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Nigeria: President Tinubu’s party man accuses him of acting like a dictator

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A chieftain of Nigeria’s ruling All Progressives Congress (APC), Salihu Lukman, has accused President Bola Tinubu of running a government of “exclusion” while behaving more like a military dictator.

Lukma, who was the APC National Vice Chairman (Northwest) before he resigned from his position last year due to a running battle with the leadership of the party, alleged that Tinubu had been carrying on the affairs of the country without consultations with Nigerians since he was sworn into office.

Lukman, who made the allegations in a statement in Abuja on Saturday, noted that although President Tinubu had taken responsibility for the economic situation in the country, “the crucial issue is, having taken responsibility, how long would it take to get to the end of the ‘tunnel’ when will the expected ‘light’ begin to shine?”.

“With APC now increasingly becoming a closed shop with virtually all its organs demobilized and the omnipotent status of the President strengthened, what is the future of the APC?” Lukman queried.

“Being an envisioned progressive party but end up producing progressive governments in reverse gear, what is the implication?

“Is it a question of leaders becoming indifferent to the electoral fortunes of the party? Does the fact of being indifferent to the electoral fortune of the party also mean being unconcerned about the future of democracy in Nigeria?

“These questions are being asked not in agreement with any conclusion of being indifferent but to attempt to rekindle the conscience of our leaders, especially President Asiwaju Tinubu.

“Without any hesitation, one can argue that at the rate we are going, our party, APC, and our leaders have shortchanged Nigerians.

“What Nigerians are having today wasn’t what was promised at all. The most disturbing reality is that given that the current economic hardship is produced during the first term of President Asiwaju Tinubu, with no end in sight, does it then mean that President Asiwaju Tinubu is not interested in second term? Certainly not.

“If he is interested in a second term, why is he managing affairs of government like a military dictator, shutting down the structures of the party and talking down on citizens like a philosopher king who has absolute knowledge of what will produce possible happiness for citizens?”

The party chieftain said as a Nigerian and as members of the APC, these are worrisome realities which weaken confidence in the prospect of getting to the end of the tunnel and whether any bright light will illuminate the lives of citizens.

“This is partly because what is becoming very disturbing is that since the assumption of office of the President Asiwaju Tinubu, on May 29, 2023, major policy decisions are taken impulsively without clearly defined plans, at least not shared with Nigerians.

“Three good examples are the issue of removal of subsidy on petroleum products, floating the exchange rate of the Naira, and sanction against Niger Republic following the coup of July 26, 2023.

“Adding to the impulsive approach to decision making, on Monday, February 26, 2024 after the Federal Executive Council (FEC) meeting, the Minister of Information and National Orientation, Mohammed Idris, announced the resolution of the Federal Government to implement the recommendations of Steven Oronsaye Committee report.

“With that decision, out of the 541 Federal Government parastatals, commissions and agencies that existed in 2012, 263 agencies should be reduced to 161, 38 abolished, 52 merged, and 14 returned to departments in ministries.

“In which case, rather than acting as a progressive government that is dynamic, action oriented towards improving the welfare conditions of citizens, President Asiwaju Tinubu’s administration is behaving more like a reactionary government. Given such reality, it is almost impossible to predict what the goal or vision of the government is.

“This was clearly the same problem we had with former President Muhammadu Buhari’s government. The incomprehensible reality is that both former President Buhari’s and current President Asiwaju Tinubu’s governments are APC governments, which got elected based on the promise of changing Nigeria.

“Part of the change that is expected is having a government that guarantees and accommodates inclusivity, based on which the outcry of citizens is factored and utilised to guide design and implementation of government policy.

“From the time of former President Buhari to the current era of President Asiwaju Tinubu, issues of inclusivity are in reverse gear.

“Rather than engaging Nigerians and getting them to own policies of government, supposedly progressive governments talked down on Nigerians and like dictators almost tell citizens to take as given every decision taken, even when faced with grave consequences, threatening survival as is presently being experienced.”

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President Hichilema pledges support for Zambian SMEs

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Zambian President, Hakainde Hichilema, has pledged his government’s commitment to support the country’s small and medium scale enterprises as well as the principles of solidarity, equity and inclusivity in his administration’s development agenda.

Hichilema who made the pledge during the 2024 Micro Small Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) and Co-operatives Indaba in Lusaka on Wednesday, said his government was committed to promoting the growth of in the country.

The President who was represented at the event by the Minister of Small and Medium Enterprises Development, Elias Mubanga, stated that his administration had already embarked on the journey because of the important role MSMEs played in national development.

While delivering a speech on the theme “Harnessing the power of collaboration in fostering Micro Small Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) and Cooperative growth for sustainable economic development”, Hichilema noted that this would be achieved by providing MSMEs and Co-operatives genuine engagement in decision-making processes and capacity-building programmes can boost their creativity.

“Inter-connection and inter-independence collaboration stand as a cornerstone of growth across all sectors of the Zambian economy particularly among MSMEs and Cooperatives.”

He added that this can also boost the resilience and entrepreneurial drive of small businesses in order to stimulate development.

“Government is focusing on MSMEs and cooperatives’ engagement, as well as strengthening policy execution to promote and facilitate advanced investments for the nation’s long-term growth.”

He further added that government was engrossed with the participation of MSMEs and Co-operatives and strengthening the implementation of policy to promote and facilitate increased remittances and investment for the nation to attain sustainable development.

Hichilema stressed that in 2023, government, through the Ministry of Small and Medium Enterprise Development launched the Revised National MSME Development Policy and its Implementation Plan (2023-2028).

“This underscored government’s commitment to creating an enabling environment for MSMES to thrive,” the Head of State said.

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In Sallah message, Tinubu charges Nigerians to have faith in his reform agenda

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President Bola Tinubu has once again urged Nigerians to have faith in his “bold reforms” and the commitment to his administration’s “Renewed Hope Agenda.”

Tinubu, who gave the reassurance in his Eid-el-Fitr message to the nation on Wednesday, praised Nigerians for their resilience, sacrifice, and endurance in the face of the hardship they are going through as a result of the policies of his administration.

The President who observed his Eid-el-Fitr prayer at the Dodan Barracks in Ikoyi, Lagos State, also urged Nigerians to defend the integrity of the country at all times.

In a chat with journalists after the prayers, President Tinubu said called on Nigerians to imbibe the spirit of the recently concluded Ramadan fasting.

“Today marks a significant day in Islam as Muslims worldwide commemorate the conclusion of Ramadan and the Eid-el-Fitr festivities,” he said.

“Moreover, let us perpetuate the spirit of compassion and support for one another, as demonstrated during the month of Ramadan, and extend assistance to those in need.

“The kind of resilience, sacrifice, endurance that we have, we should preserve that for the country. Be a kind and cheerful giver, love our country better than any other country – that is the only one that we have.

“And we must continue to protect the integrity of our government and leadership. The new hope is alive, well and fine and Nigerians should continue to be very hopeful.

“Without hope there is no salvation, without hope, there is no development, without hope, there is no life,” Tinubu said.

The President went further to state that the Renewed Hope Agenda would result in a better Nigeria in the shortest possible future.

“Renewed hope is very much alive, Nigerians should be hopeful,” he added.

Shortly after he assumed office on May 29, 2023, President Tinubu had assured Nigerians that his Renewed Hope Initiative would be a culmination of his government’s commitment to ensuring that Nigeria and Nigerians fulfill their potentials.

“The Renewed Hope Agenda of my administration is defined by our commitment to unleashing our country’s full economic potential, by focusing on job creation, access to capital for small and large businesses, inclusiveness, the rule of law, and the fight against hunger, poverty and corruption,” President Tinubu had declared during his inaugural speech.

But almost a year after that speech and declaration, Nigeria has been plunged into economic crisis occasioned by high cost of living, inflation, and hardship due to the policies of the government.

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