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Tinubu And The Creation Of A New Society By abiodun KOMOLAFE



Nigeria is at a critical juncture; and in such a context, it is _“cometh the moment, cometh the man”._ For President Bola Tinubu, this adversity should be turned into a historic advantage which should propel him to be the creator of a new society and his place in history will be assured, not for all time but forever. Men who took advantage of their opportunity include Park Chung Hee of South Korea, Lee Kuan Yew of Singapore, Mahathir Mohamad of Malaysia and Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva of Brazil. Take it or leave it, Nigeria is in it already but this is a historic task for Tinubu to right the wrongs; and it must not be long.

In life, every day counts! Tinubu has already spent more than 20% of his four-year tenure. By May 28, 2024, he will have used 25% of his tenure as President and Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces. So, the clock is ticking and time waits for no one! Reinventing the wheel shouldn’t be an option!

It is a historic turning point for Nigeria and Tinubu has a historic opportunity to position himself as the creator of a new political economy and the builder of a new Nigeria. If he gets it right, especially by reconstructing an economy that was hitherto based on parasitic activities, the country will never look back. If he is able to midwife a production, export-led economy, the changes brought will be irreversible and Tinubu will become the equivalent of Hee, Yew, and da Silva. Then he should forget about the next election as his place in history as the creator of a new Nigeria will have been assured and cemented. It will have been signed, sealed and delivered!

According to Karl Marx, _“men make their own history, but they do not make it as they please; they do not make it under self-selected circumstances but under circumstances existing already, given and transmitted from the past …”_ In a word, Tinubu is asked to make history but not in ways that he would have chosen or wanted but he still has to make that history in a positive manner. In order to attract more support from the masses therefore, what is expected from our president is to understand that sermons will not quench thirst and hunger even as change is not expected to be in a day but a daily process. He must understand that dispensational factors are expected to play notable roles in the fulfillment of his agenda for the Nigeria of his vision and that the opposition and those benefiting from the afflictions confronting Nigerians are not relenting. Since they are condemned to the monstrous conventions of politics, they aren’t going to sleep either. But if the president asked not to be pitied, Nigerians are seriously asking for his pity.

Tinubu is expected to represent the progressive currents that have passed through the Nigerian space, going back to the foundation of _‘Egbe Omo Oduduwa’, Northern Elements Progressive Union_ (NEPU) and others. So, the president must return to the basic tenets of social democracy – the German-type social market and shared prosperity.

But why are his ministers not functioning and why are they not talking to Nigerians about what their respective ministries are bringing to the table to help Nigeria out of this socioeconomic morass? For reasons best known to most of them, there’s no functional, mobile and serious in-house media to help coordinate their media outlets other than the usual _‘kick-and-start’_ creation of bureaucracy. There is no meeting of minds and it’s as if our ministers are scared of taking bullets for the president, which, of course, is one of their central functions as presidential aides.

The two performing ministries in times of Balance of Payment crises ought to be Solid Minerals and Blue Economy. In the 1960s, the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) alone provided not less than 42% of the Federal Government Budget, up to the end of the First Republic. Impliedly, the Marine and Blue Economy under Gboyega Oyetola should be prepared to give about 18% of Nigeria’s Budget with ease. Whether we like it or not, Nigeria has to export her way up out of the wahala in which she’s currently immersed. To respond to the Balance of Trade and currency crises, the economic strategy is to export in order to import with a view to balancing its payments.

One of the reasons the world continues to remember former Prime Minister Tony Blair and former President Bill Clinton is that, immediately after they assumed office, they set up what could be referred to as public sector targets with fixed timelines for every minister. Because they did that, the ministers were very effective, not just because they were brilliant. It’s because they had targets that were eventually met; and that’s why the two leaders ended well. In Nigeria, how do we appraise performance without targets and timelines? Therefore, Tinubu should give every minister public-sector targets with fixed timelines as it’s done in sane climes. This is very important because every hour counts! The performance evaluation team put in place by the president also has to give a dispassionate report on the ministers because Nigerians expect more from them.

If truth be told, those who have been assuring Nigerians that all would be well are not telling us something new. As we speak, the hypocrisy of the dollar remains unsurpassed even as the inflation rate is 29.9%. Yes, that terrible record is the highest in 28 years. The more reason Tinubu needs our prayers! Here’s a man who said that nobody should pity him because he asked for the job, that the current pains were products of his tough policies geared towards revamping the economy and that the situation would soon begin to smile. However, laudable as these promises may be, it is perhaps because most Nigerians see the president as being above their level that his messages seem not to be resonating with them. They don’t see him as speaking the same language with them, coming down to dance their dance or taking their brand of tea. Should the president continue this way, his reforms may become wounded and, his legacy, troubled.

As a Yoruba leader of the _Afenifere_ bent, Tinubu’s cardinal focus should be the creation of state police, restructuring and better life for all. God forbid, should he miss this rare opportunity, then there may be no hope again for the progressives and Yoruba race will be worse for it. Yes, he might have come at the wrong time but the satisfying truth is that he remains the right man for the job. He is a pro-democracy fighter and an advocate for human dignity. He has promoted self-rule with all his might and fought oligarchy and shallowness of thought in governance. He has led many situations perceived to be for the good of all and spearheaded measures aimed at restoring values and a new beginning.

So, what practical things does Tinubu want to do in practical ways that will bring practical succor to the people? If it is a four-lane road that he’s going to construct from Ijebu-Jesa, my Native Nazareth in Osun State, through Fenwa Community in Oyo State, to Daura in Katsina State, the president should let us know! If it is power, he should give instructions to Adebayo _‘Penkelemesi’_ Adelabu on how to move beyond cruising in the unmatched comfort of wattages of darkness to truly deliver on his mandate. Nigerians are no longer interested in excuses that do not edify prosperity. What Nigerians want going forward is result.

May the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world, grant us peace in Nigeria!

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