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Reforms: Atiku’s Argentina suggestion tantamount to poison chalice, says TMSG

President Bola Ahmed Tinubu, GCFR (l), and Former Vice-President Atiku Abubakar

*The Tinubu Media Support Group states former Vice-President Atiku Abubakar’s conviction about Argentina is based on ‘outright falsehood’, because as Nigeria’s Q4 GDP figures showed a 3.46 percent growth, higher than the 2.54 percent of the third quarter 2023, that of Argentina contracted by 19.4 percent

Alexander Davis | ConsumerConnect

In response to his recent suggestion, the Tinubu Media Support Group (TMSG) has described former Vice-President Atiku Abubakar’s recommendation of measures introduced by Argentina’s President Javier Milei for Nigeria as a reflection of a confused mindset.

Jesutega Onokpasa, Chairman of TMSG, in a statement, said Atiku’s position showed that the former PDP Presidential candidate and his handlers did not have a proper understanding of the Argentina situation before and after Milei assumed office in December 2023.

Onokpasa stated: “We know that the Argentina President inherited an economy in a worse situation than what President Bola Tinubu met on ground but we wondered what former Vice President Atiku Abubakar found so exciting about Milei’s reforms that he considered worth emulating?

“We, however, noticed that the former Vice President alluded to a report by Reuters to back his conviction.

“We consider it necessary to remind him that he has never deemed it necessary to praise President Tinubu on the basis of the constant positive assessment of the Tinubu administration’s policies by the same international media outfit.

“The perennial Presidential candidate wants President Tinubu to toe Javier Milei’s line but he pretends not to notice that since he assumed office in December, poverty in Argentina has risen towards 60%-the highest in 20 years-leading to increasing daily protests on the streets after a series of reforms including a 50% devaluation of the peso.”

The statement also noted: “Is he also aware that President Milei had, on assuming office, said he would introduce what he described as shock therapy that would induce short term pains but long term gains?

“We are surprised that the President of Nigeria which is recording more favourable numbers than Argentina is not getting a benefit of the doubt even as he also promised long term benefits after announcing an end to fuel subsidy the day he was sworn into office.

“Atiku, as usual, was wrong when he wrote on his X platform that Nigeria and Argentina ‘had closed the last quarter of the year 2023 on a similar path of economic downturn’.”

Onokpasa said: “This is outright falsehood because while Nigeria’s Q4 GDP figures showed a 3.46% growth, higher than the 2.54% of the third quarter of 2023, that of Argentina contracted by 19.4%.

“Besides, inflation in Nigeria stood at 29.90% in January but that of Argentina is 254%, higher than that of Venezuela.

“And while we are not outrightly dismissive of Millei’s ‘shock therapy’ in the context of the situation in that country, we know that Argentines are still waiting to see how it will work but to our shock, we have a former Vice President who prides himself as an economic expert saying it is the best for Nigeria.”

The TMSG also stated: “Atiku praised Milei for reducing the number of ministries in Argentina and we also expect him to hail President Tinubu for his show of political will to implement the Oronsaye report,12 years after it was submitted for implementation.

“Let’s we forget, the Argentina President  introduced privatisation measures, expanded presidential powers and enforced cuts in public spending but he has also scaled down workers rights and the right to protest as well as removed subsidy on energy and transportation.

“We, however, need to place it on record that the International Monetary Fund (IMF) which is known to recommend austerity measures weighed in to urge the Argentina authorities to shield the masses from the harsh measures.”

The group further said: “We wonder if these are the same things Atiku said he was attracted when he said Milei’s plan is similar to his ‘Recover Nigeria Plan’ but we make bold to say that it is a poison chalice which Nigerians saw through and consequently rejected because of his antecedents in office.”

The TMSG, therefore, urged Nigerians to ignore Atiku and continue to trust in President Tinubu’s ability to turn things around in the long run.

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