• Thursday, December 07, 2023
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FG can’t continue to signal that hardship is only for the people – Atedo Peterside

Nigeria: Still a homeless nation at 62.

..urges government to embrace electoral reforms

Atedo Peterside has knocked the Nigerian government for the funding luxirous lifestyle of its officials despite lamenting economic crisis that has left millions of citizens in untold hardship.

Peterside, speaking in exclusive interview with Businessday said the President Bola Tinubu-led govenrnent initiated policies that worsened the economic conditions of Nigerians, but have continued to use limited public resources to fund its luxury lifestyle and accommodate bloated bearoucracy suggesting that the economic hardship should be endured and borne by citizens alone.

Read also: Effects of hardship, hunger and poverty on mental health

He said this while reacting to the controversial N5 billion that was proposed for the purchased of a presidential yacht in the supplemtary budget as well as the purchase of SUVs for lawmakers.

President Bola Tinubu had sought lawmakers approval of N2.17 trillion supplementary budget which included the funds for the purchase of the yacht. The sum was later yanked off after public outcry.

“You cannot continue to send the signal to 210 million Nigerians that the belt-tightening, the hardship is for them and you are exempted”, he said.

‘This is a country that the president says is going through economic crisis. Twelve years ago, the vehicles they buy for the legislators is Toyota camry carry. So, as the economy gets worse, we get more luxirous and expensive, that is a terible signal.

“People will not continue to take hardship and punishment while tehy see their leaders enjoying them selves’, he said.

Read also: Amid economic hardship, Nigerians spend millions on betting

He noted that the posture of this govenrnent when they assumed power suggested that they would do things differently, but it appears to be business as usual following bloated beaurocracy of government, and failure to curb excessive spending.

According to him, President Tinubu has all it takes to lead sacrificially and by example, being the wealthiest occupant of Aso rock at the point of entry. He said this is the more reason why the president should control cost, and set an example of personal sacrifice for the legislators and others in government to follow.

“Foreign investors were just about to get convinced that we have a serious government, talking about tackling longstanding problems like fuel subsidy. What they also wanted to see was that their government was different. When you continue with bloated bearaucracy, voting sums of money to yourself, you send a signal to the whole world that you’re saying one thing with your lips but by your action is business as usual. Nigerian government has been known historically as being irresponsible

‘It is just not about beaurocracy, its also about lifestyle. You shouldn’t have ministers going down the road with multiple number of cars like emprmerrors all that should be cut out . It is high time the presidency call everyone to other and leave by example. Nigerians believe in do as I do not do as I say. Nigerians have been through hardship now and before. If you wnat to tighten our belt, you lead by example.

“I repeat, people can endure phenomenal hardship for as long as they can see the leaders making huge personal sacrifices”, he stressed.

Read also: Economic challenges: I find it impossible not to assist Nigerians undergoing hardship − Okwuosa

Speaking on FX crisis, he recommended that the irresponsibility in terms of using teh ways and means facility should reduce. And beyond that government must put everything in place to instill confidence so that peolwl can progressively bring tehir money in.

He said there are many untapped sources for FX such and the diaspora remittances which government must not underestimate.

Commenting on the 2023 election and the supreme Court verdict, Peterside urged the federal government to embrace electoral reforms.

He said government must allow for litigation after election before swearing the winner as obtained in other democracies and presidential system of government .