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Who will tell the President? Akande enlightens Tinubu on national issues requiring urgent attention



Laolu Akande host Inside Sources on Channels TV

Laolu Akande, host of Channels TV’s renowned weekly political and economic programme, Inside Sources, has called for the attention of President Bola Tinubu on some national issues that require urgent action.

The veteran journalist in his weekly nuggets, My Take, urged those close to the president to communicate the feelings of Nigerians to President Tinubu, noting that his action and inaction will shape his legacy when he is out of office.

“And here is my tip for the week, entitled Who We Tell the President.” Akande stated as he laid his concerns.

“There are things that the public is interested in, but seems not to be getting the due attention of the president. At least, there is no communication about these things. For instance, the restoration of the Social Investment Programme. Over a month ago, it was announced that it will resume urgently, even as an emergency. It is now April, and this has not been restored.

“Who will tell the president? Specifically in February, the Coordinating Minister of the Economy Mr Wale Edun said restarting the direct cash transfer was crucial to tackling food prices, especially elevated prices and also government ability that it would help the government ability to provide purchasing power to at least 60 million people who are less well -off. Has this been done?” Akande queried.

Who will tell the president that the investigation of the suspended Minister of Humanitarian Affairs, Betta Edu, is taking too long? How long will it take for a decision to be taken on the report of the EFCC? And how long it will take to have a substantive minister named back to that ministry? Or as the President approved the idea to move some of the programs to the Ministry of Finance? Akande, a former presidential spokesperson asked.

Stating his worries on efforts of the current administration on Tax reforms, Akande asked, “Who will tell the president that the Emergency Economic Intervention bill is still lying fallow on someone’s desk somewhere? This is a bill that attempts to codify some of the tax reform proposals from the Presidential Tax Reform Committee, alongside other urgent economic measures. When is that bill going to be sent to the National Assembly? Members of the National Assembly are saying that they have they’ve had no movement on this bill since November. Who will tell the president this?

“Who would tell the President that now that the CBN can get the naira to some stability, it’s time to tax luxury items that are being imported and cut off our heavy importation so that we can save the naira, so we can spend less foreign exchange.”

Quoting India’s anti-colonial nationalist  and political icon, Mahatma Gandhi, Akande noted, “India did a similar thing when Mahatma Gandhi said, and I quote, ‘If India cannot feed herself, let India starve. If India cannot clothe herself, let India go naked’. It was at the time when India was facing such a crisis as we are facing now in Nigeria.”

President Bola Tinubu of Nigeria

Questioning the President’s commitment to press freedom and zeal to fight corruption, Akande queried, “Tough times demand tough decisions. Who will tell the president that instead of an investigation into an allegation of smuggling by non-people that has been reported by journalists, especially the Foundation for Investigative Journalism, what we see is an attempt to criminalise journalism? Instead of our authorities investigating such allegations that are already reported publicly, what we are been told is that there are petitions against the journalists. Who will tell the president that the attempt to intimidate the press is not in Nigeria’s best interest and that it creates a poor reflection on a president that we all know is a true democrat?

“If the smoking allegations that (Fisayo) Soyombo has reported are inaccurate and false, the government should tell us, that going after him and the board of FIJ is not the way to go. Who will tell the president that all of these are happening under his watch and that he does have implications for his legacy?

“One day, four years, eight years maximum, he will be a former president. What is going to be said about attempts by people under him to intimidate journalists?

Concluding his comments on the state of the nation, Akande said “Who will tell the president that for months since Nigeria has withdrawn ambassadors from our embassies abroad, their replacements have not been announced and now our embassies are operating below capacity without substantive envoys. Who will tell the president that in the world of diplomacy, the place of a properly accredited ambassador cannot be compared to anyone below him acting in that capacity? Who would tell the President that this is not in the best interest of Nigeria’s foreign policy?

“These are some of the issues that we hope that somebody who has the president’s ears will bring to his attention. At the end of the day, it is about what the president does and what he does not do. And there you have my take for the week.”