Cautious Optimism as Tinubu Offers Hope to Weary Nigerians

Mon May 29th, 2023 -

Today, National Leader of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC), Ahmed Bola Tinubu, will fulfill his lifelong ambition when he takes the oath of office as the 16th President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.

However, just as it was in 2015 when President Muhamamdu Buhari swept into office riding on the wave of change, Nigerians have expressed caution in trusting Tinubu to fulfill his campaign promises.

According to them, his ability to find political solutions to the causes of insecurity, especially, Boko Haram, banditry and kidnappers’ debacle; economic crisis, inflation, nepotism and favouritism, will earn him trust among Nigerians who have been yearning for good governance since return of democracy in 1999.

Some Nigerians who spoke to The Guardian also urged him to set up a “Truth and Reconciliation” committee, for Nigerians to vent their anger and frustrations for the president to know where to start the process of healing the wounds of people and re-uniting the country.

An economic expert, Dr. Lere Adeyemo, said though the ‘Renewed Hope’ mantra of the new president was an adaptation of the Hope ’93 slogan of the late winner of the June 12 1993 election, Bashorun MKO Abiola, which sought to banish poverty in Nigeria, Tinubu’s adoption of the message in 2023 meant he must be ready to challenge the status quo, as Abiola had planned to do.

He said: “Tinubu should be ready to change the way things are done in Nigeria to expect a different result and most importantly be ready to fight corruption and not appoint politicians of doubtful integrity into his cabinet.”

An investment banker turned-politician, Gboyega Nasir Isiaka, expressed confidence in Tinubu to fight poverty and put Nigeria on the path of sustainable development.

Isiaka, a member-elect of the House of Representatives, said: “For Tinubu to achieve his objective of hope renewed, he needs a strong team that is premised on capacity rather than political patronage. I also pray that God gives the President the courage and political will to take decisions that will remove the bottlenecks in the path to greatness in the country, particularly in areas of true federalism, security, fight against corruption and encouraging private sector investments.

A chieftain of Ohanaeze Ndigbo and founding National Chairman of the All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA), Chief Chekwas Okorie, said the ‘Renewed Hope’ mantra of Tinubu was feasible if he could use his administration to foster unity and inclusiveness.

Okorie told The Guardian in Enugu that outgoing President Buhari missed it entirely when he decided to play ethnic politics that saw him handing over 80 per cent control of the nation to Northern Muslims, thereby creating serious suspicions that now threaten the unity of the country.

According to Okorie, “There is a lot of mutual suspicions and no matter how lofty any person may want to take the nation, without a united Nigeria that takes everybody along and makes people begin to feel a sense of belonging, those promises will not see the light of the day.

“The economy is down. He must rethink the ease of doing business in Nigeria. It is the private sector that drives businesses anywhere all over the world and he must not attempt to abandon the projects Buhari has enunciated in the area of infrastructure.”

Okorie stated that Tinubu has an enviable record of championing true federalism in Nigeria, stressing that he would make the country proud should he insist on it and not play politics with it in the guise of retaining power.

President-elect Bola Tinubu

A founding member of APC, Osita Okechukwu, expressed optimism that Tinubu will fulfill his promises because he is a man of destiny.
Okechkwu said: “Tinubu survived all the challenges along the way to his inauguration. I knew that he is made of sterner stuff when in December 2021, I appealed to the kingmaker (Tinubu) to go to the Southeast and make anyone of choice president going by the rotation convention. The next day, his men replied that the kingmaker wants to be king. The rest they say is history.

“As a talent hunter, he will survive the Mpu toxin, which leads to a culture of impunity. Mpu by the way is an Igbo word adopted by English as a living language with the same onomatopoeia with impunity.

“I heard him talk of competence; if that governs his cabinet then the output will be positive. Luckily, President Buhari has laid solid infrastructure and democratic foundations for him. I have confidence that he will do well if consolidates his providential proclamation – Emilokan (it is my turn) .

“Emilokan philosophy will help him to put his success above any of the whims and caprices of hawks in his kitchen cabinet. The philosophy will assist in no small measure in helping him to tame Mpu toxin.”

The pan-Yoruba socio-political organisation, Afenifere, yesterday, expressed the hope that the inauguration of a new government in Nigeria under the leadership of Tinubu will herald a new lease of life in the country.

National Publicity Secretary of the organisation, Jare Ajayi, in a statement made available to journalists in Ibadan, said Tinubu, by his antecedents, has what it takes to take Nigeria to a greater height.

He added that Tinubu seems to be conscious of this when he asserted that “Our nation’s progress rests on the inclusivity, unity and not leaving any citizen behind and ensuring (that) every citizen enjoys the dividends of good governance.”

Afenifere’s spokesman tasked the incoming President to live up to his words of dedicating his “entire being to the service of our great nation and the African continent.”

Ajayi, who recalled that the dysfunctional nature of the country was the primary reason for hike in banditry, agitations for separatism and lately the tendency by many to wanting to leave the country in what was code-named ‘Japa syndrome’, called on Asiwaju Tinubu to ensure that he quickly hit the ground running so as to put an end to these dysfunctional tendencies that stand as stumbling blocks for the development of any nation.

He was quick to call on groups who are agitating for their own nation-states like Biafra, Oduduwa Republic among others, to give Tinubu administration a chance.

“We heard of some youths who, earlier on Sunday – eve of the inauguration of Asiwaju Tinubu administration – infiltrated Amuludun Radio station in Moniya, Ibadan to declare a ‘Yoruba Nation’. We consider this as inauspicious and ill-timed. We, therefore, call on all those who are agitating for carving out different countries out of Nigeria to give the new administration of Bola Tinubu a chance. We are confident that he will calm frayed nerves by building a country in which everyone would have a sense of belonging”, he added. On his part, Taahe Ovie of oil-rich Iderhe Kingdom in Delta State, His Majesty, King Obukowho Monday Whiskey Udurhie 1, urged all Nigerians to support Tinubu and his government to impact positively on the people.

The monarch also advised the incoming President to shun the rule of force in governing the country, but make judicious use of the power entrusted in him by God for the good of the common man.

He stated: “Government cannot go the way it has been going, that is, using force, but by discussion, which will bring about the unity and oneness of all Nigerians, irrespective of their colour, religion and belief.”

Whiskey said he believes Tinubu would do the needful, and urged him to keep his campaign promises: “We are only to evaluate what they have said at the end of day to decide whether they have kept their promise or not.

“As a democrat, Tinubu should not jump the gun on his promises. He must keep his dreams, no matter how tall they are, for people to feel the impact of the dream so that he can be taken seriously.”

Speaking further, the monarch, who is also the Chairman of Host Communities of Traditional Rulers and Elders Advisory Council, said Tinubu must realise that the country is even more divided than ever before; hence should do everything within his power by using the instrumentality of government to ensure there is unity in the country.

He said anything outside these, there might be further division in the country, which may not be for the betterment of Nigeria, urging the incoming President to tackle head-on, the current insecurity, double efforts to put food on the table of the common man and run an all-inclusive government for every part of the country to have a sense of belonging.

He further advised Tinubu to address the crucial issues of Niger Delta to create an enabling environment for people whose resources (oil and gas) are used to run the country.

One of the founders of National Democratic Coalition (NADECO), Fred Agbeyegbe, said he will be unfaithful to himself and to Nigerians if he says Buhari has built a structure upon which Tinubu can continue as from today.

According to him, “To the best of my understanding of what is on ground, the new president is going to start from scratch because the immediate past administration failed in almost every aspect of governance”.

Agbeyegbe who also urged Tinubu to review the economic policies of Buhari with urgent determination to address the issue of poverty, said, “There is great scarcity and lack in the country. The Nigerian masses are going through a period of scarcity and abject poverty, coupled with serious health challenges. He must find a solution to this by bringing prices of essential commodities down to the reach of people.”

Chairman, Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN), Kaduna branch, Joseph Hayab said, “Before my advice or any expectation I will appeal to all Nigerians, who have one or anything against the incoming president to let go. He has become the President and the driver of this nation and there is nothing he needs than our prayers. The reality is that this country cannot afford another failure at the helm of affairs, else we will all pay the price as we have been paying. The intrigues and animosities that surrounded the campaign period should be rested and we all need to support him to reform this country. This is my first appeal to everyone.”

He however urged Tinubu to place the security issue as number one in his priority list.

Meanwhile, a Southwest leader of the New Nigerian People Party (NNPP), Alhaji Bisi Olopoeyan, said he does not expect any government to hit the ground running like every other person was saying. “Honestly I do not see Tinubu doing anything spectacular in the next six months. It is not that Buhari didn’t want to do anything but he was overwhelmed by the myriad of problems he discovered when he got into office. Let Tinubu get properly seated in office first and let’s give him at least a year to study the challenges he is going to meet.

“To begin to assume that because he performed as governor of Lagos over 16 years ago since he left office will make him hit the ground running is like raising a false hope and expectation. His programme and promises of Renewed Hope, sound marvelous, but to juxtapose it with what he will meet on ground is another issue.  Those who understand governance will not raise any hope because Tinubu was never part of Buhari’s government. I think we all know that fact.”

For Senator Smart Adeyemi, representing Kogi West in the National Assembly, God had destined Tinubu to be President and Shettima as his vice.

He said: “Nigerians realised that there were calculated attempts to put roadblocks on his way, which prompted them to vote en masse for him for that reason. Nigerians said, ‘no matter what, we are going to vote for Tinubu.’ “His emergence was the will of the people and the power of God to tell Nigerians that once he has decided to make somebody a leader there is no plan that can stop it.

That explains why Asiwaju emerged. I want you to know that under Asiwaju there is going to be a real resurrection of Nigeria

Former Speaker of the Kogi State House of Assembly, Abdullahi Bello said he was optimistic that Tinubu will liberate Nigeria and put her on the path of economic recovery. He advised him to take a closer look at, “ Iron and Steel on one hand and Oil and Gas on the other hand, he should ensure they are integrated into our national security strategy.

“Without steel production, we depend on other nations to defend and protect us, to build our bridges etc, and this must be reversed.
Bello, who was Secretary North-Central Parliamentarian’s Directorate of the dissolved APC-PCC Campaign, said the administration of Tinubu should work out strategies to pipe Nigeria’s gas to Europe for economic competition.

National Coordinator, Human Rights Writers Association of Nigeria (HURIWA), Emmanuel Onwubiko, in an interview with The Guardian, said the only way Tinubu could achieve his promise of bringing renewed hopes to Nigerians is to begin by seeking acceptance of the people.

“The process that has thrown up President Bola Ahmed Tinubu is fraught with organised and sophisticated electoral heists by the Independent National Electoral Commission and therefore since it is standing on quicksand.” He alleged.

According to Onwubiko, “the panacea is for the President to seek the acceptance of the good people of Nigeria by not populating his cabinet with suspected fraudsters or those Nigerian politicians who at one time or the other, held public offices but already adjudged by the EFCC as having deep-rooted corruption baggage.”

He advised that, “President Bola Ahmed Tinubu must subject his proposed cabinet members to the toughest scrutiny not just by the DSS but by the ICPC and the EFCC.”

“Secondly, the President should quickly outline formidable measures in place to eradicate corruption in public service of Nigeria and especially in the police, the armed forces of Nigeria and the President should pick as Economic and finance minister only a statesman/woman with proven records of selfless services to Nigeria without blemish.” The HURIWA Coordinator added.

He also suggested that the President should get incorruptible military officers as service chiefs and appoint a young, incorruptible IGP for the police.
On how to unify Nigeria, Onwubiko said the President should release all political prisoners such as Nnamdi Kanu of IPOB and thousands of IPOB members detained extra-legally by Muhammadu Buhari.

“The President should set up a national truth and reconciliation commission to bring all Nigerians to the dialogue table for the sake of national peace. Stability and sustainable development.” He stated

An elder statesman, Malam Tanko Yakassai, has admonished Tinubu to abide by his campaign promises to Nigerians.
In a chat with The Guardian, he identified youth unemployment and poverty as the teething challenges that Tinubu must address within his first term in office. He also urged Tinubu to sustain the virtue of handpicking competent Nigerians, irrespective of their ethnic and religious leanings while on the saddle.

The Director General, Development Agenda for Western Nigeria (DAWN) Commission, Seye Oyeleye, said the enormity and intensity of the economic challenges Tinubu will face may not give him any breathing space for honeymoon period, and it is expected of him to hit the ground running.

Oyeleye said the good news is that if ever a person can be described as most prepared for a job, “I believe that person is Tinubu and I suspect he will not be afraid to take very tough economic decisions, which will set us on the road to full recovery and we can as a country start experiencing sustainable growth.”

Oyeleye said some of the immediate challenges in his in-tray include the issue of fuel subsidy, which the outgoing government has deftly passed on to the next administration.

“There are no two ways for us if we want to avoid bankruptcy as a country, subsidy must go immediately, the manner of removal I believe must have been decided now by the in-coming President and as soon as he is sworn in, he must activate the plans.”

The DAWN DG suggested a 25 per cent removal of subsidy every six months starting from July, “meaning it has to kick in once the budgeted amount for subsidy runs out at the end of June. That we have to wait for our refineries to work is neither here nor there.”

He also urged the President-elect to immediately scrap the multiple exchange rate policy, which he described as a gross disincentive to foreign investment.

“Thirdly, our revenue base is way too low, he must be prepared to shore up our revenue, which in turn will make our debt-to-revenue ratio sustainable; expanding the tax net is what I am advocating here and not necessarily increasing taxes. If everyone who is eligible to pay tax is contributing, I believe we will not worry too much at the current level of our indebtedness which the budget is now warning that it is now bordering on unsustainable,” he said.

He also said Tinubu must be prepared to devolve more powers to the state to make them economically viable.
A chieftain of National Democratic Coalition (NADECO), Dr Amos Akingba yesterday warned Nigerians against having high expectations from Tinubu, saying the 1999 Constitutions would be a barrier to his goodwill.

Akingba said though he was excited about Tinubu’s presidency, but noted that looking into the bureaucrats because of the power given to them would make his administration difficult, adding that the best thing to do is to struggle to get the system changed.

He noted it was common knowledge that all public officers would make promises, but what they meet on ground would determine whether they are able to fulfil their promises or not.

Akingba said the 1999 Constitution being unitary and not federal cannot permit any president to perform its duty the way the people expected.
He said: “The major problems of the country are caused by the fact that the political structure we have adopted is wrong. For instance, we call Nigeria a “Federal Republic” when it is quite clear to all and sundry that it is not federal but unitary; and it is also not a ‘republic’ but monarchical. We are deceiving ourselves by claiming that Nigeria is what it is not. By the way, our prayers for a fake Nigeria can never be answered by any of the deities because we are praying for what we are not.

“Federal Constitution will benefit the country. Under a unitary constitution, the bureaucracy is in charge of the operations; therefore the elected people are limited in what they can do. Nigeria must return to the 1963 constitution to make headway. If we continue with the current constitution, nothing will change. Though Tinubu has done a lot in the past, I am afraid the constitution has to be changed for him to deliver the expectations of Nigerians.

“I will urge Nigerians not to hope too high, else it would be dashed. It’s not the fault of Tinubu, it’s because he would be limited in what to do. Tinubu is a responsible man, and he has a good track record, but I am afraid for him.

“Not all his party members think like him, some of them are in politics to make money, therefore, Tinubu has to be discreet and careful in the choice of his cabinet.”




source: Guardian