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How Atiku unknowingly embraced Tinubu’s economic reforms  

How Atiku unknowingly emraced Tinubu’s economic reforms  

Former Nigeria’s vice president, Atiku Abubakar, has endorsed President Bola Tinubu’s economic policies which many Nigerians believe are responsible for the prevailing hardship in the country.

Atiku, in playing his role as an opposition politician in Nigeria, has always criticized most of Tinubu’s policies, actions and inactions.

But, in an attempt to attack the president’s reforms under which common Nigerians are groaning, Atiku recently advised Tinubu to learn from Argentina’s Javier Milei’s approach to reforms.

READ ALSO: HARDSHIP IN NIGERIA: How Atiku, Obi, Osinbajo, Tinubu are worse than Buhari – Kperogi

However, a professor of journalism and emerging media at Kennesaw State University in Georgia, United States, Prof Farooq Kperogi, analysed Atiku’s Milei example, and concluded that the ex-vice president had ignorantly endorsed Tinubu’s reforms he thought he was attacking.

He wrote:

“The other day, PDP presidential candidate Atiku Abubakar put out a press statement titled ‘Argentina’s Javier Milei approach to reforms should serve as a lesson for Tinubu’ where he extolled the dangerously right-wing Argentinian president Javier Milei whose rightwing economic populist policies are destroying the fabric of his country.

“I read a recent report in Reuters titled: ‘Argentina’s market double down on Milei as investors ‘start to believe’,” he wrote.

READ ALSO: ‘Tinubu killing Nigerians with hunger, wants to kill Nigeriens with war’ – Kperogi

Well, the same Western financial establishment is already praising the outcome of Tinubu’s economic policies. A March 8, 2024, report from Bloomberg, for instance, has said that “Foreign investor demand for Nigerian assets surges as reforms instituted by President Bola Tinubu’s administration starts paying off.”

Similarly, one David Roberts, identified as a former British Council Director in Abuja, bragged the other day that Nigeria’s economy “posted a GDP growth of 3.46% in quarter 4” as a result of Tinubu’s economic reforms.

He wrote: “Why would a country with a severe infrastructural deficit invest more money on a wasteful expenditure such as cheap petrol, instead of building schools, hospitals, dams and a national railway system? It is evident that it had to go.

READ ALSO: Why Peter Obi won’t sue Nigerian medium for ‘religious war’, ‘yes daddy’ audio — Kperogi

“We joined the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund in saying as much to the Nigerian government. And at long last, it is gone.”

People outside Nigeria reading about Nigeria in the Western financial press would think Nigerians are now living in El- Dorado as a result of Tinubu’s “reforms”—just like Atiku thinks a favorable Reuters story about the anti-people economic policies of Milei, who is called the “Madman of Argentina,” is already yielding excellent outcomes.

If you do the bidding of the Western establishment, they will always make up statistics to show that your economy has grown. I called attention to this in my June 28, 2023, column titled, “Why Tinubu’s Hiring and Firing Frenzy Excites Nigerians.”

READ ALSO: Labour Party, Obidients lack moral ground to oppose Tinubu’s subsidy removal – Kperogi

I wrote: “What shall it profit a country when it pursues policies that cause the economy to ‘grow’ but cause the people to growl? After the economy has ‘grown’ but the people still groan, where is the growth? The most important growth isn’t the rise in abstract, disembodied, World Bank/IMF-created metrics but in the improvement of the quality of life of everyday folks.”

Milei’s Argentina that Atiku is praising is almost in the same right-wing economic hellscape as Nigeria is. Like Tinubu, Milei began his presidency by removing subsidies for petrol and transportation and devaluing the Argentinian peso by more than 50 percent. In addition, he threw scores of workers into unemployment when he reduced the number of ministries in the country.

He is so market-centric he scrapped a whole host of rules designed to reign in the greed and exploitation of private enterprises. He did this by getting the parliament to approve the principle of “delegated powers” to the executive for one year, which allows him to rule by decree like a military dictator in the name of “economic urgency.”

READ ALSO: Forecast of what Atiku, Tinubu, or Obi govts might be – Farooq A. Kperogi

The result? Like in Nigeria, most Argentinians are having a hard time finding food to eat. A February 1, 2024, CNN story captures it: “‘I don’t know how I will eat.’ For the workers behind Argentina’s national drink, Milei’s reforms are turning sour.”

Argentinian workers periodically go on strike to protest Milei’s punishing right-wing policies. On February 28, all flights were cancelled in the country because air travel workers went on a crippling 24-hour strike.

A March 4, 2024, Bloomberg report said Milei’s policies had caused spending to plunge at shops in Argentina, that firms were seeing double-digit sales declines for third straight month, that the worth of salaries had plummeted amid a paralyzing 250% inflation, and that recession was deepening in the country.

READ ALSO: How top dog Aisha Buhari lionized underdog Aminu Adamu – Kperogi

The lead to the story says it all: “Consumers in Argentine are running out of options to shield themselves from runaway price increases as President Javier Milei’s austerity measures send the country deeper into recession.

That’s Atiku’s exemplar for Nigeria”, Kperogi wrote.

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