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President Bola Ahmed Tinubu indeed met Nigerians in the cauldron of abject poverty. It was officially called multi-dimensional poverty. Muhammadu Buhari, the former President, did not hand over to Tinubu until poverty became a permanent resident in virtually every home in Nigeria.

Poverty under Buhari had a green card — positive identification — in Nigeria. A beleaguered Nigeria was handed over to Tinubu who was over-hyped by his image makers as the man with the magic wand — having turned Lagos into “paradise” while he was the governor. Now in Abuja — and surrounded by the brilliant “Lagos boys”— it is one hardship after the other. This punishment is too much to bear.

What is our sin? I can think of one. Since Nigeria’s transition to democracy in 1999, this is the first time we have a president that the majority of Nigerians voted against. Nigerians, in their majority, voted against Tinubu. Whether one thinks the presidential election was fair or rigged, only about 37% of Nigerians voted for Tinubu.

Is this administration not tired of punishing Nigerians? Oil subsidy was thoughtlessly withdrawn. Its ripple effects are the skyrocketed prices of commodities and the unprecedented inflation we continue to witness. Floating of naira further immersed most Nigerians deeply into the cauldron of poverty. The so-called food palliative was given to some televised people who are not up to a percentage of the deserving poor. Food items are so expensive that they are beyond the purchasing power of average Nigerians.

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Civil servants who jubilated over the N35,000 palliative which lasted for six months later realised that it was not meant to cushion the effect of the callous declaration “subsidy is gone.” The monetary palliative becomes meaningless as soon as it flies out of bank accounts and gets into our scaring markets which have been invaded and hijacked by inflation.

Students were not spared. School fees were unreasonably hiked with the promise of student loans. This is the twelfth month of Tinubu’s presidency; no single student, to my knowledge, has gotten any loan. Many have withdrawn from school due to prohibitive school fees. Higher education in Nigeria today is for the fittest. The fittest, in most cases, are not the poor; though the poor are the majority.

Not tired of punishing Nigerians, the electricity tariff was shockingly hiked. This led to the banding of Nigerians — as if in castes — into those who deserve light and those who should remain in darkness. As if that is not enough, the already hiked price of fuel which was due to the removal of subsidy was re-hiked by some forces to make sure that many Nigerians embrace the angel of death willy-nilly. A litre of petrol has been sold for a thousand naira plus — almost hitting N2,000 in some places—in the last two weeks. One feels like committing suicide, if not for the grace of God.

As if this regime relishes to see us in pain. While Nigerians devise different coping mechanisms as they continue to toil in untold hardship, we were told again that banks should butcher our monies whenever we make electronic transactions (as Cybersecurity Levy). Some exceptions are made to make it appear to have a human face. The reality remains that it is extortive to the core. Many of the unbanked would feel they were compelled to be banked only to be robbed.

With this 0.5 percent charges on electronic transactions, in addition to other bank charges, how many businesses will this policy kill? How many millions of Nigerians will the Tinubu regime render jobless? How many households will be disintegrated due to economic hardship? How many husbands will send their wives packing and how many wives will seek divorce? How many children will be pitted against their parents and how many parents does Tinubu want to make irresponsible?

I am just asking. I cannot make any guesstimate but I know the statistics will be very terrible. What is our sin? Our sin, if I may guess, is that most Nigerians did not want Tinubu before the election — as evident from the results which declared him winner with 37 percent votes. Is Tinubu paying us back in the same coin?

In the words of Phyllis E. Bernard, a law professor at Oklahoma City University School, “Eliminationism is the belief that a social group is a cancer on the body politic that must be excised — either by separation from the public at large, through censorship or by outright extermination — to protect the purity of the nation.” This can be likened to annihilationism — a theological doctrine which presupposes that the wicked will cease to exist after this life.

With Tinubu’s ascendancy to power, our former fragile economy which (some believe) promises some glimmer of hope, has metamorphosed into a hopeless skeletal economy. With this Cybersecurity Levy, we can only talk about skeletalisation of Nigerians and the Nigerian economy. Many dead businesses in Nigeria that are awaiting some miraculous resuscitation would now be shown the burial ground with this new levy.

Dear President Tinubu, are we the cancer that must be eliminated to protect the purity of Nigeria that seems to be restructured under your regime only for the capitalists to exist? Or are we the wicked sinners that must cease to exist by the time you must have spent four years in office? Is this punishment not too much for our sins? I beg you on behalf of myself and other Nigerians — with cap in hand, knees on the ground, and eyes with tears — to reverse these killing policies. Please!

It is said that “The governors/rulers are the shepherds (protectors) of the people, but if the shepherd becomes a wolf, who shall protect the flock?” It is good to know that the House of Representatives has asked for the suspension of the Cybersecurity Levy. Let us breathe. Please!


Salaudeen wrote via [email protected]




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