Matters arising from the fuel subsidy removal crisis-
In the wake of President Goodluck Jonathan`s move to remove the fuel subsidy, the media has been bombarded with arguments for and against this motion in the past weeks. There are obviously reasons for this panic and reaction, very understandable. Various public classes react differently according to their own interest based on the little or the much they know. Definitely there are those who always benefit from such confusion.
The poor masses â€“ the ordinary Nigerian public, about 75% of the population only see the aspect of increase in the pump price of petroleum products as a consequence of the removal. Of course that is the much or the little they understand. I belong to this group. This ordinary public sees the N65 per litre charge for fuel as the ONLY dividend which the government`s fuel subsidy policy can offer them. This implies ipso facto that removing it will clearly spell-out government`s disinterestedness in the plight of the Nigerian common man, whereby ordinary basic amenities have looked almost impossible amidst the wealth of this country. Therefore, adding to the bottled animosity against corrupt government, this becomes the last straw that is breaking the Carmelâ€™s back. Perhaps the concrete and tangible motive for a revolutionary move against corruption in the political class that we have been waiting for is at last here.
Now we come to the political public class, who has been running and milking the Nigerian wealth for over four decades now. More revelations unfold as matters arise from the cries of the ordinary citizens against the fuel subsidy removal saga. In response to my article titled: Open Letter to President Goodluck E. Jonathan…., a friend linked me up to another article titled: Fuel Subsidy and Fake Subsidyâ€¦, Articles | THISDAY LIVE by a fuel subsidy activist Mr. Simon Kolawole. Very insight filled and thought-provoking, at the same time a corpus of saddening revelations concerning the fuel subsidy, which the ordinary Nigerian citizen is not privileged to know. I still wonder why the government cannot open up and address Nigerians on the major reasons for this removal plan, if it is not an accomplice. Most strikingly, Kolawole qualifies the fuel subsidy as the greatest fraud in the history of corruption in Nigeria involving government officials; namely, the fact that the non-functional state of our four refineries is stage-managed in order to pave way for the continual importation of petroleum products. The so-called petroleum importers (partners in criminality with our government officials and the ruling class) now charge billions of dollars on daily basis from the Nigerian government for inexistent figures of consumed fuel in the name of fuel subsidy. This is still in addition to the subsidy on importation damage charges, even when they are never incurred. One cannot believe the amount of billions of naira that go into the pocket of small group of individuals â€“ about 20% of the population, which consequently impoverish the rest of the population. This remains the underlying reason why the President wants to move against all odds towards the removal of the subsidy. Seemingly a bold and patriotic move, but is the approach equally patriotic? Do the ordinary citizens not have the right to know the reasons for policies in their own interest? The President surely has questions to answer, and indeed an account to render to the Nigerian common man.
Interestingly furthermore, Kolawole posed a question to his intelligence source on the details of this state of affairs, as regards bringing to justice this network of corruption cables that hold the nations progress to a standstill for years now. The answer comes quick and is more worrying as it fingers our government officials as the custodians of this corruption. Imagine a country whereby every sector has collapsed, as the President himself observed few months ago: legislative, judiciary, and even the executive owing to the kind of people that surrounds it irrespective of the good intentions. Mere signing of a document to propagate this criminality, for example at the price of N50 million has become a normal way of life for them. Recall the amount of billions being reported on the headlines that Nigerian individuals carry out of this country; how else do they make such whooping sums of money?
It is at this juncture that I come back, to continue from where I stopped in the previous article â€“ Open Letter to President Goodluck E. Jonathan…. My fuss is not much about the fuel subsidy fraud as seen from these revelations but rather on the magnitude of the corruption that stifles the Nigerian growth in all spheres of life: human development, economic growth and stability, education, energy and power, basic infrastructural development, etc. These remain the normal dividends of governance in any nation of the world. But on the contrary, this has been beyond the reach of the ordinary Nigerian for many decades now.
I maintain, it is these poor Nigerians that voted President Goodluck Jonathan to power, in hope that at least a rescue mission has finally become a reality. Then I continue to ask, can Mr. President not use his executive power to stamp out this abysmal corruption? Of course he can and has no other option that to do it. Nigerians need results and the dividends of good governance. The poverty line in this country needs to be minimised to the lowest degree considering our vast rich reserves of natural resources. The only way to do all this is to fight and stamp out corruption in the Nigerian governance no matter who is involved.
The Nigerian people have no other option than to violently revolt against these corrupt leaders. It is not necessarily to destroy lives and properties, but to express most loudly their disapproval of this injustice perpetrated by a handful of the population. We have no other choice. We have no choice than to take the streets and pour out our anger against the level of corruption in this country. A corruption whereby one`s life is stunted by the selfishness, greed and wickedness of another. Enough is enough!
Chimaobi Clement EMEFU,