President Bola Tinubu’s nationwide broadcast on Monday has been criticised as a gross waste of time by Mr. Phrank Shaibu, the special assistant on public communications to former vice president Atiku Abubakar.
This is in line with his observation that the speech was merely given to persuade organised labour to call off its scheduled statewide strike for Wednesday.
The President ought to have apologised to Nigerians for the agony he had caused them over the previous two months, Shaibu added, “After removing petrol subsidy without a clear plan that would have alleviated the people’s sufferings.”
In a statement issued on Monday, Shaibu said, “ The speech is deceptive and a complete waste of time. Tinubu’s speech was hurriedly put together in order to dissuade the suffering masses and the organised labour from embarking on protests. Rather than apologise for removing subsidy without providing a cushion for the poor, he went about accusing subsidy thieves of being behind the current suffering. If he is sure of this, why hasn’t he arrested them?”
The former vice president’s aide stated, “Tinubu also lied when he claimed that he had for years been an advocate of subsidy removal. This was a man who in 2012 described petrol subsidy removal as ‘the Goodluck Jonathan tax,’ and sponsored protests in Lagos State. After he dubiously got to power, he lacked imagination on how to address the issue and then removed the subsidy but without a plan.”
According to him, “Tinubu’s so-called plans to provide N50,000 grants to small businesses would be undermined by inflation, exchange rate problems and corruption.”
He continued, “Tinubu says he will provide N50,000 (about $60) to 1, 300 nano businesses. This is reminiscent of the dubious tradermoni and the monthly N20,000 spent on the public works programme of the last APC government which not only failed to stimulate the economy but also worsened poverty as funds went into private pockets.
“What mechanism is in place to ensure that poor Nigerians access this? The answer is none. This is nothing but deception as we shall all see in the coming weeks.”
Shaibu also faulted Tinubu’s plan to give 500,000 hectares of land to farmers in order to boost agriculture, even when the insecurity in Benue State had failed to reduce.
“The Land Use Act puts lands under the purview of the governors. His so-called plan to provide 500,000 hectares is just part of the deception and a continuation of Buhari’s failed promises.
“Besides, just on Saturday, farmers were killed and others kidnapped in Birnin Gwari, Kaduna State. Till now, there has not been a word from the Presidential Villa.
“Most of the communities being attacked are agrarian communities which rely on farming. What sort of plan can you implement in the agric sector without first tackling insecurity?”
Shaibu further criticised the President for saying that the minimum wage would soon be increased, saying that it was clear Tinubu had not adequately planned for the end of the petrol subsidy.
Shouldn’t the debate over raising the minimum wage have taken place before the loss of subsidies? Putting the cart before the horse is the height of ignorance, he continued.