February 05, (THEWILL) – Former Vice President, Atiku Abubakar, has urged President Bola Tinubu to do something fast before Nigeria’s economy sinks deeper into the abyss.
Atiku made this call on Sunday, via a post on his X handle amid complaints from Nigerians about the deteriorating state of the country’s economy.
Noting that President Tinubu, with the economic hardship, had shown he had no capacity to tackle the various challenges facing the country, Atiku urged the President and his economic management team to swallow their pride, admit their missteps and failures, and follow those who know the terrain.
“The economy’s performance has, in recent weeks and months, been a subject of intense discourse among Nigerian citizens at home and abroad. Nigerians are gravely concerned, and rightly so, that Tinubu’s poor response to Nigeria’s economic challenges is setting the stage for a prolonged and deeper domestic economic crisis.
“His economic policies, drawn from a so-called renewed hope agenda, are ironically dashing hopes, creating pain and causing despair.
“The private sector is shrinking by the day as small businesses are emasculated and Multinational Companies, confused and weary of the economy, leave Nigeria in droves.
“The intense cost of living pressures has created more misery for the poor in towns and villages. There is hunger in the land as basic commodities, including bread, are becoming out of reach for average Nigerians.
“His 2024 budget is a business-as-usual exercise, bereft of concrete ideas and actions that would support Nigeria’s journey toward economic transformation – consisting mainly of wasteful expenditures to cater to a bloated Federal Government. Budget 2024 will not facilitate growth and cannot empower our citizens to earn a living and live a decent life.
“BAT has shown no capacity to deal with the adverse and disastrous impact of the new subsidy regime on the people and businesses and the new foreign exchange policy, which provides for a free-floating exchange rate.
“His initiatives are literally uninformed, arbitrary, and chaotic. BAT’s palliatives are too mean, pitiable, and contemptuous of the poor. He seems genuinely lost, bewildered, and overwhelmed,” Atiku said while asking Tinubu to urgently seek help on ways to revive the “dead economy”.
Meanwhile, The Presidency has, in a swift response, berated Atiku, describing him as the chief opposition figure to President Tinubu and his administration.
A statement by Bayo Onanuga, Special Adviser to the President On Information and Strategy, said following his unsuccessful bid for the presidency, Atiku has taken on the mantle of opposition-in-chief, voicing criticism and offering commentary on various aspects of the government’s policies and actions.
He said: “Alhaji Atiku Abubakar has certainly found a new hobby to keep himself busy, having failed to achieve his lifelong ambition of becoming the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. He is increasingly carving for himself the role of opposition-in-chief to President Bola Ahmed Tinubu and his government.
“However, we notice that the former Vice-President, just like in his political contests, is also doing a poor job of it, offering pedestrian and uninformed interventions on our economy and other matters of public concern.
“Atiku’s latest diatribe was another uncharitable commentary on the state of the economy and the efforts of the President Bola Tinubu administration in remoulding it for sustained prosperity.
“Nigerians can easily see through the hypocrisy of Alhaji Atiku, who in accusing President Tinubu of poor response to the nation’s challenges and causing pains and despair, didn’t offer any better policy options in his run for the Presidency different from the economic reform agenda being pursued by President Tinubu.
“All the major candidates agreed that the fuel subsidy regime, which had become an albatross on the economy, must end. They all agreed that the multiple exchange rates must be fixed. Where President Tinubu and Atiku differed was in selling NNPC Limited and other national assets. Atiku went for this so he could sell these important national assets to his friends and cronies.
“President Tinubu removed the subsidy from Day One and announced moves to harmonise the exchange rates. Since then, he and his economic team have been working vigorously to harmonise the rates and also end the rampant and criminal arbitrage that the multiple windows allowed.”