President (?) Tinubu, Fuel Subsidy Removal and the First of Many Political Gaffes

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If you’re a social media kind of person, you’d probably have seen a trending soft copy of a ‘Certificate of Survival’ that is being awarded to Nigerians for ‘Surviving’8 horrifying years of Former President Gen. Muhammadu Buhari’s administration.

As funny as that may sound, the implications of it shouldn’t be seen as such. According to the Nigeria Bureau of Statistics, over 63 119 people died in various security breaches in Buhari’s 8-year administration. This terrifying figure is crudely highlighted against the background of the Ex-president as a former military general.

Bola Tinubu and Muhammadu Buhari
Bola Tinubu and Muhammadu Buhari

We need not dwell on the numerous failures in ill-conceived and equally poorly executed economic policies that took Nigeria and the vast majority of the Nigerian population from “top to bottom”, as he had promised in his inaugural speech for his second tenure in office.

In fact, the high debt profile he had saddled Nigerians with and the sham of a currency change that brought the country: Nigerians and their businesses to their knees will remain hunting memories for many years to come.

But this piece isn’t about the General or his evident failure as a former president but about the new President (?) Bola Ahmed Tinubu and his inauguration speech as a foreshadowing of what is to come.

If you’re wondering why there’s a question mark against the title ‘President’ attached to Tinubu’s name, it is because never before his coming has there been a president in Nigeria over which so many unanswered questions hovered. For a man whose real name, date of birth, state of origin, parenthood, educational background, source of wealth, health, and criminal status all carry a question mark, his claim to the exalted position of ‘President and Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces of Nigeria’ has to be called into question.

Tinubu has assumed the office of the largest black-populated nation in the world, riding on the crest of the greatest electoral fraud and miscarriage of a people’s will, midwifed by a supposed Professor, Mahmood Yakubu as head of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC); has polarised a country that has largely existed on the brink of another civil war since the first that birthed a class of second class citizens out of those of Igbo extraction.

Tinubu’s ‘Emi lokan’ entitlement spirit, hoisted by a massive financial war chest accumulated from years of illicit and questionable business dealings and systemic pilfering of state funds by 8 years of the number one citizen of the state and by proxies thereafter, had made it nearly impossible for anyone else to dream of occupying the villa at Aso Rock, but for the will of the people.

While millions of Nigerians continue to mourn the brazen daylight robbery perpetuated by INEC, Tinubu’s swearing-in as the 16th president of the federal republic of Nigeria and the consequent inaugural speech have shown already that little can be expected of the administration in terms of economic finesse but a lot more of political and economic gaffes.

For a nation that has groaned under the economic mismanagement of an inept president from the same party, the APC, one would have expected that the tone of his speech would inspire the hope and confidence that the nation desperately yearns for.

Instead, what the people have been told is akin to Rehoboam’s response to the nation of Israel when they prayed to him that his tenure as king be more accommodating than that of his late father, King Solomon; his response would further divide a nation that was in need of national healing and unification.

There’s no doubt that fuel subsidies over the past administrations have been one of the major drain pipes through which unscrupulous elements in government and political class have been siphoning our national commonwealth and needed to be abolished years ago but for the lack of political will-power. However, the manner in which Tinubu announced it shows that this administration, should it remain in power, by some unforgivable failings of the judiciary, will be no better than the one Nigerians just ‘survived’. I almost forgot; Buhari promised that Tinubu’s administration would continue from where he stopped.

By this singular pronouncement of the removal of fuel subsidies, we take it by his tone with immediate effect rather than a well-thought-out process of phasing out, which has already thrown the country into panic mode.

Already, many fuel stations have closed shop, denying the availability of the product while hoarding it in anticipating the effect of the announcement that would see them pick the pockets of the common Nigerians through the hiking of pump prices even on old stock.

In Lagos, where I live, there are long queues at fuel stations already that, up till this afternoon, had abundant supplies of the PMS. This economic gaffe by INEC’s President is nothing but a foreshadowing of many that are to come.

Of course, some would probably class me as a sore Óbidient’, but that is to be expected since many of us Nigerians are now used to ‘Suffering and Smiling’ as the great Éba mi eda, Fela Anikulapo Kuti, once sang.

Nigerians deserve more than just surviving: Nigerians deserve to live on the wealth of their nation without deprivation based on ethnic, tribal, religious or political affiliation. Tinubu will have to do better if, by some catastrophic failing of the judiciary, his political ‘Emilokanism’ is legitimised.

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