Nigerians across the board will be waiting with bated breath for the Independence Day address of President Bola Tinubu as the country marks 63 years of self-government on Sunday, October 1.
These include the generality of the common people awaiting reliefs from inflationary trends arising from the removal of fuel subsidy and free float of the naira, which have caused the cost of food, transport and other goods and services to spiral steeply upwards.
Also waiting is Organised Labour, which has scheduled a general strike for Tuesday, October 3, two days after President Tinubu’s anticipated anniversary address, to leave room for a pull-back should the President make allowance for their demands.
Also looking from the sidelines will be local and foreign investors, watching for signals as the Nigerian leadership announces it is liberalising the economy and shopping for investors.
The President is expected to address the demands of Organised Labour as a way to show empathy and good faith with Nigerians and assuage the labour unions.
Organised Labour’s demands include wage increases for the working classes, tax exemptions and allowances to public sector workers, reduction of cost of governance, provision of Compressed Natural Gas (CNG) buses, release of modalities for disbursement of N70 billion for Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs), among others.
President Tinubu had mentioned a commitment and efforts to meet much of these demands over time and it is expected that he will throw more light on them.
The President is also expected to bring Nigerians up-to-date on other developmental matters which he raised in his inaugural address to the nation on May 29.
These include efforts to curb interest rates which he said were too high and needed to come down; progress towards a national networks of roads, rail, and ports which he said would get priority attention; a campaign commitment to create one million new jobs in the digital economy; and impartiality in governance according to the constitution and the rule of law.
Others are defending the nation from terror and all forms of criminality; remodelling the economy to bring about growth and development to achieve higher GDP, job creation, food security, and an end to extreme poverty; and efforts at developing a credit culture to discourage corruption, while strengthening the effectiveness and efficiency of the various anti-corruption agencies.
Meanwhile, analysts say promises are not enough and the government must match words with action to win the citizens’ confidence.
Bismarck Rewane, Chief Executive Officer of Financial Derivatives Company, reckons that honest and forthright utterances by government are critical to eliciting confidence from the general public, as well as local and foreign investors. This spurs actions and investments to be made in trust and assurance, leading to economic growth and national development.
“What is missing is the transparency to come clean and tell people the truth. When this is done, confidence will be restored,” Rewane said in an interview programme ‘Politics Today’ on Channels Television last Monday.
Rewane said the country’s leadership must match words with action and that promised changes must be followed by institutional reforms.
“If you don’t come clean and people find out, people will not bring money in and people will take their money out,” he said.