A Former vice president of Nigeria, Atiku Abubakar has asserted that President Bola Tinubu lacked an understanding of the economic reforms he embarked upon, on assumption of office.
Atiku, in a statement by his media aide, Paul Ibe, claimed that consequently, the president lacked an idea of what to do to mitigate the negative impacts of his reforms.
The former vice president added that presidential spokesman, Bayo Onanuga, rather than provide credible defence to President Tinubu’s alleged failure to address economic challenges confronting the country resorted to insults.
He said: “Only failed leaders play the ostrich and live in self-denial. The presidency’s response is full of lamentations and resorted to blame games. It is a familiar road travelled by the ruling party.
“It has become fashionable for every All Progressives Congress (APC)-led government to blame others, especially the opposition and external factors for Nigeria’s economic woes.
“Now, Tinubu is elevating the blame game to the next level as he accuses his own party of lacklustre performance.
“The evidence, however, is overwhelming. Tinubu’s under-performance is largely attributable to leadership failures in the management of the economy. The failure of leadership by the APC-led government is staring every Nigerian in the face as the country’s economic, social, political, and security challenges persist and assume frightening dimensions.
“An unprepared leadership such as Tinubu’s fails to anticipate impending crises and is always slow to react.”
Atiku, while stating that he offered better policy options in his campaign for the presidency, said his policy document outlined the economic challenges confronting the country and how to resuscitate the economy.
“Even if all the major candidates agreed that the fuel subsidy regime must end and that the multiple exchange rates must be fixed, this would not translate into endorsing Tinubu’s failures in implementation.
“The truth is that unlike Atiku, Tinubu did not understand the reforms he embarked upon and had no idea what steps to take to mitigate their negative impact.
“As a leader of vision, Atiku was ready for the potential fallout of his policies. Tinubu was clearly not ready.
It was only after he unleashed his morbid reforms that he started groping in the dark, looking for solutions. We all recall that in October 2023, the Financial Times of London rebuked Tinubu for announcing plans without ideas for how to implement them.
“Is Onanuga denying that cost-of-living pressures have intensified since May 2023? He needs to read the official statistics from the National Bureau of Statistics: The annual inflation rate reached a nearly 30-year high of 28.9 per cent in December 2023, up from 28.2 per cent in November.
“Would Onanuga deny that food prices, which constitute a significant portion of the Consumer Price Index basket, soared to 33.9 per cent in December, the highest level since August 2005? Would he also deny that in many states of the federation, citizens have blocked roads in protest? Just yesterday morning (Monday, February 5), it was reported that hundreds of residents of Minna in Niger State blocked major roads to protest hunger and the high cost of living in the country,” he said.
Atiku stated that unlike his plan to create an Economic Stimulus Fund with an initial investment of approximately US$10 billion to “support Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) across all the economic sectors,” President Tinubu “offered a paltry N125 billion to help the MSMEs, which at today’s exchange rate is no more than $100 million.”