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Fuel Subsidy Scam: What Is The Latest?

04 September 2012, 11:35

The uproar generated by the removal of fuel subsidy by the Goodluck Ebele Jonathan(GEJ) led federal government may have diminished in intensity,but it left in its wake a lot of unanswered questions.

I still recall vividly that Ghana,our neighbouring West African country removed subsidy in December 2011 and no brouhaha was caused by its masses and as a good observer of global economic events,I started wondering why the same subsidy removal never generated any dispute or controversy in that country.As I dug deeper and made some research on that,I realized that their economy is different from ours and remarkably,their government is more masses conscious and selfless than what is obtainable in Nigeria.

In Nigeria,the government went about the ‘subsidy removal project’ without doing the first thing first.The necessary thing they should have done was left undone and this exposed the level of mediocrity and lack of intelligence on the government.

However, no matter how noble an idea is,if it not properly implemented,it would not produce any meaningful result.Why should any rational mind take that kind of ‘important decision’ before the provision of the ‘boju boju’ kind of palliative in the form of the acclaimed buses?Were the buses going to solve other problems created by the removal of fuel subsidy? How many buses would be sufficient for Nigeria as a nation? Where are those buses today? Do not be surprised to hear that some of those buses have grown wings because ships grew wings in Nigeria and disappeared.

I have always been a campaigner for deregulation because it was successfully carried out in the telecommunication industry and I believe it will be possible in the petroleum sector of the economy.

Unfortunately,the government got it wrong right from day one by not employing the instrumentality of media houses like the radio,newspaper,television and other media.The government deliberately undermine the power of public enlightenment.This made me agree to the popular slogan that ‘in Nigeria,we don’t have leaders but rulers’

If I may ask,what are the functions of the National Orientation Agency(NOA)? If the government had run national orientation campaigns for some months before embarking on that programme,and put some palliative measures in place before removing the subsidy(the only thing the poor masses seemed to benefit from the government),the consequences wouldn’t have been this enormous.Had the government done the proper thing it should have done,the brouhaha generated by that act wouldn’t be that much.

On the other hand,I’m very happy because that very act exposed a lot of sharp practices in the petroleum sector.It presented to the larger world the true picture of a Nigerian businessman and government official and by direct extension,the NNPC was equally exposed as the most rotten and most corrupt parastatal in the country. Interestingly,we were able to confirm what we knew or were told that a ‘cabal’ was running the gas and oil sector.The question many masses have been asking is:Now that we have identified this cabal,what next? Your answers and fears on this are as terrible as mine.

For the first time in recent times,I saw a people so united,a people so focused on fighting for a common cause.Both religion and ethnic affiliations were put aside.I witnessed one of the longest strikes in the history of this nation and looking at the mammoth crowd that thronged the Gani Fawehinmi square at Ojota,Lagos for almost five days reminded me of the Tahin square where Egyptians came out en mass to protest against injustice by the then government of Hosni Mubarak which eventually outsted him from office.

Personally,I was left disappointed after labour and government reached an agreement and the price of fuel was pinned at #97.00(ninety seven naira).Many Nigerians especially the poor masses felt betrayed by labour as they hoped it would have been justice well deserved to revert it to the old price of  #65(sixty five naira) as anything short of that made their efforts futile.

The protest was against mis-management of the country by our so called leaders,it was a protest against insensitivity on the part of the government,it was a collective call for a change and it jolted people in government into action.

Co-incidentally,it opened a can of worm in NNPC,a body that was supposed to act as a statutory regulatory one but failed woefully in this regard.I expected NNPC to be like the National Communication Commission(NCC) but the opposite was the case.

It is over six months now that the so called subsidy had been removed either partially or completely and we as a people are yet to count the gains.

Rather,we were told that those involved in the subsidy scam(cabal) have been captured but these looters and criminals are still walking freely in the country.They are being given red carpet welcome at major functions today.Who is actually deceiving who?  This is another 'People Deceiving People'(PDP) strategy.

Indeed,the brouhaha generated by the removal of subsidy in the country has raised a lot of dusts which will take time to settle.Until the dusts settle,let us continue to inhale it.

God bless Nigeria!


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