The Methodological Steps to Nigeria’s New Dawn
By Prof Ojo Emmanuel ADEMOLA
The legendary philosophers comprehend the mystical power of revelations and the inherent ominous signs thereof. Indeed, in the Yorubaland of Nigeria, the elders are quick in quipping: bi alẹ̀ se ma ri, owurò lati ma mo; meaning, ‘the morning shows the day’. For Nigerians, the anticipated new political dawn commenced officially on Monday, 29th May 2023 in Abuja (the seat of Government) with the inauguration of President Bola Ahmed Tinubu (PBAT), GCFR and Vice-President Kashim Shettima, GCON after a chequered eight years Administration of President Mohammed Buhari (PMB). It was designated to be a simple, regimented oath-taking ceremony, and yet, it simply turned out to be historic, pathfinding and pregnant with future socio-economic and political directions for the Country.
The new President and Commander-in-Chief (C-in-C), Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu had laid out policy roadmaps for his economic and political Agenda in a manner of hitting the road running. And in a packed swoop, the President presented eight-point methodological steps to the renewal of Hope for the Country. In a broad inauguration speech reminiscing of his first term as Lagos State Executive Governor in 1999, PBAT had pronounced the stiffening oil subsidy dead and “gone”, canvassing rather the re-introduction of the Commodity Board to moderate pricing and its attendant challenges, among other highlights.
Prevailing to my mind are both the dual exchange rates and petroleum subsidy, positively, which are gone and affirmatively. The immediate past progressive government removed the Petroleum subsidy. Thankfully, PBAT willingly and per the Renewed Manifesto, confirmed the terminal removal of the Petroleum Subsidy. With the resurfacing of the Commodity Board, Nigerians cannot have it better. You may argue that it’s too earlier to assert the consequences of such a move, but I reaffirm that with the New Dawn under PBAT, it is going to be an unprecedented success for this government specifically, and Nigeria shall be a great Nation overall.
In the well-received speech, the President also canvassed a gradual merging/unification of the foreign exchange rates, arguing, in a similar manner, that the current interest rate is anti-business. Elaborately, PBAT hinted that the Administration would focus on infrastructural development to create massive employment for the teeming youths across the Country. He also projected that under his Government, power (energy) generation, transmission and distribution would be doubled, and the State Governments might need to key into the new initiatives in this regard appreciably.
Similarly, all anti-investment policies and multiple taxes across boards would be reviewed going forward to drive local and foreign investments. The expected Tax regime shall be efficient and effectively beneficial for good education, excellence in health service, and other public services delivery with the central focus of delivering the dividends of democracy to Nigerians.
The President assured that investment repatriation and profits would be facilitated with immediate effect. As methodological steps to advancing the course of well-being from the well-thought-out Agenda in the overall interest of the Nation, such moves become essentially central to the rediscovery of a great Nation we yearn for.
Subsequently, there are enormous trends to anchor on all the policy initiatives for such a well-received inaugural governance work plan that could concurrently lead to a highly embracing blueprint to attract escalating applause both within and outside the Country essentially by stakeholders. At this moment it resulted in a positive rebound of the Stocks at the Capital Market, and going forward it will progressively yield to an increasing development of the Nation entirely.
However, of the lots, the oil subsidy removal from the Government recurrent expenditure (a whopping monthly sum of N400 Billion) has been very controversial and highly explosive among local stakeholders based on its merits or otherwise, and yet, it’s a matter of must jump-start a wobbling economy. That PBAT could pronounce concretely on it right from day one, clearly attests to his desires to frontally address critical issues of growth and development, a classic hallmark of “emergency leadership”. It points to the fact that PBAT isn’t ready to beg issues on a subject of national importance in an emergency like ours.
Like the C-in-C he is, PBAT has matched his pronouncement with unmistakable action by prodding the Agency in charge of procurement and distribution of petroleum products – the Nigeria National Petroleum Products Limited (NNPP) – to deregulate its pump prices, and ensuring availability of the Petroleum Products (particularly PMS) throughout the Country. The Country is already experiencing the undoing but not-be-long impacts of these far-reaching policies with those robbing the poor blind in Nigeria suddenly turning petroleum pump prices range between N488 and N500 per litre in Lagos and its environs and other states of the Country.
The product is also being made available to consumers with minimal stress. The pricing is expected to keep adjusting to market dictates, and within the medium term, the prices are anticipated to move downward against the intervention of the Dangote Refineries’ offloading to the market in October 2023. What great foresight and restored Hope from a leader with the Midas Touch! Assertively, it is a matter of within the 100 days of PBAT, the expected impact shall become gradually obvious and pleasing for, and all Nigerians to enjoy.
As promised during his campaign periods, the new Government under PBAT is expected to be run by competent, seasoned and experienced technocrats with high pedigrees, and not based on any religious or ethnic considerations of the past. The President had said emphatically then that he would run a Government of “competency and not religion or ethnicity”. This emphasis becomes necessary to ensure that ’round pegs are put in round holes in the perfect fit of administration. And truthfully, recent appointments into the new Government are beginning to give credence to this assertion, nailing the coffin of novices and surrogates occupying key positions in Government.
Typically, the case of the former Minister of Education, Mallam Adamu Adamu came to mind. The ex-Minister had admitted during a valedictory that he was not vast in Education Administration, and needed to assemble whiz Professors to help develop his education Blueprints. What a calamity for a Nation with an abundance of human resources in the field!
Therefore, with appointments of the outgoing Speaker of the House of Representatives, Femi Gbajabiamila as the new Chief of Staff (CoS) to the President, and the former Minister of Special Duties, Senator and two-term Governor of Benue State, George Akume as the Secretary to the Federal Government (SFG), coupled with the huge legislative experience of the most recent appointees including the contributions from the silent workers: with the high fortune of having Senator Oluremi Tinubu as the First Lady, and the new Deputy Chief of Staff, Senator Ibrahim Hassan Hadejia, one is beginning to see a ray of hope to the correction of administrative mismatch in Government, and a right development in the right direction.
Before concluding, it could not be too early to mention that Nigerians may have to endure a very temporary hardship as PBAT is working exceptionally to turn things around for the good of all Nigerians. In the meantime, it may not be out of dynamism for Mr President and his Team on the Subsidies removal to consider strategic technical palliative (STP) perhaps through an Executive Order. Notably, things may not be indeed feasible for obvious reasons at this stage considering other associated matters with the view that the immediate past Government had completely removed the Petroleum subsidy as well as legitimately established the Removal with the passing of appropriate law, and much more. On my side, the call for STP should be synonymous with a matter of both Technical and Policy administration of such a palliative Agenda having been economic that any palliative could also end up being Subsidy centrally, which we must ensure to avoid. The proposed STP should be administered by local government officials in partnership with Civil societies and the third sectors across the Country via an Executive Order for a Civil Task Force. According to Mr Vice President, if Petroleum Subsidy is not removed then we should be ready for Financial Bankrupt on a National Scale, an assertion most Nigerians agreed with including myself. On this note, I am submitting that a well-thought STP will be indeed consistent with an elemental implementation of the Renewed Hope Agenda of the ruling All Progressive Party that Nigerians overwhelmingly voted for on 25 February 2023. Hope is here again for Nigerians.
Conclusively, the march to a pragmatic new dawn for Nigeria has been jump-started within a pace of one week after the inauguration of the Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, GCFR as President and Commander in Chief of the Federal Republic of Nigeria; steady and methodological steps being pursued to redirect the cause of Nigerian ship with right policy injections and appropriate manpower deployment. Appreciably, in President Tinubu, Nigerians now have a progressively decisive and firm president, and he always means well for Nigerians in every decision is taking and will make. The morning is already showing the day, and Nigeria will surely get on its right footing within the short-medium term!
Prof Ojo Emmanuel ADEMOLA is a distinguished political analyst and a global Cyber Security Technocrat