Preceding the 2023 general elections in Nigeria, Nigerians had seen one of the most jaw-twisting, heart-wrenching, and pocket-draining governments they had ever been exposed to.
At some point during the Buhari administration, the average price of PMS rose from around N140 to about N190 and Nigerians had gotten the most of this hard government, people turned to praying, cursing, and generally asking that the government ends.
Hence, every Nigerian, young and old was very much interested in its unstoppable end after 8 really long years. For some people, it became a testimony that the hard government was leaving them still standing on their feet.
Hope was therefore truly renewed when Bola Ahmed Tinubu flagged off campaigns for the Presidential elections. As a candidate of the All Progressive Congress, what more could Nigerians ask for when the previous government, even though spearheaded by individuals from the same party had failed them?
Hopeful Nigerians kept their fingers crossed as Tinubu was inaugurated as President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria on the 29th of May 2023 at Eagle Square in Abuja and as expected, he swung into immediate action hoping to truly revive the hopes of tired Nigerians.
Before he came into power, prayers had been made, expectations flung at him, and he promised to meet them. During his inaugural speech, President Tinubu made a comment that changed the course on which the nation has been treading. In his words, he said:
The subsidy can no longer justify its ever-increasing costs following drying resources. We shall instead re-channel the funds into better investment in public infrastructure, education, health care, and jobs that will materially improve the lives of millions.
Nigerians, as we know then swung into action immediately after the statement was uttered by our well-meaning president.
Of course, the removal of fuel subsidy was supposed to take effect in July but by May 30, the cost of transportation had increased and by mid-June, Nigerians needed to double the former amount for transportation. When you asked why, transporters would say “Tinubu don comot subsidy, abi you no hear?” When, in truth, Tinubu just made a statement.
In Tinubu’s manifesto, he promised to pursue the establishment of the education bank towards enhancing access to quality education at the tertiary level.
Hence, on the 12th of June 2023, he signed a bill into law which is titled “Students Loans (Access to Higher Education) Act, 2023.” In explanation; A Bill for an Act to provide for easy access to higher education for Nigerians through an interest-free loan from the Nigerian Education Bank established in this Act to provide education for Nigerians and other purposes connected thereto.
On 20th July, a statement issued by the University of Lagos’ Senior Staff Association of Nigerian Universities (SSANU) said they had released a new proposal after the review of tuition fees in the institution.
Vice Chancellor of the University, Prof. Folashade Ogunsola disclosed that “…students without lab or studio use would pay N100,750, those with lab use would pay N140,250, and college of medicine undergraduates would pay N190,250”. Statistics indicate that the fees had skyrocketed by 80 percent, all things being equal.
ASUU Chairman, Professor Emmanuel Osodeke speaking on the issue on 23 July mentioned that “It may interest you to know that UNIL AG is not the only institution that has hiked its fees”
This means that following the signature of the Students Loan Fund, the cost of education in the country has also seen a high rise in fees. Most Nigerians now blame the government, saying that the SLF was a ploy to cause a hike in school fees of tertiary institutions. Again, Tinubu ties the blame.
In matters concerning stomach infrastructure, the cost of feeding in the country has moved from 10 to about 500. Perishable goods, most, especially those grown by Nigerians, are unreasonably expensive now that you wonder if people will still eat in a few years’ time.
The question now on the minds of people who care to think deeply about the situation in the country is this; where exactly is the rise in the cost of everything coming from?
Is it because the subsidy has been removed that tomatoes are now dragging prices with PMS?
It is because of the Students Loan Fund that students now have to choose what menial job to do as education is now too expensive.
Is it because of subsidies that most people will be forced to remain where they are and not even think of travelling?
When we look at about the country, it is sad to say that the nation has been thrown into a sea of chaos and confusion. At present, the average price of PMS at filling stations stands around N577 to about N617, while Naira is somewhere between N785 and N850.
The preexisting hunger is now more pronounced, if some laws are not reviewed and corrected, indices show that many students will drop out of school in no time. Families will be forced to decide between feeding and education.
The government now needs to look harder at its citizens and focus on dealing with their real necessities and put less focus on minor issues. These minor issues though are having a major effect on the citizens.
Nigerians though should understand that even though Tinubuconomics may not in the present may not be very palatable, resilience has never failed any people and with this renewed hope, we believe that Nigeria will someday be one of the greatest countries in the world.