It was January 1, 2012. The President and Commander-in-Chief of the Federal Republic of Nigeria decided on a befitting New Year gift for the nation. His decision was to increase the amount payable for a litre of petrol in the name of fuel subsidy removal. President Jonathan added to the litany of woes that confront Nigerians.
While well meaning leaders of the world delivered New Year messages of hope, peace, abundance and increase in the quality of life, our own president decided otherwise. Nigerians took to the streets in protests. Eventually, sycophant labour leaders succumbed to the government in a very questionable manner. People died, properties destroyed; the rest is history.
But, a more troubling scenario was the unsuccessful attempts by the Federal Government at justifying its inefficiency. I watch with trepidation on Channels Television the futile and unjustifiable excuses of the Central Bank Governor – Mallam Sanusi Lamido Sanusi, the Minister of Finance – Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala and the Minister of Petroleum – Mrs. Diezani Alisson-Madueke to remove the fuel subsidy.
I had hitherto held Mallam Sanusi and Dr. Okonjo-Iweala in high esteem; I saw them as individuals with the wherewithal to help in rescuing Nigeria from economic quagmire. But what I saw negated what I expected. Trying to justify ineptitude, inefficiency, profligacy, lack of foresight and oversight and condoning unveiled corruption dented their credentials.
I had wanted to belief that Mallam Sanusi was coerced into backing the government on subsidy removal, but his recent stance and calls for a total removal of fuel subsidy was totally unbelievable and unacceptable. I now belief he must be the architect of fuel subsidy in the first place.
Mallam Sanusi and Dr. Okonjo-Iweala preside over the Central Bank and Ministry of Finance that paid for unsupplied and outright fictitious fuel imports. Ordinarily, the duo out to be sacked and investigated for corruption, but we are in Nigeria where nothing is impossible particularly if you dine in the corridors of power.
While there may not be any evidence that the duo took part and/or are taking part in the ‘grab, I grab’ kleptomanic tendencies that has been the hallmark of our oil industry, it is evident that they oversee agencies that paid money for goods not supplied. They should be ashamed.
It is adding salt to injury for Mallam Sanusi to call for a total fuel subsidy removal when it is evident that we are only subsidizing private pockets. It is a descent into barbarism to insist on sweeping subsidy removal with series of on-going investigations, arrests, arraignments, and government acceptance that corruption actually exists.
Calling for another round of hardship for hapless Nigerians while they live fat on our sweats is unprofessional, undiplomatic and immoral.