Home / Opinion / The Difference Between 2012 Fuel Subsidy Removal And 2016 Fuel Price – Nelson Ekujumi

The Difference Between 2012 Fuel Subsidy Removal And 2016 Fuel Price – Nelson Ekujumi

Regime Is About Trust

Since the announcement and implementation of the increase in the pump

price of fuel from N86 and N86.50 per litre to a cap limit of N145 per

litre respectively under the President Muhammadu Buhari led

administration, one has read and listened to a lot of commentaries from

various quarters either innocently, ignorantly or mischievously trying to

equate former President Goodluck Jonathan’s policy of removal of fuel

subsidy which resulted in the increase in pump price of petrol from N65 to

N141 per litre and President Buhari’s policy of liberalizing the

downstream sector which resulted in the increase of pump price of fuel

from N86.50 to a cap limit of N145 per litre as one and the same.

Regrettably, some of the opponents of the new fuel price regime, instead

of coming up with facts and statistics to buttress their position by

educating and convincing the people against the present government policy

in this age of intellectual discourse, have resorted to abuses, insults

and politically partisan statements which clearly exposes their standpoint

which is at variance with that of the majority of the people who have

queued up behind the new fuel price regime.

Some of these persons and groups have even resorted to tactics of

humiliating and intimidating the Nigerian people into a mindset of regret

by their relentless assaults, attacks and abuses that Nigerians are

hypocritical for stoutly and massively rejecting Goodluck Jonathan’s

policy in 2012, but supporting the fuel policy in 2016.

They have uncharitably called persons and groups with whom they were

together in the trenches against former President Goodluck Jonathan’s

policy in 2012 but who are not with them now on the opposition to the new

policy regime due to the reality of the times or for reasons best known to

them, all sorts of names and thereby exhibiting ignorance of the fact that

“We can’t all sleep and think in one direction” because variety is the

spice of life. Infact, it was the philosopher Heraclitus who postulated

that “You could not step twice into the same river”, meaning that no two

situations are exactly the same. Even in families, agreements and

disagreement occurs on issues, but the truth of the matter is that, ones

position must be rational, logical and based on facts rather than on

sentiments and emotions which is like a mob action mentality.

A critical tenet of democracy as a system of government which a lot of our

people are yet to come to grasp with is that, it recognizes that while the

majority will have their way, the minority must have their say. So, if a

person believes that he or she is endowed with more wisdom than even king

Solomon in the Bible and the mass of the people put together and he

assumes that the people have committed an error in taking a decision on an

issue, it is the height of immaturity and lack of civility to assault and

deride peoples sensibility because of differences on issues which is

natural.

However, to put the records straight, the attempt to intimidate and

assault the peoples sensibilities by attempting to equate the 2012 fuel

subsidy removal and 2016 fuel price regime, is obviously incorrect and far

from the truth. Thus, there is the urgent need to place issues in proper

perspective for the sake of discerning minds and posterity sake, lest the

maxim of the infamous Nazi propagandist Joseph Goebbels that “Tell a lie,

a thousand times and it becomes the truth, holds sway.

For records sake, it is imperative to state clearly just as it has been

canvassed from certain quarters in explaining the true situation of things

vis a vis the 2012 and 2016 fuel price regimes, that the major difference

between the former President Goodluck Jonathan and President Buhari’s

administrations was the issue of transparency, accountability, trust and

responsibility of leadership.

In explaining our position further, it becomes pertinent to reel out the

facts which is incontrovertible about the fuel subsidy regimes from

previous governments. Stated below is the amount expended on fuel subsidy

viz a viz the national budget by the federal government for a ten year

period of 2006 – 2016

:

Year.           National Budget.         Subsidy Payments

 

2006         N1. 9 trillion.                   N151. 9 billion

 

2007          N2. 3 trillion.               N188 billion

 

2008          N2. 45 trillion            N256.3 billion

 

2009          N3. 049 trillion         N421. 5 billion

 

  1.              N4. 6 trillion. N1. 3 trillion

 

  1.                    N4. 9 trillion N2. 19 trillion

 

2012            N4. 7 trillion                 N1. 049 trillion

 

2013            N4. 98 trillion.            N971 billion

 

2014            N4. 69 trillion.            N971 billion

 

2015             N4. 49 trillion            N1 trillion +

 

2016             N6. 06 trillion.            ———–

 

From the above table, one can see clearly that the astronomical increase

in subsidy payments from N421. 5 billion in 2009 to N1.3 trillion and 2.2

trillion naira in 2010 and 2011 respectively can be noticed from 2010 when

ex President Goodluck Jonathan assumed the reins of leadership of the

country as acting President.

We need to remind ourselves that in January 2012 when the federal

government implemented the removal of fuel subsidy, we could afford it if

was transparently managed because our major foreign earner, the crude oil

per barrel was selling at above $110 at the international market, the

country’s foreign reserve was about $40 billion and there was low or no

pipeline vandalism unlike now that the cost of crude oil per barrel has

dipped between $40 – 45 or even lower, there is high scale vandalism of

oil pipelines which has depleted our income because of a fall in

production of crude oil, the foreign reserves was hugely depleted to the

tune of about $27 billion by the previous government which went aborrowing

to sustain the running cost of the federal government before exiting

office as attested to by the then Minister of finance, Dr. Mrs. Ngozi

Okonji Iweala.

The federal government credibility crisis with the people began when she

announced towards the end of 2011 that she was going to remove the fuel

subsidy allocation in the 2012 budget because it was unsustainable which

was the truth, but was not prepared to render account of stewardship on

the management of the fuel subsidy payments which the people viewed as a

fraud because of the astronomical rise of the payments against logic and

rationality.

Unfortunately, instead of the government to hearken to the cries of the

people for an investigation into what the people believed was a fraudulent

subsidy regime, she played deaf and tried to sweep under the carpet the

demand for accountability on how the fuel subsidy funds was managed and

rather embarked on a vigorous campaign on why the fuel subsidy regime must

be eliminated in a display of utter insensitivity.

However, when the fuel subsidy was unilaterally removed on January 1, 2012

by the federal government which resulted in an increase in the price of

fuel from N65 to N141 per litre without providing answers to the peoples

queries on accountability, the battle line was thus drawn and the mass of

the people without prompting came to a logical conclusion that if a

government which derives its mandate from the people is running away from

the tenets of transparency and accountability, which is an essential

ingredient of democracy, then such a government does not deserve to be

trusted, which was why the people aligned forces in the occupy Nigeria

protests all over the country. It was this deficit in credibility that

extended thereafter and culminated in the government being voted out of

office at the 2015 general elections.

The position of the people that the government cannot punish them for its

incompetence and criminal complicity in the fuel subsidy fraud which she

was not prepared to investigate and prosecute, was however reinforced by

the outcomes of the House of Representatives investigative committee and

the Mr. Aigboje Aig Imoukhuede committee which was set up by the federal

government as a consequence of the fuel subsidy protests after the

irreparable damage to its reputation for aiding and abetting corruption.

The report of both committees indicted some persons and companies of fuel

subsidy fraud for which they are still standing trial in courts till date.
To correct the misinformation and blackmail of equating the 2012 fuel

subsidy situation with the 2016 fuel price regime, we need to make it

abundantly clear that the 2012 Occupy Nigeria Protests which witnessed

massive turnout of people on their own volition was not a rejection of the

removal of fuel subsidy which the people themselves believed was a fraud

perpetrated against our commonwealth, but was a rejection of a government

that was hands in glove with corruption in violation of the constitution

and our values as a people of honour.

Before assuming office, President Muhammadu Buhari explicitly stated at

campaign foras that the fuel subsidy regime is a fraud which was in tandem

with the thinking of mass majority of Nigerians and has been validated by

the ongoing prosecution of alledged fuel subsidy fraudsters, hence in the

submission of the 2016 budget which was his first national budget to the

National Assembly, there was no provision for fuel subsidy payments.

Moreover, President Buhari is widely regarded as a man of high moral

pedestal not only with the Nigerian people but also in the international

community because of his Spartan lifestyle which endeared him to Nigerians

who voted him into office and are solidly behind his government on this

new fuel policy. It is this credibility of responsible leadership that

indisputably separates the present leadership from its predecessor and is

the difference between 2012 and 2016 because leadership is about trust.

On a final note, one would like to admonish the opponents of this new fuel

policy who have resorted to abuses, insults, attacks and blackmail instead

of putting up superior arguments, to realize that in 2016, just like in

2012, there is divergence of opinions on the issues, but it will make

sense if they can come up with incontrovertible reasons of why people

should see things from their lens as against the reality on the ground,

because a society becomes endangered when issues are not dissected

dispassionately on its merit but on the basis of who is involved.
Thanks.
Nelson Ekujumi

 

http://pointblanknews.com/pbn/articles-opinions/difference-2012-fuel-subsidy-removal-2016-fuel-price/

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