#Aribigbola's Lines

Renewed Hope Agenda in retrospect

By Afolabi Aribigbola

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Today, May 29, 2024 makes it exactly one year since the present administration in Nigeria took over the affairs of the country with their very much mouthed and touted renewed hope agenda with which they secured the support of Nigerians. Of course, the administration headed by President Bola Ahmed Tinubu canvassed for and won the support of Nigerians to occupy the exalted office of the President of the most populous African country on his renewed hope agenda mantra that explicitly outlines areas where the government will work assiduously to improve the struggling and unenviable economic crisis to which the country has been thrown into over the years by bad governance and endemic corruption prevalence in the country.

 Indeed as the general practice globally, it is customary or  appropriate to have periodic stocktaking  of the activity of an organization and governments performance periodically and now that the present administration have been in the saddle affairs piloting the administration of the country, in the past one year, it is incumbent on us to look at their record of performance in the past 12 months to determine whether they are making the necessary impacts as promised in the 80 page document highlighting an eight point agenda to redress the descent to which the country has fallen over the years. Put differently, the 16th President has been in office for one year and therefore it is proper to look at his record of performance based on his roadmap on key national issues such as security, economy, agriculture, power, oil and gas, transportation, and education in the build-up to the 2023 election.

Also, President Bola Tinubu in his manifesto, promised to foster a new society based on shared prosperity, tolerance, compassion, and the unwavering commitment to treating each citizen with equal respect and due regard. He equally unequivocally promised to build a Nigeria, especially for the youth, where sufficient jobs with decent wages create a better life among others. The opportunity of one year anniversary usually offers unique opportunity for leaders to present their score cards of achievement in the preceding year(s). Consequently, in the last few days, the members of the cabinet of the 16thPresident of Nigeria have been presenting their stewardships highlighting their achievements and success stories in the last one year.

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In anticipation of celebration of one year anniversary of the present government and perhaps reading the mood and the problems prevalent in the country, the President has opted to celebrate the first anniversary of his government in a low key. An unusual or uncommon development in the polity, because over the years in the country government at all levels have developed the habit of elaborate celebration with several activities that usually cost the country fortune in the name of celebration. Whist applauding the decision of the President for choosing to celebrate the anniversary on a low key, it is incumbent on sincere and forthright Nigerians to draw the attention of the President to the disquietness and huge sufferings among the poverty ridden Nigerians.

Although it may be pretty too early to fully assess the administration now especially against the background that the President inherited a struggling and fallen economy that will require significant efforts and time, he has a responsibility to work to improve the appalling situation. Indeed, he acknowledged this when he came on air that people should not pity him that he applied to be President knowing the difficult situations and problems of the country and that he was prepared for the job. With hindsight therefore the government was set to address the hydraheaded problems facing the country when he took over the mantle of leadership of the country. Thus despite the seeming efforts and passion deployed before and during his inauguration as the 16th President of Nigeria in May 2023, there is nothing to indicate positive development one year after.

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All the areas of serious concerns that require urgent decisive proactive actions are still as they were in 2023 and in some cases such as in the economic sphere, the situations of the people have nose dive and become worse. In terms of the economy the present administration seems not to have fare well at all. Economic indices indicate a worsening situation. All over the country, prices of consumer commodities such as stable food including the common people’s food, garri has gone to high heaven. The price rose from about N200 per “congo” to as high as N1500. Unemployment reached the highest level about 4.1 per cent, with over 60 per cent of the youth either unemployed or underemployed. In all, the cost of living has tripled making living in Nigeria extremely difficult. As it is today, the country is witnessing unprecedented inflation in which the prices of all goods and services have gone up beyond the reach of common Nigerians. Available record as of April 2024, indicate a headline inflation rate has increased to 33.69 per cent from relative to the January 2024 headline inflation rate, which was 29.90 per cent.

All these have cumulatively escalated the high poverty level in the country with majority being unable to access and enjoy some of the basic necessities of life. The economic crisis have made some to conclude that living in the country is like living in hell which we were told bears unbearable heat. The government must come to terms with the appalling living condition of Nigerians. Things have never been this bad and harsh in Nigeria. Insecurity that has been bedeviling the country for some years did not abate as anticipated.

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 The reality is that it seems insecurity is escalating in all parts of the country including Abuja the seat of the Federal Government that have the priviledge of housing the headquarters of all security organisations in the country. In summary the government must come to terms with the reality that things are hard for ordinary Nigerians. Since the President promised to rescue Nigerians from the claws of economic retrogression, deep-rooted hardship and worsening insecurity that is destroying the economic fabric of the country including agriculture, the government must rise up to the occasion and come up with humane policies and programmes that will support sustainable living by the people. They should not be carried away with the World Bank and IMF capitalist policies and programmes such as removal of subsidies, floating of the national currency and other policies responsible for current economic instability and price volatility widespread in the country. The President must show more interest in security, poverty, high cost and scarcity of fuel, high cost of food and other necessities of life, decayed infrastructure and facilities in all parts of the country.

 The government must work harder to change all the negative narrative and records of the country to recover her from elephantiasis as promised by the President in the remaining three years of his administration. These are what shall be used by posterity to measure their administration’s performance not rhetoric that have rated the performance of government at 70 percent by his handlers. The government need to undertake in house assessment of government functionaries and relieve those not performing of their positions

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Renewed Hope Agenda in retrospect

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