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Patience with Tinubu: For How Long? Patience with Tinubu: For How Long?
by Ovi Magazine Guest
2023-09-10 07:11:19
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Patience with Tinubu: For How Long?
By Tunde Akande

Many small businesses have closed down, people are stuck in their houses unable to move about because of the high cost of transportation caused by the high price of fuel; many have lost their jobs.

Sanusi Lamido Sanusi, who prefers to be called 41st emir of the ancient city of Kano instead of the former emir of Kano after he was sacked by the last governor of Kano State, Dr Abdullahi Ganduje, now the Chairman of the APC, the party of Bola Ahmed Tinubu, president since May 29, 2023; came out of his cocoon recently. Sanusi is bold and fiery, never lacking in true words for leaders. It was in this self-appointed task that he ran into trouble with Abdullahi Ganduje who after many failed gimmicks to keep him mute eventually sacked him. But Sanusi who in a reported video where he addressed Nigerians said he had received many letters asking him to comment on the dire national economic situation. He didn't tell Nigerians the subject matter about which those who wrote to him wanted him to comment but it is not so far-fetched. Nigerians have been plunged into groaning since Bola Ahmed Tinubu became the president. The president withdrew the subsidy on petrol and ordered that the naira value must be determined by market forces, a policy which with speed is turning the naira into a mere paper and keeping Nigerians impoverished. The palliatives rolled out by Tinubu have not assuaged the pains of the people, some fear they might not get to the poor people because of embedded corruption. In Ibadan where this writer watched the distribution of food items, more people went home with broken arms, legs and bruised noses than very few who got some rice because of the disorderliness of the distribution.

Sanusi may be one of the reasons Tinubu slammed the subsidy removal on Nigerians because, at a public meeting after Tinubu had been declared the winner of the presidential election, Sanusi assured Tinubu that if he didn't remove the fuel subsidy he would continue to criticize him as he had criticized Buhari before him. He warned Bola Tinubu to get ready for whatever he would do with him if he didn't remove the subsidy. Bola Ahmed Tinubu complied when on the podium of his inauguration, he pronounced: 'Subsidy is gone.' That is why Sanusi is urging Nigerians to be patient with Tinubu. But will they and can they? Former President Muhammadu Buhari, Sanusi said in his video message, ran the economy down in eight years of maladministration because Buhari would neither consult experts nor listen to criticism. Fuel subsidy had become a bottomless pit into which Nigeria's resources are poured and from where the pockets of people Tinubu called 'elites of elites' are filled. They became very rich without lifting a finger while Nigeria became very poor and it will now service her debts with 90 per cent of its revenue as a result of Buhari's mindless borrowing. Since Tinubu knew these 'elites of elites' why did he not go after them and spare Nigerians who had no hand in the corruption? But can a bad tree bear good fruit? Tinubu may not be able to go after the corrupt for the obvious reason that he is also part of the system.

Apart from the fuel subsidy wastage which lacklustre Buhari could not muster the courage to stop or at least deal with perpetrators because most of them were either his cronies or his family members, Sanusi pointed to an unidentified young boy around Bahari who was 'inexperienced' but is an owner of a private jet. This 'inexperienced' boy could be a nephew of Buhari, named after the late Major General Tunde Idiagbon, who was said to be the last person Buhari saw at night and the first as he woke up in the morning. Nothing, it is said is done without the approval of the young man who was said to be a seller of recharge cards in Daura because he was unemployed before Buhari recruited him as his Personal Assistant. Though Sanusi did not mention the name of the inexperienced boy who owned a jet after eight years of working with Buhari, Nigerians think the boy may be a front for Buhari. Many Nigerians thought Buhari was honest until he became president in 2015. Could that private jet belong to Buhari while 'Tunde' is just a proxy? It is said immediately after Buhari left office, 'Tunde' was posted to the Nigeria Intelligence Agency and transferred to the Nigeria High Commission in the United Kingdom without any training or experience and people are asking whether the 'inexperienced' boy is an agent of the ex-president. The wife of the ex-president practically lived in Dubai while her four children went to foreign universities. For a man who postured as a poor leader before the election, Nigerians are wondering how he came about the huge foreign exchange to train four children in foreign universities.

But Sanusi will not be permanently mute on Tinubu. If he goes astray, he will speak as he said. Tinubu has just inaugurated his almost seventy-man jumbo cabinet including special advisers and special assistants who are of cabinet rank. Included in this cabinet are six former governors whose performance in office was not spectacular. Those who wrote to Sanusi to air his views may have included these men and women who they think are recycled and ought not to be in the team. One of the ministers is Hannatu Musawa who was appointed while still a serving member of the NYSC. Her appointment casts doubt on the integrity of Tinubu's administration. What will other youths feel who are not politically connected like Hannatu? Tinubu has called the bluff of the youths in appointing this woman.

How long will Sanusi Lamido Sanusi keep quiet on the nation's issues? It is doubtful if it will be long because the pain on Nigerians increases with the passage of the day. In Lagos, it is said that roast corn which used to be the staple on which the poor feed has been taken out of their mouths as an ear of corn sells for 500 naira to the extent that sellers now break an ear of corn into two to make the price affordable. Also at the resumption of school this term, in Lagos, it is said that many pupils did not return to school for reasons which must be linked with economic hardships. Perhaps their parents cannot afford the transport cost to school and back. It was also reported that the usual chaotic traffic in Lagos has eased off bringing a semblance of peace to the congested city but at a great cost to the pockets of the residents. Many small businesses have closed down, people are stuck in their houses unable to move about because of the high cost of transportation caused by the high price of fuel; many have lost their jobs, and many of the yellow-coloured buses are just stationed in the parks because they can't get passengers. Universities and students of other tertiary institutions will soon resume and as predicted by ASUU, the union of university lecturers, eight percent of students might not return to school because of inability to pay school fees since Tinubu said he will no longer fund universities. The DSS obviously to ward off the possibility of a widespread protest said it had intelligence that students and politicians are planning to use ethnicity and economic hardship as baits to encourage protests. The North from which Sanusi hails is the poorest part of the country because of low education and overpopulation. That part of the country practically depends on government and political patronage to survive.

With all those dried up and with Tinubu depending only on instinct for his programs and not a prior well-thought-out strategy, it may not be too long before the aches of the people draw out Sanusi Lamido Sanusi into battles with President Tinubu. But what will he be saying? What will be his prescription? Tinubu is implementing his prescriptions and those of other economists like Sanusi which are nothing but the prescriptions of IMF and World Bank which are the reasons for the huge economic problems in Africa. Perhaps the failure of Tinubu’s economic policies, which may happen because it is very obvious, will force Nigerian economic thinkers to become original in their thinking and stop making themselves slaves of foreign economic theorists. Already, Olusegun Obasanjo, a two-time ruler in Nigeria, seeing the return of coups in Africa is calling on Africans to grow a domestic form of government because 'democracy is not working in Africa."

First published in METRO


Tunde Akande is both a journalist and pastor. He earned a Masters degree in Mass Communication from the University of Lagos.

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