From day one, President Bola Tinubu never left anybody in doubt about the thrust of his administration. On his inauguration day on May 29, 2023, the President caused a stir with his impromptu announcement of the removal of fuel subsidy. 

This has caused more hardship for a lot of Nigerians. Inflation is quite high. At the current rate of 24.08 per cent, it is the highest in 18 years. Food inflation is the worst. A bag of 50kg of rice which used to be about N35,000 before Tinubu came in, has skyrocketed to between N45,000 and N50,000. It is the same scenario for other food items.

The high cost of fuel has also caused a lot of problems for transporters. From about N185,000 a litre, the price of fuel jumped to about N600 a litre. In some places, it is over N600 a litre. This has engendered high cost in transportation and the attendant low patronage for transporters. 

This high cost of living necessitated the institution of palliative measures to cushion the effect of subsidy removal by the Federal Government. Initially, government announced that it would give N8,000 each for selected 12 million households per month. This was to last for six months. To achieve this, it secured approval for supplementary budget of N819 billion from the National Assembly. From this supplementary budget, the sum of N500 billion was earmarked for the palliatives. After much criticism, Tinubu suspended the programme.

Later, government came up with some other measures which include sharing N180billion to the 36 states of the federation as palliative fund to ease the hardship caused by the removal of fuel subsidy. Each state is to get N5 billion to procure 100,000 bags of rice, 40,000 bags of maize and fertilizers. So far, the first tranche of N2 billion has been given to each of the states. This will only give little temporary relief as the hardship in the country is very deep and will take much more than mere palliatives to reverse. Besides, the programme is prone to serious abuse as it is not certain how the state governments will determine the beneficiaries as there is no reliable data in Nigeria.    

Even more disturbing is the value of the naira. During his campaign for the presidential election, Tinubu criticised the immediate past administration for the poor management of the country’s foreign exchange market. The past 100 days have seen the battering of the Naira, which currently stands at over N900 per dollar.

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Although the investment climate is still very poor, there seems to be efforts to attract foreign investors. Recently, the President visited India where he met with the Chairman and CEO of the Hinduja Group of Companies, Mr. Prakash Hinduja. What this shuttle diplomacy will bring remains to be seen. 

It also remains to be seen how he will navigate through the coup virus ravaging West Africa. As the Chairman of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), Tinubu led the regional bloc to impose sanctions against Niger Republic where soldiers toppled the civilian government of Mohamed Bazoum on July 26, 2023. All entreaties to the Abdourahamane Tchiani-led military junta to restore constitutional democracy in the country fell on deaf ears. Initially, Tinubu threatened to invade Niger with ECOWAS forces and gave the junta seven days to restore Bazoum. This threat faced severe criticisms. So far, the regional bloc appears to have abandoned the idea.  

At the home front, Tinubu faces security problems. Although he inherited a bad security atmosphere from Muhammadu Buhari administration, there are no concrete measures yet to solve the problem. Rather, the problem appears to have worsened. Recently, a group of terrorists ambushed and attacked soldiers on a rescue mission in Shiroro local government area of Niger state, killing about 36 of them. Kidnapping for ransom has also not abated. Last month, eight youth corps members travelling from Akwa Ibom State to Sokoto for their national orientation were abducted in Zamfara. The kidnappers demanded some ransom. The parents managed to pay N13 million. But rather than release the abductees, the terrorists increased the ransom amount to N200 million. So far, the victims are still in captivity.      

Tinubu appointed new service chiefs soon after he took over power. The number of days the service chiefs have stayed in office may not be enough to assess their performance, but from what we have seen so far, there may not be any significant difference or change in the security architecture of the country.

The appointment of ministers also came in the nick of time. But most of the ministers are old politicians who may not deviate from the corrupt tendencies in the system. It appeared the President used the appointment to settle political IOUs. Besides, the number of the ministers, which is 45 with three more remaining to be sworn in, appears unwieldy. The number is the highest since the advent of this democracy in 1999. This sends a wrong signal that the waste associated with the past regimes may continue. 

As the President moves to tackle the numerous problems in Nigeria during his tenure in power, we advise that he should do everything possible to achieve his eight-point agenda. In all he does, transparency and prudence should be his watchword.