By Thomas-Wilson Ikubese

* Subsidy is fraud!
This was what President Buhari campaigned with in 2015. He however lacked the political will to remove it in the lifetime of his administration.

* The 2023 Appropriation Act as passed by the National Assembly and signed into law by President Buhari made provision for subsidy up to 30th June 2023. This means that as from 1st July 2023, subsidy will be “gone”!

* Senator Bola Ahmed Tinubu was sworn into office as the 16th President of Nigeria on 29th May 2023. In his inaugural speech, he mentioned that “subsidy is gone”. Within 24hrs of his pronouncement, long queues surfaced at filling stations across Nigeria as marketers hoarded petroleum products and swiftly adjusted pump prices upwards.

* Yes, Senator Bola Ahmed Tinubu mentioned that he was going to remove subsidy during the presidential campaign, but this removal is the handwork of President Buhari and the 9th National Assembly of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.

* Did President Tinubu err in his pronouncement? Obviously not. ”Subsidy” over the years has been a conduit pipe via which the political class siphoned billions of dollars of our scarce resources. In 2022 alone, the sum of ten billion dollars ($10B) was expended on subsidizing petroleum products; monies that could have made significant impact if channeled into our economy!

* Removing petroleum subsidy without a functional refinery is akin to putting the cart before the horse. If President Buhari could push subsidy removal into the 2023 Appropriation Act, one wonders why he didn’t get our refineries working in eight years of his administration!
Hopefully, the newly commissioned Dangote refinery which took Alhaji Aliko just six years to build from the scratch, will come to the rescue.

* So, while I do not think President Tinubu erred in his inaugural pronouncement on subsidy removal, I’m of the opinion that he should have gone beyond just stating that “subsidy is gone”, knowing that not a few of the petroleum marketers will characteristically cash in therefrom and cash out thereby, selling old stocks at “new” rates, inflicting untoward hardship on the populace in their narcissistic, capitalistic manner.

* President TInubu should have gone a step further by warning petroleum marketers against hoarding petroleum products and selling their current stocks at higher rates. He should have instructed the Department of Petroleum Resources (DPR) to be on standby, working in conjunction with security agencies to revoke the license of filling stations that hoard products or jerk up the prices of their current stocks arbitrarily. That way, all eyes would be on the filling stations and the current queues would have been averted.

* In his message to Nigerian workers during the 2023 International Workers Day on 1st May, Senator Tinubu said “the days ahead will demand better understanding and cooperation from all sides, because leadership will require that we take TOUGH and HARD decisions so that our people and all Nigerian workers can live more abundantly”.
I’d expected him to reiterate this in his inaugural speech, for no chef makes omelette without breaking eggs!

* So, in deed, subsidy is gone…necessarily so!
It will come with its own inconveniences and discomfort. Be it known this day that if we seek to see a functional Nigerian state, we must all be ready to pay the price. But while at it, we must frown at persons who seek to take advantage of our predicament by making life unnecessarily difficult for us all, in the pursuit of the fulfillment of their greed!

* Finally, after an election and the declaration of a “winner”, our collective allegiance should be to the Nigerian state and not to any individual or political party, pending the conclusion of the judicial process wherein the declaration is challenged in court. But while the court sits, we must support the government in building a functional nation that we can all be proud of.

Where they do well, let’s applaud them. Where they fall short, let’s criticize them and point out workable alternatives, praying that they heed.

For to criticize every move of an administration just because you detest it, is akin to deflating the tyres of the car with which you intend to voyage!

Related Articles

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Back to top button