A former Minister of Communications, Adebayo ShittuHe has said that the current difficulties Nigerians are experiencing as a result of fuel shortages and new naira banknotes are signs of leadership failure.
Mr Shittu said this while speaking on “Focus Nigeria”, a program on African Independent Television (AIT), on Thursday.
Nigerians have been dealing with fuel shortages in the recent past with the price per liter hovering between N195 and N400. Long lines of vehicles are seen at many gas stations that dispense the product throughout the county.
In addition, the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) recently announced the redesign of the naira banknotes, which has led to economic disruption and hardship, especially among poor and rural dwellers.
Shittu, who served as a minister during Buhari’s first term from 2015 to 2019, said the situation in the country was regrettable and it was the fault of the decision makers.
“What is happening is a shame and unfortunately a failure of leadership,” he said. “The blame lies with those who are supposed to have made these decisions.”
Shittu said the president is a “humble person” who doesn’t talk much, so his “little cabal” of advisers is taking advantage of him.
The coin redesign is a good idea, Shittu admitted, “but, in doing the right thing, you have to diligently ensure that 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 criticize the government for not making enough sense at the time of the currency redesign,” Shittu said of the policy that he believes has given political opponents an undue advantage.
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“With all due respect to the president, he may not have been given the proper perspective on issues like this. But the government must take responsibility if the central bankers are not doing their job well.”
Shittu said that the criticality of these events may put the president in trouble after leaving office.
“If President Muhammadu Buhari does not do what is necessary in the next week or two, 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 it. All the credits he has gotten will go down the drain.”
Tinubu, not part of Buhari’s failure
Shittu, who is currently a member of the All Progressives Congress (APC) Presidential Campaign Council, distanced the ruling party’s presidential candidate, Bola Tinubu, from the failure of the Buhari administration. He said that Mr. Buhari should take responsibility for his administration’s policies.
“Tinubu is a member of the APC but is not part of the Buhari government,” he said. “Tinubu is being made a victim of a policy he has no idea about. The government does not report to him and he does not give instructions to the president.”
“It’s not fair to say that because Tinubu helped install people in the government, he should take the blame for his failure.”
Despite the issues at hand, the former minister said Tinubu’s chances remain very good ahead of this month’s election.
Speaking of other APC campaign issues, Mr. Shittu also criticizes the president for deliberately not endorsing Mr. Tinubu at campaign rallies.
“It would be very uncharitable of any leader to go to a particular candidate’s campaign and not publicly ask people to vote for that candidate. It is very unfortunate that it happens in a series of events.
“But the president is a human being and susceptible to all sorts of unfair and immoral influences that he may not be aware of. I am sorry to say this but I have to say it for the interest of Nigeria,” he said.
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