Tinubu’s one year of devourers, by Kenneth Okonkwo


Devourers are people who eat greedily or voraciously. People who use up or destroy by eating. They behave like locusts, canker worms and caterpillars, which destroy livelihoods of people by eating them up. Prof Usman Yusuf described Tinubu’s one year in office as a year of deception, destitution, and hopelessness, while Dr Usman Bugaje described the renewed hope agenda as renewed fraud. The summary of these postulations is that this is a government that is bereft of good governance, which is a sine qua non for development and advancement of a country. Good governance is the effective, accountable, and transparent management of public resources and affairs. It involves a set of principles and practices that ensure the exercise of power is democratic, inclusive, and responsive to the needs of citizens. Some key elements of good governance include: management, accountability, transparency, participation, rule of law, responsiveness, equity and inclusiveness, effectiveness and efficiency, consensus-oriented, human rights, and anti-corruption. It’s sad to note that this government has not excelled in any of these key elements.

Every person in the whole world knows that this country is blessed with abundant human and material resources; what is lacking is management. Comparing the achievements of this government with the requirements of good governance and management, the facts will speak for itself. Inflation rate today is more than 41%. This is paper work because, practically, food prices has risen by more than 300%. Bag of rice that was about N19,000.00 when this government came in, is now about N80,000.00. This is about 400% increase in food items, in a country where the minimum wage is N30,000.00, and in which the government is proposing N57,000.00 as minimum wage. This government has turned Nigerians to destitutes.

When this government came in, the first gift it gave to Nigerians is “fuel subsidy is gone”, and automatically the fuel subsidy was purportedly removed. Analysing the import of this decision exposes the incompetence of this government. The President did not consult any human being, living or dead, before removing that subsidy, because it was done during his inaugural speech. This offends the participation, consensus-oriented elements of good governance. As at the time he made the ill-advised statement on 29th May, 2023, there was an extant law that provided that the subsidy can only be removed by June 30, 2023. This offends the rule of law component of good governance. The price of fuel immediately jumped from N195.00 to almost N700.00, about 350% increase. There has not been transparency on how much is realised from removal of subsidy and what the realised funds are used for. When Abacha removed subsidy partially, he established the Petroleum Trust Fund to cater for some infrastructures with the savings from the increased price of fuel. When Goodluck Jonathan removed subsidy partially, he established Subsidy Reinvestment Programme, (Sure-P) to utilise the savings to provide essential services for the people. This government removed subsidy completely and established no programme to utilise the excess revenue for the benefit of the people. It is rather taxing the people the more. Electricity tariff, among many others, has illegally increased by 300%.

Naira was depreciated by 400%, going down from about N500.00 when this government came in, to about almost N2,000.00 at a certain time. Again, this ill-advised decision made the landing price of fuel to increase by another 300%, on the least, because as at that time, refined fuel was 100% imported. This would have increased the fuel price to more than N1,000.00 landing cost if this government had not speedily reintroduced fuel subsidy to be able to maintain the fuel price at about N617.00. The economy and the people were punished for nothing. As at today, the government that removed fuel subsidy illegally by fiat, could not reach agreement on the minimum wage to pay workers, one year after. Workers are dying of hunger and penury. Even the President’s own people are crying that they are hungry. This regime has deceived Nigerians and these offend the accountability, transparency, responsiveness, equity and inclusiveness, effectiveness and efficiency of the elements of good governance.

The awkward display of profligacy commenced from the forming of the cabinet of this regime. This President appointed 48 Ministers to help him milk Nigeria dry. The largest cabinet in Nigeria history at a time when the country is at its poorest. To compound the whole matter, the President, Head of Service, Chief of Staff, Chief Justice of Nigeria, Attorney General of the Federation, Minister of Finance, Central Bank Governor, Federal Inland Revenue Service Chairman, Controller General Customs, Controller General of Immigration, Accountant General of the Federation, Chairman Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Minister of Interior, Minister of Power, Minister of Petroleum, Inspector-General of Police, Chief of Army Staff are all Yoruba. In addition to its Muslim-Muslim presidential ticket. This offends the rule of law, equity and inclusiveness elements of good governance, and Section 14(3)(4) of the 1999 Constitution. This government is really a government of deception.

This government’s first budget never set out to address any of the problems of the masses. It provided for N6b for car parks for the members of the National Assembly to enable them park the imported N165m prado jeep which this government bought for each one of 469 of them. It budgeted the sum of N15b to build a house for the Vice-President and N20b naira to build the house of the Chief of Staff to the President, and billions to the unelected first lady. These men were already living in comfortable houses while many Nigerians are rendered homeless because of poverty. Recently, the government paid out N90b to purportedly assist Muslims to perform hajj abroad. The injunction of the Quran is that you should embark on hajj if you can afford it and if you are healthy. If this profligate devouring government is intelligent enough, it would have recruited 90,000 Muslims and trained them with skills of different kinds and awarded them with N1m each, which will amount to N90b, to start up their businesses. This gesture will have more genuine impact on the Muslim community than giving some Nigerians N90b to share in the name of helping them to go to hajj. Be rest assured that there will be no transparency on how the pilgrimage money will be spent. I just hope that this lopsided government will give Christians N90b to embark on their own wasteful pilgrimage to Jerusalem in the interest of equity and inclusiveness. All these actions are geared towards subsidising consumption and not production which is one way ticket to bankruptcy.

Since the government has no money, and it doesn’t know how to put chains on its appetite, it then means that it must continue to embark on borrowing to feed its voracity. Since inception, this government has borrowed about $17.5b within a year. It started with an initial $800m. It mortgaged our crude oil to obtain a loan of $3.5b. Are you wondering why the Nigerian National Petroleum Company Ltd cannot even supply enough crude oil to indigenous oil refining companies for their refineries? The answer is that our crude oil has been mortgaged to borrow dollars to satisfy the insatiable appetite of a devouring government. About $10b was borrowed to finance the N10 trillion budget deficit of this administration. Recently, about $2.5b was borrowed from the world bank to continue the journey of trying to enslave future generations in debt. A borrower is a servant to the lender. There’s no tangible productive activity that this money is used for. Even the promise by NNPCL that our refinery will become functional by December, 2023 is yet to be fulfilled. May God not allow this government to turn innocent Nigerians to slaves. This epileptic financial situation of this government did not dissuade it from awarding a single, utopic, unrealisable contract to construct Lagos-Calabar coastal express highway worth N15.6 trillion to his friend and business associate without following due process when most of our interior road network are dilapidated.

Don’t even try to compete with this government in telling lies. The President came back from a wasteful trip to Dubai to inform an excited country that the emirate has agreed to resume issuing visas to Nigerians. It turned out to be false. After a trip to a world economic forum, the Presidency came back again to inform a whole country that Maersk shipping company has pledged to invest $600m in Nigeria. It turned out to be a lie. They said fuel subsidy was gone, it turned out to be a lie. They said they will float the naira, it turned out to be a lie. If this government greets you good morning, kindly check your watch to confirm. This is a government of deception. It’s disheartening to know that these trips which the government embarks on with thousands of its party members cost Nigerians whooping amounts in dollars without any benefit.

The security situation is so terrible that even our men in uniform are being mowed down in their numbers in the streets of Nigeria. Terrorists are now in charge of some ungoverned territories in Nigeria where they collect taxes from the people. Hundreds of farmers are killed regularly, thereby scaring them away from their farms with the attendant consequences of impending scarcity of food. Nigeria is no longer respected internationally because of the incompetence of this regime. For the first time, the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) has been split into two with the three states of the sahel region breaking out of ECOWAS to form their own association because of the undiplomatic way this President treated the issue of the military takeover in Niger Republic. Three notable journalists including Madu Onuoha, Ojukwu have been incarcerated in the last three months. As it stands now, only prayers and God can help us with His divine intervention before Nigerians start eating sand and themselves. May this kind of disastrous, devouring one year in the history of any government never happen again in Nigeria.

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