Nigerians have been advised not to be deluded by the expression of optimism in some quarters that the impending change of baton from President Muhammadu Buhari to the President-Elect, Bola Ahmed Tinubu, on May 29 will bring goodies to the nation.
Rather, there are enough signals already in the air portending that the Tinubu Presidency offers no hope capable of reversing Nigeria’s current adversity occasioned by the eight-year rule of the outgoing Buhari Administration, which many have adjudged as uninspiring.
This was the viewpoint expressed by notable lawyer and public interest activist, Inibehe Effiong while speaking as a guest on Boiling Point Arena, a popular online discourse monitored via Google Meet and transmitted live on an Abeokuta-based radio station, Oodua 99.9FM.
Effiong spoke on the topic, ‘Post-Inauguration: Nigeria in the hands of President Bola Tinubu—Quo-Vadis?’ during the 7th edition of Boiling Point Arena, a forum for good governance and national development, convened by a notable media professional and activist, Ayo Arowojolu.
Two other guests and discussants are, the All Progressive Congress (APC) chieftain and erstwhile Chairman, Amuwo Odofin Local Government Area, Lagos, Ayodele Adewale, and a Canada-based economist, Wole Akinseloyin.
Effiong said; “For me as a Nigerian, I think we should be cautious in our optimism about what the Tinubu Presidency will portend. I envision that the Tinubu Presidency will be generally transactional, just as we are already seeing with the jostling for offices at the National Assembly, where it is the President-elect that is busying himself with who will emerge as Senate President and Speaker.
“To me, it does appear as if Tinubu has not really seen the hopelessness and the peril the country is in right now. President Buhari has brought Nigeria to its knees. Buhari’s failure has been a result of mistrust in governance and total disregard for public opinion. His administration has little regard for Nigerians.
“The President started with medical tourism and is ending it the same way because, as we speak, he is away on another foreign trip to treat himself (The president returned to Abuja on Tuesday after two weeks in London).
“We are also now being confronted with the situation of Tinubu also going on medical tourism, and I am quite appalled by his disdain for Nigerians for not having decency and enough courtesy to be accountable to Nigerians for his travels.”
Effiong also took a swipe at the APC, which he tagged as “anything goes. According to him, “On the basis of the party through which Tinubu is riding to power, we cannot deprive Tinubu of the disaster that APC has foisted on Nigeria.
“I don’t see how Tinubu can fight corruption, uphold the rule of law, or comply with the institutions of the state. There is the possibility of what we call “state capture.” I anticipate that institutions won’t be able to function independently to uphold the rule of law.”
The controversial lawyer criticized the President-Elect’s proposal to merely increase the allowances of judges and see to their welfare, saying all these are not enough to stem the menace of corruption in the Judiciary.
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“I will rather judge Tinubu on the basis of his past and from the body language of his handlers. Although there may be some semblance of change temporarily,
“Nigerians will be terrified when the new administration comes on board. There will be some marginal or symbolic changes, but nothing will be different. I don’t see how our institutions of state will be respected under Tinubu.
“This is not how Democrats behave. I see that democracy will not be enhanced under his administration. That is already very clear.”
Effiong stressed that: “It is not enough to buy judges cars and seek to improve the welfare of judges as if that will usher in the type of reform Nigerians demand to see in the Judiciary.
“The National Assembly is not supposed to be a rubber stamp or a department in the Presidency. The Ahmed Lawan-led Senate has become a huge embarrassment, with huge debt burdens now on the necks of Nigerians due to their rubber-stamp nature.
“The legislature doesn’t have the independence and courage to question the actions of the government and query expenditures. As it stands, the National Assembly has already forsaken its powers to act as checks and balances.
“The personalities jostling for leadership of the Assembly are unfortunately people with corruption cases being endorsed by Tinubu, and tell me how they can tackle corruption.”
For his part, Adewale expressed optimism that the Tinubu Presidency will birth transformational changes capable of making Nigeria witness a major turnaround.
Adewale justified Tinubu’s actions in maintaining a keen interest in the shape of things to come in the 10th legislative assembly, saying the kind of assembly we should look forward to having is that which must work together to achieve the realization of the manifesto of the APC since they form the majority.
“The Asiwaju project will lead to an improvement in the living conditions of the people. I expect every Nigerian to download the charter and programs already enunciated by Tinubu during his campaign.
That document will bring new prosperity to Nigeria with all of the economic issues to be addressed and will lead to a better condition of life for the people”, he assured.
Wole Akinseloyin, an economist based in Canada, expressed pessimism about the ability of the incoming Tinubu administration to handle the social crisis that might erupt once the fuel subsidy is removed.
To Akinseloyin, “one of the major problems we are battling with as a nation is low revenue generation, and unless we diversify and devise new strategies for revenue generation, Nigeria is stuck in the mud.
“If they remove the fuel subsidy now, and fuel is going to cost about N700, how will they cope with the social crisis that might erupt?”
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