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Thursday, July 18, 2024

What value has Tinubu added to our lives? –2

By Bola BOLAWOLE turnpot@gmail.com

There is hardly anyone who does not aspire to add value to their life. Everyone wants to make progress. Everyone wants a better life. That was the expectation of Nigerians, especially the suffering masses, when President Bola Ahmed Tinubu assumed office on May 29th last year.

And that also must have been the expectation or desire of Tinubu himself: to make life more abundant for Nigerians; to make a difference in the existentialism of the people. But good intentions do not always translate into actualities; which is why it is said that the road to Hell is paved with good intentions. Man proposes, circumstances dispose. Talk, as they say, is cheap but to walk the talk is a lot more difficult.

I wish I could have the opportunity to ask the president how he feels one year after achieving his life ambition of ruling this country. Sometimes when I watched him on television, he looked dazed like a boxer caught unawares with a vicious uppercut. Nigeria is not easy to govern. I, however, still retain my confidence in the ability, capability, and capacity of Mr. President to survive the jostling he has so far got and begin to do the right things beginning with his second year in office.

In his first year, Tinubu has more than settled those who brought him to power. That, I dare to guess, is the reason why he has so many deadwood in his cabinet, which now made it look like his ability to headhunt talents had been exaggerated. I want to tell him that the last one year is enough settlement of his IOU to this group of people.

He has also over-settled the National Assembly, even up to the point of the obscene. Yes, he needed them to approve his appointees and to back him up with the needed legislation. He needed, if not a pliant legislature, but one that is accommodating and cooperative We have seen antagonistic legislature and bellicose executive and the country has been the loser for it; for, as they say, when two elephants fight, it is the grass that suffers. The humongous allocations that the National Assembly awarded themselves in the current budget should last them for the next four years and must not be allowed to rear its ugly head in the next budget.

The third arm of government, the judiciary, has also een settled by Tinubu with the 300 percent salary increase awarded the judges. It now remains for the president toshift his attention to the masses.

How can he add value to our lives? By reversing the negatives he met on ground, especially those he had inadvertently made worse by policies that are yet to have the desired positive effects in the specific areas of food security, security of life and property, affordable transportation and Medicare, reduction in the cost of governance, promotion of industrial harmony, ensuring that peace reigns on our campuses and education is made affordable for all, curbing inflation and arresting mass unemployment. These are all that the President promised in his Renewed Hope Agenda 2023.

Since he is yet to publicly renege, like his predecessor, Muhammadu Buhari, did with his own promises, we must hold his feet to the fire on them. Promise is a debt if not fulfilled. Tinubu is indebted to us Nigerians. What can his excuse be? That we are not taking care of him enough? Nigerians are generous when it comes to taking care of their leaders. Conversely, it is the leaders who are miserly and stingy when it comes to their turn to take care of the people.

I wish President Bola Ahmed Tinubu had been at the launching of the book “Value creation: Your pathway to enduring business and career success” written by Ademola Akinbola, a man of many parts – media entrepreneur, certified trainer, author, publisher and journalist, with strong footing in business/finance reporting. He was also a Bank PR manager. The launching took place in Lagos on May 14, 2024.

I advocated sometimes ago that we need a special assistant to the president whose duty is to monitor workshops, seminars, book lanchings and lectures because of the rich exchange of ideas at such fora which can even be more beneficial to the country than the limited knowledge parading itself within the corridors of power.

Now, why are nations poor? Nations are poor because they create little or no value for themselves and others. Conversely, why are nations rich? Nations are rich because they create value for themselves as well as for others. By value we mean goods, services, commodities and other needs of mankind. Nations that cannot meet their own needs will depend on those who can meet those needs. So, their resources will gravitate towards such countries. The nations that are able to meet those needs get richer while the nations that depend on others get poorer. Another name for it is capital flight.

If you want to know why Nigeria is poor while Japan is rich, just count the millions of vehicles on our roads. One statistics say about 80 percent of them are Japanese products. Try and imagine how many trillions of Naira or dollars must have flown and is still flowing from Nigeria to Japan. Take a statistics of the number of generating sets, mobile phones, electronics, medicine, etc. that this country imports on a yearly basis. This is not to talk of food imports, military hardware, education and medical tourism, among others. Where capital outflow far supercedes capital inflow, it is naive to ask why such countries are poor.

Now, the Lagos – Calabar expressway will be handled by foreigners. Capital flight. We shall be helping to develop another country while underdeveloping ours.The hundreds of bullet proof limousines that were distributed to legislators and others. Capital flight! We are like the proverbial fool that uses a cup to take water from his bucket and pour into the well of his neighbour. In which area or sector are we creating value?

We collect rent from foreigners on our crude oil and gas resources, which we cannot even extract or refine ourselves. Which is why the Marxists call us a rentier State. We then waste the rent so collected on importation binge. We produce virtually nothing but luxuriate in virtually every imported goods and services. Man became separated from and assumed superiority over other animals when he became a tool maker. Tell me, what tools can we make? How, then, shall we not be poor and remain so? Our problem is not minimum wage but minimum sense.

This is the major problem I expect President Bola Ahmed Tinubu to address. When I ask that Labour and ASUU leaders should think out of the box, this is one area I think they should address if they are serious about tackling the grinding poverty of the poor. But I will not be surprised if that is not their priority. Last April at the NLC House in Abuja, I saw the NLC president, Joe Ajaero, step out of one jeep that looked like the ones the legislators are cruising in! The demarcation between bourgeois capitalism and Labour unionism is very thin, if not completely blurred already! But I digress!

The major task before President Tinubu is to quickly work to reduce Nigeria’s dependence on other nations and not further deepen it, as we are doing at the moment. Seeking Foreign Direct Investment or taking loans which we immediately award back to them in form of this or that contract will not help us. Reduce our dependence on others. Increase our productivity. Stop this country from continuing to be dumping ground for all manner of foreign goods and commodities. Add value to what we have. Reduce the trade deficit between us and our trading partners. Put Nigeria to work.

At Akinbola’s book launch, speaker after speaker – from the chairman of the occasion Bisi Olatilo, guest speaker, Dr. Rotimi Adelola, panelists Dr. Tunji Sobodu, Dr. Charles Otudor, Gbolahan Oba and the book reviewer, Lanre Alabi – all were agreed that unless we create value as a nation, we stand no chance of escaping the debt trap, to which have now been added the wheat trap and the rice trap – and still growing! As with nations, so also with individuals. Add value!

Making a difference between creating value and adding value, Sobodu said leaders are given to create value. If people are not improving under you , then, you are a destroyer. People don’t just become value creators; if your motivation is self, then, you cannot create value. You create value when you meet other people’s needs. Solutions, he said, must meet the needs of the people. This is true of nations as it is of individuals.

Said Akinbola himself: “Nobody pays for a good that is not delivered, a service that is not rendered, or an impact that is not made. Simply put, we are rewarded by doing something that adds value or creates an impact.
“We become successful in life by creating value for our stakeholders, who we can define as individuals and organisations that are directly or indirectly affected or influenced by what we say or do, and what we fail to say or do.
“You must commit to a life that delivers value, and not one that has nothing tangible to offer, except to be a burden and a liability to your stakeholders.
“A life that is not focused on value and impact will be ridiculed, scorned, and rejected. Nobody would like to be associated with you when you are listless, valueless, and empty”.

It could not have been better put!

* Former Editor of PUNCH newspapers, Chairman of its Editorial Board and Deputy Editor-in-chief, BOLAWOLE was also the Managing Director/ Editor-in-chief of THE WESTERNER newsmagazine. He writes the ON THE LORD’S DAY column in the Sunday Tribune and TREASURES column in New Telegraph newspaper on Wednesdays. He is also a public affairs analyst on radio and television.

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