In the last one week since President Bola Tinubu clocked 100 days in office, commentators and analysts, political observers and politicians have busied themselves dissecting the President’s performance in office, particularly his major decisions and policy options. Many have also commented on the achievements recorded and the areas that require improvements.
The newspapers and electronic media have been awash with many lauding the giant strides recorded within just three months and a few days in office. Some top politicians like former Zamfara State governor, Senator Abdulaziz Yari representing Zamfara West, and the Minister of Interior, Olubunmi Tunji-Ojo, for instance, bought the front pages of some newspapers to celebrate the President, his exemplary leadership and well-thought-out economic policies in just 100 days. Some others, particularly the opposition, behaving like sore losers that they are, however, refuse to acknowledge the gains achieved, even amid the prevailing challenges.
Assessing a President’s performance in 100 days in office seemed to have become the norm from the days of 32nd US President Franklin D. Roosevelt who in his inaugural address on March 4, 1933, indicated he wanted to move with unprecedented speed to address the problems facing the United States of America, yet it was acknowledged even at the time that to judge an incoming President on the accomplishments of his first 100 days in office is to hold him to an impossible standard. 100 days in the life of a nation may appear like a drop in an ocean. Yet a lot was achieved within that space of time under the Tinubu presidency such that it would be very appropriate to talk about them.
The achievements recorded, which included resetting the economy by removing the ruinous fuel subsidy, thus freeing for development activities money that would otherwise have illegally gone into a few pockets, unifying the many exchange rates that paved the grounds for arbitrage, the humongous amount now being raked in ensuring that the Federal Government and the sub-nationals now have more money to share from the Federation Accounts, the compensatory palliatives now coming from the states as a result of the increased allocation, the gradual return of Nigeria’s preeminent status on the international stage, and many more, are worth talking about and repeating.
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For instance, unwittingly drawing attention to the huge amounts states now receive from the Federation Accounts, the Nigerian Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative, in a second-quarter 2023 Federation Account Statutory Revenue Allocations Report, disclosed that the 36 states of the federation received about N1.51trn or 34.5% of the total N4.37trn shared by the three tiers of the government between January and June 2023. “On a year-on-year basis, the report showed that when compared with the corresponding period in 2022, allocations to the state governments from the Federation Account in 2023 grew by about 11.2% to N1.42trn from N1.26trn,” the report said. Not a few economic watchers would know the bulk of that money came in June 2023 alone when around N1trn was distributed.
This intervention is not really about these accomplishments, which are very remarkable by all standards within just 100 days. It’s about President Tinubu’s acts of leadership. The untold stories of courage, boldness and audacity he has brought into governance, the ability to accept mistakes and make corrections, the empathy he has demonstrated, how he engaged youths in government, the vision behind it and the way and manner he carried it about. Stories abound about all of these, which are either not properly highlighted or remain largely unreported. The true test of a leader’s capabilities emerges when his actions and utterances are gauged in those moments he lets down his guards, oblivious that he is being watched. These are the stories told in this article.
The first is about the empathy President Tinubu has brought into governance. The President lived in his Asokoro, Abuja residence for around two months or so, while the Presidential Villa accommodation was being readied before he eventually moved in. Sensing that the main residence at the Villa was going to take much longer to be fully repaired, he caused the three-bedroom apartment, popularly called The Glass House, which will take a shorter time to be put in good shape for use, to be worked on. However, in the meantime, before Glass House got ready, and uncomfortable that he was causing the people around his Asokoro house some discomfort by his daily movement to and fro the Presidential Villa, he instructed his staff to print a letter of apology, circulated in and around Asokoro, appealing to the people for understanding and urging them to give him a little time to sort out himself. That was awesome and humbling in my view.
Mr Rahman, a media aide to President Tinubu, writes from Abuja