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The currency of hope (III)

The currency of hope (III)
May 21
09:53 2024

In the book “Learning How to Hope” Sarah M. Stitzlein describes hope (especially in a democracy) as a relationship between the leaders and the led, between government and the people. I would add that naturally, such a relationship from the viewpoint of the led is measured by the impacts obtained from policies, actions and performances of government. While the government aims to continually woo the masses with its well thought out and achievable goals, be it in the shortest, medium or long term, backing it up with brilliant implementations activates hope in the masses.

In my previous series, the concept of hope especially as a currency has been established, whether as defined by Desmond Tutu: “Hope is being able to see that there is light despite all the darkness” or Bola Ahmed Tinubu, “Without hope there is no life and without hope there is no salvation” or Paul Tremblay, “Hope is a desperate man’s currency”.

One thing is certain we all need hope! The Renewed Hope Team to its credit in the past months have attempted in various ways to fly the hope flag. Hitting the ground running with policies on Economy, Agriculture, Power, Education, Youth Empowerment, Entrepreneurship , Healthcare, Housing , National Security and Foreign Policy and much more have been initiated or reformed drawing largely from its Renewed Hope Campaign Blueprint which in itself was christened “Action Plan For A Better Nigeria”.

How have these policies faired?

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Undoubtedly the administration is not taking public communication, information dissemination lightly. The belief that “communication is indeed the act of governance” is well understood. However disseminating information especially on public policies is one thing, whether the citizens understand the contents and its impact is another. On this, public communication strategies must be deliberate in breaking it down while also encompassing millions of citizens that neither read newspapers nor watch the news.

Furthermore, I agree with the academic and general rule that until citizens are indeed participants of public policies there would always be an uproar or pushback against some if not all policies that the people see as harsh and stifling. This can drive the government into policy reversals, policy suspensions or outright policy summersaults which in turn and by default “empowers” the masses even though these policies in themselves are excellent.

Our Renewed Hope Agenda that won on the platform of our great party the All Peoples Congress has had a few of these. A major example recently is the suspension of the cybersecurity levy. Though better to have a leader who is present and empathetic than one frozen in indifference. Without doubt, the president and his team have good intentions and are in a hurry to deliver on mandates.

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Picking few tips from The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) Policy Brief might be useful. “That citizens are engaged in Policy-formulation through Information, Consultation and Public Participation. That the benefits of these included strengthening relations with citizens which is a sound investment in better policy-making and a core element of good governance. That this allows governments to tap new sources of policy-relevant ideas, information and resources before or when making decisions and these contribute to building public trust in government and raising the quality of democracy”.

In a nutshell, citizens through their representatives and the leaders at sub national levels are more likely to understand and buy into these policies if they the people are contributors to its formation. In a matter of days we shall be rolling out drums to celebrate our first year anniversary and naturally there shall be various opinions and viewpoints, applauses and knocks, cheers and jeers.

We must be prepared and take all in good faith! It has been a fast year and suddenly it is here upon us… with three more years to go which mostly are progressively interwoven with political interferences and activities. Presently some will argue that a huge percentage of the masses are angry and disenfranchised. This is because their understanding of democracy and good governance is measured not by some intangible assets but by quality of daily life and living in general.

Yes, inflation especially on food items and medicine, power blackouts, unemployment rates, insecurity to mention a few are still issues of great concern. However, the Tinubu administration thus far has equally recorded some Hope Renewing and far reaching achievements that can be considered quick wins with far reaching impacts.

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These include:

Attracting short and long-term foreign investments to Nigeria, with the hope that such investments would stimulate and accelerate the job markets, increase productivity and fast track economic growth. These foreign investment drive according to the nation’s Minister Of Information and National Orientation in a regular media briefing is in excess of 30 billion USD, across various sectors.
The Renewed Hope Infrastructure Development Fund (RHIDF), a direct intervention in the construction, repairs and upgrading of our nation’s roads, airports seaports, power plants etc. Targeted Economic Support Schemes: grants, education loans, food items, fertilizer distribution, cash transfers, health insurance and consumer credit. Great examples are the Nigerian Education Loan Fund (NELFUND), the Nigerian Consumer Credit Corporation (CrediCorp) and the Nano business scheme.

On Foreign Policy, Nigeria remains an active player at the sub regional level, on the African continent and on the global stage. With the foreign policy approach, dubbed the ‘Tinubu Doctrine: a ‘4-D Diplomacy Strategy’ which according to the government is a policy centered on promoting democracy, driving economic development, harnessing Nigeria’s demographic potential, and engaging with the Diaspora community.

These are by no way exhaustive as every MDA is indeed up and running even as the nation awaits a robust and encompassing profile of achievements as part of the forthcoming anniversary. Without doubt the President by words and actions is determined to deliver on the Renewed Hope agenda. An agenda that has moved past just being a mere slogan or policy theme to a call of faith, knowing that the Tinubu Administration has a pact , in fact a covenant with Nigerians and will not rest on its oars until our country is secured, prosperous, peaceful, envied and egalitarian.

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Happy first anniversary!

Bello, PhD, academic, publicist, policy analyst and author, writes from Abuja.

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