2023: A Response to Bola Ahmed Tinubu by Abdulhamid Bakare

2023: A Response to Bola Ahmed Tinubu by Abdulhamid Bakare

Editor's note: Public affairs analyst, Abdulhamid Bakare, writes on the just concluded All Progressives Congress presidential primary election and the recent statements made by the party's flagbearer, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu. He can be reached at Wahidbest@yahoo.com.

What is N100 million naira worth to you? This amount of money could pay the fees for over 350 students in the Nigerian Law School today. It could pay for the hospital bills for at least 1,000 mothers, ensuring the safe delivery of their babies - In a country with the third-highest rate of maternal deaths in the world, this is how I quantify money - in a very utilitarian way. I assume it is because I work for my money, that every naira I spend must produce value - even if it is spent on food that brings me joy, or a cold drink that quenches my thirst - every last naira in my pocket has a use, has a value, not just on what I spend it on, not just what it is worth to me - but its true value.

Abdulhamid Bakare has responded to Bola Ahmed Tinubu's statement that it is his turn to be president. Photo credit: Pius Utomi Ekpei/AFP
Source: Getty Images

The top 0.5% of Nigerians have a household income of N100,000 or over, which means that 99.5% of households have less than this. And if you're in the top 0.5% of the population? It will take over 83 years, at N100,000 a month, to afford the APC nomination form.

So now imagine my sheer confusion and horror on June 7, 2022, as I watched 7 candidates step down for Bola Ahmed Tinubu - in what he later heralded as a ‘democratic exertion’. If you spend One Hundred Million Naira solely on a nomination form, how much does it cost you to step down? I am sure that Godswill Akpabio, Ibikunle Amosun, and I, do not share the same calculus - I would never dream of it. Perhaps they were bought, or perhaps they know some cost of standing up against the so-called lion of bourdillon. It was obvious watching the choreographed show at Eagle Square that uniting behind Tinubu is further proof of his autocratic nature, it was in no way a democratic exercise. If you read that line and thought, ‘what do you expect’ or that I’m revealing some naivety, please note that in always expecting the worst from Nigeria, all we have learnt is that there seems to be no low in how far this country can fall.

Both those who admire the man and those who detest him will tell you ‘Jagaban does not fight fair’ but now Jagaban is the frontrunner for president, and I find myself in the fight of my life.

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It is not your turn Tinubu, it is Nigeria’s turn

Let us return to the speech - where you promise to build upon the foundations that Buhari has laid - in saner climes that would be viewed as a death threat to the general population. Under Buhari, Nigeria experienced its deepest recession in 25 years, the rising cost of food is untenable, food inflation rose to 18.37% in April and staple foods have now become luxury items. The money I could use to feed my family when Buhari entered power I can hardly use to feed just myself today. The World Bank has noted that Nigeria’s economy under President Muhammadu Buhari was worse than what it used to be 10 years ago, but we don’t need experts to tell us about our lived experience. The economy is in tatters - everyone living outside of the privileged bubble you reside in knows that. Yet you threaten us with a continuation of the status quo. “Emi lo kan”, you say, When will it be Nigeria’s turn?

At least 10 million children are out of school, and ASUU strikes leave the youth of our country floundering, in the dark, striving to survive inspite of the willful incompetence and wickedness of the men in power. Yet, your speech ignored this and spoke about the Zamfara Gold deposits- promising youths ‘jobs’. Surely, it mustn't be the one controlled by the black market and the Nigerian military? Perhaps in your free time, you have discovered another one.

Nigeria's technology sector has grown in spite of the government’s involvement and not because of it. At every stage, the government has positioned itself as a roadblock to the success of innovative, hardworking, and intelligent youths. When Tinubu speaks of building on Buhari’s foundations- does he mean the practice of freezing the accounts of Nigerian fintech and harassing their executives into exile? A US report from foreign-owned businesses in 2003 claimed that private investors were not ‘bullish’ on Lagos because ‘many claims that they have been requested to contribute to the governor in order to have projects move forward’ the governor, of course, being Tinubu - this was twenty years ago, and you're asking for the keys to the whole country after mismanaging the golden egg for nearly thirty years.

What is most frightening about Tinubu's statements are that although his public remarks display infantile thinking by the man, his prepared statements reveal that the team is filled with dimwitted sycophants. That is why the governor of Lagos has left Lagos on autopilot and turned himself into the shekere in a travelling band - singing the gospel of Tinubu from one place to another. It seems for the governor of Lagos, a whole state governor, loyalty to the Mafia Don is more important than integrity or carrying out his job. We are in such a stranglehold that Sanwo-Olu is not even bothered with his own campaign for governor.

The budget size of Lagos state is larger than the budget of many countries in Africa - yet what do we have to show for it - dilapidated and congested road system; massive flooding, decaying infrastructure, insecurity, and our own ‘Royal Family’.

Nigerians please, it is OUR time.

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