From Romanus Ugwu, Abuja

Today, President Bola Ahmed Tinubu-led All Progressives Congress (APC) government will clock one year on the saddle. It is exactly nine years the ruling party took over powers from the main opposition party, Peoples Democratic Party(PDP).  Former President Goodluck Jonathan of the PDP handed over power to President Muhammadu Buhari in 2015 after the APC trounced the opposition in the general elections.

Expectedly, the perception of many observers concerning the achievements or failure of the current APC-led administration varies. For some, the one-year APC government under President Tinubu has been a cocktail of unfulfilled promises, monumental failure, worsening insecurity, a near comatose economy, policy somersault, and asphyxiation of citizens through unending taxes.

Yet for others, President Tinubu is the best thing to have happened to the country, and the man with the Midas touch and magic wand to turn around the declining fortune of the country caused by the immediate past administration of Muhammadu Buhari.

Under his watch in the past one year, according to the Minister of Information and Culture, Mohammed Idris Malagi, President Tinubu has laid a solid and enduring foundation to make life better for the people of Nigeria.

For him; “Landmark initiatives like the Consumer Credit Corporation, the Nigeria Education Loan Fund, Presidential Initiative on Compressed Natural Gas, and the N200 billion Presidential Grant and Loan Scheme, agriculture and food security efforts (including the launch of dry season farming, and massive fertilizer distribution) are by no means some of his modest achievements.

“The Renewed Hope Infrastructure Development Fund (RHIDF), Renewed Hope Cities and Estates programme, reform efforts in the Electricity Sector, and area of taxes, fiscal policy, and the negotiations for a befitting new National Minimum Wage are some of the several policies and programmes that will directly touch and improve the lives and livelihoods of tens of millions of Nigerians.”

Idris further expressed the commitment of President Tinubu towards ensuring that the cost of living and doing business in Nigeria is brought down significantly, assuring that it will put more money into the pockets of Nigerians, attract more local and foreign investment, and transform the nation’s infrastructure. “We will not pause or relent until we have delivered truly Renewed Hope to all Nigerians,” he promised.

Interestingly, the government’s spokesperson was not alone in rolling out a positive assessment of the Tinubu-led APC government. Drumming similar support and even pushing for a fresh mandate for him, APC National Chairman, Abdullahi Umar Ganduje, claimed that he has done exceedingly well so far and has even surpassed the expectations of many Nigerians.

In his defense, Ganduje referred to the; “drastic reduction in oil theft, pipeline vandalism and increment in crude oil production, as some of the inroads he has so far recorded. The compressed natural gas (CNG) initiative by President Tinubu will cushion the hardship faced by Nigerians due to the increase in the price of fuel.”

Appraising its own, the ruling party stressed that President Tinubu did not cause any of the problems ravaging the country whether in the economy or other sectors, emphasising that; “what he encountered on ground would have created a worse situation if not properly handled, but he is championing reforms that are required to pave the way for a better society.”

The party further argued that the economy is now gradually transformed into a credit-based consumer economy that will improve agriculture, with a focus on dry season farming to positively impact food security and food prices, as well as deliver enabling infrastructure and access to education, among other things.

It listed other achievements by Mr President including the use of cheap and clean compressed natural gas (CNG), adding that it has now become a reality under President Tinubu’s administration.

The ruling party equally claimed that President Tinubu has done well in the area of infrastructure, by approving the construction/completion and rehabilitation of several road projects across the country, including the Kano-Abuja, Kano-Eastern Bypass road project, the 700-kilometer Lagos-Calabar Coastal road, the 1000-kilometer Badagry-Sokoto road, and the 3500-unit Renewed Hope Housing Cities and Estates, which are currently built in 13 states of the country.

“At a recent FAAC meeting, the total distributable revenue for April 2024 was N1.2 trillion, the highest ever disbursement in history. N655.8 billion was shared at this time last year during the subsidy era. As a result, sub-national governments, in particular, are receiving double their previous allocations, resulting in more funds for critical infrastructure and the ability to do more to help people.

“The reform-minded Tinubu administration also unified the exchange rates, which inevitably sent those benefiting from arbitrage out of business. Of course, it did not take long for Nigeria to reap the benefits, as the economy grew by 3.46 per cent in the fourth quarter of 2023, compared to 2.54 per cent in the previous quarter, and capital imports increased by 66 per cent in Q4 of 2023, compared to a 33 per cent decline in the previous quarter.

“Let us not forget how oil production has grown steadily since the second quarter of 2023, from 1.22 million barrels per day to 1.55 million barrels per day, implying additional resources even as non-oil revenue continues to rise as a result of the Tinubu administration’s finance,” the ruling party highlighted.

Ironically, despite the achievements which the government claims it has achieved, what cannot be contradicted, according to political watchers, is that Nigerians are suffering and dissatisfied with the current situation which has substantially reduced the people’s standard of living.

The damning assessment of the administration by former APC National Vice Chairman, North-West, Salihu Moh Lukman, may suffice to confirm that many Nigerians harbour disgruntled feelings against the Tinubu administration.

Lukman, in the statement he issued recently, noted that; “after one year in office, the government of President Tinubu has turned out to be another experience replicating reality of illusive politics, which has reduced citizens, party leaders and members to distant observers.

“Painfully, against every expectation that President Tinubu will reignite the Lagos success story at the national level, his government is creating doubts in the minds of Nigerians about the prospect of resolving the country’s challenges with incidences of policy missteps and reversals.

“As a result, crisis of insecurity has remained. Problems of inflation, unemployment, and poverty are on the increase. Politically, the APC has continued to follow the track of disrespect to its own rules so much so that we have shamelessly produced a serving governor who is using his immunity to block law enforcement officials from undertaking their responsibility to investigate corruption allegations against his predecessor.

“The bigger disappointment is the troubling reality whereby political mercenaries who fought against President Tinubu’s election during the 2023 elections are now his strongest allies with free access and party loyalists who campaigned and stood by him have been denied access and are held in contempt.”

But, regardless of Lukman’s impressions about President Tinubu’s achievements and failures in the past one year, thousand and one alibis may have hampered and/or retarded his progress.

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While some Nigerians will undoubtedly give the current administration credit for the prompt composition of the federal cabinet unlike his predecessor, former president Buhari, regardless of the calibre and competence of the appointees, many will however argue that his renewed hope agenda has on the contrary, dashed the hopes of many Nigerians so far.

Many political watchers seem to be in sync in their assessment of President Tinubu’s economic policies, agreeing that it has inflicted more pain than hope on many Nigerians. They further argued that its policy somersault, hopelessness, infrastructural deficit, and acceptance of unpleasant policies from international agencies like the IMF have overshadowed whatever goodwill the APC-led government may have recorded.

Many have contended that his failure in thematic areas of subsidy removal, devaluation of the naira in the foreign exchange market, and the introduction of new taxes and increments in tariffs, like electricity, may have cast doubts on the sincerity of the present administration.

It is debatable, according to them, whether he has fulfilled his promise, in his renewed hope agenda, to diversify the economy through exploration of other mineral resources like solid minerals, and agro-based exports, among others to reduce Nigeria’s over-dependence on oil.

The APC-led government may have also promised to tackle insecurity, especially banditry, Boko Haram Islamic militants, ethnic agitations, farmer/herder clashes, food shortage, inflation, unemployment, and poverty among many others, but to what extent have they fulfilled them?

One year after, Fulani herders are still ravaging and ferocious in their attacks on farmers and villages and economic hardship has persisted with many Nigerians finding it difficult to feed.

The situation has led to Nigerians especially youths leaving the country in droves,.

In his assessment of the one year of Tinubu’s administration, former APC National Secretary, Waziri Bulama, told Daily Sun that so much still needed to be done.

He said: “I am impressed by the posture of the President. He stated from day one when he was sworn in, that he knew what the job was and what it entailed. Secondly, he also said that he campaigned for this job, and has prepared for it over the years. He said that having campaigned for it, he is prepared to take responsibility for governing the country.

“The remarkable, profound decisions to manage the economy to rescue the economy from grinding to a halt include the three major ones like removal of fuel subsidy, merger of the exchange rate of naira and increase in tariffs.

“They are major decisions that are necessary to prevent the collapse of the economy. The resultant effects of these decisions have also been very profound, far far-reaching with large implications and impact on the cost of living. The cost of goods and services in the country has increased astronomically in three, and fourfold stronger.

“It was bad that they really made Nigerians find it difficult to survive, buy foodstuff, and transport themselves from one point to the other. It has been a very difficult period for everyone. Honestly, the last one year has been a very difficult period,” he lamented.

The former ruling party’s scribe however noted that; “the most important thing is the determination of the leaders to hold themselves to account and their pledge to respond to the emerging problems that they either inherited, or brought about by policy reform decisions that they have taken in their preparedness to address this issue. These are the remarkable things that one can notice in the last one year of this administration.”

However, despite the impression and recent assessment by many Nigerians on the successes and failures of the current administration of President Tinubu, he boasted that the last 12 months of his administration have been “fulfilling”, regardless of some challenges he is encountering.

Appraising his administration’s performance when he received a delegation of Yoruba leaders of thought at the State House in Abuja, Tinubu re-emphasised the commitment of his administration to do all it takes for the average Nigerian to feel the impact of governance, stressing ironically that the country is no longer “bleeding”, but moving into prosperity.

He said: “It has been challenging. It has been fulfilling as well. We took over, and we have stopped the bleeding. I can say categorically now that Nigeria is no longer bleeding. And it will not bleed to death, but rather will now move to prosperity.

“That is the promise that I made to you all, and it is also the charge that you gave to me. We are managing to swim through the pond. The current is not a good one. We will turn the tide. We are turning the bend. This I assure you. I am being very careful. The worst is over for Nigeria. We will prevail.

“I think the team has been working really hard. All I can promise is that we will do whatever it takes. We are determined, and we will work so that all Nigerians can feel the impact of good governance. Healthcare upgrading is ongoing. Road rehabilitation and construction is ongoing. Education development is ongoing.

“I can tell you that Nigeria is no longer printing paper money and deceiving itself that it has a base for survival. Nigeria went through terrible labour pains, but we have seen the baby coming out alive.”

But, regardless of the alibi that he inherited a struggling economy, which he promised to get running in his eight-point agenda, with national security and economy topping the list in his 80-page policy document, there has been disquiet around the country because of rising inflation to insecurity and a shaky exchange rate.

For other pundits, the calibre of persons he assembled as cabinet members, leaves much to be desired, stressing that it was evidenced during the sectoral ministerial briefing when many of them could not present a tangible scorecard of their achievements in nearly one year.

“Apart from notable ones like the Minister of the FCT, Nyesom Wike, Works and Housing, David Umahi, Interior, Olubunmi Ojo among very few others, many of the Ministers have little or no scorecard to show for one year. Only a few Nigerians can conveniently name 10 Tinubu Ministers after close to one year,” an APC chieftain told Daily Sun in confidence.

Summing up APC’s foray into power so far, former member of APC National Working Committee (NWC), Lukman wrote: “If the hallmark of the tenure of former president Buhari is the trauma of dashed hopes for citizens, we must, as Nigerian citizens and as committed progressive politicians wake up and remedy the ugly and despicable experience of illusive politics. After one year in office, the unmistakable message must be conveyed to President Tinubu and by extension all APC leaders that the democratic future of Nigeria is not negotiable.”

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