APC Chieftain Urges Tinubu to Leverage Atiku’s Economic Blueprint, Says Nigeria in Coma

APC Chieftain Urges Tinubu to Leverage Atiku’s Economic Blueprint, Says Nigeria in Coma

Blessing Ibunge in Port Harcourt

A chieftain of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in Rivers State, Eze Chukwuemeka Eze, has advised President Bola Tinubu to leverage former Vice President Atiku Abubakar’s economic blueprint for a guide to salvage the nation of the hardship its experiencing presently.

The APC chieftain who rejected the excuses and blame game dished out by the presidency as cause of the deepening economic woes, said the federal government “seems entrapped in a quagmire as hope is nowhere on sight to get the country out of the pickle”.

In a statement made available to journalists in Port Harcourt, yesterday, Eze expressed sadness that while the Nigerian economy has progressively continued in a free fall, the value of the Naira to other convertible currencies is steadily on a downward trend and is nearing a state of worthlessness in the international money market.

His words: “The effect of the uninterrupted journey of the Naira to its place of final rest is the hike in the price of food and other basic commodities. And the attendant reality is the hunger and starvation that is feasible on the faces of angry Nigerians who are unsure of a square meal for each passing day and most of whom go to bed each night hungry.”

Despite the challenges of the time which has described Nigeria as one of the poverty capital of the world, Eze wondered why some analysts still hold the view that Tinubu is right in his policies.

Countering the assertions of Tinubu’s supporters, Eze said “assuming the policies were good, with very little or no thought towards the complex chains of reciprocal interactions and variables required in the translation of policies into actions, there is definitely bound to be a widening gap between intentions and results as is the case in the present.”

He expressed shock over a recent comment allegedly credited to Vice President Kashim Shittima, where he said the VP stressed his attempt to escape responsibility of the challenges suffered by citizens.

“Vice President Kashim Shettima had inferred that politicians who lost in the 2023 general election were orchestrating a plot to destabilize Nigeria. Shettima claimed that intercepted trucks smuggling food out of the country were part of a scheme to trigger food price hikes and plunge the nation into anarchy. He asserted that the interception of 45 trucks carrying maize led to a drop in maize prices by N10,000.

Though VP Shettima wasn’t specific about the politicians who were that desperate to undermine the nation due to their failure in the last election, top contenders in the general election, Atiku Abubakar and Peter Obi can easily be postulated as the main targets by this stand; and probably former Transportation Minister, Rotimi Amaechi, who ran for the APC presidential ticket against Tinubu and emerged first runner-up behind the President”.

According to the APC chieftain, “Tinubu was never prepared to make any meaningful impact on Nigeria; his only concern was to be President and nothing more. The pernicious effects of perpetual poverty have become real under his administration and these are his chief legacies.

“There seems to be no efforts at by the present administration in tackling the economic concerns of the country and if there are”, he said, “it means such efforts were not good enough and shifting blame to patriots who are in their private capacities thinking out ways to help the country is to say the least myopic”.

He said “as much as we appreciate the commendation from the International Monetary Fund (IMF) praising Tinubu’s structural reforms even when there were no effects, the fact remains that our inability to curb insecurity is one of the reasons for food scarcity and not the opposition political parties as being speculated by the Vice President.

“I laugh at the reasons expounded by some of our leaders and Scholars as the factors behind our present food Crisis.  This is the reality. Our problem is human-induced yet we are expecting God to send us manna from Heaven as he did to the people of Israel who had no means of farming at the period God sent manna to them”.

Eze highlighted that apart from insecurity another major cause of the present woes “was the inability of our President who by 2012 highlighted the consequences of removal of subsidy but carried away by his election victory as the President of Nigeria announced without a proper study and provision to ameliorate the suffering of Nigerians, the removal of oil subsidy.

“Critically, neither Atiku, Amaechi, Obi, nor Kwankwaso wrote President Tinubu’s speech or attended his swearing-in ceremony to have influenced him to make such a drastic, thoughtless, and untoward policy that have plunged our nation into an unprecedented poverty”.

Eze expressed shock that President Tinubu who on January 11, 2012,  published a sober, thoughtful, deeply insightful article titled “Removal of Oil Subsidy: President Jonathan Breaks Social Contract With the People” that uncannily prefigured the untoward consequences of petrol subsidy removal that Nigerians are currently grappling with and still went ahead to remove the subsidy without any provision to cushion the consequences is to me shocking

Eze further said that in the said article, Tinubu stated “Subsidy removal will increase costs across the board. However, salaries will not increase. This means demand for goods will lessen as will sales volumes and overall economic activity. The removal will have a recessionary impact on the economy as a whole. While some will benefit from the removal, most will experience setback.

“What is doubtless is that the Jonathan tax will increase the price of petrol, transportation and most consumer items. With fuel prices increasing twofold or more, transportation costs will roughly double. Prices of food staples will increase between 25-50 percent….”

The APC chieftain stressed that Tinubu removed fuel subsidy without providing any other alternatives, deliberately causing the demise of many businesses and leaving people feeling hopeless, while benefiting from the people’s taxes.

He said “What Mr. President needs to explain to Nigerians, is his decision to remove the oil subsidy, a means to break the Social Contract with the Nigerians as envisaged by his 2012 article”

Eze however, notes that the APC administration must explore the experiences of the likes of Atiku, Amaechi, Obi and their likes who made remarkable impacts in public service.

He said the government can achieve this by undergoing serious study of their economic blueprints particularly that of Atiku while as Vice President and how he managed to assemble the calibre of seasoned bureaucrats he used to change the fortunes of this nation.

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