By Lateef Adegbite
his is not the best of times for Nasir El-Ruai, a Former minister of Federal Capital Territory, FCT, during Olusegun Obasanjo’s Administration and immediate past governornor of Kaduna and Senator Abdullaziz Yari a one-time governor of Zamfara state as President Bola Ahmed Tinubu, hits the ground running.
The former Kaduna state governor had expected to be appointed either the Chief of Staff to the President or the Secretary to the Federal government while Senator Yari had expected to be supported by the Lagos state born Nigerian President to be the Senator President to become relevant in the new dispensation. El-Rufai, the former Kaduna state governor, who was a close political ally to former President Muhammadu Buhari, may have been disappointed that Tinubu, appointed Senator George Akume, a former governor of the north central state of Benue as the Secretary to the Government and of the Federation,Femi Gbajabiamila, the and a former Speaker of the House Of Representatives as the Chief of Staff. His Philosophical remarks speaks that ‘’the Ax forgets but the Tree remembers’’, bear eloquent testimony to the deep anger in him, that he has worked for Tinubu to emerge as the President of Nigerian after the February 25, 2023, Presidential election ,only to be dumped.
An ambitious Senator Yari, who has expected to take over from Senator Ahmad Lawan, the immediate Senate President but lost to Senator Godswill Akpabio, a former minister of the Niger Delta Affairs during Buhari’s Administration, the government and the ruling All Progressive Congress, APC, Leadership, annointed Candidate, has alleged sabotage by some of his colleagues who said to have bowed to pressure from a higher Authority to vote for the former Akwa Ibom state governor. Senator Yari was optimistic that he would get at least 61 out of the 109 votes available in the red Chamber to win the Senate President Seat, against his main Challenger, Senator Akpabio. He got it wrong. Senator Akpabio has pulled 63 votes to his 46, to emerge as the President of the Senate of the 10th National Assembly, fueling the anger in the former amfara state governor that ‘’there was a betrayal’’.
Many believe that the emergence of Senators Akpabio , Jibrin Barau, as Senate President and Deputy enate President respectively and Tajudeen Abbas, Benjamin Kalu, representing Bende Federal Constituency in Abia state as the peaker and Deputy Speaker of the Green Chamber as endorsed by Tnubu and the APC , Leadership, appears to have given an insight of the shape of the new government.
Until the election of the 10th National Assembly principal officers. Senate Lawa, led 9th Senate, had approved Tinubu’s request to appoint 20 Special Advisers. The red Chamber, may have given speedy approval to the request because of the utmost urgency as the former Lagos state governor was set to hit the ground running.
He may have waited for the new principal officers of the National Assembly to assume office before appointing the Aides. As a prelude to the appointment of the Special Advisers, the Nigerian President was said to have,met with Akpabio 48 hours after the duo earlier met at the Villa, hours after the former Akwa Ibom state governor’s emergence as Senate President.
Many believe that the meeting was not unconnected with the plans of the 10th National Assembly to work closely with the Tinubu’s Administration. Recall that after his election as the Senate President on Tuesday, June 114, 2023, Akpabio has promised ‘’to work closely with the government’’, urging the Senators ‘’ to put national interest first at all times’’’.This may have gladdenedened Tinubu’s heart, who was prepared to hit the ground running.
On Thursday, June 16, 2023, Tnubu, had named eight persons as Special Advisers , others , for now, to test the waters, out of the 20 Aides, he is expected to have as approved by the Lawn led 9th Senate, as the 10th National Assembly has not been inaugurated as at the time the request was made by the President.
The Nigeria President has appointed Wale Edun, who was the Commissioner of Finance, when he was the governor of Lagos state between 1999 and 202007, as the Special Adviser, Monetary policies , Nuhu Ribadu, a retired Assistant Inspector General, AIG, of Police and former Chairman, Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, security Adviser, Olu Verheijen, Special Adviser on energy and Zacheaus Adedeji, Special Adviser on Revenue. Also appointed as Presidential Aides were Dele Alake, a vetran Journalist as, Special Duties, Communications and Strategy and Mr. Yau Darazo, Political and Intergovernmental Affairs.
He was said to have also appointed John Uwajumogu as the special Advise on Industry, Trade and Invesment and Salma Anas, Health. With the appointments of the Special Advisers, going by what James Faleke, a member of House of Representatives representing Ikeja, Federal Constituency, and close political ally of the President had said, he will unveil members of his Cabinet within 60 days in office, meaning that the new Cabinet would be constituted in July, 2023.
Even without appointing Special Advisers or constituting members of the Cabinet, Tinubu, has left no one in doubt of how he intends to run the new Administration with the removal of fuel subsidy which has remained a drain pipe to the economy over the years on May 29, 2023.
The National Economic Council, under the Chairmanship of Vice President Kashim Shettima, who incidentally was a former overnor of the north eastern state of Borno, at its meeting were said to have deliberated on various recommendation on how to cushion the effects of the fuel removal on workers including the one by the organised Labour for N2.9 billion consequential adjustment on allowances as well as no less N25 billion per month which Labour was said to havealso requested .
The Council was said to have equally deliberated on the recommendations on the issue of the national Salaries, Income, and Wages Commissiion , meant to help the situation. Instead of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, NNPC, now baptized the Nigerian National Petroleum Company Limited, NNPCL, with the signing of the Petroleum Industry Bill, PIB, passed by the National Assembly, into Law, by the Katsina state born Nigerian President in August, 2021, becoming the sole importer of petroleum products in the country, the Nigerian Midsream and Downstream Regulatory Authority, NDDRA, under the close watch of Farouk Ahmed, was said to have given license to three oil Marketing firms to also import Premium Motor Spirit, PMS, Dual Purpose Kerosene, DPK and Diesel, into the Nigerian Market.
Ahmed, the Chief Executive Officer CEO, of NMDPRA, had said that the three licensed oil markers will from July, 2023, begin the importation of products.To ensure that the marketers properly fit in into the new arrangement, to import products and sell to dealers, the NNPCL, according to the NMDPRA, has agreed ‘’to reduce its petrol import volume. An insider disclosed that importers of PMS, alone, would need about $2 million monthly to meet its import foreign exchange need.
The Nigerian President had promised on assumption of office on May 29, 2023, to do away with the multiple foreign exchange transactions arrangement adopted by the pevious Administration that had stagnated the economy. He was said to have urged the then CBN, governor, Godwin Emefiele, who is now being investigated by the Department of State Security , DSS, over some undisclosed s to work towards a unified exchange rate.
The World /IMF, have recommended different foreign exchange rate systems could be adopted by any country to suit their economy ranging from freely floating rate, fixed, pegged, also known in banking circles as stable peg, crawling peg, basket peg or target zone or bands and managed float.
Given Tiubu’s matching order to the CBN, to unify the country’s multiple exchange rate policy may have informed why Folashodun Shonubi, a Deputy Director, operations, led new Management team of the apex bank, has abolished the multiple exchange rate windows and collapsed them into the business –based investors and importers window. But new management had said ‘’ applications for medicals, school fees, BTA/PTA, and SMEs, would continue to be processed through the Money Deposit Banks, MDB’’. Emefiele had said that ‘’Nigeria cannot afford ‘’ to operate a floated exchange rate system’’ because of its disadvantage to the economy.
With the new CBN , management, introduction of measures to collapse the bank’s multiple exchange rate system into one, may have put an end to the subsidization of forex through the RT200 programme as well as well as the Naira 4dollar remittance scheme , implement by the previous Administration.
The CBN, under the embattled Emefiele, who is now in DSS, custody, was said to have introduced the Naira 4dollar scheme ‘’to encourage processing of foreign exchange remittance through official means by giving N5.00 for every dollar remitted into the Federation Account. Last year, the apex bank had reintroduced the RT200 FX, programme aimed at ‘’raising $200 billion in Foreign Exchange earnings from non-oil proceeds for the country over the next three to five years.
Informed sources told the Value News that with the unification of the multiple exchange rate policy, of the previous Administration, it has resulted in the easing of the supply challenge in the forex market. This is evident going by what is happening at the Foreign exchange market, from N474.00 to a dollar, at which the North American country of the United States dollar, closed at the import and export window it was said to have closed at N664.04 as the naira gained N5.00 at the parallel market to close at N755.00 to the dollar from N760.