A former Minister of Communications, Adebayo Shittu, has said the current hardship Nigerians are going through as a result of scarcity of fuel and new naira notes are signs of failure of leadership.
Mr Shittu stated this while speaking on “Focus Nigeria” a programme on the African Independent Television (AIT), on Thursday.
Nigerians have been grappling with fuel scarcity in the recent past with the price per litre hovering between N195 and N400. Long queues of vehicles are seen in many filling stations that are dispensing the product across the county.
Also, the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) recently announced the redesigning of naira notes, which has triggered economic disruption and difficulty especially among the poor and rural dwellers.
Failure of leadership
Mr Shittu, who served as minister during Mr Buhari’s first term between 2015 and 2019, said the situation in the country was regrettable and that it was the fault of those who made the decisions.
“What is happening is a shame and regrettably a failure of leadership,” he said. “The fault is in those who are supposed to have made these decisions.”
Mr Shittu said the president is a “humble person” that doesn’t talk much therefore his “small coterie” of advisers are taking advantage of him.
The currency redesign is a good idea, Mr Shittu conceded, “but, in doing the right thing you must ensure diligently what you are doing is at the right time.” He added that the policy came at a very wrong time.
“We must be able to criticise the government for not making enough sense in their timing of the currency redesign,” Mr Shittu said of the policy he believes has given undue advantage to political opponents.
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“With due respect to the president, he may not have been given the appropriate perspective of issues like this. But the government must take responsibility if those at the central bank are not doing their job well.”
Mr Shittu said the criticality of these events can put the president in trouble after leaving office.
“If President Muhammadu Buhari doesn’t do the needful in the next one or two weeks, he will be in trouble after leaving office,” he said. “The hatred of the masses and there are all kinds of reactions from people towards him. All the credits he has gotten will go down the drain.”
Tinubu, not part of Buhari’s failure
Mr Shittu, who is currently a member of the Presidential Campaign Council of All Progressives Congress (APC), distanced the ruling party’s presidential candidate, Bola Tinubu, from the failure of the Buhari administration. He said Mr Buhari must take responsibility for the policies of his administration.
“Tinubu is a member of the APC but he is not part of the Buhari government,” he said. “They are making Tinubu a victim of a policy he has no idea of. The government does not report to him and he doesn’t give instructions to the president.”
“It’s not fair to say that because Tinubu helped install people in the government, then he should take the blame for their failure.”
Notwithstanding the issues at hand, the former minister said the chances of Mr Tinubu are still very bright ahead of this month’s election.
Speaking of other issues related to the APC campaign, Mr Shittu further takes a dig at the president for not purposely endorsing Mr Tinubu at campaign rallies.
“It will be most uncharitable of any leader to go to a campaign of a particular candidate and not publicly ask people to vote for that candidate. It is most unfortunate that it happens in a number of events.
“But the president is a human being and susceptible to all kinds of unfair and immoral influences he may not know. I am sorry I am saying this but I have to say this in the interest of Nigeria,” he said.
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