President Bola Tinubu needs help at this time to save him from politicians who are running him out of relevance with obnoxious policies. In all this, Labour Party presidential candidate, Peter Obi, appears to be the lone true friend around.
Obi is the only genuine opposition that all eyes can see. Representing the Labour Party, he has not gone to bed since the end of the 2023 presidential elections. Others may blow hot air as their interests dictate, the leader of the Obidients is consistent.
It took Obi to remind the president that in six months of this administration, Tinubu’s trips have gulped nearly four billion naira. At a time when nearly 195 million compatriots are wallowing in penury, the Presidency should be making money for the people not spending tax payers money on endless journeys.
Credit to Tinubu, he waded in swiftly by reducing the weight of Federal Government delegations to trips outside our shores. I understand that Vice President Kashim Shettima was in Davos, Switzerland for the World Economic Forum in January, accompanied by just five aides.
The National Assembly got a budgetary allocation of about 345 billion naira. It did not matter to many that so much money would be spent on where to park vehicles while workers have continued to receive their salaries much later than usual. Obi raised his voice.
The truth is that Tinubu must be having sleepless nights but some of those working with him are having the fun of their lives. To them, life goes beyond their principal and the people. Money in Abuja is free and life is good, spending liquid cash.
Abuja has now become more attractive to terrorists. They have animated their cells across the country and shown special interest in the erstwhile peaceful South – West Geo Political Zone. Recently, two traditional rulers were killed in Ekiti.
In seven months of the present administration, over 2, 400 Nigerians have been wasted by bandits, kidnappers and other gangs of criminals. About 1,870 citizens were abducted, many of them still in the forests waiting for rescue or ransom to be paid for their freedom.
While insecurity gains momentum, the economy is virtually dead. Never in the History of the naira have we seen such depreciation. Under Idi Amin, someone described the Ugandan currency as ‘shit money’. Zim dollars in Robert Mugabe’s Zimbabwe was useless. Today, the naira is a little stronger than tissue paper.
As an opposition leader, I saw the power of Tinubu and crowned him the Governor General of Nigerian politics. The Nigerian President is more than a Governor General, I want the president to put politics aside and face the business at hand, which is to rescue the country.
For starters, the president should do away with his Economic Team. They cannot drive this mission. It is easier to manage the Lagos Economy than to face the task of taking Nigeria to a sane level in the global market.
The Tinubu I know, has no permanent enemies. When the All Progressives Congress (APC) ruled from outside the fence as opposition party, Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala was battered from all angles. While she created a stable economy, critics created doom.
In all honesty, Tinubu should invite Okonjo-Iweala to his Aso Villa living room, serve her good drinks and tap from the woman. She knows everything about currency management as a Development Economist and Director General of the World Trade Organisation.
The floor is open already. The WTO boss and Shettima showed their dancing skills in far away Davos. This government should make Nigerians dance. If we have Okonjo-Iweala as a Consultant, for free, the naira should not be useless.
The best gift Tinubu can present to Nigerians on May 29, 2024, is to dissolve his cabinet. Most of his ministers are playing 2027 politics instead of renewing hope. It is a shame that while the president continues to receive negative publicity, his aides are cruising.
I must commend Works minister, Dave Umahi and, you would not believe it, Aviation minister, Festus Keyamo. These gentlemen have faced their jobs religiously and are ready to do more. Before May 2023, it was unlikely to refer to Keyamo as a gentleman.
Tinubu’s publicists are the worst I have seen anywhere. How on Earth could anyone issue that statement from the Presidency after Mali, Burkina Faso and Niger Republic announced their withdrawal from ECOWAS? I am sure Foreign Affairs minister, Yusuf Tuggar, is outraged.
The ECOWAS Commission reaction showed more maturity and diplomacy, insisting on negotiated solution, to counter what came out of Aso Villa which described the withdrawal as irrelevant since the three countries were serving suspension.
In the First Republic, President Nnamdi Azikiwe and Prime Minister Abubakar Tafawa Balewa did not distance themselves from Opposition Leader Obafemi Awolowo, until 1962. In the Second Republic, President Shehu Shagari was open to Zik and Awo.
Obi’s interventions should not scare Tinubu. They make more sense than what the Abuja Kitchen Cabinet will offer. Did Mr. President ever believe that Eko will shout, ‘Ebin Pa Wa ( We are hungry).