Journalism in the service of society

Tinubu a symbol of collective suffering

The Tinubu administration has not done anything to improve the lives of Nigerians since it assumed office. Insecurity is at its worst and nobody is ever sure of who is next but for God. Nigeria is presently an open field of suffering such that even those who have are themselves victims. No government should pride itself on foisting suffering on its citizens

SENATOR Bola Ahmed Tinubu has been a politician for the better part of his life. He has the uncanny reputation of seeking to do the impossible, in very difficult circumstances. By his own declarations, the presidential ambition has been in the works for a very long time, so he was well prepared for the job and nobody should pity or cry for him. We were taught that the best way to know somebody is through what other people say about him, what he does and what he says about himself.

This piece is a simple analysis of the impact of Tinubu’s government upon the people of Nigeria since May 29, 2023, when he commenced his four-year tenure. The President gave out himself as a progressive, by which term it is understood that he will implement programmes and policies that will lead to major and remarkable improvements in the lives of the people. The President is seen as a welfarist, judging by his eight-year tenure as governor of Lagos State, during which time his supporters claimed that he executed people-oriented programmes of mass transit, that he revolutionized the judicial sector and even increased the internally generated revenue of the State. You will have a hard time convincing them that he was not a thorough democrat as they will cite examples of his legal battles to enthrone true federalism, when he pioneered the creation of local government development areas and dared the federal government. You will not be able to convince his fans that the President as governor of Lagos State could not guarantee water supply to many homes, that he was not able to arrest the incidences of cultism, the ‘area boys’ syndrome and that he did nothing to upgrade the various slums that litter the State beyond primitive land acquisition and reallocation.

The governance structure in Nigeria is designed to deliver durable infrastructure and guarantee inclusive government for the people. This is clearly the purport of Chapter 2 of the Constitution. In its various sections, the Constitution provides for a government of the people, for the people and by the people. Section 13 enjoins all persons exercising legislative, executive and judicial authorities to uphold the provisions of the Constitution. Section 14 (1) states clearly that the Nigerian State shall be governed on the principles of democracy and social justice, while section 14 (2) (a) gives ultimate power (sovereignty) to the people. Section 14 (3) prohibits nepotism by stating that the composition of the Government of the Federation and indeed the conduct of its affairs shall be carried out in such a manner as to reflect the federal character of Nigeria and to promote national unity, thereby ensuring that there shall be no predominance of persons from a few States or from a few ethnic or other sectional groups in that Government.

What do we have in the current Tinubu dispensation? The judiciary is headed by the South-West, the Army is headed by the South-West, the police is headed by the South-West, the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission is headed by the South-West, the Immigration is headed by the South-West, the Customs is headed by the South-West, the FIRS is headed by the South-West, the Governor of Central Bank is from the South-West, the Comptroller-General of the Correctional Centre is from the South-West and the Minister of Petroleum (Tinubu) is from the South-West. In simple terms, the South-West region of Nigeria controls the executive, the judiciary, the security and the finance architectures.

This is one of the causes of constant agitation in the land, when the leader in power sees himself as the representative of his region alone. And as if following Tinubu’s example, I was shocked to read that in the composition of the new governing councils of federal universities, Adamawa, the home state of the Minister of Education, produced a whopping 22 chairmen. Section 15 (2) requires the President to promote national integration and to avoid all forms of discrimination. For this to happen, the government will provide adequate facilities for and encourage free mobility of people, goods and services throughout the Federation. But you and I know that the roads are not motorable and even when they are, the fear of terrorists will not encourage people to use the roads.

In section 15 (3) (b), the government is to secure full residence rights for every citizen in all parts of the Federation. Some weeks ago, it was reported in the news that the Lagos State Government gathered persons suspected to be from Osun State into a truck and dropped them off in Osogbo to go back to their State. This is not new. Should other States of the Federation retaliate this gesture, there will be crisis everywhere. Section 15 (5) enjoins the government to abolish all forms of corrupt practices and abuse of power. Since the advent of the Tinubu administration, the State Security Service (SSS) has been let loose on Nigerians. The agency invaded a court in Ota area of Ogun State to arrest litigants right inside the court. Journalists are languishing in various detention centres on account of their professional engagements. The sad impression being conveyed by the President and his team is that might is right.

Section 16 (1) (a) directs the government to harness the resources of the nation to promote national prosperity and an efficient, dynamic and self-reliant economy, with equality of status and opportunity granted to all citizens. The question to ask is this: what is the current state of the Nigerian economy? Inflation is at its highest ever (33%), energy costs have gone beyond reach, many companies are closing down due to negative economic factors and the unemployment rate is rising daily. The ballooning exchange rate has worked to cripple many businesses, with the unfortunate result that purchasing power has dwindled drastically whilst the cost of living has quadrupled. This has led to mass exodus of Nigerians to other climes in search of greener pastures.

In section 16 (1) (b), the State is directed to control the national economy in such a manner as to secure the maximum welfare, freedom and happiness of every citizen on the basis of social justice and equality of status and opportunity. I am pretty sure you can resolve this issue yourself, if you go by the increasing cases of suicide, mental illness, broken homes and crime rate. From being the happiest people on earth a while ago, most Nigerians have been turned into emergency beggars, barely able to eke out a decent living. If you get fifty messages in one day, forty of them must come from those who claim not to have eaten the whole day or to have medical bills to settle or they need your support to pay their children’s school fees or settle their accommodation bills. The fuel subsidy removal has only worked to pauperize the people, creating lamentations in various homes and businesses.

Section 16 (2) states that the government shall ensure that the material resources of the nation are harnessed and distributed as best as possible to serve the common good. Nigeria has oil and gas in very large quantities but they are not harnessed for the benefit of the people. If you go to the Niger Delta area you will see degradation and the wicked effects of oil production and pollution on the ecosystem. We also have gold, bitumen and other natural and mineral resources. The real issue is that our leaders are not deploying these huge resources for the common good.

In section 16 (2) ©, the government is to ensure that the economic system is not operated in such a manner as to permit the concentration of wealth or the means of production and exchange in the hands of a few individuals. It is the opposite that operates presently, as the same people who control the banks also control the real estate sector, they play in the oil and gas sector, they dominate the power sector and indeed all other important sectors of the Nigerian economy. It is a circle of friends who have not allowed and will not allow any outsider to invade their “privacy”.

In particular and for loud emphasis, section 14 (2) (b) states that the security and welfare of the people shall be the primary purpose of the government. And this is the real deal. Or how do you promote the welfare of people by keeping them in perpetual darkness without electricity? I cannot remember any time that we have enjoyed stable power supply for up to one week since May 29, 2023, when Tinubu was sworn in. We are currently experiencing the worst in power supply because all we hear across the land is the sound of generators. To make matters worse, the government empowered the power distribution companies to extort money from their consumers, when the nebulous Band A group was purportedly created, with the assurance of 18-22 hours of power supply every day. It was only a clever design to milk the people dry, given that those who are touted to be in Band A have since confirmed the scheme to be false.

The Tinubu administration has not done anything to improve the lives of Nigerians since it assumed office. Insecurity is at its worst and nobody is ever sure of who is next but for God. Nigeria is presently an open field of suffering such that even those who have are themselves victims. No government should pride itself on foisting suffering on its citizens.

  • Adegboruwa is a Senior Advocate of Nigeria, SAN

 

  • https://thegavel.com.ng/tinubu-a-symbol-of-collective-suffering/

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