In a surprising move on his first day in office, President Tinubu announced the removal of petroleum subsidies, sparking both hope and apprehension among the Nigerian populace. While the decision itself was seen as a positive step towards economic reform, the lack of a well-thought-out plan to cushion the impact on the already struggling citizens has led to widespread dissatisfaction.
The previous administration, under President Buhari, had already initiated plans to phase out petroleum subsidies. However, the sudden implementation of this policy without adequate measures to alleviate the subsequent economic hardships has left Nigerians reeling. Many citizens, who were already grappling with the challenges brought about by the previous administration, now face an even greater burden as the cost of living, transportation, and food prices skyrocket.
Critics argue that the current administration had a two-month window between the conclusion of the elections in February 2023 and the implementation of the subsidy removal, during which they could have developed comprehensive strategies to alleviate the anticipated difficulties. Instead, the government seemingly neglected to take proactive steps, leading to widespread frustration and anger among the populace.
Faduri.O. Joseph, a former presidential aspirant and leader of the Rescue Movement for New Nigeria (RMNN), called upon President Tinubu to assemble a team of experts tasked with finding solutions to help Nigerians cope with the fallout of the subsidy removal. He emphasized the need for leaders to carefully consider the effects of their policies on the citizenry before announcing or implementing them, advocating for a change in the prevalent approach to governance.
Amidst the growing discontent, President Tinubu finds himself under increasing pressure to address the nation directly. Calls for him to acknowledge the suffering experienced by Nigerians and outline the government’s plans to mitigate the hardships are growing louder. Urgent attention is being sought, particularly in areas such as transportation for workers and the rising cost of living for all citizens.
Adding to the mounting challenges, trade unions and maritime associations have threatened to embark on strikes in response to the removal of petroleum subsidies. Such actions, if implemented, would only exacerbate the suffering of the Nigerian people. As the situation intensifies, many are hoping for a swift and decisive response from the government to address their concerns and chart a path towards a better future for all.
The nation looks to President Tinubu to take immediate action and ensure that democracy brings tangible dividends, rather than additional hardships, to the Nigerian people.