The gross mismanagement of Nigeria’s commonwealth that makes citizens to buy a litre of fuel for as high as #700 and above is now staring everyone in the face. The recent revelation that the supposedly launched Nigeria Air that gulped several billions of naira, appropriated by the previous government also shows how reckless and untrustworthy some of the country’s leaders have become. That we have refineries that are not working, yet we have workers that earn huge salaries and allowances, again speaks volume of the level of decay and the looting that is going on in the country. We are in a country where millions of barrels of oil disappear every day, yet the government has not been able to sanction all those found culpable, and the story continues with the masses bearing the iniquities of the so-called politicians of our time. According to the former governor of Rivers State, Nyesom Wike; ”God gave APC this opportunity to repent from their sins”. The suspension of the planned strike by the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), over the removal of fuel subsidy was expected. This is not because we are not in support of any move that would address this situation, but rather would not subscribe to whatever move that would increase the sufferings already inflicted on the people. However, this struggle is for all Nigerians, not just the NLC, because the labour union is a fraction of the society and may not be able to do all that is needed to make government see reasons to review the current pump price, unfortunately.
Prior to this administration coming onstream, there were serious discussions concerning modular refineries in the Niger Delta area where bulk of the nation’s wealth is coming from. The question now is; why is it still difficult for government to give license to those that have applied for license to refine our oil locally? The idea of subsidy removal when the country does not have alternative, given the poor state of electricity is indeed, a double tragedy. This is also happening when it is said that about 133 million Nigerians are multi dimensionally poor. This record is not good for any country at all, not even a country like ours that is abundantly blessed with natural resources. It is not enough for government to stop the anticipated strike by NLC through court injunction. Government should be sensitive this time to avoid igniting an already charged atmosphere. There should be reversal of the current pump price, even as we advocate that those who have applied for modular refinery licenses should be granted one to allow genuine people into the oil business, especially this time that the big refineries owned by the state, and the one belonging to Dangote are yet to start production. One of the measures, among others to curtail the excesses of petroleum marketers is to monitor filling stations that are selling above the recommended pump price and appropriate sanctions meted. As it stands, no civil servant can afford to buy half tank of fuel in this kind of situation.
We also push for subsidy removal to be done in phases rather than the wholesale attempt that would further worsen the already overstretched citizens struggling to cope with life. Government should also ensure the current epileptic power supply is addressed and improved upon to encourage investors and grow industries. We welcome the idea that power would henceforth be deregulated to allow private concerns and state governments to provide electricity to those who desire it most. The federal government should this time around muster the political will to implement it. This government should stand tall and do what is right to cushion the effect of fuel subsidy removal without further delay. Kudos to Edo state government that has reduced working days for the civil servants because of high cost of transportation. While we expect that government should come up with lasting solution in this austere time of economic uncertainties, we also want to see other states take steps that would encourage the workforce, both at the states and federal levels to put in their best. Half measure this time may not work because the country has been on this road for too long and cannot continue like this!