President Bola Tinubu

A hungry Tinubu has no time for angry, hungry Nigerians By Ikeddy ISIGUZO

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PRESIDENT Bola Ahmed Tinubu is hungry like most of us who complain about hardship in the land. He is hungry for more power. He is hungry for acceptance among Nigeria. His hunger for recognition as a performing President gives him sleepless nights.

President Bola Tinubu
President Bola Tinubu

Let us not speculate that he is hungry to recover his election expenses. What are the billions that went into the election compared to the gains? No, his hunger lies elsewhere. And time is of essence.
Tinubu is hungry to impress you enough for him to continue presiding over a country that is on a free fall. He is hungry to quickly get over some things.
As a renowned strategist, Tinubu is ready to deal with important things like possible obstacles to 2027 election. He cannot waste his time bothering about hungry people who imagine that the President is not hungry.
Like you and I, he too complains that things are hard as he scrambles to get his men and women into places that matter for the future. The race is against time. The present is about sharing the spoils of the war you call 2023 election. The President has hundreds of thousands of appointments to make to deal with his hunger and that of his followers, including recent converts.
Complaints are in abundance that Muhammadu Buhari took everything away but we see enough farmed out to Tinubu and company to know that extreme hunger is avoidable for ordinary Nigerians if it was important to Tinubu.
Hunger would be a great weapon in 2027 that would benefit Tinubu. His war chest would have enlarged. Poor Nigerians would vote for the next piece of bread, that is the ones who make it to 2027 and had not deleted their interests in voting.
Tinubu manages our hunger with words while important issues get immediate attention. He pulled out N24 billion from the grains fund to meet pilgrimage obligations. He clearly makes religion priority over food. Will the dead need religion?
His woolly appreciation of the hunger in the land results in the gaps in addressing it. Tinubu has never associated food shortages, or high prices as his aides admit, with insecurity. He cannot fight insecurity so he does not want to be reminded about it.
Farmers are being killed and their farms destroyed. Residents of most farming communities have deserted them. The President is silent on their plight. Perhaps, it will cost him votes to fight the criminals who make Nigeria unsafe, not only for farming.
Even if criminals were not devasting farmining communities, the cost of fuel has added to the uncertainty of food delivery.
The President has no solution to that.
His empty promises are for his survival. In July 2023, he made vacuous promises with March 2024 as deadline for implementing them. Some of the promises:
To strengthen the manufacturing sector, increase its capacity to expand and create good paying jobs. We are going to spend N75 billion between July 2023 and March 2024.
“Our objective is to fund 75 enterprises with great potential to kick-start sustainable economic growth, accelerate structural transformation, and improve productivity.
“Each of the 75 manufacturing enterprises will be able to access N1 billion credit at nine per cent per annum with a maximum of 60 months repayment for long-term loans and 12 months for working capital.
“We are going to energise this very important sector (MSMEs) with N125 billion.
“Out of the sum, we will spend N50 billion on Conditional Grant to 1 million nano businesses between now and March 2024. Our target is to give N50,000 each to 1,300 nano business owners in each of the 774 local governments across the country.
“In like manner, we will fund 100,000 MSMEs and start-ups with N75 billion.
“Under this scheme, each enterprise promoter will be able to get between N500,000 to N1 million at nine percent interest per annum and a repayment period of 36 months.
These mouthings were to be the fulcrum of the Tinubu economy. We are days away from March. What happened to the Tinubu economic wizardry that many hailed as a magic wand? Some had reminded the President then that unless electricity and insecurity were addressed that his wonder plan would not succeed. Others had wondered where he would get the money. Tinubu has spent nine months telling the people he cares – with words.
Money no longer seems to be the only challenge. Tinubu lacks the capacity to drive issues to resolutions unless they benefit him and company. Issues like hunger, electricity, and insecurity just overwhelm him.
He has been boasting about releasing 42,000 metric tonnes of food. His elixir? All Farmers Association of Nigeria, AFAN, National President, Arc. Kabir Ibrahim, in July 2023 had told New Telegraph, that Nigeria had little grain in her silos nationwide since farmers had not returned to farms over failure of government to provide security at the farms. Nigeria used most of her grains during COVID-19. This was the farmers’ group response to Tinubu’s order on release of 200,000 metric tonnes of grains. Who got the grains in 2023?
The absent-mindedness in managing food shortages is reflected in the President’s current vacciliation between 42,000 and 102,000 metric tonnes of grains. Is he importing the grains? Were the silos re-stocked?
As the hunger bits and anger appears in street protests, the economy has become famed for serial circulars from the Central Bank on the Dollar. The expertise in managing the economy manifests in most decisive measures like moving offices from Abuja to Lagos.
What is left is for Tinubu’s media to blame political opponents for the hunger. An earlier lecture that there was no food scarcity failed.
Tinubu has no plan for the economy. His government has been in panic mode for months. Price control for unavailable commodities? Price control did not work for the military with decrees and guns.
A good starting point would be for Tinubu to admit his challenges, and accep that he has surrounded himself with people who cure their own hunger by making Tinubu a god. Tinubu asks us to be patient as he gads about with minimal concerns about Nigeria.

Finally…
SUPER Eagles performed beyond the expectations of most Nigerians. Government’s reward of their efforts leaves no motivation for excellence which would be winning the Cup.
KIDNAPPING has not ebbed one bit. If ordinary Nigerians are hungry, the criminals are hungrier, taking more people at will.
IS there a chance that the government is interested in recovering the billions of Naira said to be missing in Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs and Disaster Management? The silence points to more disasters.

Isiguzo is a major commentator on minor issues

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