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President Tinubu’s one year of unrelenting hardship

President Bola Ahmed Tinubu marks one year in office on Wednesday, May 29, 2024. His tenure has been catastrophic for Nigeria. From the onset, his policies have driven the nation into unprecedented economic despair, unravelling the fabric of a country once brimming with potential. Under his leadership, Nigeria has become a landscape where citizens queue for food as if in a war zone. This is not a country at war; there is no drought or natural disaster to blame. Yet, the suffering is palpable, the hardship unrelenting, and the future is increasingly bleak. Families struggle to survive in an economy that seems designed to crush their spirits. Reflecting on Tinubu’s first year, it is clear his administration has failed to provide the stability and prosperity that Nigerians desperately need.

Tinubu’s adherence to World Bank-prescribed economic policies—the abrupt removal of fuel subsidies, the devaluation of the naira, and hikes in interest rates and electricity tariffs—has wreaked havoc. Inflation has soared to a 28-year high of 33 percent, with food inflation hitting 40 percent. For a nation already struggling with 133 million people living in multidimensional poverty and over 20 million children out of school, these measures have added millions more to the ranks of the impoverished and out-of-school children.

“Tinubu’s adherence to World Bank-prescribed economic policies—the abrupt removal of fuel subsidies, the devaluation of the naira, and hikes in interest rates and electricity tariffs—has wreaked havoc.”

Nigerians, particularly women and children, now face daily hunger and uncertainty. Fathers are abandoning their families out of despair, unable to provide the basics. The government’s response has been feeble and disingenuous. The promise of distributing 42,000 metric tonnes of grain remains unfulfilled months later, revealing the empty state of government reserves and the hollow nature of their promises.

The security situation under Tinubu is dire. Mass school abductions by terrorists have resumed with alarming frequency. In the first eight months of his administration alone, there have been five major school abductions. The government’s inaction in securing schools highlights a disturbing indifference to the plight of the poor. Healthcare is similarly neglected, with hospital wards resembling abattoirs and primary healthcare clinics abandoned. The system is further crippled by high electricity tariffs that hospitals cannot afford, leading to a mass exodus of healthcare workers.

Tinubu’s administration has been marred by corruption and impunity. The unilateral award of a N15.6 trillion contract for the Lagos-Calabar highway to a close associate exemplifies this. Such actions epitomise state capture, where public policy serves narrow interests over the public good. The administration’s fiscal policies, characterised by excessive borrowing and oppressive taxation, have not revived the economy but have deepened the crisis.

Tinubu’s blatant disregard for constitutional mandates promoting national unity is troubling. His appointments are overwhelmingly from his Yoruba ethnic group, exacerbating divisions and undermining national cohesion. This nepotism extends to key positions in finance, security, and justice, sidelining the principle of federal character enshrined in the Constitution.

While President Tinubu promised economic growth and stability, his first term has been marked by a significant rise in poverty, according to a recent World Bank report, which showed a 20 percent increase in the national poverty rate. This, coupled with a rise in violent crime like the recent kidnappings in the northern states, has created a sense of widespread insecurity among the populace. Furthermore, the dismissal of a Supreme Court judge known for his anti-corruption stance raises concerns about the erosion of the independence of the judiciary. These developments have led to disillusionment with the government, as many Nigerians feel betrayed by the administration’s failure to uphold democratic principles and fulfil campaign promises. Under President Tinubu’s leadership, the socio-economic fabric of the nation seems to be unravelling, leaving citizens grappling with the harsh realities of his policies. The palpable discontent suggests a potential loss of public trust, which could have long-term consequences for Nigeria’s future.

The path forward demands a steadfast commitment to accountability, a thorough reassessment of current policies, and a genuine dedication to serving the Nigerian people. President Tinubu must transcend mere rhetoric and implement substantive actions to address the pressing economic and security challenges that plague our nation. This involves fostering transparency in government dealings, ensuring equitable distribution of resources, and prioritising the welfare of all citizens. Additionally, there must be a concerted effort to stabilise the economy through sustainable and inclusive policies that can alleviate poverty and reduce inflation. Security strategies need a holistic overhaul, emphasising both immediate and long-term measures to restore peace and safety. By embracing these changes and demonstrating true leadership, Tinubu can begin to rebuild the trust of the Nigerian people and pave the way for a brighter, more prosperous future for Nigeria.