President Bola Ahmed Tinubu (BAT) kicked off his tenure on a rather high note. If we assume that the way he started the presidency is the way he'll approach things from now on, what should we expect from a president who, seconds after being handed the reins of power, suddenly announces the removal of a 46-year-old subsidy?
Removing the fuel subsidy isn’t the focus here, but we want to focus on how he announced it and the actions that followed. Given that, three themes come to mind: sternness, preparedness and cohesion.
But some context is required before going into the nitty-gritty of these policy themes.
Fuel subsidy is gone!
For context, on May 29, minutes after President Buhari handed over the Nigerian presidency to President BAT, he announced that the fuel subsidy was gone.
Although the immediate past administration had technically removed the subsidy—the 2023 budget passed by President Buhari didn't make provision for the subsidy after June 2023. Still, no one expected the announcement during the inaugural speech for two reasons.
One, inaugural speeches are typically ceremonial events where not much happens beyond swearing to do right by the people who you are meant to lead—whether they chose you or not. Secondly, Nigeria's fuel subsidy has been a contentious issue for over 40 years, and no Head of State has successfully removed it.