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Tinubu’s Fuel Subsidy Removal: A Year Of Economy Turmoil (Part 7), By Erasmus Ikhide

THIS morning, I read Bayo Onanuga, the Special Adviser to President Bola Ahmed Tinubu on Information and Strategy’s response to the New York Times’ blighted and damning report — as we know it — on the nation’s economy woes on June 11, tilted: “Nigeria Confronts Its Worst Economic Crisis in a Generation”.

Bayo Onanuga’s response wrecks and drips in abominable appeasement to the president’s commemorative doomsday speech from the scrapbook of hell, from which Tinubu’s infamous “fuel subsidy gone” was lifted. Onanuga’s childish vituperation, titled: “New York Times’ Jaundiced Report On Nigeria’s Current Economic Situation” is akin to that of a misguided propagandists hardly literate enough to know that the word “appeasement” has been regarded as a dirty words used to placate tyrants in authority, instead of chastising them with the truth.

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The Tinubu’s government has been striving in absolute disinformation, conducted by intentionally false and manipulative ethnic malcontent media aides who have been signposting the very foundation of the government for what it is — fraud. When you fraud yourself into power without mental capabilities or given economic blueprints to govern, the only choice left would be to perpetually churn out lie after lie to cover up earlier lies to sustain the wobbling administration. That’s the fate and profile of Tinubu’s Presidency. That Onanuga will willfully replied the New York Times that Tinubu inherited a battered economy from Buhari and APC — after promising to continue from where Buhari stops — if elected under the same platform of the APC shows that he can never be redeemed from unimaginable lies and mindless propaganda!

This article from the New York Times, dated June 11, 2024, simply highlights the severe economic crisis in Nigeria, Africa’s most populous nation. That Nigeria is facing its worst economic crisis in decades, with skyrocketing inflation, a national currency in free fall, and millions struggling to buy food is the bitter truth APC/Tinubu government doesn’t want the world to know.

Rightly, as I wrote earlier in this series, the article attributes the crisis to two major changes implemented by President Bola Ahmed Tinubu, who was elected 15 months ago namely, partial removal of fuel subsidies and floating of the currency. These changes have led to significant price rises, making it difficult for people to afford basic necessities like food, fuel, and medicine.

I have painted a dire picture of the situation earlier, that hospitals have been overwhelmed with patients suffering from malnutrition and related illnesses, unions striking to protest low salaries (around $20 per month), people dying in stampedes while trying to obtain free food in Nasarawa State, cryptocurrency tapping games becoming a desperate means of survival and a sharp decline in the value of the national currency, the naira.

What Onanuga didn’t want to hear is how the report highlighted the “resourcefulness and resilience of Nigerians, who are accustomed to managing in tough circumstances, but are now being stretched to the limit”. The New York Times’ feature presented a stark portrayal of the economic crisis in Nigeria and its devastating impact on the population. And, there have been torrent reactions countrywide to this effect.

In reaction to the series of my essays on the convulsing state of Nigerian economy since President Bola Ahmed Tinubu’s ill-advised pronouncement of “fuel subsidy gone”, there have been deluge of responses and opinions I can not ignore. Here are a few of them:

“You write powerfully and to the point.
Not until we are blessed to have a political leader infused with the knowledge and wisdom of scientific management before we will get out of the woods. Knowledge is power. The difference between a gate man in an organization and the chief executive officer of the organisation is the difference in the intellectual capacities. No more. So, it is still a misnomer for we the people of Nigeria as espoused in our Constitution of FRN, 1999 as various amended to still insist on WASC or its equivalent as the minimum requirement for the occupation of the seat of power”.

“At the level of small resource utilization, we insisted on certain cerebral qualifications. It is a decision turning south to prescribe a WASC as a minimum qualification for the president of a country of 37 States [as decreed by the judgement of the Supreme Court of Nigeria] with a population of 200m+”.

“The ascendancy of the present administration that is wobbling and fumbling is an indication of lack of managerial capacity. That is why control is out of control. No scientific understanding of political governance in terms of analysis, planning, implementation, and control. The humongous amount of resources at the disposal of the Federal Government couldn’t allow for straight thinking. That is why the outcry is much for the misplaced priority of buying the SUV bullet proof of NGN160m+ for politicians”.

“There is a cloud of planning without facts that actually engulfed African States in general and Nigeria in particular. We have a situation at hand that required simulation before full-blown action, but the President whimsical just pronounced the removal of fuel subsidy without thorough analysis that could throw up facts for decision making. Shameful”.

“The other sacrilegious mistake of the presidency is to the effect that savings from the removal of fuel subsidy were sent to the State Governors for misappropriation and petty improprieties. The proper thing was to have diverted the savings to resuscitation one of our three oil refineries. Doing this would have made the prices of petrol and diesel to come down, thereby crashing the costs of production, value change efforts, and transportation generally. The domino effect of lack of planning without facts and consequences is hereby apparent”.

“Another anathema in running this country is the intellectual deficit in budgets of public entities of the Federal, States, and Local Governments. There is this trend of budgeting that catches the fancy of government officials. No deliverables intended, no workplan to spell out implicated activities, resources needed, and timelines. What you see is a global figure that is unrealistic and signifying nothing except for embezzlement”.

“In 1952, when Japan wanted to embark on rapid economic transformation, the government assembled 50 graduates that had first class degrees in critical development economics to brainstorm on their master plan. That was the beginning of the Renaissance we are witnessing today in Tokyo and other cities of Japan. That’s one of the results of the Toyota vehicles we’re enjoying today. Without a deep conceptual thinking about our economy and politics, social and economic problems will escalate to a level that poverty will become endemic”. From Dr Gbenga Daodu.

“This is not only a critique but also provide remedies on how to stabilize the economy and by extension the nation from total economic collapse. This is commendable”.

“The major problem to me is that corruption has been institutionalized to the extent that most members of the ruling class including the president have proven massive corruption cases. I think what they are doing is to recoup whatever they have expended to get themselves into power”.

“However, let’s watch and see how the populace will be able to withstand the failing and excruciating polices of the government”.

“Certainly, Nigerians are at the precipice of tolerance and I hope the president is aware of this and quickly remedy the situation”.

“The clock of poverty caused by this government policies is tickling towards Nigerians massive resistance to survive and stay alive”. From Mr Peter Imoede Omoaka.

“The Taxes and Levies Act, Laws of the Federation of Nigeria 2004, section 2(2) disallows any person or group under any name to take laws into their hands and block any road or high way in full or any part of it under any guise of collection of revenue/taxes”.

“Unfortunately, it appears this law is not been enforced by those statutorily empowered to do so”.

“Businesses both local and foreign owed are daily inundated with harassment and extortion by miscreants parading themselves as local government revenue collectors. And these illegal and nefarious activities are very common in Lagos and across the country with its attendant negative impact on commerce, transportation and productivity”.

“In the 21st Century, a situation whereby criminal elements masquerading as local government revenue collectors brazenly block federal and state roads extorting money and in some instances inflicting injuries on truck, trailer drivers should not be condoned by a responsive and responsible government”.

“I am calling on the Federal government to reinforced this law to curtail these criminality that is adversely affecting businesses nationally”. From Emmanuel Daudu, A Development Economist.

As the nation’s economy situation went downhill — courtesy of President Tinubu’s reckless statement on the day of his inauguration — the honourable thing to do is to seek help outside this sterile propaganda, thoughtless governmental policies and unintelligent economy team.

Erasmus Ikhide contributed this piece via: ikhideluckyerasmus@gmail.com.

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