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Verdict on one month in office: Nigerians divided on Tinubu’s performance

In the last 30 days, Tinubu has carried out a flurry of activities that shook the economic, security, political and social firmaments of the country.

By Emma Amaize, Clifford Ndujihe, Dayo Johnson, Sam Oyadongha, Jimitota Onoyume, Akpokona Omafuaire, Ike Uchechukwu, Chioma Onuegbu, Ochuko Akuopha, Ozioruva Aliu, Rotimi Ojomoyela, Marie-Therese Nanlong Deola Badru & James Ogunnaike

THURSDAY was exactly one month since President Bola Tinubu mounted the saddle as Nigeria’s 16th head of state.

In the last 30 days, Tinubu has carried out a flurry of activities that shook the economic, security, political and social firmaments of the country.

A few minutes after swearing in, he completed the removal of the fuel subsidy started by his predecessor with his controversial “fuel subsidy is gone” statement. Currently, fuel price has jumped to between N488 and N550 per litre from N187 pre-May 29.

President Tinubu also signed the Electricity Bill and Students’ Loans Bill into law, abolished multiple exchange rates and opened the nation’s borders that were shut by immediate part President Muhammadu Buhari.

He sacked security chiefs and replaced them with officers drawn from many geo-political zones of the country and religious affiliations.

The president also selected National Assembly leadership, ensuring that Senator Godswill Akpabio and some other lawmakers emerged as leaders of the 10th National Assembly.

The leaders are Senate President Akpabio, Deputy Senate President Jibrin Barau, House of Representatives Speaker Tajudeen Abass and Deputy Speaker Benjamin Kalu.

In separate chats with Saturday Vanguard, a host of experts, political, traditional and religious leaders and stakeholders looked at the state of the nation in one month under Tinubu’s watch and returned interesting but divided verdicts. While some gave him kudos for taking courageous steps so far others noted the challenges ahead and still frowned at anti-people actions. Yet, some said it is too early to assess him.

Clerics commend Tinubu’s steps in 30 days

Assessing Tinubu, Pentecostal Bishops in Northern Nigeria patted him on the back for the recent appointment of service chiefs, which they said reflected bold steps to ensure that all geopolitical zones of the country are carried along.

Speaking on behalf of the Body of Pentecostal Church leaders from the North, Bishop Jonas Katung the founder and President of The Living Stone Church Assembly, Jos, Plateau State said in less than one month in office, President Tinubu has performed creditably well and lived up to the expectations of Northern Pentecostal Bishops and Pastors.

The Bishop also hailed the appointment of Senator George Akume as the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, SGF, as well as Nuhu Ribadu as National Security Adviser, NSA, both of them from Northern Nigeria, and stressed there is a spread across the regions of the country.

It’s been magnificent one month—Osagie

Former Minority Leader of the House of Representatives, a lawyer and consultant, Mr Samson Osagie, said: “I think that every discerning mind will understand that the new president understands the task ahead of him, and the urgency that the challenges befalling the country require a solution.

“Within the first 30 days of his administration, there is clear evidence that he is putting his hands on the plough on almost all sectors of the economy. He has abolished the issue of multiple exchange rates as the gap between the official exchange rates and the parallel markets has levelled up.

“We no longer have multiple exchange rates. Two, on the security side, he has taken a bold step to change the guards. He has appointed younger and more vibrant service chiefs, including a new Inspector General of Police. I think this has gone a long way now to boost the confidence of our many in uniforms. That is the right step in the right direction.

Too early to evaluate —HRH Ntoe, C-River monarch

The Clan Head of Kasuk II Qua Clan, HRH Ntoe in Cross River State, (Dr) Ededem Ayito III, said: “We must give President Tinubu time, the past government literally made our country collapse. Our president is still new, let us not put undue pressure on him, he needs space and time to deliver and it is too early to rate him now.

”The only thing I will advise him to do is to ensure his policies are people-oriented. Some of his policy statements so far look like they are hard on the people, but I know with time things will fall into place.

”We must not continue relying on World Bank/IMF for loans, we must look inward and develop our economy, we must really move from consumer economy to production economy

He took the bull by the horns – Olorogun Akpomudje

The Otota of Olomu Kingdom in Delta State, and President General, Government College Ughelli Old Boys Association worldwide, Olorogun Albert Akpomudje, SAN, said: “I think he has surprised quite a lot of people with some of the major decisions which he has made so far. Those are very important sensitive decisions which other governments trod softly, particularly the last one.

“Tinubu took the bull by the horn and as of today, most Nigerians now believe that the removal of subsidy was quite timely. It was necessary and that is a big plus.

“We are yet to see and pick his plan to make Nigerians not feel the effects of that subsidy removal. That is very important, we do not want a situation whereby you ask Nigerians to make sacrifices, pleading with them that you are going to do one thing or the other without result. If you have any follow-up, let the people see and feel it.”

Massive pace – Mene, Itsekiri leader

An Itsekiri leader and Secretary, Itsekiri Leaders of Thought, ILoT, Mr. Sunny Mene, told Saturday Vanguard, “President Tinubu’s government in the last 30 days is quite commendable. He is making giant strides in repositioning the Nigerian economy. While doing that he should focus on palliatives for the vulnerable people to cushion the harsh times.”

He has shown capacity —Omare, ex-Ijaw Youth president

Ex-president of Ijaw Youths Council, Eric Omare, said, “30 days is not really enough time to assess a government. But so far, President Tinubu has demonstrated that he would be in charge of his government unlike the immediate past government and we hope for the best.”

Terrible economic hardship —Awhefeada

To Prof. Sunny Awhefeada, an intellectual, “President Tinubu’s most significant action in the first 30 days of his presidency is the ill-advised removal of subsidy.

“I think it was too hasty and that has plunged us into the worst economic hardship ever. Those who know will tell you that the so-called subsidy was actually for the rich and powerful and not for the poor.

”The hasty removal of subsidy without making our local refineries productive or breaking the NNPCL’s monopoly in the importation of petroleum or improving the electricity situation has further deepened poverty in Nigeria.

“The claim so far is that he is on a mission to revamp the economy, but for now, we can adopt a wait-and-see attitude. He has appointed a number of seasoned advisers to work in that regard. Time will tell.”

He is focused —Odi, Bayelsa community leader

A retired senior civil servant and Bayelsa community leader, Chris Odi, said, “A month in the saddle is a bit too short to make any critical assessment, but one thing that is clear is that the Senator Bola Tinubu we are seeing now is far different from the frail, sickly-looking, and incoherent Tinubu we saw during the electioneering campaigns. The Tinubu I see now is a man who knows where he is going to, and how to get there.”

“He has demonstrated absolute courage and boldness in his policy decisions so far. In the economy, the fuel subsidy removal and the harmonization of the forex window are two good policies, which will cause some pain in the short run but will benefit the economy in the end.

Tinubu’s on track — Evinson, Sagbama community president

National President, Sagbama Federated Community, Bayelsa state, Ebi Evinson, said: “For me, President Tinubu has taken off very well. That he dealt decisively with the issue of removal of fuel subsidy on day one of his presidency is a clear indication that he prepared for the task ahead.

“Secondly, the effort he is making towards streamlining the foreign exchange rate debacle is also another sign that he understands the critical issues of the economy.

“Thirdly, the appointment of some key officials of the administration, particularly the appointment of the service chiefs within a short time of the administration is also a signpost that President Tinubu will frontally tackle the security challenges affecting the country.

“Fourthly, the suspension of both the CBN governor and the EFCC chairman and their subsequent investigation is another sign of seriousness.

“So far, Tinubu is on track and will take Nigeria to greater heights if he survives the ongoing legal onslaught.

“We must also recognize the fact that he is in firm control of the National Assembly, having succeeded in ensuring that his preferred candidates are at the helm of affairs in the National Assembly.”

Nothing has changed—Prof Onwioduokit, UNIUYO

A professor of Economics at the University of Uyo, Prof Emmanuel Onwioduokit, said: “For me, removal of fuel subsidy which the previous administration was afraid of doing is the only thing positive that he has done. Nobody had the political will to be able to take that decision, so that is a major plus for him. Subsidy before now was just benefiting a few people.

“In terms of security, he has not done anything. Nothing has changed. Boko Haram is still killing people. Although in fairness to him, it will be hasty to assess him by 30 days on security.

“However, his appointment of Nuhu Ribadu as his Special Adviser on Security is a positive signal. Also spread of the security chiefs is also something positive that he has done. At least that is the first step to uniting Nigeria.

“Everyone will feel a sense of belonging, when the offices are well-spread, nobody will feel marginalised. And where there is no fear of marginalisation, people will begin gradually to have faith in Nigeria.”

So far, so good—Chief Gbekama, Gbaramatu Kingdom leader

A traditional chief, Fiyewei of Gbaramatu Kingdom, Delta state, Chief Godspower Gbenekama, posited: “For me, so far, so good. I have tried to study the policies, like the policy of the removal of subsidies in his inaugural speech, and other policies that he wants to put in place.

“It is just that governance is about the people and if the policies are such that are making people suffer, there should be measures to ameliorate the suffering of the people.”

He started well —Dr. Imegwu, ex-Delta speaker

Former Speaker of the Delta State House of Assembly, Dr. Olisa Imegwu said: “President Tinubu is starting on a very good note, and the steps he has taken so far are giving Nigerians confidence.”

“Nigerians are willing to be patient and make the sacrifices, provided what he is doing, in the long run, is going to be targeted at helping the people who have gone under serious economic hardship over the last eight years.

“The direction he is going is a good one, but what is happening in his own state where the Igbo are targeted, destroying their properties, calling them strangers and he (Tinubu) has not tackled it is making me feel whether he is genuine in terms of really bringing Nigerians together.”

On the challenge facing the President, he said, “The only challenge that he has is that he came to meet an economy that is completely drowned. It is a big challenge, but he needs something to build on like helping the workers after subsidy removal and helping the ordinary people, but where is the money?

“The debt that is holding Nigeria back now is so much. l am sure he met an empty treasury, so it is a big challenge. All the good programmes that he is putting in place, how is he going to get the resources to execute them for the people to begin to say yes, he is doing well?”

I thumb-up Mr. President —Chief Onuesoke

One-time governorship aspirant in Delta State, Chief Sunny Onuesoke, declared: “He actually reflected national character in his appointment of service chiefs. His appointment is an arrow to the unity of this country. Before he came in, look at how one-sided the appointment of service chiefs and the kitchen cabinet were, they were from one region of this country. Under Tinubu, they are evenly and geographically well-spread.”

“I give him pass mark for mustering the political will and courage to remove oil subsidy. As long as he has taken this step, he should take a bolder step to fix the three refineries as a matter of urgency.

It’s been challenging —Fadaka

Former South-West Zonal Publicity Secretary of the People Democratic Party, PDP, Mr. Ayo Fadaka, said: “The first 30 days of President Bola Tinubu have been challenging for Nigerians.

“From the blast of the whistle, it has been actions all the way. Suddenly, “subsidy is gone” rented the air and the standard of life plummeted with that pronouncement as inflation spiked up immediately and we further descended to penury.

“The current cost price of fuel is astronomical and this is still dictated by the corruption within the system which characterized the era of subsidy that involved the criminal cost increment built into per litre price, which they have now pushed onto the citizenry.

“Government must look much deeper into what actually should be the cost of PMS and determine how much we pay. For now, life is brutish for us.

“Positively, however, we now feel that there is a government in the land as some actions have been taken, this is the kind of feeling we never had in Buhari’s unfortunate two tenures when actions were never taken, and the government laid prostrate, bereft of intuition, initiative, ideas and action.

“Going forward, President Tinubu must know that life is difficult for us and he must seek to take immediate actions towards ameliorating it or else hunger and deprivation will begin to kill.”

30 days too short to evaluate Tinubu— Adewale

To Ondo State Chairman of the Social Democratic Party, SDP, Mr Stephen Adewale, “the truth is that in a nation with as many issues as ours, 30 days is too little a time to evaluate a new administration’s performance since it is not even long enough for the new administration to fully comprehend the magnitude of the problems facing the nation.

“However, given that the nation had just finished eight years of an administration that had failed miserably in nearly every sector, it could be claimed that the current administration has got off to a positive start.

He’s focused on Nigeria’s unity —Fagade

On his part, Dr Abisoye Fagade, Technocratic and founder Oyo Si Maa Dun (OSMD), Network, said:

“President Tinubu has made his first foreign trip to France for a Global Financing Summit, where he met with various international leaders and Nigerians in the diaspora.

“He is determined, independent, and focused on the unity of Nigeria, despite facing opposition. Let’s hope for a strong support system and a better Nigeria for all citizens, including those in the diaspora. I foresee some sort of JAPADA fever brewing up amongst the Nigerians in the Diaspora.”

Tinubu has clear vision of his plans —Bishop Adesina

Bishop Francis Obafemi Adesina, the Catholic Bishop of ljebu Ode, commended President Tinubu on the various steps taken so far, which said showed that the president has a clear vision of what he wants to do.

He continued: “The few appointments he has made are commendable

“Tinubu came in as a man who has clarity of ambition and with this, we hope all the challenges on education, security, infrastructural deficiencies, economy and governance will be solved.

“He is truly Democrat because he is a civilian. He was governor for eight years in Lagos State.

“He has experience both nationally and locally and that is why I am not surprised with the serious alacrity with which he has attended to his government.

“ I am even more impressed with the kind of people he surrounded himself with. Now our hope is that he sustain the momentum.

“He knows that Nigeria is on the verge of breaking apart if nothing serious is done, especially with huge poverty in our land and pain of poor people, there is no country that can sustain this for too long.

“He should therefore begin to roll out policies that are people-centred, people-oriented and alleviation of poverty.

The fuel subsidy has been removed and he should provide palliative for people on all grounds. If he is talking about an increment in electricity tariff, he should be careful so that there is not too much hardship in the land.

“If the government of President Tinubu is asking us to make sacrifices, then those in government, President, Governors, Senators, they must be seen to be making sacrifices.”

Vanguard Media Ltd

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