By: Emmanuel Ibitoye
The presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party in the 2023 general election, Atiku Abubakar, has strongly criticized President Bola Tinubu’s economic policies, citing overwhelming evidence of their failures.
The critique was prompted by what Atiku’s media adviser, Paul Ibe, termed as the Presidential Spokesman Bayo Onanuga’s failure to provide a credible defense of Tinubu’s economic strategies during a recent press conference in Abuja.
The statement issued on Tuesday delved into various aspects of the economic discourse, challenging whether Atiku presented superior policy options during his presidential campaign. Emphasizing Atiku’s comprehensive policy document, “My Covenant With Nigerians,” as a roadmap for socio-political and economic transformation, the statement contrasted it with what it deemed Tinubu’s flawed policies.
While major presidential candidates supported the withdrawal of subsidy on Premium Motor Spirit (PMS), Atiku argued that this consensus did not imply an endorsement of Tinubu’s implementation failures. Atiku contended that Tinubu lacked a profound understanding of the reforms he initiated, failing to anticipate potential negative impacts or devise mitigation strategies.
Highlighting Atiku’s own economic proposals, the statement pointed to pledges such as the creation of an Economic Stimulus Fund with an initial investment capacity of approximately US$10 billion to support Micro, Small, and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs). This was contrasted with Tinubu’s offer of N125 billion, which, according to Atiku, is yet to be redeemed.
Atiku also underscored his commitment to a robust social investment program, including Conditional Cash Transfers (CCTs) for the poor and vulnerable. Allegedly, funds for Tinubu’s CCT were misappropriated by officials in the Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs.
Additionally, Atiku highlighted his pledge to launch a skills-to-job program targeting various categories of youth. He criticized Tinubu for lacking readiness and groping for solutions after implementing what Atiku characterized as morbid reforms.
The statement raised questions about the effectiveness of Tinubu’s policies, citing the exit of major companies from Nigeria and the escalating cost of living, evident in high inflation rates and widespread protests. In conclusion, the statement asserted that Tinubu’s leadership failures in managing the economy are apparent, despite attempts by the ruling party to blame external factors. Atiku criticized Tinubu’s underperformance and lack of preparedness in anticipating and reacting to impending crises.