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Opinion

President Tinubu: Beyond The Shaky Start -By Peter Ojelabi

Looking beyond the issue of subsidy removal that is generating mixed reactions from Nigerians, President Tinubu has shown the composure of leadership that Nigeria needs.

Factually, one major undoing of former president Muhammadu Buhari’s administration was his slow decision making process especially, in appointing individuals that headed different organizations and ministries in his government.

This negligence brought the nation to the first recession in his administration.

Unlike his predecessor, in less than a week of being sworn-in, Tinubu announced his Chief of staff, Secretary General to the Government of the Federation, and his Deputy, all in conformity to norms of Federal Characters.

More so, his swift reaction as the leader of ECOWAS to the putschists in Niger republic is commendable, the President has so far shown the leadership that is lacking in the West African states.

Furthermore, in his less than 100 days in office, Tinubu has taken positive steps to reform the security architecture of the country by replacing all the services chiefs, which culminated into reduction in the country’s terrorism index.

Additionally, the student’s loan act, reformation of the central bank of Nigeria, and suspension of the ex- apex bank Governor has also received applause in many quarters of the country.

However, the smudge on this administration’s giant developmental step is the perceived hasty subsidy removal.

Recall that, the President, during his inaugural speech announced the removal of fuel subsidy that have become a pot of soup to some powerful individuals at the helm of affairs.

The announcement which caused an uproar in and out of social media space mar the beginning of his administration.

President when speaking on the decision, said, “as I mount the podium I was possessed by the courage and I said, subsidy is gone”.

Though, all the four major contestants excluding Rabiu Kwankwaso of NNPP, promised to remove subsidy if elected, but the period it was removed by Tinubu was ill-timed.

Nigerians were still reeling from the hardships that accompanied the redesigned naira notes policy by the previous administration. We were yet to recover from Buhari’s seemingly fruitless border closure policy, and no refinery was reasonably functional across Nigeria.

Methinks, it would have been better if the President stabilized the country first in terms of drastically cutting down on cost of governance, reviving the country’s moribund refineries, while Dangote’s refinery takes off operation optimally, issues licenses to modular refineries, invests in food security, opens borders and putting measures in place for price control on food commodities, security of lives and properties to encourage farmers to return to farms, and a more stable power supply before fuel subsidy removal.

By then, Nigerians would have recovered from Buhari’s poor economic policies, and embrace the realities of removing the subsidy with courage.

Obviously, the pressure on Tinubu’s presidency is getting to a breaking point, If care is not taken, the government may become unpopular.

Nigerians are hungry and angry. Restoring the subsidy might not be the solution, but Nigerians need cheap food to cushion the effect of subsidy on the people.

Though, Federal Government planned to release 50 billions to each state to cushion the effects. but will it be used appropriately by the state Governors?

One of the ways Tinubu can appeal to the emotion of hungry Nigerians is to open the borders, if just for rice, it should be made cheaply and available to avoid the lingering wide-spread food shortages in the shortest time.

Nevertheless, aside the fuel subsidy crisis that mar the current administration right steps, Tinubu has shown leadership in terms of appointment and making of bold decisions.

In fact, he has written his name as one who hits the ground running upon his ascension to power.

Peter Ojelabi writes from Ogbomoso
pojelabi@gmail.com

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