ONE YEAR ANNIVERSARY: Nigerians look to Tinubu for economic turnaround


As the administration of President Bola Tinubu marks one year in office, Nigerians have said the president is yet to hit the ground running in the real sense of it.

They said the policies and programmes of President Tinubu have not translated into positive impacts for the masses, stating that since the ‘subsidy is gone’ outburst of the president, a year ago, their lives have been more miserable economically.

Many Nigerians who spoke with The Point in their separate interviews, asked the President to redeem his image by fulfilling his campaign promises.

While some citizens pointed out the level of challenges Tinubu’s administration inherited and the need for the masses to give him more time, others argued that the president has performed in the areas of infrastructure, education.

A Nigerian, Gbemi Adaranijo, said, “President Tinubu is doing his best but it is obvious his best has been plunging Nigerians into more woes. Since day one of his emergence, we have not had it rosy. It has been from one form of poverty to another. And, it is clear to everybody that it was because of the thoughtless removal of petroleum subsidies.

“Even if a government is doing well in other sectors but failing economically, that government still has a long way to go. By my assessment, I will score President Tinubu average on infrastructure and education. Some federal roads have been constructed and his student loan policy is a plus for him. He is yet to tackle insecurity and health has not improved. Generally, in terms of workers and mass welfare, he has disappointed us.”

For Alhaji Dejo Orimadegun, “No matter the good intention of Tinubu, he has to contend with the sabotage of the elite class. There are conspiracies by the people outside this country to destabilize this country, all because of our resources. From within and without, Tinubu is contending with a lot of problems. Whatever may be the level of anguish, pain or despair in the country today, we have to know that we have nowhere to go. The elite class is making the Nigerian environment constraint for citizens.

“What is rather worrisome is that recently as we are on the run down to the celebration of the first anniversary of this administration the experience has been that of knee-jerk policy pronouncements”

“But, if things continue like this, it will be difficult for Tinubu to get a second term. People are suffering and they are in pain. He still has two or three years to redeem his image. I want to see his policies have effects on Nigerians and he should really hit the ground running because he seems to be crawling.”

The Eze Ndigbo of Okinniland in Osun State, Eze Anthony Onyewesi, said Tinubu has failed Nigerians, claiming that most Nigerians have been begging to survive the harsh economy.

“You can see what is happening in town. The masses are suffering and crying. We don’t even know if we are making progress or if we are going backwards. Look at the amount they were selling petroleum when he came in and look at what it is being sold now. The dollar is just fluctuating. I remember I bought cement last year for N3000 because I want to start building but as of today, cement is over N9000. I don’t think we are making progress.

“It is high time his advisers sat up because we cannot continue like this. How many families are still feeding themselves three times in a day? You no longer see such a thing; everybody has virtually turned to beggars. You now see people begging in different forms. Is it that the National Assembly that is supposed to serve as check and balance has turned to rubber stamps? It is high time they began to do their job. The judiciary too should sit up. We have so many resources that should take this country to greater heights but corruption has eaten deep into our fabrics. So, the President should look inwards within his cabinet. What is it that we are not getting right? Put those things in place and let us see how we can move forward in this country. We cannot continue like this and I don’t think we can bear this for another five to ten years.”

Michael Olusesi Ebofin, the Chief Executive Officer, Moralex Centre for Sustainable Community Development, believed the problem in Tinubu’s administration was caused by subsidy removal.

According to him, “More woes have plagued Nigerians since President Bola Tinubu came into power and this has been due to his thoughtless removal of petrol subsidy. He ought to have assembled neutral experts to advise him rightly and not the people he has been grooming. Those he groomed to advise him will think the same way with him and align with him. There won’t be any critics. He has not done well at all in the last one year. The economy is bad, there is insecurity, workers are yet to get their living wages, nothing to talk about agriculture, ASUU are threatening strike, doctors and nurses are still leaving the country in droves. So, what sector has he actually done something tangible?”

Also assessing Tinubu’s one year in office, Lawal Amodu, the Programme Coordinator for Centre LSD, stated, “This present government inherited backlog of challenges, there is no doubt about that and any President that was coming to take over from President Buhari knew quite alright that there is a mounting load of challenges that he has to surmount.

“But, unfortunately, at the entrance of Tinubu, the first thing was to remove the subsidy and we know the hardship and this hardship is still trailing us till tomorrow. We have seen different types of taxes that are being levied on people and these taxes have not stopped. Recently, there was another tax that came out about transactions and all of these things are putting Nigerians into a tight corner. We are taking aback. Yes, these are things that should have happened long ago but now, they are happening at a time we are facing real economic challenges and these economic challenges do not seem to abate.”

The Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer, BIC Consultancy Services, Boniface Chizea, pointed out policy instability as the bane of the current administration in one year.

Rather than rate the performance of President Bola Tinubu in one year, Chizea would rather discuss the macroeconomic implications of the policy summersaults of the administration, citing empirical examples of how these policies affect the livelihood of Nigerians.

He noted that businesses have been put at risk with many of them folding up in one year. Job losses are the immediate result of the closure of businesses due to the high cost of borrowing from banks and also the impact of the widening exchange rate of the Naira.

According to what he described as knee-jerk policy decisions of this administration, foreign investors are at large, moving to other climes on the continent where they perceive decision-making by government is more stable.

Policy pronouncements like the removal of petrol subsidy, Naira free-float, and hike in electricity tariffs earned this APC government a big knock as they are believed to be the main troublers of the people of the most populous black nation in the world.

“I do not doubt that we have all heard of the importance of macroeconomic stability for the growth and development prospects of any nation, particularly the Nigerian situation. The businessman can manage risk but not uncertainty which macroeconomic instability portends. But at no time has the imperatives of this concept been brought forcefully home to us as it is now happening in this time of unprecedented economic trauma,” Chizea noted.

“I was just going through some repairs at home and was engaged with my plumber in some conversation about the high prices of items which of course is duly reflected in the index of the rate of inflation in the economy now estimated by the National Bureau of Statistics at 33. 69 percent as of April 2024; the highest rate of inflation in over twenty years. The records indicate that inflation hitherto was highest in 1995 (72%) and lowest in 2007 (5.38%). We bemoaned the difficulty those in the market are encountering with being able to determine the price to tag to items they sell. My artisan particularly fingered the difficulties caused by the fluctuating and gyrating rate of exchange and how it has constituted a nightmare for marketers.

“The marketers confront the dilemma of having to determine the price to tag items since no one is sure what the rates will be when it is time to restock. Therefore, as a result, most marketers are refusing to import, adopting a wait-and-see attitude which poses the present danger of looming scarcity. Often the responsibility for the maintenance of price stability in an economy is wrong-headedly assigned to the Central Bank. Yes, the core responsibility of the Central Bank is the maintenance of price stability but even then the CBN is not able to do that alone. There has to be complementarity with the Fiscal authorities for there to be any chance of achieving success.

For instance, the Fiscal authorities cannot pursue expansionary fiscal policy as is currently the case in Nigeria and we expect the Central Bank to conjure the magic wand to be able to sustain price stability,” he added.

“But the reality on the ground today is that the focus is on attaining a sustainable foreign exchange rate which will not upset the apple cart as was already beginning to happen and might still happen as we are not in the clear yet. What is common knowledge as accepted by most is that the only reliable strategy for the support of the exchange rate is a productive economy which is surely not going to happen overnight, not even in the near term.

“The issue of instability in Nigeria was forcefully brought home to all during the recent African Chief Executive Officers convention which was held in Kigali, Rwanda’s capital. During an interactive discussion programme which involved our own Aliko Dangote (The Richest Man in Africa) and the CEO of TotalEnergies Patrick Pouyanne, the MD disclosed to the chagrin of all that the Company has decided to undertake an investment of a whopping sum of $6 billion in Angola instead of Nigeria which in his opinion has the most prolific region in terms of oil prospecting around the Niger Delta because of the problem relating to policy instability. He explained that TotalEnergies has not conducted oil exploration in Nigeria for the past twelve years due to this problem of lack of policy stability. He argued that in Nigeria we are forever discussing policy changes and tinkering with policy without taking our time to put a framework around the policy environment which creates a veritable nightmare for investors.

“What is rather worrisome is that recently as we are on the run down to the celebration of the first anniversary of this administration the experience has been that of knee-jerk policy pronouncements. If we take a look at the most recent constitution of the boards of tertiary institutions, there are already complaints that boards with existing life spans were also dissolved which offends the law guiding the operations of those institutions which no doubt will result in a revisit of the composition of those boards,” he stressed.

Traders, artisans, public and civil servants who spoke with The Point said since the administration took over from former President Muhammadu Buhari, people have been passing through difficulties.

At Karu market in the suburban village of the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja, the traders are lamenting low sales because their customers have no money to patronize them while some customers met in the market lamented that prices of foodstuffs are increasing geometrically and have become unaffordable.

Madam Atinuke Olowo who sells vegetables said, “The one year is one year of suffering. We thought that this government would be better than Buhari’s government but now we have seen that it is worse than that. Yes, during Buhari, at least our customers were patronising us, we were selling though very little, this time we come to the market with our goods and return home with the same because the people cry the prices are too high and they can’t afford them.”

“I’m selling vegetables, tomatoes, and many perishables as you can see. What is the time now? I have been here since seven O’clock in the morning now workers have closed from work yet my vegetables are still untouched not to talk of selling them. No matter how I tried to preserve them, I have lost money so what I will do now is to sell it as araha (very cheap) so that I will not take them back home. Look at those empty tables, the owners also sell vegetables but a bad market has forced some of us out of business.

“Oga, this government wants to kill us. Do you know that even as we are not selling, these people collect money from us on a daily basis? Those women I showed you their empty tables will still pay the money for the days they didn’t come to market when they come. It is tax this, tax that and we are not making the money to pay these taxes.

You people should help us beg Baba. We are suffering too much. We voted for him but this one year is hell for us. If people do not eat food how would they be alive? Baba Tinubu should help us.”

Another trader who also sells vegetables and fruits, Nkechi Anamemena said, “I have always believed that the foodstuffs business cannot have a bad market but this government has proved me wrong. Before this government, even during Buhari, when I come to the market as very early as 6:30 in the morning because I sell ugu, before 10 O’clock my ugu will finish then tomatoes, pepper and others will remain a little but this is five O’clock in the evening, you can see my table is still full. When will I sell them? If I take the ugu home it cannot be like the fresh one of tomorrow. By six O’clock now they will lock up the market, you sell you didn’t sell you will go home.

And the worst thing is before I leave the market, I must pay for today.”

In short, I don’t know what the plan of this government is for us ordinary Nigerians. Only God can help us because for one year now things have become more difficult. The people working are complaining about money. How can we be able to sell? Another thing is that those supplying us these vegetables continue to increase their prices because the farmers are also increasing theirs. Like the head of ugu I bought N15, 000 two days ago, yesterday and today I bought N18, 000. At times we combine money to buy but even that market is very bad.

For Luka Ishaya, a commentator on socio-economic matters, the President Tinubu’s administration inherited very bad situations in all facets. He said no sector was healthy after former President Muhammadu Buhari’s government and that is exactly why Nigeria is where she is.

“We can’t put the blame of the mess our country is passing through on President Tinubu. How can he turn around a country that was dead in all sectors within one year? He is really working hard to get the country back on her feet because the past administration crippled her. Our economy, security, health, education, politics, infrastructure, agriculture, were all destroyed during the eight years of the former administration. Some people can argue that since it is the APC government he has no excuses but that is not the right way to assess him. However, I would say that the President should liberate himself from aides that will not tell him the truth about his government’s policies because they are anti-people and the pains are too much.

“There are some of his policies that are good and they are helping in recovering the country. The removal of the oil subsidy was a good decision but those working with him, I mean the ministers, his special assistants and other aides are not working optimally. They are working as if they are still politicking. This is time for governance, therefore they should brace up. Those suggesting these policies should stop portraying the president as someone who wants to punish Nigerians. They want to kill Nigerians with tax when people are crying over untold hardship,” he said.

Joseph Ogbuokiri, an economist described the one year in office of the Tinubu administration as a horrible experience bedeviling Nigerians. He said the government is engaging in trial and error that is why it indulges in back and forth in all its promises.

“I tell you, Nigerians have experienced the worst in this one year of President Tinubu’s administration. Tell me the sector that is working in this country. Economy is dead. Our naira has almost become a tissue paper. I don’t think there’s anywhere in the world our naira has recognition. Talk about education, security, health, infrastructure, agriculture. The only vibrant sector in this country is politics and the politicians are having their field day. That’s the only lucrative sector. They have killed other sectors. Imagine the student’s loan that was advertised and it became a song on the lips of those managing the affairs of this government that is yet to get started but a few weeks ago was N98bn or how much was earmarked for pilgrimage to Mecca. Misplaced priority because of the desire to please anticipated voters in 2027.

Governance has not gotten any appreciable stage; they have started campaigning and politicking. This government is full of deceit.”

Dr. Olanrewaju Aladeitan, a lecturer of economics at the University of Abuja says Tinubu’s administration in its first year has left many people disappointed. Although he believes that Tinubu means well for the country, he insists that the President’s acceptance and deployment of the World Bank’s anti-people economic policies is the bane of the administration.

“The World Bank and its affiliates have always advocated for removal of petrol subsidy as well as the devaluation of the naira, but failed to emphasize the implication of such policy on the overall economy.

“On May 29, 2023 when President Tinubu declared that petrol subsidy was gone, some of us were worried because of the implication on the general economy.

“Truth is every nation subsidizes what affects the ordinary citizens. In the developed economy like the U.S and UK government subsidies food (agriculture) and energy. But in our case, petrol is the major factor connecting every facet of our economy. It is our source of power as many small-scale industries depend on generators to power their businesses. Transportation is dependent mainly on the use of petrol.

“Therefore, even though it was critical to remove petrol subsidy the question should be, what are the alternatives to supporting these critical areas of the economy?”

However, another Abuja-based economist, Dr. Chiemere Iheonu, believes that the President should be given more time for a prepared assessment.

“I think it is too early to judge the economic policies of this government.

“At the point this administration took over power in 2023, the country was actually in a critical position economically. It was in an intensive care unit but now it is in a recovery position,” he stated.

According to him, the administration has made a lot of bold initiatives.

“The truth is many things are happening at the same time.

The government is doing everything possible to solve the problems. We only need to give them time. I can see sincerity of purpose in whatever they are doing. The situation was very bad when they came in.

“I know people are angry because prices of goods and services keep rising every day. My heart bleeds because of those working and earning N30, 000 per month when I know that in today’s Nigeria that money can’t sustain the feeding cost of a family of four for one week. Things are tough, but if you ask me if I can see light at the end of the tunnel, my answer will be yes.”

According to him, the inflation rate has already reached its peak. When you look at the inflation rate relative to what it was 12 months ago, it is still showing that it is rising, but on a month to month basis it is going down. All indexes are pointing down, on a month-to-month basis. So, what we are saying is that how long will that continue.

“We’ve seen results, there is significant influx of finances as well as lending, that some money coming in, the CBN is working on how to double the money coming from Diaspora, so there are some many works in progress that are convergent in the direction of change, so I think we should see that but it’s not something not bad. We have to have palliatives going on, to cushion effect; you have to have other considerations that can help alleviate the suffering of the citizens.

“In summary, productivity is the answer, because if we are not producing and we remain merely a consuming nation it would not change anything,” he stated.

A Port Harcourt-based chartered accountant, Ifeoma Ogbonna, said that the president’s success is a function of the success of his ministers.

Ogbonna said Nigerians would judge Tinubu based on the performance of the ministers. Not only that, she also said some of the ministers were “a complete disaster.”

“The truth is many things are happening at the same time. The government is doing everything possible to solve the problems. We only need to give them time. I can see sincerity of purpose in whatever they are doing. The situation was very bad when they came in”

She singled out the Minister of power, Bayo Adelabu, for criticism, firing that the recent ministerial sectorial update where Tinubu’s ministers were supposed to reel out their achievements, was turned into a “speech contest.”

Ogbonna said, “The president’s success in office I believe is a function of the success of his own ministers.

“Some of his ministers are a complete disaster. Some of them don’t even realise that people will judge the president based on their performance.

“The Minister of Power is one good example. Why people like him are still in office baffles me.

“Look at the ministerial sectorial update they did. I watched it on television and I don’t know whether I was listening to a speech contest or to how Tinubu’s ministers performed in the last one year.

“Some of them truly need to leave the stage.

“I will score Tinubu very, very high on infrastructure. There are so many of them right now going on simultaneously across the country and we are seeing them live and direct. It’s not the audio infrastructures we had gotten used to in the past.

“In the area of health, I score Tinubu and his health minister average.

“Muhammad Pate should do more in the health sector. Our young doctors and nurses are still moving out of the country in droves and we are helpless to stop them. Pate should step up his game.

“Drugs or the common medicines, too, are very expensive nowadays. The ones you used to purchase at N1, 000 have skyrocketed to N6, 000. Do they want to kill us?

“Tinubu must do something drastic in the area of health to preserve the lives of Nigerians.”

On the economy, Ogbonna said it would be a colossal tragedy if Tinubu failed totally with the economy.

She also urged Service Chiefs “to stop sleeping” even as she scored the president 70 percent there.

“The economy has been a biting talking point. I don’t need to say much about it because even a primary one child knows that things are not working very well in the country.

“The government has promised us that things will get better. It is this promise that is keeping some of us alive. If they fail totally with the economy, it will be a colossal tragedy for the common man.

“As for insecurity, I would like to rate Tinubu’s government about 70 percent. But they can still do more. Boko Haram has not been totally wiped out. The remaining Chibok schoolgirls are still missing and bandits and kidnappers are still holding open air prayers and plastering the same on social media.

“The military chiefs should stop sleeping. I know one or two that are doing well. They have to be proactive. Their successes will make Tinubu a celebrated president. Anything short of that will be a calamity.”