol when it could not generate the electricity to power its industries, run its hospitals and provide universal basic education to school children is a nation moving speedily towards self-destruction. The removal of fuel subsidy now means funding becomes available to invest in critical infrastructures to develop the country and position it on the path of economic prosperity. It also means government at all levels will now have more money to spend on social services, soft infrastructures and general social amenities that will improve quality of life.

The combined effect of fuel subsidy removal and realignment of the foreign exchange markets to remove corruption-ridden regime of preferential forex allocation to economic predators, that previously ruled the day, has led to high cost of living especially food and public transportation for Nigerians. Unfortunately, the hapless masses are mostly bearing the brunt of this, making many people to wonder if a government that should make life better for them had come to inflict more hardship.

Like a caring father who must navigate his family through turbulent period, President Tinubu, through national broadcasts, public statements and various interventions during meetings with groups and business leaders, laid out the issues before Nigerians and explained why the decisions he took to save the country, even when they came with momentary pains, are in the best interest of the country as doing otherwise will be accelerating the total collapse of the economy without any guardrail. A number of intervention programmes have been unveiled as reliefs to the people

Under the intervention initiatives, the Tinubu-led administration granted N5 billion to each of the 36 States and FCT to procure food items, fertilisers and seedlings for distribution to households and farmers. To further bring immediate relief to the people 100,000 bags of rice were also sent to the States by the Federal Government while modalities are being worked out with Governors under the National Economic Council for a new National Minimum wage and consequential salary increase for public and private sector workers.
It is interesting to know that some private sector employers in the Organized Private Sector (OPS) have taken the initiative on their own to increase staff salary in line with the prevailing inflationary trend. In conjunction with the World Bank, States and Local Governments, the Federal Government is also working on direct cash transfers targeted at over 20million most vulnerable people across the country. The plan to deploy 11,500 CNG powered mass transit buses to make public transportation affordable for the masses is being concluded for participating mass transit companies. The government in a partnership between NNPC and NIPCO is setting up CNG mega stations across the country that can conveniently serve 200,000 vehicles daily

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