…says presidency lacks credible defence for Nigeria’s economic woes
Former Vice President Atiku Abubakar, again, on Tuesday, attacked President Bola Tinubu-led Federal Government, saying they have failed to provide any credible defence for their failure to tackle the nation’s economic woes.
Paul Ibe, Atiku’s media adviser, in a statement made available to the media, accused the presidency of resorting to rhetoric rather than addressing economic challenges bedevilling the country which the former vice president has been pointing to.
Ibe said Bayo Onanuga, President Tinubu’s spokesperson, “In his characteristic manner, resorts to insults and name-calling.” He also lambasted Onanuga for demonstrating “ignorance of the happenings around him – as he denies, for example, that Tinubu’s policies are creating excruciating pain and causing despair.”
Ibe raised questions as to whether “Atiku Abubakar offers any better policy options in his run for the presidency.
“Yes, he did. His living prescriptions contrast sharply with Bola Tinubu’s morbid policies. Atiku’s policy document, My Covenant with Nigerians, offers a clearly defined and robust roadmap for the socio-political and economic transformation of Nigeria. On the economy, the policy document outlines the challenges we face and our vision to get the economy on its feet and create prosperity. “If Bayo desires, he can have a copy for free
Responding to Onanuga’s earlier argument that “All the major presidential candidates supported the withdrawal of subsidy on petrol, Ibe said, “Even if all the major candidates agreed that the fuel subsidy regime must end and that the multiple exchange rates must be fixed, this would not translate into endorsing Bola Tinubu’s failures in implementation.
“The truth is that, unlike Atiku, Bola Tinubu did not understand the reforms he embarked upon and had no idea what steps to take to mitigate their negative impact.
Ibe further noted that “As a leader with foresight, Atiku anticipated that the withdrawal of subsidy and the unification of exchange rates could, in the absence of fundamental interventions, impact negatively on micro and small enterprises in the informal sector. He anticipated that such policies could elevate the levels of vulnerability and deprivation of poor families, including the youth and adults with no incomes”
According to him, ” The former vice president, therefore, pledged to support Nigeria’s businesses by creating an Economic Stimulus Fund with an initial investment capacity of approximately $10 billion to prioritise support to MSMEs across all the economic sectors, as they offer the greatest opportunities for achieving inclusive growth.”
He noted that the Fund was designed to make it easier for Nigeria’s 60 million micro and small enterprises to navigate the stormy seas in the aftermath of the withdrawal of subsidy on petrol.
Ibe stated that “In contrast, Bola Tinubu offered a paltry N125 billion to help the MSMEs, which at today’s exchange rate is no more than $100 million. Of course, Bayo Onanuga is aware that the pledge is yet to be redeemed by the president.
Comparing and contrasting the economic policies of President Tinubu and that of Atiku Abubakar further, Ibe said Atiku also pledged to implement a robust social investment programme to support the poor and vulnerable with CCTs. Atiku’s support to the poor and vulnerable would include prioritised actions to address the challenges of displacement and the sufferings of IDPs across the country.
“In contrast, the funds for Tinubu’s CCT were cornered by his officials in the ministry of humanitarian affairs.
“Alongside the Economic Stimulus Fund, Atiku pledged to launch a uniquely designed skills-to-job programme that would target all categories of youth, including graduates, early school leavers as well as the massive numbers of uneducated youth who are currently not in education, employment, or training.
“As a leader of vision, Atiku was ready for the potential fallout of his policies. Bola Tinubu was not ready. It was only after he unleashed his morbid reforms that he started groping in the dark, looking for solutions. We all recall that in October 2023, the Financial Times of London rebuked Bola Tinubu for announcing plans without ideas for how to implement them.”
Ibe said “The evidence is overwhelming; Tinubu’s under-performance is largely attributable to leadership failures in the management of the economy. The failure of leadership by the APC-led government is staring every Nigerian in the face as the country’s economic, social, political, and security challenges persist and assume frightening dimensions.”