“Fuel Subsidy is Gone” Those were his words. The issue of subsidy is what I have written on many times previously and will still find time to write about in the coming days to break down the fuzzy concept.
In the build up to the 2023 presidential election, acquintances would ask me, who would you vote for? It is meant to be a personal secret (ballot is secret), but still, Tinubu, I will tell them. More than often, they seem unhappy and query why I would choose an “85 year old man”, “drug baron”, “someone who’s incoherent” and all sorts of questions that when you ask them, they always do not know those things for a fact, they hear it and propagate it without check. In 2002 for instance, I was in the university, when His Excellency Bola Ahmed Tinubu celebrated his 50th birthday in the open, so, it didn’t make sense to me that 21 years after, he would have added more years than 21. Well, statements like the above quote from his speech today, showcasing COURAGE, formed the bases of my confidence in him as being very capable and in fact, the most capable of the candidates that had chances of getting the numbers. I cannot point to any other candidate with his level of courage. The battles before him in the election build up are testaments of this courage. In the party primaries, for someone who last held office in 2007, he contested against a sitting Vice President, the President of the Senate, three sitting Governors and three sitting Ministers, defeating them all. Compared to one of the candidates that had to leave a competitive political party to another where there was practically no contest, he is indeed courageous.
This post is about the potentials of a Tinubu administration, there are no doubts about his courage, a core ingredient required by any leader and you don’t find it always, it is scarce. Many leaders only hide behind their powers, they are not exactly courageous. Fuel subsidy for instance, is an albatross, but it is difficult to confront because we fear the ripple effects. The Buhari administration was almost there in 2020, they had hands off fuel subsidy when oil price dropped globally and prices of products also dropped. But what happened? Oil prices started climbing again and unfortunately, Naira crashed against the US dollar at the same time. Naira prices of products would go up since the currency lost value, but government was unable to let it be, they went back to subsidising it. To be candid, if not for subsidy, we would have bought petrol at N700.00 at a point and maybe be buying it at around N500.00 now (which is where I see the price headed post subsidy removal). It looks like it is better to keep the subsidy until you realise that what we spend to subsidise in a month is almost enough to build one Second Niger Bridge. Yes, the 2NB was built at a cost of about N210bn and that’s exactly what we spend to keep petrol prices cheap monthly. We have been making choices between bridges and cheap petrol and have been choosing cheap petrol. We cannot grow if we continue on that path. I was therefore happy today when I heard from Tinubu — “Fuel subsidy is gone”. It will hurt, but is a better economic decision.
President Tinubu made other statements today;
“Nigeria will be impartially governed with rule of law”
“ We shall remodel our economy to achieve a much better GDP than we have today” — I am excited by this, productivity of our economy is too low for our population size, we need to build it to where most people have something doing, we need to get to a level where even if you retire from one job, you can still pick up another job.
“In our administration, women and youths will feature prominently” I do not doubt this promise one bit, it is there in his antecedents.
“We will lower interest rates” The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has under the guise of fighting inflation, been raising Monetary Policy Rates (MPR), it is currently at 18.5%. Our inflation is not driven by high demand for goods, we are not having inflation because there is so much money, so, raising rates to discourage borrowing is a wrong solution. Our inflation is mostly cost-driven, prices of goods and services increase because cost of business is high, you do not increase lending rates again, it will do nothing but further exacerbate the problem and that is what has been happening. CBN has been approaching the problem by creating further problems. I hope Asiwaju finds a way to agree on a more positive direction with CBN in this regards.
Generally, Tinubu inspires confidence in those who work with him, he gives them that much confidence to push on and when he is behind you, rest, assured that he is truly behind you. His people are able to deliver for him because of the confidence that he inspires and he, in turn reposes in his people. We have been too afraid to confront many of our problems, this is why we have opportunities all around us without being able to convert them into wealth opportunities. Waste disposal used to be a huge problem in Lagos, with over 15 million living in a small land area, that problem today, has been converted to wealth. The Atlantic Ocean surge on Ahmadu Bello Way in Victoria Island had turned properties on the road to ZERO value (and I’m not exaggerating, the properties had been abandoned). It was a problem that today, has been converted into a real estate opportunity, the Eko Atlantic City came out of the problem, generating billions in value. Public transportation was a problem, the BRT system grew out of it, turning public transport problem into a business where elites competed to participate in.
In the coming days, weeks, months, years, we will see things unveil before us, it will be a pattern of governance that is futuristic and thinks of the wealth of the people first. His economic philosophy is Social Capitalism, he knows so well how to create reforms that will bring prosperity, but regulated to allow the people at the lower rung to also live well. I remember in Lagos when he was to introduce payment for waste collection, he told the people that I want your children to go to school for free, I want your children under the age of 12 to get free health treatment, but you will have to pay for your waste. I won’t pay for your wife’s delivery at the hospital and still pay to pack your waste. This is what his economic and governance philosophy looks like.
The statements he made during his campaign did not turn out to be mere words, I therefore believe that the ones he made in his speech today will also not turn out to be mere words. May God help Nigeria.
This article was originally published at https://lekanoladele.medium.com/now-that-asiwaju-bola-ahmed-tinubu-is-president-5e7036a00f0e