One year after, Nigerians grapple with unfulfilled promises

Nigerian’s expectations and hope ahead of May 29, 2023, when President Bola Ahmed Tinubu was sworn in as the 16th president of the country, appear to be waning, following what they called unfulfilled promises.

When President Tinubu made this statement, “ subsidy is gone”, during his inauguration, many Nigerians were filled with trepidation over what the next few months would look like. But there were others who expressed optimism that something would be done to cushion whatever effect this pronouncement would have on the lives of citizens.

But one year after, and despite petrol being sold between N700 and N1000 and even above that in some places, President Tinubu is yet to come up with any tangible solution to the hardship being faced by citizens over his decision. The palliatives that the government claims to have rolled out are anything, but a drop in the ocean, as many Nigerians insist that they have not received anything. Even those who got things in the states, say it did not help to ameliorate their sufferings. In addition, many pledges that were made by the president, till date, remain mere promises as they are yet to be actualised.

President Tinubu promised to provide security across the country. But one year after, nothing has changed in that regard. Nigerians are still grappling with the same security situation they battled under the administration of former president Muhammadu Buhari. Bandits continue to sack villages, communities and even towns, just as they kidnap scores. Only last week, there was a report of an attack in Katsina State, where about 80 people were abducted. And this is coming after series of similar attacks in other parts of the country. Farmers are also unable to go to farmlands due to fear of attacks. Though security operatives have recorded some successes, it is evident that more needs to be done.

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Apart from President Tinubu’s pledge to ensure steady electricity and its accessibility to businesses and homes as part of his inaugural speech on May 29, 2023, the president also promised the creation of one million digital jobs for the youths, agricultural hubs establishment throughout the nation to increase production, infrastructure, and creating an enabling environment for local and foreign investors.
These have not been realised as the electricity situation in the country has gone from bad to worse, due to multiple grid collapses. And instead of a revamp of the sector to ensure effectiveness, what Nigerians saw was a hike in tariff.

Minimum wage
President Tinubu, before his election and subsequent inauguration pledged the implementation of new national minimum wage for workers in the first quarter of 2024.
The Nigerian Labour Congress (NLC) has been urging the government to pay a minimum wage, yet till date, the federal government has not done anything about this and this is despite the removal of subsidy on petrol which has led to high inflationary rate in the country.
In order to assuage the anger of labour, federal government decided to pay N35000 temporarily wage award for six months to cushion the effects of subsidy removal.
Apart from the inauguration and meetings of a multi-stakeholders committee headed by the Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF) Senator George Akume, to come up with a new minimum wage, nothing has been done by the federal government on a new national minimum wage which has been at N30,000, since April 18, 2019.

Agriculture and food security
President Tinubu said his administration would lead the drive to cultivate 500,000 hectares of farmlands across the country to grow maize, rice, wheat, millet and other staple crops.
Till date, nothing has been heard about that pledge despite the high cost of food items across the country.
Following the directive given on February 8, the Minister of Agriculture and Food Security, Abubakar Kyari, at a press conference in Abuja, said grains would be distributed free to poor Nigerians. Kyari said, “This 42,000MT is going to the needy free of charge. It will be directly to the needy at no cost.” The distribution of the said grains remains shrouded in mystery as not a huge number of Nigerians can attest to actually receiving the said grains.

Students’ loan scheme
Despite the promises to ensure accelerated action on the much touted Students’ Loan scheme, which was one of the excuses for hike in tuition fees in the universities and other tertiary institutions, the loans have not seen the light of the day.
After postponement of the date of implementation of the scheme and later signing the bill into law, the only update is the appointment of Mr Jim Ovia, a seasoned banker as the governing board chairman of the scheme. Actual implementation remains to be seen.

Free fall of Naira
One of the promises President Tinubu made was to stabilise the naira, up till now, this is yet to be realised as the nation’s currency continues to record abysmal performance against the dollar and other international currencies. Indeed the Naira, after an initial fall, regained strength, to the point that it was described as the best performing currency by a report. That success was short-lived, as the Naira quickly moved from best performing currency to worst performing currency. This development continues to impact negatively on citizens.

CNG buses
In August 2023, the administration of President Bola Ahmed Tinubu said it would invest N100 billion between then and March 2024, to acquire 3,000 units of 20-seater buses powered by compressed natural gas (CNG).
Till this moment, neither the buses nor other facilities that would be required to power them have been provided. Indeed in the past few days there have been statements to indicate that there are plans towards achieving this. But considering the fact that the buses were meant to cushion the effect of the high cost of petrol on the masses, the delay has had an adverse effect on the masses.

Refineries revitalisation
In July 2023, the administration announced its plan to revitalise the moribund refineries, so that Nigeria will stop importing refined crude. Till date, none of the refineries is working, including the Port Harcourt refinery, which has had several completion dates that have since come and gone. In fact President Tinubu’s promise on the refinery revitalisation at the State House on September 14, 2023, also included the reconstruction of the Eleme junction-Onne axis of the East-West Road, linking the Port Harcourt refinery. None of these has been realised.

MSME boost
In his Independent Day national broadcast, President Tinubu pledged to energise the Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSME) and the manufacturing sector to cushion the impact of petrol subsidy removal and naira devaluation.
However, 734 businesses in Africa’s biggest economy have reportedly closed down, as they are yet to see any evidence of the funds or its prospects. And more are still shutting down due to the difficult economic terrain.

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