Self-Sacrificing Citizens: Practice What You Preach – Nigerians Reply Tinubu

Nigerians have urged President Bola Ahmed Tinubu to practice what he preaches, following his statement that Nigeria needs self-sacrificing citizens to fulfil the dreams of its founding fathers.

The president was also asked to ensure that his ministers, advisers, agency heads, governors at the subnational level, and other individuals in positions of authority lead by example.

They emphasized that sacrifice should start from the top and trickle down, rather than the other way around.

Naija News reports that Tinubu, addressing journalists after observing the Eid-el Kabir prayer at Dodan Barracks in Lagos on Sunday, stressed the need for people to follow the path of sacrifice to make the nation great.

Being a very good citizen comes with responsibility. As citizens, what do you do to be a very committed member of our society? Go and sacrifice. Love your country, love your neighbours, share what you have with one another and be thankful to Almighty God. That’s all,” the President said.

The comment sparked reactions from various groups in Nigeria, including civil society organizations and the opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).

An economist and lecturer at Saadatu Rimi University of Education, Kumbotso, Kano, and Director of the Fiscal Discipline and Development Advocacy Centre (FIDAC), Dr. Abdulsalam Kani, criticized the government for not fulfilling its promises to Nigerians.

The government has eliminated the fuel subsidy and raised electricity tariffs, causing hardship for many. They promised that the Port Harcourt refinery would start production in December last year, which has not happened. Despite these failures, they plan to purchase new aircraft for the president and vice president,” he stated.

He also highlighted the government’s inability to control inflation, which is currently over 33%.

The government’s primary duty is to ensure the welfare and security of its citizens,” he added.

Secretary-General of the Nigeria Political Science Association (NPSA), Dr. Bakare Adegbola, remarked: “The president’s statement is typical of what politicians say during Eid celebrations, especially Eid-el-Kabir, which emphasizes sacrifice. However, when placed in a political context, it raises questions.

“Politicians often view their positions as business investments, aiming to recoup their expenses rather than make personal sacrifices,” he noted.

Before asking the masses to sacrifice, the government should lead by example. The cost of governance is too high, and plans to buy new aircraft for the president are unnecessary when there are already ten. Selling some of the older planes would be a better approach,” he suggested.

Civil society organizations also voiced their opinions.

Team Lead/Convener of the Good Governance Team (GGT) Nigeria, Tunde Salman, stated that President Tinubu and his team should practice what they preach.

Unfortunately, Nigerian leaders often do not follow through on their promises, so the president’s appeal is likely to be ignored,” he said.

Senior Communications Officer at Yiaga Africa, Mark Amaza, criticized the call for more sacrifices from citizens, noting that leaders are not making similar sacrifices.

Cutting governance costs, reducing cabinet size, and eliminating extravagant spending are necessary steps that should be taken to show solidarity with citizens during these hard times,” Amaza emphasized.

Executive Director of the Resource Centre for Human Rights and Civic Education (CHRICED), Comrade Ibrahim Zikirullahi, called the president’s appeal insensitive.

Neither the president nor the ruling class has the moral authority to demand more sacrifices from Nigerians, who are already living in poverty despite the country’s abundant resources,” he said.

Country Director of Action Aid Nigeria (AAN), Andrew Mamedu, insisted that the president’s call must be backed by actions from the government.

The country is grappling with inflation and a high cost of living. The Nigerian Labour Congress (NLC) has rightly demanded a higher minimum wage to help workers cope, yet the disparity between the sacrifices expected from ordinary Nigerians and the lavish lifestyles of lawmakers remains glaring,” he noted.

Executive Director of the Cleen Foundation, Gad Peter, questioned what sacrifices President Tinubu and his administration are making to improve the lives of Nigerians.

While Nigerians have sacrificed to elect him, what is he doing to ensure they benefit from democracy?” he asked.

Former National Secretary of the Committee for the Defence of Human Rights (CDHR), Yinka Folarin, described Tinubu’s statement as unfortunate, suggesting it could further agitate the public.

Nigerians are already sacrificing and enduring economic hardship. The president appears disconnected from the people’s struggles,” Folarin commented.

The PDP urged President Tinubu to curb corruption within his administration and lead by example before asking Nigerians to make sacrifices.

National Publicity Secretary of the PDP, Debo Ologunagba, emphasized that leadership must set an example in sacrifice to inspire public confidence.

Nigerians have lost faith in the APC government due to its failure to provide clear policies for security and economic wellbeing, leading to widespread disappointment,” Ologunagba stated.

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