Former Anambra dep gov urges state govs to tackle economic hardship amid Tinubu’s reforms

Dr Nkem Okeke

By Emmanuel Babafemi

The former deputy governor of Anambra State, Dr Nkem Okeke, has called on state governors to take proactive measures to mitigate the economic hardship faced by their citizens due to the reforms being implemented by the Tinubu administration.

Speaking during an interview on Channels TV’s Inside Sources with Laolu Akande, on Friday, Okeke who served the southeastern state from 17 March 2014 to 17 March 2022, praised President Bola Ahmed Tinubu’s sincerity of purpose and tough decisions, such as the removal of fuel subsidy and efforts to manage the exchange rate, as necessary steps to steer the country in the right direction.

However, he stressed the importance of state governments playing a crucial role in cushioning the impact of these reforms on the masses.

“The question we need to ask is what are the governors doing, are they being proactive? If you provide jobs for the youths, they in turn take care of their families. Take care of their parents and grandparents and make life a little bit easier,” Okeke said.

He advocated for targeted social welfare programmes, such as direct cash transfers to senior citizens and job creation initiatives for the youth, to alleviate the burden on families.

Okeke, serving as Vice Chairman of the APC Professionals Forum, cited the example of the Niger State Governor’s initiative to buy tractors as a proactive measure to support agriculture and create employment opportunities.

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“For instance, I saw what the Niger State Governor did about buying tractors. He bought a whole bunch of tractors,” Okeke said.

He called on state governors to take a cue from the Tinubu administration’s sincerity of purpose and work towards making a difference in the lives of their citizens

Expressing optimism about the direction of the Nigerian economy under the leadership of President Tinubu, Okeke, serving as Vice Chairman of the APC Professionals Forum, Tinubu’s decisions are necessary steps to steer the country in the right direction.

“I believe so, I truly believe in my heart that we are in the right direction. Nigeria had actually been through a whole lot,” Okeke said. “For me, leadership is not about being a brain surgeon. It is simply about sincerity of purpose. Are you sincere in your heart that you want to make a difference?”

The former deputy governor acknowledged the difficulties faced by the masses due to the rise in fuel prices and the devaluation of the naira, but he emphasised the need to sustain these reforms for long-term economic stability.

“It is very difficult for the masses. It is a situation that people didn’t find themselves in a couple of months back. Now they have to face the reality that fuel prices have gone up, the naira has devalued and trying to find its proper level.

“But I believe it is something we need to do and the question is can we sustain it? We must sustain it and continue in that direction,”
Okeke said.

He also praised the administration’s efforts in the physical space, such as tax reforms, and called for a focus on the oil sector to plug leakages and increase revenue.

“These are things we need to do. Try and create a situation where we can increase our revenue. We need to look into the oil sector, make sure we purge all the leakages and stop all the things that go on in the area,” Okeke said.

The former deputy governor acknowledged that the short-term consequences of the reforms would be difficult, but he expressed confidence that with time, things would improve.

“You know, there are certain decisions when you take the result in the short run is going to be difficult. People are going to go through a very difficult period. But with time things will definitely get better,” Okeke said.