Africa-Press – Nigeria. Ahmed Bola Tinubu, on Monday, took his oath of office as the 16th President of Nigeria.
During his inaugural speech at the Eagles Square, Abuja, Tinubu, among other things, vowed to end the regime of fuel subsidy in Nigeria because the country can’t afford to expend such huge funds at the detriment of other infrastructure.
He vowed to channel the funds meant for fuel subsidy to infrastructures, healthcare, education and others.
According to Tinubu: “We commend the decision of the outgoing administration in phasing out the petrol subsidy regime which has increasingly favoured the rich more than the poor. Subsidy can no longer justify its ever-increasing costs in the wake of drying resources. We shall instead re-channel the funds into better investment in public infrastructure, education, health care and jobs that will materially improve the lives of millions.”
The newly sworn-in President also vowed to boost the country’s security architecture, ensure a unified exchange rate, and create meaningful job opportunities for Nigerians.
Commenting on the speech, the National President of Arewa Youths Consultative Forum, AYCF, Yerima Shettima said Tinubu is determined to work.
Shettima said Tinubu would perform” miracles” that Nigerians don’t expect.
He said that “Tinubu understands that there is no point talking too much, no rhetoric that previous governments have not said. Tinubu is determined to work; he believes talk is not the issue, and he will just continue to perform the miracle that people never expected.
“Tinubu is not the talking type, but he believes in action. I know how we worked during the dark days of the military. I have seen him play a prominent role in promoting democracy and being a strong advocate of democracy by his talking and actions.
“Tinubu is a true democrat, and we expect that he will do the needful.”
On the issue of subsidy removal, Shettima said Tinubu took the right step by ending the regime, stressing that the President understands that Nigeria is at a critical period.
He added: “The economy is nothing to write home about and there are other challenges. He also understands that there is a need to save the country now at this critical period. What’s the need to earmark money for subsidy when some people will divert it? They’re subsidising nothing in the country.
“He believes that rather than sharing the money, the money should be used for something better. I concur with him.
“The fears of Nigerians is that fuel will go higher and with the coming of Dangote refinery, you will see that everything will go down, and Nigerians will be at the advantage of these policies; I quite agree with him that we must drop the subsidy regime.”
Shettima expressed hope that Tinubu’s administration would effectively handle Nigeria’s insecurity challenges.
He stressed that the Vice President, Kashim Shettima has the requisite experience to tackle the country’s insecurity challenges.
He added: “In the area of security, Tinubu will do very well especially with his second man. Shettima has done very well in terms of security in Borno State, and I have no doubt he will do better with his experience.”
On his part, the Secretary-General of Ohanaeze Ndigbo, Okechukwu Isiguzoro said the fuel subsidy removal would tackle corruption.
Stressing that Tinubu’s declaration would ensure stability, Isiguzoro said the President is saddled with a herculean task to lift Nigeria from the “bottom to the top.”
According to him: “Nigerians should applaud Tinubu for the political will to remove the fuel subsidy with which the political elites have held the country hostage. The removal of fuel subsidy would go a long way in tackling corruption and ensure stability in the system.
“The economic and agricultural proposals are a good one for the president. One thing we are sure of is that Tinubu’s administration will be much better than the previous, which centred on nepotism, and advocated religion above other interests for the masses.
“I think Tinubu started on the right foot despite inheriting a dilapidated economy and foreign debts by the last administration. Tinubu has a herculean task to lift Nigeria from the bottom to the top. Buhari was the worst president Nigeria ever had since 1999, though he performed credible well in the area of infrastructure in the Southeast.
“As regards to Ndigbo, we expect that the economic prospects under Tinubu will largely favour Igbos. The free market trades and economic postulations show that Ndigbo, who are mainly traders, will benefit from his economic policies. He must kick start with policy implementation like removal of multiple taxation and tariff removal.
“Ndigbo are ready to assist him in actualizing his dreams, Tinubu’s regime will be far better than the previous government.”
The leader of Afenifere socio-cultural organisation, Ayo Adebanjo, said he has no doubt in Tinubu’s ability to deliver.
He, however, faulted the last presidential election that produced Tinubu as the 16th president of Nigeria.
“I don’t doubt his ability, but I don’t believe he was properly elected according to the electoral law,” he said.
Similarly, the Labour Party, LP, described Tinubu’s inaugural speech as disappointing and shallow.
Obiora Ifoh, the LP National Publicity Secretary, said Tinubu’s inaugural speech exposed the “shallowness and policy incongruity” he wants to give Nigerians.
“The Labour Party is disappointed with the inaugural speech made by President Bola Ahmed Tinubu today which clearly exposed the shallowness and policy incongruity that his administration, while it lasts, is hoping to bequeath Nigerians,” Ifoh said.