Presidency Tackles Atiku Over Tinubu’s ‘Poor’ Economic Policies


BY EDMOND ODOK – Nigeria’s former Vice President Atiku Abubakar and the Presidency have disagreed over the current economic challenges being faced by Nigerians under the watch of President Bola Ahmed Tinubu.

Calling out the President, Atiku blamed the hardship in the country on the “poor policies” of the present administration while in its defence, the Presidency accused Atiku of hypocrisy and failing to offer any better policy options.

In trading accusations over the state of the Nigerian economy and the monetary policies of President Bola Tinubu on Sunday, Atiku Abubakar posted on X (formerly Twitter), that there is hunger in the land as basic commodities, including bread, are becoming out of reach for average Nigerians.

But responding swiftly to Atiku’s submission, the President’s Special Adviser on Information and Strategy, Bayo Onanuga, accused the former Vice President of embarking on a mission as a poor opposition-in-chief.

According to Onanuga, though the reforms by the Tinubu-led administration are causing immediate pains, they will eventually usher in an era of prosperity in the medium and long term.

The former Vice President, who described the current situation as ‘Chaotic Initiatives’, said, “Tinubu’s poor response to Nigeria’s economic challenges is setting the stage for a prolonged and deeper domestic economic crisis.

“His economic policies, drawn from a so-called renewed hope agenda, are ironically dashing hopes, creating pain and causing despair.

“The private sector is shrinking by the day as small businesses are emasculated and as Multi-National Companies, confused and weary of the economy, leave Nigeria in droves. The intense cost of living pressures has created more misery for the poor in towns and villages.”

The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) flag bearer in the 2023 presidential election also criticised the 2024 N28.7 trillion maiden budget of Tinubu, saying it is “bereft of concrete ideas and actions that would support Nigeria’s journey toward economic transformation”.

According to him, Tinubu has “no capacity to deal with the adverse and disastrous impact of the new subsidy regime on the people and businesses and the new foreign exchange policy, which provides for a free-floating exchange rate. His initiatives are literally uninformed, arbitrary, and chaotic”.

Further accusing the President of coming into office unprepared, the Wazirin Adamawa said Tinubu and his men have found a pastime blaming the economic woes of the country on the previous governments, adding; “Tinubu and his economic management team must swallow their pride, admit their missteps and failures, and follow those who know the terrain. They must act fast before the economy sinks deeper into the abyss”.

However, accusing Atiku and his cohorts of ‘Bellyaching’, Onanuga said in a statement that; “Nigerians can easily see through the hypocrisy of Alhaji Atiku, who in accusing President Tinubu of poor response to the nation’s challenges and causing pains and despair, didn’t offer any better policy options in his run for the Presidency different from the economic reform agenda being pursued by President Tinubu.

He said having removed the petrol subsidy on the day he was inaugurated on May 29, 2023, and later harmonised the exchange rates, the President and his economic team have been “working vigorously to harmonise the rates and also end the rampant and criminal arbitrage that the multiple windows allowed

“President Tinubu acknowledged, on different occasions, that the reforms his government is implementing will cause immediate pains, but will usher in an era of prosperity in the medium and long terms”.

For the presidential aide; “Atiku’s claims that the private sector is shrinking and that multinational companies are leaving our companies in ‘droves’ are not grounded on facts. His claim that the government’s policies have created intense cost of living pressures is also not grounded on facts as recent comparative cost of living indices show that Nigerians still enjoy the lowest cost of living in Africa.

“Atiku should be honest enough to admit that President Tinubu inherited a weak economy, which to all intents and purposes and to ensure the survival of our country needs a complete overhaul. The economy was plagued by decades of significant fiscal deficits, a low revenue base, high external and domestic debts, and huge debt service burden,” the statement added.

Onanuga, who assured that the President is focused on solving Nigeria’s economic and security challenges, the administration has embarked on fiscal and tax policy reforms that will drive speedy recovery and spur economic growth.

He said; “While President Tinubu and his able team are working very hard to make our country better, ensure our economy is stronger and more competitive, Atiku Abubakar and his cohorts may continue to belly ache”, adding; “However, they cannot stop the serious work of nation-building already set in motion by President Tinubu.”

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