Economic crisis: Tinubu spotlights Osun APC’s cluelessness By Sarafa Ibrahim

Economic crisis: Tinubu spotlights Osun APC’s cluelessness

By Sarafa Ibrahim

President Bola Tinubu made a stunning submissions on the things that should be done to get Nigeria out of the current economic challenges. During a meeting with the 36 Governors, the FCT Mimister and top security officials, President Tinubu outlined mechanisms that offers the most brightest chance for the country to turn the corner of the current economic woes and generates a refreshing experience.

One of the positions of the president’s interests me a lot. And that was where, according to Bayo Onanuga, Tinubu’s special adviser on Information & Strategy, the president “pleaded with Governors to ensure all salary arrears to workers, gratuities to workers and pensioners are cleared as a way to put money into the hands of the people since states are now getting more monthly FAAC revenue.” Speaking further, Mr. Onanuga quoted President Tinubu as urging Governors to “Spend the money, don’t spend the people.”

Wait a minutes. The above highlighted position of the president has been the mantra of Governor Ademola Adeleke in Osun since assuming office in November 2022. Yet, Sooko Tajudeen Lawal and Chief Kola Olabisi of the APC have continued to promote the bizarre argument that the Governor’s approach is wrong and lacking any real effect. They suggest that a solution will be to spend money and not on what it is spent on.

If Lawal and Olabisi are actually projecting the reasoning of the Osun APC on navigating economic crisis, then the opposition party is worse than one can imagine. Of course, the Osun APC is bad with the economy and the people still bear the ripple effect of the many wrong financial choices that defined its 12 years rule in the state.

A renowned American financial host, Lawrence Kudlow, cautioned that “Doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results when, in fact, the results never change, is one definition of insanity. That goes for economies, too.” The soaring inflation is just one of the trigger for the tough economic conditions that Nigerians, including Osun people are battling with at the moment.

The purchasing power of Nigerians is embarrassingly low when compared with, let us say Egypt, which is facing identical shortage of weak currency, soaring inflation and capital flight as Nigeria. With this striking reality, Governor Adeleke prioritize the welfare of the people to put money in the hands of the people. He departed from the lackadaisical attitude of the past that significantly wean the spending power of civil servants and pensioners, thereby, heightening their miseries.

In February in 2023, Governor Adeleke commenced the payment of half salary owed by the previous government and has so far, paid five months out of the 30 months debt. Between November 2022 and now, the Adeleke administration has expended nearly N28 billion to clearing the load of pension liabilities inherited. This is more than what the immediate administration spent on the same purpose throughout its four years.

And again, Governor Adeleke implemented the financial implication of the promotion given to workers by the Gboyega Oyetola administration, bringing an end the wait of civil servants to the financial benefits of their work statuses. Beginning from December, Governor Adeleke is paying wage awards to active workers and pensioners in the state.

As a party with a bad record on welfare in Osun state, the Osun APC could be forgiven for not knowing what drives the economy. However, it should be able to read between the lines from the position of President Tinubu that it is wrong. While it is not in doubt that spending money in a time of economic crisis is expected, but the question that is apparently lost on the Osun APC is, what are you spending on.

The International Monetary Fund (IMF) in an October 2014 study finds a link between investment in public infrastructures and economic growth. The study, which used a combination of empirical analysis and model simulations, submitted that “increased public infrastructure investment can have a powerful effects on the macroeconomy. It raises output in the short term by boosting demand and in the long term by raising the economy‚Äôs productive capacity.”

In October last year, Governor Adeleke unveiled an ambitious multi-billion infrastructure plan for the state. The infrastructure is robust and captivating because at least, five overhead bridges in different locations across the state will be constructed in addition to no less than 45km of internal roads across the 30 local government areas while a noticeable investments will be made on upgrading the infrastructures of public schools and primary healthcare centres across the state.

All of these investments goes beyond just the face value of the projects but have a direct bearing on the state’s economy and its people. Besides the jobs and economic activities that the projects will generate, it will meet most of the basic needs of the people. A better road access will eases the pains of users and facilitate movements of goods and services while significantly saving motorists of cost on maintaining vehicles as against bad roads. The same thing goes for a wholly rehabilitated PHCs and public schools, enhancing access to qualitative healthcare and education for the people.

In January this year, Governor Adeleke recently released N1 billion to cooperative societies in Osun state to boost macroeconomic activities. And just days ago, he distributed over N580m to at least 19,000 vulnerable citizens in a bid to ease the economic impact on them and reflate the economy of the state. In short, Governor Adeleke is doing a lot to lessen the impact of the current harsh economic crisis in Nigeria but the Osun APC may seem clueless about it because it has no real understanding on handling an economy in a crisis. And good enough, President Tinubu helped spotlight this deficiency of the Osun APC and I hope they will listen.

  • Sarafa Ibrahim is a Special Assistant to the Osun State Governor and writes from Osogbo.

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