It’s been almost three weeks now since the Federal Govt gave a lock-down order in the two states Southwest states of Lagos and Ogun, respectively, as well as the Federal Capital Territory, in a bid to tackle the Covid-19 pandemic. These places put on a lock-down have been the most affected since the virus hit the country.
Since the lock down started, there have been a number of opinions from different quarters as to how best the FG could take care of the masses especially as many of them would be grounded from having to sit at home and therefore not being able to source for money to cater for their needs.
Recently, the National Leader of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Bola Tinubu, has also given his voice to the call. This writer seeks to give an opinion on what may have been the major driving force for the stand he chose to take. Tinubu would not be the first to call on the FG to send Nigerians money through their BVN to cushion the effects of the lock-down.
Some notable politicians in the country have offered their inputs at different points as well. Foremost is the former Vice President Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, who was among the first to recommend a stoppage of flights from foreign countries after the first index case. He had suggested that the FG give Nigerians money through their BVN in order to cushion the direct economic effects of the lock down on Nigerians. He also made good his word by pledging a sum of 50 million Naira to the Government to kick-start the process.
Senator Shehu Sani has at different points as well, made a similar call to the FG while drawing attention to how some other African countries have made efforts to cushion the effects of staying at home during this period. He pointed out how Niger’s government was making electricity and water free for their citizens during this period and encouraged the Nigerian government to do something similar.
Asides those with political affiliations, private citizens such as Aliko Dangote, Deji Adeleke, Femi Otedola, Mike Adenuga and others, as well as establishments such as GTBank and UBA formed coalition to raise billions of Naira which was handed over to the Federal government to fight the virus. Bola Tinubu himself would later donate 200 Million Naira to Lagos State to fight the pandemic.
As calls began to increase for the Federal government to do something for the citizens, they started the payment of 20,000 to the poorest citizens in some parts of the country. Many were however not too cool with this method as some felt it was not transparent enough. While the back and forth discussion across the country about the government using BVN to send money into the accounts of Nigerians kept on raging, the National Leader of the APC finally weighed in on the topic.
Tinubu urged the Federal Government to ensure that Nigerians do not go hunger this period as it would not tell well on them in history. He further urged the FG to use BVN to send money to Nigerians amongst other suggestions to help the masses stick through these hard times.
This submission by the former Lagos State governor was greeted with much reactions, with many supporting his call which made him trend on Social Media.
However, Tinubu’s position coming at this time leaves much to be desired. Why is he just saying this now? Does he have any ulterior motive, or is he trying to be a man of the people for real? Some have said that he was just trying to sound friendly to the masses because of a likely Presidential ambition in the 2023 elections. And that since he was trying to play the long the long game, he wants to begin to catch on with the people’s sentiment to ensure that he garners favour from now up until 3 years time when he will likely be a contestant at the polls. But is this the case?
It’s too early to decide on zoning, says Tinubu on 2023 elections.
This writer does not agree with that assertion. The writer is of the opinion that while this move may seem suspect, Tinubu actually knows that an unhappy populace is the death of any government. He has laboured so hard in making sure the government of the day was put into place and as a very smart and pragmatic individual, knows that any disrepute of this government in such magnitude will be a stain on his reputation which he has worked so hard over the years to build.
You see, Tinubu has always prided himself as one who is not just a leader, but who himself has groomed leaders who have gone on to make a major impact in the country. Notable names such as Babatunde Fashola, who served as a two term governor in Lagos state comes to mind. Many, even those of the opposition would attest to his wonderful style of governance and how he gave Lagos state a major face lift during his time in office.
Also, Vice President Yemi Osinbajo is one of his brilliant political protege, whom many can attest as being a key part of President Buhari led Federal Government.
If one were to mention Tinubu’s contribution in terms of grooming leaders, one would have a long list of fine gentlemen and political leaders in their own right including current Lagos State governor, His Excellency, Babajide Sanwo-Olu, who has been very proactive in tackling the pandemic in the state as well as Speaker of the House of Reps, Hon. Femi Gbajabiamila.
All these and more just shows that Tinubu cares about his name and reputation and contrary to popular opinion seems to recognise that an unhappy populace is the beginning of the end for any political movement. If many Nigerians end up being hungry and can’t hold it in anymore, they might defy the lock-down. This in turn, will make it harder to contain the Covid-19 pandemic and would definitely make this government a colossal failure.
The wise man of Nigerian politics seem to have figured all these out and would rather have the federal government making pragmatic moves to avoid all these than fold his hands and watch as break down of law and order unfolds, thereby making him one who was instrumental in installing a failed government at the center, which would eventually ruin his reputation and good track record now and forever.
What do you think about this? Do you agree with writer’s opinion? Let’s hear your views in the comments section.
This post appeared exclusively on NaijaKOKO.