A former acting national chairman of the All Progressives Congress (APC) and chairman, Governing Council, of the Institute for Progressive Affairs, Hilliard Eta, has implored Nigerians to give President Bola Ahmed Tinubu the benefits of doubt in his ongoing efforts to change the fortunes of the country for good.
Specifically, he noted that the president would definitely address the challenges occasiined by the removal petrol subsidy. Addressing journalists after a meeting at the APC national secretariat in Abuja to discuss the 10th anniversary of the party with the leadership of the party, Eta absolved President Tinubu of any wrongdoing, insisting that it was too early to pick holes in his administration’s policies.
Eta who was also a former national vice chairman (South-South) of the party stated that a considerable number of the masses voted for Tinubu because of his ideologies and strong conviction that he can arrest the dwindling fortunes of the country.
Noting that the president was much aware of the post-subsidy removal pains Nigerians were passing through, he said, “Let me start by saying that there is a consensus in Nigeria that the time had come for subsidy to be removed. I believe there is no section of the country that is against subsidy removal.
“The question is: What happens after the removal of the subsidy? This government is barely 54 days and, even though I will not run away from issues of serious economic dimensions across most homes in Nigeria, I think it is too early to pass a judgment on this government. “It has removed subsidy but the forces of fiscal and monetary policies will bring everything to normalcy.
I don’t believe the price of fuel will rise above what it is now. Even if it happens, I believe the time has come for the President and his team to bring solutions to the many economic problems tied to it for our wellbeing. For instance, the scarcity of dollars is because our economy is tied to importation. If not, we won’t be going about looking for dollars.
“Let me say that there is no research to show whether Nigerians are against the APC or not. But we, as politicians, believe the best way to know is through an election. And we just won the presidential election. I assure you that the presidential tribunal will uphold the election,” he said.
Eta further observed with dismay that the country’s overdependence on importation of household goods and items that can be manufactured locally was partly contributing to the free fall of the naira.
He continued: “For those who stuck out their neck for President Tinubu to emerge, it was because of their firm belief that he has the talent and capacity to put people together and Nigeria needs the best to come together again. The administration is early in the day because I believe he still has that talent to bring the best together and Nigeria will benefit from the talent.
“I did a research a few days ago and I found out that Nigeria spent $40 million in 2014 to import toothpick. That is to show you how foolish our trade policies are. Today, everybody is looking for dollars. Remember that for every dollar sent to China, we are not just sending dollars, we are equally sending our jobs with those dollars to China because these things are linked together.
“While it is excruciating, it is not just that fuel is expensive, young men and women also have no jobs. I believe in the nearest future, government will find away to mitigate these things. Finally, this party was founded on progressive ideas. I remember when we campaigned in 2014, we campaigned based on ideas. We will not allow the ideas tom die. We may have been disappointed on the way but we will keep to them.” Eta hinted that members of the Institute for Progressive Affairs are working hand-in-gloves with the leadership of the party to successfully mark its 10th anniversary on July 31.