Phrank Shaibu, the Special Assistant on Media to former Vice President Atiku Abubakar, has leveled accusations against President Bola Tinubu, claiming that he is using appointments as a means to silence critics of his government. Shaibu made these allegations in response to the president’s recent appointment of Taiwo Oyedele, Fiscal Policy Partner and Africa Tax Leader at PriceWaterhouseCoopers (PwC), as the head of a committee on fiscal policy and tax reforms.
Shaibu asserted that Tinubu’s motive behind the appointment was to prevent Oyedele from raising future criticisms against the failures of the Federal Government. He drew attention to former President Muhammadu Buhari’s appointment of renowned economist Dr. Doyin Salami and Anambra State Governor Charles Soludo to his economic team in 2019, suggesting that similar appointments had yielded satisfactory results.
While expressing his concerns, Shaibu highlighted a perceived pattern in the government’s strategy to stifle dissenting voices through strategic appointments. The statement suggests that the intention behind Tinubu’s appointment of Oyedele is to suppress any potential criticism from the new committee head.
The allegations made by Atiku’s spokesperson shed light on the contentious nature of political appointments in Nigeria and the perceptions surrounding the use of such appointments to control or influence public opinion.
Shaibu said: “It is common knowledge that Mr. Oyedele is the loudest voice as regards tax reforms.
“Last Saturday, he pointed out some of the wrong tax policies of the APC government. In a bid to silence him, he was appointed chairman of a tax reform committee yesterday (Friday), but no other members were announced. Probably, they want him to work alone.
“With this new appointment, Mr. Oyedele will no longer be able to speak about the government’s failures. Mr. Oyedele would do well not to allow himself to be rubbished by Tinubu, a man whose only secret to the economic boom is using firms linked to him to generate tax for a commission just as he did in Lagos.
“Mr. Oyedele must not allow himself to be deceived by this appointment. In 2019, President Buhari similarly appointed Doyin Salami, Chukwuma Soludo, and Bismark Rewane into his economic advisory team, but he never took their advice for one day.
“In the end, Nigeria was plunged into one of its worst economic crises ever with an unprecedented debt profile, multidimensional poverty, and never before seen unemployment figures.”