Special Assistant on Public Communications to the presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in the 2023 election, Atiku Abubakar, Phrank Shaibu, described President Bola Ahmed Tinubu’s address to the nation on Monday as uninspiring and deceptive, saying it is a complete waste of time.
Shaibu said Tinubu’s speech was only meant to convince the organised labour not to embark on their planned nationwide protest.
He maintained that Tinubu’s broadcast was an afterthought after removing petrol subsidy without a clear plan that would have ameliorated the suffering of the people, who had become poorer since APC took power in 2015.
Shaibu stated, “Tinubu’s speech was hurriedly put together in order to dissuade the suffering masses and the organised labour from embarking on protests. Rather than apologise for removing subsidy without providing a cushion for the poor, he went about accusing subsidy thieves of being behind the current suffering. If he is sure of this, why hasn’t he arrested them?”
Shaibu accused Tinubu of lying about his long-standing disposition to fuel subsidy removal.
He said, “Tinubu also lied when he claimed that he had for years been an advocate of subsidy removal. This was a man who in 2012, described petrol subsidy removal as ‘the Goodluck Jonathan tax’ and sponsored protests in Lagos State.
“After he dubiously got to power, he lacked imagination on how to address the issue and then removed the subsidy, but without a plan.”
Shaibu said Tinubu’s so-called plans to provide N50, 000 grants to small businesses would be undermined by inflation, exchange rate problems, and corruption
He stressed, “Tinubu says he will provide N50, 000 (roughly $60) to 1, 300 nano businesses. This is reminiscent of the dubious trader moni and the monthly N20, 000 spent on the public works programme of the last APC government, which not only failed to stimulate the economy but also worsened poverty, as funds went into private pockets.
“What mechanism is in place to ensure that poor Nigerians access this? The answer is, none. This is nothing but deception as we shall all see in the coming weeks.”
Atiku’s aide also questioned Tinubu’s plan to give 500,000 hectares of land to farmers in order to boost agriculture, when the insecurity in the food basket of the nation had not been addressed.
He stated, “The Land Use Act puts lands under the purview of the governors. His so-called plan to provide 500,000 hectares is just part of the deception and a continuation of Buhari’s failed promises.
“Besides, just on Saturday, farmers were killed and others kidnapped in Birnin Gwari, Kaduna State. Till now, there has not been a word from the Presidential Villa.
“Most of the communities being attacked are agrarian communities, which rely on farming. What sort of plan can you implement in the agric sector without first tackling insecurity?”
Shaibu said Tinubu’s claim that minimum wage would soon be reviewed upwards was evidence that he failed to properly plan for the removal of petrol subsidy.
“Shouldn’t the discussion on the increase of minimum wage have been done prior to subsidy removal? This is the height of cluelessness, putting the cart before the horse,” Shaibu stated.