Former Vice-President Atiku Abubakar’s Special Assistant on Public Communication, Phrank Shaibu, has described the speech delivered by President Bola Tinubu on Independence Day as insipid, uninspiring, empty and exudes renewed hopelessness.
Shaibu said in a statement on Sunday that Tinubu had failed to increase the minimum wage after destroying the naira and removing petrol subsidy which ultimately pushed inflation to over 25 per cent.
He said, “Many workers were hopeful that minimum wage would be announced today. However, what Tinubu decided to do was to add an allowance of N25,000 ($25) to the lowest paid workers for six months only. This is a man that is clearly callous and lacking in ideas.
“He claimed he refused to increase the minimum wage in order not to worsen the inflation rate. If he cared so much about the inflation rate, he ought to have planned properly before removing the petrol subsidy and forced the central bank to embark on a failed exchange rate unification policy which has not been backed by a corresponding boost in exports.
“In effect, Tinubu put the cart before the horse and now that the horse has trampled on the cart, he is making excuses for his own incompetence. This is shameful.”
Shaibu added that the industrial action by the organised labour was evidence that Tinubu had failed to carry along the average Nigerian.
“He told the organised labour and Nigerians at large to be patient. While they gave him the benefit of the doubt and delayed a bit, he decided to proceed to court to obtain a court order barring them from going on strike. This has become the stock in trade of the APC.
“However, now that Nigerians are drowning from Tinubu’s ill-conceived policies, the organised labour and even the majority of Nigerians are threatening to disobey the court order. This is the sort of chaos that Tinubu’s illegitimate administration is about to push Nigerians into.
“Rather than negotiate with labour in an honest manner, Tinubu has been sponsoring crisis in affiliate unions of the NLC like the NURTW where his minion, MC Oluomo, and others are constantly attacking the NLC. Tinubu should be reminded of the fact that money cannot buy everything.”
He further described Tinubu’s promise to distribute palliatives to the poorest of the poor as another ruse to fool innocent and desperate Nigerians.
According to him, the recent embarrassment at the Ministry of Humanitarians Affairs where appointments were made into non-existent offices and defunct World Bank projects was evidence that the Tinubu administration was not ready for governance but was only after enriching party supporters.
Shaibu stated, “The Minister of Humanitarian Affairs and Poverty Alleviation, Dr Beta Edu, made fresh appointments into non-existent entities and defunct World Bank- supported projects, according to media reports.
“Edu announced the appointment of 13 persons to head different entities and programmes under her ministry. Most of these appointees were APC members who have no expertise whatsoever as regards humanitarian affairs.
“She appointed one Olubunmi Bello as the national coordinator of the Community and Social Development Programme (CSDP), a defunct $415million World Bank-funded intervention project that was launched in 2009 and officially concluded in June, 2021.
“She appointed one Richard Romanus as the national programme manager of the Youth Empowerment and Social Support Operations (YESSO), another defunct World Bank-supported project. It is obvious that people are being appointed into non-existing offices just to share the national cake. There is no plan whatsoever to distribute any palliative. This is the sort of sham that the Bola Tinubu administration is known for.”
Shaibu said Tinubu must note that the removal of petrol subsidy is not an achievement. “Rather, it is what is done with the money that is saved from the removal of subsidy that would determine if the regime is a success or not,” he noted.
He also faulted Tinubu for describing himself as an achiever for removing subsidy and for saying that subsidy ought to have been removed earlier.
Atiku’s aide noted that Tinubu was one of the loudest voices against subsidy removal back in 2012 when the Goodluck Jonathan administration decided to remove it.
Shaibu said, “Tinubu should bury his face in shame for criticising former Presidents for retaining subsidies. Here is a man who described petrol increase back in January 2012 as ‘Jonathan tax’ when subsidy was removed at the time.
“Tinubu told Jonathan to go after the oil thieves rather than Nigerians. Let Tinubu also be brave enough to expose and prosecute the so-called subsidy thieves he loves to reference in every speech. Let Tinubu also be man enough to apologise for sponsoring protests in Lagos back in 2012 over subsidy.”
Atiku’s aide also knocked Tinubu for claiming in his speech that he had been fair to all segments of Nigeria.
He said Tinubu was only being clever by half as his appointments had shown that he was only bent on rewarding his kinsmen with the biggest of appointments.
“Tinubu’s claim that he has been fair to all segments of Nigeria is another lie that is as palpable as the claim that he was the first African leader to ring the NASDAQ bell. This is a man who appointed only five statutory ministers from the southeast because they didn’t vote for him and then appointed 10 from his own region.
“He has also put almost all key revenue generating agencies in the hands of his kinsmen including customs, FIRS and the CBN. The NNPC is the only one that remains outside of the southwest for now,” he said.