Tinubu’s First Year in Office: Has Nigeria Gained or Lost?


In President Tinubu’s first year in office, he had taken decisions that have caused short-term pains but will bring long-term gains. The first is the removal of subsidy. It is a courageous decision that is bearing fruit. Fuel imports are down more than 54%, and local refining is up. Yes, it has caused shocks, but those shocks were necessary to wake us up from our reverie of almost total dependence on imports for our fuel needs. Additionally, local refining is up nearly 20%.

The Naira flotation has also brought temporary sadness and looks sure to produce permanent gladness. It is forcing Nigerians to look inwards, by making imports more expensive and is reducing the pressure on our foreign reserves.

It would be hypocritical for the opposition to criticise these two policies since all major opposition Presidential candidates, except Kwankwaso, agreed to implement subsidy removal and Naira flotation.

In infrastructure, the President has done well in completing projects begun by his predecessors, including the Abuja Metro, the Outer Southern Expressway, and the Independence and Constitution Avenue, amongst others.

His initiation and commencement of the Lagos-Calabar Coastal Highway project is commendable. Not only is it the single largest infrastructural project in Nigeria’s history, it looks set to expand our GDP by making it easier, less expensive and shorter to travel around Nigeria and especially her port cities. The more effortless movement of people, goods and services will make Nigerians wealthier when the project is completed.

Additionally, the Tinubu government facilitated direct flights for a Nigerian carrier, Air Peace, to have direct flights from Nigeria to London. A significant feat that gives Nigerians a less expensive alternative and projects our nation positively.

And the commencement of the Student Loan program is a breath of fresh air to Nigerian students, though it would have made more sense for the project to fund STEM education as a priority rather than obsolete social sciences and humanities courses, like Sociology, Philosophy, Anthropology, Linguistics, Religious Studies, Political Science, etc, which Nigerians like to study in our hundreds of thousands, though they are irrelevant to our developmental challenges as a nation.

In security, the administration has not done poorly, and I especially commend the National Security Officer. The most notorious bandit leaders have been killed, including Boderi Isyaku, Ali Kachala and Sani Dangote. And the Abuja-Kaduna road, as well as the railway, are now safe to journey on. The Northeast is almost back to normal.

In 2023, Nigeria had a Global Terror Index Score of 8.065. This year, the score is 7.575. Our best score in over eight years. Even the international community is noticing.

In governance, we are experiencing peaceful Executive-Legislative relations, unlike Buhari’s turbulent first year with the Saraki-led National Assembly.

And the government has shown a low tolerance for corruption. Within a week of her being accused, President Tinubu suspended Betta Edu and encouraged her investigation by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission. Buhari would never have done that. He displayed a spectacular failure to supervise his ministers.

And when the cash for degrees scandal erupted, the administration was quick to take action by suspending all the schools and degrees involved, especially those from Benin Republic. If my memory serves me, that happened in under a week.

Obviously, Nigerians are experiencing challenging times, but nations do not succeed overnight. They do so over time, and with the policies he has put in place, I foresee a better future for Nigeria in the next year or the Tinubu administration, even though I believe that Waziri Atiku Abubakar would have made a better President and Nigeria would have gained more under him as their leader.

Reno Omokri

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