Akande to Tinubu: If there’ll be hope in renewed hope, work with state governors

President Bola Tinubu with Laolu Akande (inset). FILE PHOTOS

By Oluwafemi Popooola

Former presidential aide, Laolu Akande, has urged President Bola Tinubu to collaborate with state governors to achieve his renewed hope agenda set in the areas of health and education development.

Reviewing the President’s speech at the Executive Retreat, where he highlighted areas where he wants his impact to be immediately felt which are in the health and education sectors, Akande said, it is such a big deal for the Federal Government, the President and his ministers to understand that they cannot handle both areas alone.

The former presidential aide gave the submission on Thursday, November 2, 2023, while appearing as a guest analyst on Channels TV’s news documentary programme, Sunrise Daily, where he spoke on the President’s latest demand for performance from his ministers and on core national issues.

When asked to speak on the difficulty in governance, especially for the President in the area of collaboration, without which there will be no hope in the renewed hope,” Akande said, “If you look at the President’s speech, he highlighted two important areas and I think he must be commended for that, where the impact has to be seen. He highlighted health and education.

“Now, the interesting thing to your question is that those are areas where not only will there be a need for effective collaboration within the Federal Government agencies that deal with health and education, these are human capital development issues, but more so, and I hope the President and his team understand this, you’ve got to work with the state governors on health and education, these are concurrent issues.

“It is actually in the state that the impacts would be felt. So, it is such a big deal for the Federal Government, the President and his ministers to understand that these are issues that the Federal Government alone cannot handle.”

“There is no way the Federal Government alone can deliver on education and health, so, you have the governors and their teams along.

“There must be a plan that emphasizes the need to have effective collaborations with the states so you will expect that the President’s speech ought to be taken to NEC and see to what are the work plan and plans of action as to bring about the kind of collaborations that will deliver on the areas of health and education,” Akande said.

He also charged the President to embrace criticism by making himself available for public scrutiny, while he also advised him to monitor his appointees especially the ministers regularly.

Akande added that the progress and development of a nation require effective collaboration, stating that the President was right in admitting that he’s not perfect.

“If you listen to the speech of the President, he did say that he is not perfect. And that is a very important thing to say because as you would find out the work of nation-building, the work of national development will often require all hands on deck, Akande noted.

Advising the President, Akande said, “It is very important for the President to do two things, number one, keep an eye on the ministers on a very regular basis and then secondly, he has to open himself up for critical views.

ALSO READ: President Tinubu should lead advocacy for more electoral reforms — Laolu Akande

“Look, this is a democracy, you cannot shut yourself out on people or sources where you can be spoken to directly, especially, because of your own pedigree as a progressive and as a democrat.

“I think it is important just as he is putting the issue down to the ministers and saying look if you don’t perform you are out, very important point. But you must also open yourself up to critical views. You must have people who can tell you, Mr President, that is not the right path.”

Also, commenting on the viral media reports of the allocation of presidential yacht and luxury cars, among others, in the N2.1 trillion supplementary budget, Akande, when asked if there is a disjoint of objectives between the President and his team, especially the agency in charge of the budget, he said the whole issue has witnessed a communication problem between the presidency and budget office.

“In my view, it is a communication problem, and I will explain why. The budget that we are speaking about is the supplementary budget and these issues of the yacht and stuff like that are something I understand are in the process of the navy. It is something that is part of the naval fleet, Akande stated.

Continuing, he said, “I did a little bit of research on that myself when I saw it and I’m not sure that the President himself is aware of some of the details. Some of these things are communication problems.

“For instance when that information goes out, somebody should have explained that we are not just purchasing this yacht for luxury, this is something that is part of what our naval fleet does,” he concluded.

President Tinubu has come under fire and received severe criticism from Nigerians for also budgeting N28 billion for the purchase of luxury cars for himself, and the First Lady, as well as the renovation of the President’s residence among other spending for the state house.

There have been negative reactions from many Nigerians and critics who have argued that politicians are not adopting the austerity measures being forced on the people.