In about two months’ time, President Bola Ahmed Tinubu, the Jagaban, would have spent one year in office. For the former governor of Lagos State, and ex-Senator of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, who captured the presidential power with eloquent deployment of his Emilokan speech, which means it is my turn to rule, after helping Buhari to be President, time is not his friend. Time cannot wait for him. Time is moving fast and he must catch up with it.

When many people thought that the Emilokan speech would have backfired on its exponent, it really worked in favour of Jagaban after some fence mending with Buhari, his godfather. The former president is known for rewarding his political allies and friends. He is very good in that regard. He never forgets his friends. His nepotism does not reach there. That is probably why he ensured that Jagaban succeeded him at all costs. He wanted the APC bad legacies to continue and that is the needless affliction we are all suffering today.

The Emilokan utterance generated much heat in the polity that many feared that Tinubu had lost it with that avoidable altercation. In his memoir, Working with Buhari, Reflections of A Special Adviser, Media and Publicity (2015-2023), Femi Adesina dedicated Chapter 20 to Emilokan, entitled ‘Emilokan: How President Buhari Received the News.’ According to him, “Asiwaju Tinubu said many things, but what touched on President Buhari directly was without him (Asiwaju), Buhari would never have been President, and that it was now his turn to rule.” The tactless utterance might have infuriated and troubled Buhari so deeply but at the end of the day, maturity and common sense prevailed. The overall need to perpetuate APC in power took precedence over other minor personal considerations and there must be some worthwhile agreements reached between the godfather and his son. It is a familiar terrain in Nigerian politics. You rub my back, I rub yours. You fall for me, I fall for you.

How Tinubu used Emilokan to reach Aso Rock is now history. Those reading Political Science in the universities can do in-depth research on that. That notwithstanding, what is more important now is what he does with the presidential power for the four years of his term, for which one year is almost gone. He should be reminded that the presidency is never a trophy or a prize; it is a call to national and patriotic duty. It is a call for higher service. He should be thinking of his legacies in office and not about giving appointments to his tribe’s men and women. The president of Nigeria should see the entire country as his constituency and not his ethnic group.

Sadly, Buhari, the political godfather of Tinubu introduced the worst type of nepotism into our politics. I don’t see any difference between Buhari and Tinubu, politically speaking. They represent two sides of the same old coin. Buhari mismanaged both our diversity and economy and even politics. Unfortunately, Tinubu has reinforced the ethnic template and carrying it a notch higher.

His management of the economy is below average for now. The economy under Jagaban is bleeding and has nothing to write home about. No thanks to his hasty removal of fuel subsidy and unification of the exchange rates. Before he came to power the exchange rate was about N450/$. But now it hovers between N1300/$ and N1350/$. Before May 29, 2023, a 50 kg of rice was sold N30,000 or slightly above, now it sells for N90,000. There are strong fears that it may go up to N100,000. The prices of fish, chicken, goat meat and beef have gone beyond the reach of the poor or the proverbial common man.

As Christians celebrate Easter on Sunday, many of our Christian brothers and sisters may not afford rice and chicken. A big sized chicken or fowl which was sold some months ago for N16,000 now sells for N25,000. Similarly, a paint of garri formerly sold for N1000 or N1500 now sells for N3000. The prices of pepper, tomato, ogbono, egusi have gone up as well. Are these items imported with American dollar? Yet, the national minimum wage remains static at a paltry N30,000 a month. Pity poor Nigerian workers! Upon all this, Nigerian politicians still live in opulence. Our federal lawmakers still enjoy their jumbo pay and allowances and cruise around with Japanese Prado Jeeps bought with millions of taxpayers’ money. They are now paid millions of naira as constituency project money, another euphemism for corruption and money for the boys.

They distinguished honorable members of NASS were once given N2million naira each as prayer points in a country where the prayer points of millions of Nigerians include food, water, security, good roads, US/UK/Canada visa, cure for malaria, safe delivery, safe journey on Nigeria’s bad roads and safety from armed robbers, kidnappers, bandits and terrorists. Our lawmakers see budget padding as nothing but a must before any national budget is passed. Budgets now witness insertion of questionable projects and amounts allocated multiple times for the same items using different headings. Nigeria we hail thee! This is why poverty is expanding with over 133 million Nigerians described as being poor multi-dimensionally. That is their poverty is in multiples, lack of food, housing, electricity, water, money and others. 

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Democracy for us has meant alienation, suffering, poverty and misery. Many of our state governors have become despots and use state money and other resources as they like. Some of them live and operate from Abuja. The world has left us. We need to do a catch up. Nigeria needs new breed of politicians. Good enough, Senegal has given us a good example by electing 44-year-old Bassirou Diomaye Faye as new president. Nigeria needs young men and women who can turn things around for the better. We must stop recycling old and tired politicians that have nothing to offer this great country, the giant of Africa.

Undoubtedly, Nigeria under Tinubu reads like a book of lamentations with rising insecurity, kidnapping for huge ransom, abductions for dollar ransom and killing of Nigerians by bandits, terrorists, kidnappers, killer herdsmen, non-state actors and other criminals. Nigerians are weeping and gnashing their teeth over insecurity, and high cost of living. While the recent effort in rescuing 137 Kuriga school children from bandits is commendable, whether government paid ransom or not, it should not be a one-off event. Some prospective youth corps members from Akwa Ibom who were abducted somewhere in Zamfara State on their way to Sokoto State are still in captivity. They too should be rescued.

It has now become dangerous to be deployed for the NYSC. Can’t that scheme be scrapped as other overused intervention programmes? Its major aim of uniting Nigerians has failed. Since its inception in 1973 till date, Nigerians have become more divided and our politics has become more divisive. Since the publicized release of Kuriga school children, the bandits have abducted others in the same Kaduna State. This indicates that abduction, especially school children, the future of our tomorrow, has become a lucrative business just as some people turned kidnapping into a huge business with higher returns.

Sadly, Nigeria has become a country of anything goes. Ministers can embezzle billions of naira and nothing happens, except mere suspension from office. Let Tinubu rescue the Akwa Ibom corps members and many school children and other Nigerians still in captivity of the bandits, terrorists and kidnappers, even if it means using kinetic and non-kinetic measures.

For Tinubu and his apparent nepotistic administration, the time is running fast or even flying at a great speed. As time waits for no one, time does not wait for the Jagaban, the strong man of Lagos politics and the leader of South-West politics. With almost one year gone, this administration has only 24 months for effective governance, the other 12 months would be spent for campaign for a possible second term in office if he wishes to contest in the 2027 general election. No doubt, Jagaban will contest the 2027 presidential election. Why do I say so? That has been the pattern of politics in Nigeria since 1999 when the present democratic dispensation commenced.

Even if he decided not to contest, his willing supporters would force him to do so. No Nigerian politician has refused the aroma of contesting for a second term in office.

One particular president was rumoured to have romanticized with even a third term in office, which Nigerians vehemently opposed.  Nigerians recognize the fact that time is money and that time is of great essence in whatever we do. One Nigerian popular musician captured the essence of time in his song, ‘Time na money.’ Even in the biblical world, time is of great importance hence the preacher in Ecclesiastes Chapter 3 entitled, ‘Everything Has Its Time,’ enunciated the significance of adequate deployment of time in human activities. According to the Preacher, “Everything on earth has its own time and its own season. There is a time for birth and death, planting and reaping, for killing and healing, destroying and building, for crying and laughing, weeping and dancing, for throwing stones and gathering stones, embracing and parting. There is time for finding and losing, keeping and giving, for tearing and sewing, listening and speaking. There is also time for love and hate, for war and peace.”

Tinubu and other political leaders should draw useful lessons from the Preacher’s words of wisdom on time and its deployment. Nigerian politicians should stop confusing between campaign time and time for real governance. It is evil to use the time for governance for campaign. What will President Tinubu reel out on May 29, 2024 as his achievements to mark the first anniversary of his administration? I have searched and searched but could not see those pace-setting accomplishments of this administration. It appears that everything is still promises upon promises. It shouldn’t be so. The President must give accurate account of what his administration has done, one year down the line. Tinubu has no luxury of time any longer. He should use his time well before his tenure is over. A stitch in time saves nine.

His media team should start assembling those achievements in all sectors of the economy and regale Nigerians with what Asiwaju has done in one year. I don’t want them to blame the opposition for what Asiwaju has not done. The opposition has nothing to do with it. When will Asiwaju restructure Nigeria? When will he give us state police, stable exchange rate, sound economy, stable power supply, loans for students, affordable housing, potable water? Perhaps tomorrow, tomorrow and tomorrow!