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Hardship: We need more than promises, time for action is now, group writes Tinubu

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Dear President Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu,

We write to you today as concerned supporters, who did not only believe in your vision for Nigeria, but actively campaigned across the length and breadth of the country for your election as the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. We find it worthy of penning this open letter because even as your supporters, we are not unaware of the prevailing hardship across the country and the rising tide of discontent among the citizens.

Mr President, as your loyal supporters, we have found it extremely difficult to defend the policies of your administration because they are not yielding the results we envisaged and on which bases we campaigned to convince Nigerians to give you their mandate. The weight of unfulfilled promises hangs heavily in the air and this dominates every political debate and everyday conversation, thus making mockery of our promise of decent life for ordinary Nigerians.

Nigerians in millions have not only become poorer in recent times, but they are also dealing with unprecedented hunger, rising insecurity across various communities amidst a growing sense of national discord. Food, which is the most basic need of man, has become a luxury above the means of ordinary Nigerians, simply because their prices have skyrocketed. The amount you get an item in the market this hour is not the amount you will get it the next hour. From garri to rice, noodles to eggs and everyday staples, Nigerians are forced to make painful choices of what and when to consume them because their prices are not within reach. Simply put, prices are going up, but the purchasing power keeps reducing.

Mr President, it is in light of the hardship brought about by the painful but needful policy of the removal of fuel subsidy that your administration introduced the N35,000 wage award for civil servants. Even though there are many Nigerians suffering from the effect of this policy but have no way of benefiting from the wage award, payment of the N35,000 in question has not been up to date. The last we checked, only payments for the months of September and October have been made, whereas we are closing up on March of the new year.

The various other palliatives that are meant to cushion the effect of this policy are also promises in the air. We have not seen the CNG mass transit buses that would have reduced the cost of transportation neither have we seen the CNG conversion stations promised by the government to reduce the dependency on petrol. We have not seen the N75 billion promised to 75 manufacturing enterprises as well as the injection of N125 billion and N50 billion for micro, small and medium￾sized enterprises and 1,300 nano business owners respectively. Even the various interventions promised for agriculture and food sustainability like the 200,000 metric tonnes of grains from strategic reserves to households across the 36 states and FCT, and the 225,000 metric tonnes of fertiliser, seedlings and other inputs to farmers have not been matched with actions.

If the above interventions were too difficult to implement, how about the various social investment programmes that have been providing stipends to Nigerians since the last administration was on board? Ever since the Minister superintending over the programme was suspended from her position, nothing has been heard of the programmes under it. The six-weeks suspension of the various components of the programme to enable a review for better implementation has since elapsed, but nothing has been heard of the programme while Nigerians are groaning over unprecedented hardship.

Mr President, sir, what is happening to the student loan scheme? When this policy was first announced and the promise made to commence it implementation, indigent Nigerian students and their folks jubilated that succour has finally come. Many saw the policy as a game changer in the educational development of the country. But several months after, the policy has remained largely on paper and still with no clear date of when it will be implemented, even though the intended beneficiaries of the scheme have since returned to school with their hopes dashed.

As if these issues are not enough for the already frustrated Nigerians, the spate of insecurity witnessed in the last few months have become very alarming. Kidnapping has become so popular and rampant that families are picked up from their homes. Banditry is on the rise daily, while other forms of criminality have assumed unprecedented dimensions. These were not what we promised Nigerians when we were canvassing for their votes. Our Dear President, sir, we are not oblivious of the challenges you met when you assumed office.

It is because of the belief we have that you have the capacity to surmount these challenges that we decided to throw in our hearts and mind to ensure you emerged as president. Having come thus far, we cannot continue to look back into the past as the cause of our problems when we should be looking for the way forward. This is what Nigerians expected when they voted you and this is what we believe should be done. In doing this however, and in line with our continuous resolve to support your administration to the very end, we humbly proffer the following recommendations, which we believe will go a long way in easing the situation on ground.

Mr President must immediately review the performance of his cabinet and other political appointees with the aim of weeding out those who are not performing according to the mandate of their ministries and agencies. In these times of hardship, the luxury of non-performance is a privilege we can no longer afford. If the members of the Federal Executive Council and other political appointees no longer reflect the urgency of the moment, if their actions fall short of expectations, then the injection of not only new but competent hands has become imperative.

Mr President must muster the political will to give the Central Bank of Nigeria the backing to move against the big boys in the financial sector whose criminal activities has resulted in the fall of the Naira and subsequently driving up the prices of goods in the market. While doing this, a proper economic management team must be immediately set up to come up with fiscal policies that will help in arresting the downward spiral of our economy, while stimulating economic growth and rebirth in the short, medium, and long term.

Your Excellency may also need to revisit some of the past plans of the past governments with a view to implementing what worked in those plans. The Economic Recovery and Growth Plan (ERGP) of the Buhari administration for example is a good framework intended to spearhead the re-energization our economy that your government can look into. With reviews and modifications, we believe that the ERGP contains some measures that can be applied to ameliorate some of the
challenges bedevilling our economy at this time.

The suspension of the implementation of the National Social Investment Programmes must be immediately lifted and a decision taken on the suspension of the minister supervising the programme so that proper activities can begin to take place. In the alternative, the process of moving the programme to the presidency must be fast tracked so that the implementation of the programme can be adequately supervised. We are of the strong opinion that if the various components of the social investment programmes were to be running at this time, it would have gone a long way in ameliorating the present conditions of many Nigerians.

We must not forget to mention that more needs to be done in the area of insecurity. Our soldiers in the field need to be encouraged the more by taking more seriously their welfare and wellbeing. Other security agencies, particularly the police must be strengthened to be able to provide security for the lives and properties of Nigerians.

Remember, Your Excellency sir, why we entrusted you with the mantle of leadership. We saw in you a man with a plan, a man with the experience and connections to tackle Nigeria’s most pressing issues. We believed you have the answers, the team, and the will to deliver. We want you to demonstrate that to you, leadership is about owning the present, speaking the language of the future, and outlining a clear path forward with concrete timelines and achievable deadlines.

Mr. President, we must move away from explanations that offer no solace. We must turn the promises to actions, and rhetoric to fulfilments the time to act is now Mr President, and the path you choose will determine our collective future and legacies. Let us work towards a brighter, more secure and prosperous Nigeria.

Sincerely,

Alwan Hassan

Convener, North-South Progressives Alliance (NOSPA)

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