Lead by Example, Make Sacrifices Too – Nigerians Reply President Tinubu

President Bola Ahmed Tinubu’s call for Nigerians to make sacrifices to achieve the country’s greatness has sparked widespread criticism and demands for him to lead by example.

Nigerians, civil society organizations, and opposition parties like the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and Young Progressives Party (YPP) have urged the president and his administration to demonstrate sacrifices before asking citizens to do the same.

Tinubu had while addressing journalists after observing the Eid-el Kabir prayer at Dodan Barracks, Lagos, on Sunday, said that Nigerians must 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,” he had said.

However, his comment has been met with anger and frustration.

Many Nigerians who are struggling with poverty, inflation, and hardship feel that the government has failed to fulfil its promises and provide basic necessities like security, electricity, and infrastructure.

Critics argue that the government’s removal of fuel subsidies, increase in electricity tariffs, and introduction of new taxes have further burdened citizens, making it unfair to ask for more sacrifices without providing relief or social safety nets.

They point out that the cost of governance is high, and the president and his appointees should reduce their own expenses and lead by example.

An economist and lecturer at Saadatu Rimi University of Education, Kumbotso, Kano, who is also the Director, Fiscal Discipline and Development Advocacy Centre (FIDAC), Dr. Abdulsalam Kani, said the government had failed to fulfil its promises made to Nigerians.

“The government has removed fuel subsidy and increased electricity tariff, plunging many into difficulty. Nigerians were promised that Port Harcourt refinery will begin production in December last year, and that has not happened. Despite these and the failure of the administration to fulfil promises, they are making plans to buy new aircraft for the president and vice president,” he said.

The Secretary-General, Nigeria Political Science Association (NPSA), Dr Bakare Adegbola, said: “The statement of the president is a normal thing politicians say during eid celebrations, especially Eid-el Kabir, which is all about sacrifice. But when politically contextualised, then we begin to read meanings to it.

“An average politician cannot make sacrifices in terms of what they get when they get into power because they see the position as a business investment and must recoup their money,” he said.

“However, before demanding such from the masses, he should have shown that he is leading from the front. The cost of governance is too high and yet, we are talking about buying new carriers for the president when we already have ten. Why not sell some of those ageing ones?

“The number of cars in their convoys has shown that they are not making any sacrifice. They need to govern by example and take the lead in their campaign of sacrifice,” he said.

Abdullateef Abubakar, a resident of Kano, said the Tinubu administration should rather reduce cost of governance instead of asking poor Nigerians to make sacrifices.

He said the president made so much appointments who are paid allowances from the government’s coffers.

“People are really facing difficulties. Food is beyond the reach of many families. What else do they want people to do,” he asked.

The PDP and YPP have called on the president to stop corruption and profligacy in his government and demonstrate sacrifices before asking Nigerians to do the same.

The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), the main opposition party, has urged President Tinubu to tackle corruption within his administration and lead by example before calling on Nigerians to make sacrifices. According to the party’s National Publicity Secretary, Debo Ologunagba, “If you look at our recent outing on the state of affairs in the country, we have told the president to take action and reduce profligacy and corruption in government.

“Yes, we agreed that every citizen needs to make sacrifices, but the leadership must lead by example; the government should show the way in making sacrifices by leading by example. That way, the people will be connected to the government.

“What we are saying as a party is that there are times everyone must make sacrifice for the good of the country, but the government must show the way by example; because that is the only way the people can be connected to the government.

“What is happening is that Nigerians have resorted to providing their own security, they have taken over the role of government, because government has apparently failed them and they are disappointed”, he said.

Ologunagba also said because of the situation in the country, “Majority of Nigerians have completely lost confidence in the APC government, which has failed to articulate any clear-cut, development-oriented policy direction that is geared towards guaranteeing the security and economic wellbeing of the people, leading to despondency and uncertainty”.

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