By Ikeddy ISIGUZO
ANYONE who had time to count the number of vehicles in President Bola Ahmed Tinubu’s convoy easily falls into a group of the unoccupied who show inappropriate interest in what Tinubu does or does not do.
Perhaps, I am among them. Should I then seek permission to occupy myself with this matter?
My persistence in trying to count was amply punished with dizziness. Was it the number of cars? Or the deployed manpower? It could be the quality over quantity of the cars.
The dazzling display, the detailed opulence, taunting abundance amidst pervading poverty, punishing penury and the plentious pains from dedicated disasters called governments, the gamut of the insensitivity all hit home.
What was the show about? There must be a reason. Perhaps, the unbelievers, the mockers of Tinubu, those who refused to join his camp, doubters of all shades, were meant to see this armada and know that a President, different, was in-charge. Days after, Tinubu dropped a hint in Ijebu-Ode, Ogun State, on Thursday. He won with all the obstacles placed on his way.
A more circumspect Tinubu would admit he remains the biggest obstacle to his presidential ambitions. He prefers to shadow box when questions about him are asked.
Ogun State, specifically Abeokuta, was where Tinubu laid bold claims to the ticket of the All Progressives Congress, APC in June 2022. It was his turn.
Last January he campaigned in Abeokuta thus, “Let them increase the price of fuel, let them continue to hoard fuel, only them know where they have hoarded fuel, they hoarded money, they hoarded Naira; we will go and vote and we will win, even if they changed the ink on Naira notes. Whatever their plans, it will come to naught. We are going to win”. Did he win? The courts will decide.
A prelude to Tinubu’s long convoy was served months before he became President. He had returned from a medical trip and made it known that he was back. He did with the length of his convoy.
Tinubu and his long motorcade had to be put aside for a moment. A stronger decision took away my attention. Another electricity cut left me weighing whether I should run the generator or keep the fuel for an important outing, one that could earn an income.
My mind strayed back to the extraordinary convoy. Do those vehicles run on water or solar energy? Does anyone think about their un-subsidised fuel consumption? Has anyone thought of reducing the cost of running government? If Tinubu can be this extravagant in public what is he doing in private.
Exactly what do the hundreds of people on the convoy do? Are they employed or hangers on? Could some of the security people have been deployed to threatened areas?
Sometimes we forget we are talking of the President. He has at least asked us to make sacrifices. If not for his own sacrifices the convoy would have been longer. The decision to be President is also a sacrifice.
Call it whatever you like. Tinubu’s sacrifices are affordable. He took fuel subsidy away, put nothing in its place but he is on full subsidy. He pays for nothing as President. Like all Nigerians of his circle his life is on subsidy in perpetuity.
His pension as a former Governor is running also in perpetuity. His acolytes say he is wealthy enough to have bought every vehicle in that convoy without blinking an eye.
If Nigerians do not pay immediately for that long convoy, we still would. And continue to pay. If things are too challenging, we would borrow to sustain the style of our President.
Some caught in the traffic jam that the convoy caused were hailing the President. He was living up to his style in office.
The way things seem to work, nobody should be surprised if whoever organised that show is rewarded for his imprudence, his unparalleled spit on Nigerians as they groan under the pangs of consequences of uncaring governments.
Let it be recorded that Tinubu has displayed the longest convoy in Nigeria’s history with choice vehicles. The prices of each of cars can lift whole communities out of poverty. We would rather preach poverty eradication.
Someone should contact Guinness Book of Records for a documentation of this unprecedented waste. Should it not count as an achievement?
The vehicles cannot be in the Abuja presidential convoy. What we saw in Lagos were the vehicles in Lagos for Lagos. Would the convoy in Abuja one day out-grow Lagos?
What a waste awaits Nigerians at a time we are making sacrifices to survive? Tinubu’s response to the hardship is to taunt us knowing that his strategies won him the election.
The long journey to survival has begun. The convoy will be longer – too long to count. Nobody would be interested in counting. Tinubu has occupied us with struggles to survive the sacrifices that are still ahead.
JEREMIAH Okorodudu boxed for Nigeria at the Olympic and Commonwealth Games. He died on Wednesday after being ill for two years without sports authorities showing an interests. There are many cases like his. When will those in-charge act? Someone will ask: What did he do with his life? He invested it in Nigeria.
ONE does not need to be an economist to know that the price of fuel will keep rising as long as we are not refining the product, the Dollar keeps gaining on the Naira, and if unfortunately, the price of crude oil goes up in the international market. Government is aware of this.
COULD the Ministries of Justice do a review of detainees in prisons in their States? Many people are jailed wrongly. There are worse cases – some suspects await trial for over 10 years.
SALARY review for the President, and others, is only a matter of time. You can see the kinds of sacrifices they are making to serve us.
Isiguzo is a major commentator on minor issues