by Tola Adenle
As Nigeria’s President Jonathan bravely continues to pursue economic agenda that gets more than a wink and a nod from The World Bank, the IMF and donor agencies/Western interests, no thanks to Economy Czarina Dr. Ngozi Iweala, a few foolhardy masses-defying actions from those that rule/ruin Nigeria keep pointing that those in power believe nothing will happen no matter what they do. Many have warned and are still calling on those in power to rethink this dangerous path. The economy is in great danger, there is mass disconnect between the rulers and ruled, insecurity, etcetera.
Now, another round of “subsidy removal” which Iweala first came out boldly to announce in her maiden press conference and which the president has now come out to announce its inevitability, is almost upon us even as leakage points that Jonathan and Iweala fail to address abound.
In Who are beneficiaries of oil subsidy, in The Nation of October 17, stated that “they comprise the five oil majors; members of Independent Petroleum Marketers Association of Nigeria (IPMAN)/Nigeria Independent Petroleum Company (NIPCO); depot and tank owners and those simply described as traders
“It was learnt that all the groups have been hiding under the guise of importing products to enjoy subsidy from the government.
“To avoid confusion in the oil sector, we cannot release the list of the beneficiaries unless the government decides otherwise. These players have boosted fuel supply in the country in the past through importation and they had mutual agreement with the government to enjoy subsidy.”
Meanwhile, Jonathan’s government is pulling all the stops to ram a removal of a “subsidy” of non-benefit to consumers down the throat of Nigerians. PDP “chieftains” and those who benefit from our mass misfortune issue ill-formed ideas of the “benefits” of such in wangled newspaper reports.
A government source also told The Nation: “We have started a new process of engaging members of the National Assembly and the Labour to appreciate why the withdrawal of fuel subsidy is necessary.”
The process of these “engagements” and “sensitization of the citizens” as one PDP guy puts it, are well-known to Nigerians: the “villa” – to borrow a word from a favorite columnist (read Jonathan) needs something from the National Assembly which has put up a feeble show of opposition, the President “engages” them and presto, opposition is gone; Labor plans to call out a strike and the Villa calls, strike is shelved. It’s been a template from retired General Obasanjo (rGO) era and Dr. Jonathan’s presidency is fast becoming rGO’s Third Term.
Millions of Nigerians will agree with my take on the “subsidy removal”: Jonathan’s government should REMOVE THE SUBSIDY but must first collect the billions of dollars the government has HANDED OUT to those listed above and others not yet named.
The National Assembly is already at what it does best: appropriate – pardon me, MISappropriate billions to buy comfort for its members. Tambuwal who leads the house just announced his intention to purchase 360 Camry cars for members for its 360 members’ oversight functions at N7million (over $42,000.00 each).
To start with, I think the Abike Dabiris and other so-called “progressives” of ACN, CPC should tell Nigerians their contributions on the floor of the House to this looting. I asked this same question in one of newspaper columns a while back regarding the scandalous salaries and perks these people gave themselves in spite of what was set for them. I wondered what was their resistance to what was – and remains – abuse of power and looting. Whose interests do these people serve if they are ready to flount “progressive” credentials while being hands in glove with acclaimed looters?
ACN and CPC, call your House members to order if you mean what you mouth. After all the benefits, including millions for car loans to each member, nobody should need a $42,000+ car for any “oversight function.”
It is mind-numbing to read all the billions governors are being accused of looting: Gbenga Daniel, N58 billion (well over $400 million); Goje 59 billion, etcetera. Those being investigated like former Speaker Saburi D. Bankole are considered by Nigerian masses as just being shown to be tried but would eventually be released.
Here is a link to a breaking story. http://saharareporters.com/news-page/jonathan-agf-adoke-cbn-private-developer-implicated-nitel-land-scam
While Nigerians are being told they must keep tightening their ever-lengthening collective misery belt, how long must these shenanigans of Government by a Few for a Very Few go on? Is this the “fresh air” over Nigeria that Jonathan promised?
Finally, when will President Goodluck Jonathan give a declaration of his assets and what does his refusal to do so say of his promise to pursue an agenda of transparency and fight corruption.