A year of Tinubu’s renewed hope

Sani Danaudi Mohammed

Today, May 29, marks the first anniversary of Bola Ahmed Tinubu’s inauguration as President and Commander-in-Chief of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. Analysts have been hard at work evaluating his performance. Many have referred to the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) as a fractious coalition of interests. Since 2015, the nation has faced numerous significant challenges.

Nonetheless, their campaign’s main pledges are to address the economy, put an immediate stop to corruption, and encourage more “inclusive” economic growth. Although Tinubu has accomplished much on the first two counts, the majority of observers believe that on the final one, they have only just begun. Since this administration took office, there have been significant advancements in the fight against corruption and security.

In most of the Northeast and Northwest zones of Nigeria, Boko Haram and bandits have been driven from their lands. It is still considered to be “on the back foot” by some because of the large number of casualties resulting from their attacks, which, instead of using “semi-conventional” tactics, reflect guerrilla tactics. Appointing Lt. Gen. Taoreed Lagbaja as the Chief of Army Staff, was the first action Tinubu took to restructure and amplify military operations. 

With swift action, the president initiated a programme of military expansion and retraining through high command engagements abroad. While Nigeria continues to cooperate with its neighbours like Niger, Chad, and Cameroon, foreign nations including the UK, USA and France have increased their support for the country’s armed forces. Lagbaja studied Strategic Studies at the US Army War College for his Master’s degree after earning a Bachelor’s degree in Geography from the Nigerian Defence Academy. His understanding of the Nigerian map as a geographer makes the job easy for the military operations in Nigeria.

He served in various security operations, including Operation HARMONY IV in the Bakassi Peninsula, Operation ZAKI in Benue state, Operation Lafiya Dole, Operation MESA, Internal Security Operation in South-east Nigeria (Anambra/Abia/Ebonyi/Enugu and Imo states), and Operation Forest Sanity and Internal Security Operation in Kaduna/Niger states.This demonstrates that Lagbaja is a fine and brave officer whose exceptional performance is recognised across religious and ethnic boundaries.

Declaring that the “fuel subsidy is gone” was President Tinubu’s first audacious and astute move after taking office. Within hours, fuel station managers and oil marketers altered their business strategies, resulting in the hike of petrol prices. Tinubu, like Abraham Lincoln, is Nigeria’s 16th president. This is no coincidence or fabrication; rather, Nigeria should count itself lucky to have a president who takes responsibility for his decisions and does not avoid the challenging work that lies ahead. This marked the start of the decades-long reforms that will undoubtedly influence how the Nigerian economy develops in the future.

Noticing the finer points of human experience and the complex dynamics of the world, President Tinubu saw past the obvious and concluded that Nigeria is in a state of economic dormancy and imminent collapse. A knowledge of political economy may be a useful tool for people who want to influence governments and societies, as Harvard’s Jeff Frieden notes.Lagos state is currently a thriving economic hub of sub-Saharan Africa, thanks in large part to the experience the president brought from the private sector when he served as governor from 1999-2007.

In order to improve the lot of the populace, he first took the bull by the horns and abolished subsidies in his inaugural speech. Later, he expanded the scope of economic intervention. The N200 billion capitalisation and interventions for Medium, Small, and Micro Enterprises (MSME) for all business segments operating in the nation was one of these measures. N50 billion grants, equally disbursed to all local governments of the federation, are being given to over a million nano businesses; this is not money that our people will repay.

Furthermore, hundreds of thousands of MSMEs in all states are receiving N150 billion in loans with single-digit interest rates. Similarly, N75 billion is being distributed fairly in the form of loans up to N1 million, while large-scale manufacturers are receiving another N75 billion. These are the sectors that employ up to 1,000 Nigerians each.

Unfortunately, at a cost of more than N6.5 trillion a year for the payment of a subsidy to unidentified importers and an undetermined amount of petroleum supplied to the Nigerian National Petroleum Company, suffering ensued. The funding of vital infrastructure projects like rail lines, roads, investments in agriculture, health care, and education would have been possible with this enormously unnecessary amount of resources. Benefiting from the current evil subsidy regime, FAAC and monthly allocations have increased by over 40%, sufficient to finance large-scale grassroots infrastructure projects. Workers will continue to smile at their resolve to put an end to decades of slavery through a living wage, even though some are waiting for the implementation of a 25–35% incremental wage. Federal civil servants have been paid N35,000 as wage award to cushion the effect of subsidy removal.

The reconstitution and amended structure of the Governing Board of the FGN Power Company, which is responsible for carrying out the accelerated performance agreement with Siemens Energy, has been approved by President Tinubu, as part of his historic effort to achieve the full end-to-end modernization of the country’s electric power transmission grid as part of the Presidential Power Initiative (PPI). The complete modernization of the country’s electric power transmission grid in partnership with Siemens Energy, for the benefit of all Nigerians, will be made possible by the power sector reforms, which will increase organizational agility and efficiency. It is evident that the president is making progress towards securing 24-hour electricity, even in the face of obstacles. This is an attempt to provide sustainable power to all Nigerians.

Nigeria is becoming a preferred location for investments in the international oil and gas sector due to the president’s executive order. By increasing investment, generating more revenue, and stabilizing the economy, this policy has given the oil and gas industry new life. For the past six months, this has resulted in a daily increase in the amount of liquids transported—by over 200,000 barrels. 

An increase of 57% in 2023 to 70% in Q1 2024 has been observed in the availability of NLNG Trains 1-6. It has turned Nigeria into a popular destination for foreign investment. At some point, over $10 billion in oil and gas investments are expected to arrive in Nigeria.

In order to enhance learning and skill development, boost enrolment, and guarantee the academic security of the country’s youth, the president has approved system-wide policies to completely revamp the education sector. The 2024 Student Loans (Access to Higher Education) (Repeal and Re-enactment) Bill has been ratified by him. The Act will make it possible for all Nigerian students to get soft loans in order to pay for their education, marking the first time in history that the needs of the poor’s sons have been given priority in the education sector.

While no country on earth is immune from security issues, the Tinubu administration has done a good job of resolving some of the nation’s security issues. Regardless of their political, tribal, or religious affiliation, he is making a great effort to guarantee that every Nigerian has peace of mind at home, work, and when traveling on the roads. His contributions to the promotion of peace and stability in Plateau state, particularly in Mangu and Bokkos local government areas, and the Abuja – Kaduna road are just a couple of his numerous accomplishments on security. To restore Nigeria’s glory, his administration places high priority on adequate funding, training, and retraining.

To promote trade and connectivity throughout the nation, the administration has completed several road networks, upgraded rail systems, and modernized ports. The ongoing construction of Lagos-Calabar Coastal Highway will be remembered as one of the legacy projects of this era and will improve socioeconomic conditions of all Nigerians. 

The “Renewed Hope Agenda” is therefore focused on social inclusion, economic revival, and infrastructure development for the benefit of all Nigerians, which explains the inexplicable facts. I am happy to report that Mohammed Idris, the Minister of Information and National Orientation, is sharing with Nigerians through ministerial score cards and briefings the untold success stories of President Tinubu GCFR one year after.

HRH Sunusi Lamido Sunusi, the 14th and 16th Emir Kano as well as the former governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN, had recently explained how the nation ended up in its current economic woes which President Tinubu is working hard to fix. Nigerians need to understand that, he is a victim of past regimes’ inefficiencies.

Tinubu is not responsible for the current crisis. For eight years, we were living a fictitious life while heavily indebted to both foreign and domestic creditors with CBN owing over N30 trillion. Government needs to communicate more with the citizens in a language they understand better regarding their policies, programmes and how their future impact. The president has chosen the hard way but the only way to the country’s destination to build strong institutions for a workable country. 

I am an incurable optimist who sees opportunities even in the midst of pandemic rather than seeing obstacles. Our support towards promoting the Renewed Hope policies beyond the boundaries of our tribes, religion, region and political divides must be collective.

Danaudi, public affairs analyst, writes from Bauchi, Bauchi state via [email protected].