Home Politics President Tinubu & State of the Nation: An Alternative View from the...

President Tinubu & State of the Nation: An Alternative View from the North

78
0

Like many nations of the world, Nigeria is currently having challenges that is worrisome to its citizens. The challenges vary  from inflation and rising cost of food prices, poverty, insecurity , sliding rate of currency compared to stronger currencies of the Dollar and Pound. Going by reactions in some parts of the country, aggravated by wrong and manipulated reportage of the situation in the social media, a wrong and deceptive impression is being created that Nigeria has never witnessed the likes of what is currently occupying media headlines in the country of recent.

The most pervasive  of such wrong impressions today , is the expression of angry reactions to the situation in Nigeria at present, by the Nigeria Labour Congress as well as other small group protests against rising cost of food prices , which took place  some few days past place, in Kano, Minna and Ibadan. It should be pointed out that in contrast to what happened in the few towns, majority of the towns and states in Nigeria have not joined the protests. In other words , not majority of Nigerians are protesting .

Arising from the slant of opinion as promoted by some opposition party leaders who have created false impression as if it is the fault of the government of the day led by President Ahmed Bola Tinubu, or that the government is uncaring and not doing anything at all, some basic questions and answers have become compelling. The basic questions to ask are:  is President Bola Tinubu solely responsible for what is happening? The answer is capital no. Is Tinubu and his government do something to address the challenge? The answer is Capital Yes. How did we, as a nation come to this situation, and who should be hold responsible? This is the object of the conversation. Let history guide us.

On 13th March, 1989, Newswatch ,arguably the most investigative media platform at that time published an edition titled , The Food Crisis, as a key challenge confronting  Nigeria at the time. The Newswatch report came during an era of the military regime in Nigeria. That story, however, was detailed in drawing attention of the reading public that food crisis was a challenge that indeed predated the military era and was inherited by the regime. It has remained so till President Tinubu inherited it. As a responsive government, Tinubu’s government is confronting it head-on.

Food challenge has been a global affair and has remained so till date. The Number of malnourished people (millions) around the world (2000-2016) available to relevant global institutions, as reproduced hereunder, which has worsened today ,  tells the story more glaringly.

2000-02 2005-07 2010-12 2014-16
World 929.6 942.3 820.7 794.6
Developed regions 21.2 15.4 15.7 14.7
Developing regions 908.4 926.9 805.0 779.9
Africa 210.2 213.0 218.5 232.5
Asia 636.5 665.5 546.9 511.7
Latin America and the Caribbean 60.4 47.1 38.3 34.3
Oceania 1.3 1.3 1.3 1.4

Our country , Nigeria, is of special interest. Since the discovery of oil in Nigeria in the 1970s, the agriculture sector became less important to the government as it cannot withstand the economic sagacity of the oil industry. Thus, Nigeria became heavily dependent on importation of food. The rural areas have become even more vulnerable to malnutrition, erratic supply of food items, unaffordable food costs, low quality foods and sometimes complete lack of food. Many scholars who have aired opinion on the root cause of our current challenge trace it to oil and the discovery thereof.

Each government since the 70s has had reasons to face the challenge on agriculture and food which the discovery of oil posed. This was the reason for Operation Feed the Nation (OFN) of the military era and Green Revolution of the Shehu Shagari  civilian administration . It preceded the Tinubu administration of present.

Blames on Tinubu would have made meaning if he is doing nothing to confront the challenge he inherited. He is doing much and has also appealed for patience and time to enable him tackle it squarely.

A few days ago, Minister of Information and National Orientation, Alhaji Mohammed Idris, reminded Nigerians on what the Government of Tinubu is doing. Simply put, he told Nigerians that the Federal Government is aware of the rising cost of staple foods in the markets.

Speaking  during the 2024 conference and annual general meeting of the Nigerian Institute of Public Relations (NIPR), Niger State chapter in Minna, Idris, who was represented by Malam Jibrin Ndace, Director General of Voice of Nigeria (VON), said practical steps were being taken to ameliorate the situation.

He said the President had directed the National Security Adviser,  NSA, the Director of State Security, DSS and the Inspector General of Police, IGP to coordinate with state governors to check activities of those hoarding food commodities to ensure price control.

In his words, Idris said :  “On behalf of the Federal Government, I applaud the effort of the Niger State Gov. Umaru Bago, for his timely decision to halt bulk-buying of food items for hoarding.This no doubt helped in the recent reduction of the cost of food items in the state”.

The Minister of Information, gave additional information  on what the federal government is doing to confront other national challenges. He said the president in the last seven months, had been on track filing economy, fighting insecurity, attracting foreign direct investment and consolidating Nigeria’s foreign policy ethos on the world stage.The minister said the Renewed Hope Agenda of President Tinubu was and still remained resolute that Nigeria would not fall as true giant of Africa.

Aside the few street protest witnessed in the country, media space has also witnessed some concerns about the state of the Nigerian Nation. Worries centred on  inflation,migration of people to foreign countries in increasing proportion and unstable currency. These, which some critics of the incumbent government in Nigeria see as economy mismanagement indices have been with us many years back, across governments, military and civilian. It will be uncharitable therefore, to hang Nigeria’s economic misfortunes, principally,on the government of President Ahmed Bola Tinubu, a government that  is barely 9 months old.

A glimpse into what the administration rolled out as policies , a number of which is being implementedalready show that President Tinubu means well for the country.  Lets flashback on a few.

Upon  assumption of  office as the 16th President of Nigeria, Tinubu began the journey to rebuild the country’s battered economy in a difficult situation. He confronted the challenge of the country’s public debts – both local and foreign – coupled with an unsustainable fuel subsidy regime which created a gaping hole in public finance and rendered the three tiers of governments insolvent and incapable of meeting the needs of the citizens.

In solving the problems, the minister noted that Tinubu took a bold and courageous decision “to remove the fuel subsidy to avert a national economic catastrophe of epic proportions.

He described the fuel subsidy regime as a Sword of Damocles that hung over Nigeria for decades, adding that it stunted the growth of the country and set it a-borrowing.

“In addition to subsidy removal, President Tinubu took further steps to unify the multiple foreign exchange markets,” the statement said.

“While these two vital steps to save the country from hitting the rocks brought momentary discomfort to Nigerians, President Tinubu has never failed in his appeal to Nigerians to see the current inconveniences as a price we must all pay to save our country from disappearing.

“Considering the people’s pains, the government rolled out intervention programs to help cushion the unintended negative impacts of the reforms.

“These interventions include working out a minimum wage and salary increase, supporting states and local governments to enable them to cater for the most vulnerable among us, providing fertilizers to farmers, grains to households, cash transfers to people with low incomes.

“In addition to these, there are plans to roll out over 11,000 CNG buses for affordable public transportation among others.

“While striving to reduce the impact of the high cost of living on the citizens, President Tinubu has focused on redirecting our economy and removing the impediments to productivity and competitiveness so that the real sector can grow and create millions of decent jobs that are essential for long term economic growth.

“In the last 100 days, the government set up a Tax and Fiscal Reforms Committee that is fully at work to deepen the ongoing reforms and reposition the national economy for long-term sustainability. A renowned Tax and Fiscal Policy expert is leading this committee.

“Part of the committee’s mandate, working with the state governments, is to simplify our complicated tax system, eliminate multiple taxes, streamline regulations that negate the ease of doing business, and close the over 20 trillion annual tax gap.

“To ensure that Nigerians and businesses are not burdened with new taxes, the administration will promote efficiency in revenue collection.

“Within the last 100 days, President Tinubu has worked to promote political stability in Nigeria because he understands that there cannot be any meaningful progress and development without peace.

“The administration has stabilised the polity and reduced tensions associated with ethnic and religious agitations by better managing our diversity.

“Tinubu ensured balance in all the appointments into key government positions including that of service chiefs from diverse parts of the country.

“President Tinubu emerged as the Chairman of the ECOWAS Authority of Heads of State and Government within his 100 days in office.

“In the last 100 days, President Tinubu has offered purposeful leadership and set the administration’s tone, texture, and character.

Usman Sambo writes from Head office of civil society group, NORTHERN AGENDA. No. 53 lamido ALIYU mustapha street , Yola town , Adamawa state 08097888083_ .07068571735

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here