Tinubu’s Three Bullet Policies Causing Pains, Uproar in Nigeria, By Sola Olatunji

Recently, I emphasized the inevitability of reforms in every human society if the  government must respond effectively to the yearnings and aspirations of the citizens to achieve an egalitarian society.

Nigeria has almost attained a notoriety threshold level of bad governance because the citizens have suffered unimaginable lack and deprivation perpetually in the midst of plenty through deliberate punitive policies. Some of these policies are deliberately designed to perpetrate poverty and deprivation to intimidate, emasculate, and weaponise poverty so that the electorates would remain captive and subjugated in making choices during elections.

These unpalatable experiences provided a compelling need for the social and political emancipation of Nigerians as edified by President Bola Tinubu long before emerging as  president of Nigeria. The horrible and unpalatable political and economic doldrums prevailing in our country over the years provided a sufficient ground for President Tinubu to embark on massive public policy reforms with human face in order to build an egalitarian society where equity, justice and the rule of law are sacrosanct.

While policy reforms are inevitable and desirable in any ambitious and progressive society , its compelling and obligatory on the part of  policy makers  to incorporate and factor the needs of citizens as the  cornerstone of their policy  thrust. In my view, policy should be designed to provide solutions to humanity problems, organically generated to  promote inclusion, devoid of ambiguity. It must guarantee effectiveness in terms of implementation and   prevent policy somersault.

So, the need for reforms in every human society can’t be overemphasized.  I wrote an article recently on how developed societies have continued to design their policies in line with the wishes and aspirations of their citizens. In those societies, the social contract of the government provided a compelling obligation on the part of  government to provide social infrastructure for the comfort of their citizens which forms the social barometer with which good governance is being measured. This is contrary to what obtains in Nigeria where palliatives, caravan of SUVs, bogus salaries and allowances of public office holders and frivolous foreign trips are the minimum template of good governance.

In those developed societies, the citizens are the cornerstone of every public policy as  policies are organically generated to promote inclusion inasmuch as  every politics is local and to  guarantee effectiveness and also prevent policy somersault

The unimaginable democratic credentials and liberal tendencies of President Tinubu in our historical lexicon, coupled with his struggles with the military for political, social and economic emancipation, especially against the annulment of June 12 election won by Bashorun MKO Abiola provided a resounding opportunity for him to be rewarded by Nigerians as the winner of the 2023 general elections. With this backdrop, Nigerians trusted and invested their votes in him, including some of us who deployed our personal resources more than one year, before his declaration for the presidency.

We all hoped that with his long standing progressive credentials and sterling successes  in Lagos State, replicating progressive policies that would trigger prosperity across the social landscape of the country wouldn’t be any problem.

Regrettably, President Tinubu stunned Nigerians with his three bullet policies that have been causing uproar and pains in Nigeria. He announced the petrol subsidy removal at his inaugural address without mitigation plans even though Nigerians were not really against the petrol subsidy removal, especially since it would curb the wastage in the system, restore accountability and transparency, and guarantee availability and efficiency in the management of oil and gas supply in Nigeria.

But, painfully, our model of petrol subsidy removal couldn’t make any economic sense because none of our domestic refineries including the much touted Dangote Refinery was operational to the extent of producing the premium motor spirits (petrol) before the president announced this policy statement. The implication of this is that we started running an import dependent petrol subsidy regime. Consequently, we  are promoting foreign economies, encouraging job losses, putting pressure on the scarce foreign earnings and also unable to achieve availability of the product in the country owing to supplies disruption.

The petrol subsidy removal without mitigation plans has since amplified unimaginable hyperinflation in our social history with food inflation hovering around 41% and our factories glutted with finished goods and the consumers purchasing powers have been reduced to ground zero. Nigerians are currently undergoing excruciating experiences and this economic turmoil has made lives unbearable.

It’s so horrifying that the essential purchases are no longer within the reach of vulnerable Nigerians. While Nigerians were trying to find their feet with the sudden petrol subsidy removal and the complications it triggered on the economy and the social well being of the citizens, the president simultaneously floated our national currency against the international currency saying our currency would find its true value by forces of demand and supply. The implication of this is that the government hurriedly devalued the Naira without weighing available options, especially the likely degree of impacts on the citizens.

While these policies have caused turmoil in the economy, the multi-dimensional impacts on families and organisations, the president again came up with the 300% electricity tariff  increase in his usual characteristics and introduced Band A,B,and C which is discriminatory and against the constitution of the country.

I became so devastated that the government I supported with my all could be rolling out these three bullet policies within its first year in office and without proper evaluation of their consequences on the citizens. One would have thought that whatever might be the intendments of these policies in the future, the immediate impacts on the citizens have to be thoroughly examined by the policy makers. It’s not as if Nigerians are not aware that these three bullet policies are the brainchild of the World Bank and IMF. We know how the World Bank and IMF have been helping this government to choke up Nigerians with obnoxious policies to instigate crisis in Nigeria because they lack empathy and are insensitive to the plight of vulnerable Nigerians.

If I may ask, why are we in a hurry to solve our problems created over several years back within one year of this administration? Nigerians are virtually unhappy with the government that some of the beneficiaries of the power scheme, owners of Discos criminally destroyed some banks in Nigeria which means  that some of these Discos owners should naturally be in jail. But today, they are  perpetrating all sorts of  criminality with deliberate decision not to deploy infrastructure to enhance their efficiency.

They have gone overboard to enforcing 300% electricity tariff increase, which is still subject to litigation and the court has ordered parties to maintain status quo. They disregard our laws at will in connivance with public office holders who most times act as their mouthpiece and some of their workers act like mercenaries to carry out their illegal activities like disconnection of light, estimated billing system, and now enforcing 300% electricity increase when the matter is still subject of litigation.

I would have thought that with the kind of criminality that accompanied the power privatisation scheme as revealed by the former governor of Lagos State, Babatunde Raji Fashola recently, which  the former President Goodluck Jonathan also  corroborated as a sham the perpetrators should be brought to book. The president should  have embarked on a forensic evaluation of the power privatisation scheme and  detoxify the system of all infractions, especially that the  Discos merely refurbished the PHCN equipment, rather than deploying new investment after 12 years unlike what happened to the  telecommunications sector.

Otunba Sola Olatunji
Otunba Sola Olatunji

In a nutshell,  the petrol subsidy removal announced by Mr. President at his inaugural address should have been done when some of our local refineries including the Dangote Refinery should have fully come on stream. The domestic production of petrol would ultimately create job opportunities, conserve our foreign earnings, and guarantee availability. This unbearable hyperinflation in our economy would have been largely minimised.

The devaluation of our currency, which is now amongst the worst performing currency in the world hurriedly carried out without proper evaluation and attendant implications obviously won’t survive with the level of corruption in our institutions today while the tariff increases policy, which directly hurts production and consumers’ purchasing power would ultimately be counterproductive.

Nigeria should, as a matter of urgency, embark on food importation to feed her teeming population.  Great nations have done similar things in the past. In the social history of India, there was a time they had similar experience, and the political leadership rose up to the occasion by embarking on massive food importation to feed the Indians. Today, India is one of the largest economies in the world.

We shouldn’t allow procrastination to promote food riots in Nigeria.  A hungry man is an angry man.

.Otunba Sola Olatunji, Chairman, Ikale Heritage Development Association, writes from Lagos


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