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OPINION: Balablu economics in bulaba republic



OPINION: Buhari’s presidency at Nigeria’s expense [1]

The presidential candidate of the All Progressives Congress [APC] said ahead of last years election that he will shrink the nationa economy, extort Nigerians through taxation and inflict severe pain on them. When Alhaji Bola Ahmed Tinubu, who was eventually declared the winner of that controversial election in the dead of the night on March 1, 2023, by the ‘Independent’ National Electoral Commission [INEC], he proceeded to effect what was thought to be his usua gaffes in the gruelingcampaigns.

On the rostrum on his inauguration day on May 29th, Tinubu unthinkingly announced the removal of the so-called petrol subsidy. That was the day he brought home ant-infested fire woods and thereby invited lizards to unending feasts. The irony is that eleven years earlier in 2012, the same Tinubu had written an epistle to the former President, Dr. Goodluck Ebele Jonathan of the Peoples Democratic Party [PDP], urging him to reverse petrol subsidy removal because of the dire consequencesit would have on Nigerians. That letter which resonated with many Nigerians was titled Removal of oil subsidy-President Jonathan breaks social contract with the people.

The letter said in parts: ‘I am not calling President Jonathan an evil man. I do not believe he is perverse. However, the economic ideas controlling him are so misguided that they have a perverse impact. Because he is a slave to wrong-headed economics, the people will become ensaved to greater misery. This crisis will bear his name and will be his legacy. This subsidy removal is ill-timed and violates the condition precedent necessary before such a decision is made. First, the government needs to clean up the NNPC. Then, proceed to lay the foundation for a mass transit system in the railways and road network with long term bonds and fully develop the energy sector towards revitalizing Nigeria’s economy and easing theburden any subsidy removal may have on the people’. If you remove Jonathan and substitute same with Tinubu, you will only wonder how the sittingpresident was unable to advise himself on the issue of petrol subsidy removal and the deleterious effects it would have on the people.

On the wings of his incisive missive which received widespread acclaim Tinubu strutted about town thumbing his chest because he was spot on on how the Nigerian economy would be gravely impacted and the people impoverished by the Jonathan petrol tax. He rode the crest of popular support. Soon after some self-serving Nigerians coalesced under what has now turned out to be a fly-in the-night civil society coalition, Save Nigeria Group [SNG], to occupy the country through protests and demonstrations in parts of the country especially in Lagos and the south west. The group was led by Pastor Tunde Bakare. As t has turned out the Nigeria of 2012 when Jonathan introduced his own petrol pump head tax which he was blackmailed into reviewing was a lot better than the Nigeria of 2023 after the ruinous eightyears of the presidency of the affliction called Maj.-Gen. Muhammadu Buhar.

In the years under Jonathan, the economy was showing signs of distress but inflation was mostly in single digit, cost of living was fairly bearable, businesses were surviving with some of them really thriving, Nigeria’s economy was adjudged the biggest on the continent by globa rating agencies and the value of the Naira against the United States Dollars was manageable. In comparison, Nigeria was an el-Dorado in 2012 when Tinubu and co. forced a review of the petrol tax by Jonathan than in 2023 when Tinubu alone and unilaterally forced his own petrol tax down the throats ofthe already infirm and famished citizens. In just eight months of his fouryear tenure, Tinubu has displayed such an arrogance thats anchored on nothing except perhaps on the crude and corrupt philosophy of emi lo kan; stark economic illiteracy; befuddling lazness; and a shocking absence of empathy for vulnerable Nigerians. Today we are being served with the admixture of half-heartedly blaming his predecessorBuhari who is his party man and asking Nigerans to be patient for the ‘gains’ of his economic reforms which are in the pipeline. This reminds me of the anecdote on social media of a Nigerian man who slapped the daylight out of another for assuring him oflight at the end of the tunnel. The angrymanqueried why the light was not placed at the beginning of the tunnel so he could safely walk through the tunnel to the end.

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A queue is quickly stretching and it is peopled by the advocates of patience. The voices of hypocrites are getting louder amongst the ranks of advocates of patience with Tinubu. You can overlook the advocacy of the former Head of State, Gen. Yakubu Gowon. He spoke as he did because his status does not conduce for rocking the boat. My take away from his pitch last week for Tinubu was his admission that he was at the head of those who provoked and started the Nigerian civil war during which three-five million Igbo,mainly women and children, were murdered through bombs, bullets and starvation as a ‘legitimate’ instrumentof war. Let’s hope he will display same candour when and if he writes and publishes his memoirs. The other advocates of patience for Tinubu are either charlatans or hypocrites or both. Such persons include but by no means limited to the wife of the president, Assistant Pastor Oluremi Tinubu. On what moral standpoint was she advocating patience? Here was a woman whose husband conjured a supplementary budget which highpoint was the procurement of almost N2 billionworth of luxury vehicles for her. Her office of the frst lady is not known to any laws of the country. Then, the first son of the president, Seyi,joined the chorus.

As he made the plea for patience, those in the know spotted that he was wearing a designer wrist watch that was estimated to have shop value of over N300,000,000. The hypocrisy was rankling. Here was also a young man said to be in his 30s who hops into the country’s presidential jet and uses it as a toy for frvolous trips. Then, we have Folashade Tinubu-Ojo, wife of the recently appointed Chief Executive Officer [CEO] of the federal housing authority [FHA]. Folashade has since created the office of the first daughter from where she makes broadcasts to her subjects. She moves around like the empress of a medieval empire, with pomp and ceremony and a full complement of menacing, combat-ready fully armed security agentspaid for by the Nigerian state She also wants to extract patience from us. Nobody should blame them because they are ‘up town babies’who do notcry and who do not ‘know what suffering is like’.

In the upper reaches of the queue of advocacy for patience are the president himself, the vice president Mohammed Shettima, national security adviser, ministers and the motley crowd who live off government. In the supplementary budget we referenced above, about N20 billion was provisioned for the comfort of the vice presdent. You get the feeling that the majority of those calling for patience are only out to mock Ngerians.

Theres a thread running through their advocacies. None has told Nigerians how long they should be patient. They cannot because they do not know and do not believe in their advocacy. The policies that underpin their socalled reforms were not informed by consultations. They were not attended by vigour and rigour. They were driven by whims. They are not measurable. They have no benchmarks and timelines. There’s no recourse to alternatives if anything goes wrongas s happening now.And worst of all, the policies were not enriched by a careful and deliberate and intentional consideraton of Nigeria’s peculiaritiesand circumstances.

In short, they were other-driven. The inevitable failures of the path chosen by Tinubu will extract a huge price on Nigeria and Nigerians. Our poitics and economy will end in balablu, blubu and bulaba. And there may not be a town hallpreceding the ooming catastrophe.


Articles published in our Graffiti section are strictly the opinion of the writers and do not represent the views of Ripples Nigeria or its editorial stand.

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