Former presidential aide Laolu Akande has urged President Bola Tinubu 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 from the work of nation-building, the work of national development will often require all hands on deck, Akande noted.
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.
Advising the President, Akande said, “It is very important for the President to do two things: first, keep an eye on the ministers on a very regular basis; and second, he has to open himself up for critical views.
“Look, this is a democracy; you cannot shut yourself out from 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. This is a very important point. But you must also open yourself 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 yachts 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, 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 we are discussing is the supplementary budget, and from what I understand, the navy is working to address these problems with the yacht and other things like that. 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.