In the last few days, the social media and news channels have been awash with sharp criticisms of President Muhammadu Buhari’s bold move at repositioning the oil and gas sector. The president’s courage is unprecedented in the history of Nigeria. For the records, the issue of oil subsidy has been with us for as long as Nigeria started exploring oil.
At a point, it became a purview through which Nigeria’s scarce resources are siphoned with the active connivance of oil marketers and some dubious government officials. Against a background of corporate greed and malfeasance, Buhari came into office with a renewed focus on transparency and accountability which permeated the oil sector.
When he came on board, the questions on the lips of the president were: What is the ordinary man benefiting from oil subsidy that much? Is it not the elite with 20 cars in their convoy to fuel every day that had benefitted more from subsidy, which explains why they looted Nigeria dry in the past?
The resultant effect of this bold step is that opposition elements have chosen to descend on President Buhari with unsubstantiated and concocted lies in order to whip up public sentiment against his government. Expectedly, the opposition has found comfort in this and is stoking fire with the looted monies its leaders stashed in banks to fight the current government.
For the avoidance of doubt, President Buhari has in five years done what past administrations couldn’t accomplish in their 16 wasted years in power. The evidences of Buhari’s transparent management of our commonwealth are everywhere for all to see.
Lame critics are angry that President Buhari is taking on the 2nd Niger Bridge project head on and is determined to finish it in record time. They are losing sleep because the Lagos Kano rail line project is progressing at super speed rate.
The pertinent question to ask is: which is more beneficial to the majority of Nigerians? Pumping money into subsidising fuel, electricity or food or pursuing and deploying money to ensure that the Siemens power deal is successful?
What do Nigerians really want? Is it a leader who is sincere with us or a leader that will be feeding us with lies like they did for 16 years?
Are we not validating the claim that once you give Nigerians food they would be comfortable living the rest of their lives in backwardness? Must we eat up our destinies and that of Nigeria with 10 fingers and 20 toes? Where is the place of sacrifices by citizens in the process of nation building? For instance, second Niger Bridge is the life wire of the South East economy.
Railway is the life wire of every prospering economy. What has President Buhari done wrong with his tireless efforts at fixing our rail sector to ensure that heavy duty or bulk goods are transported by rail so that our road can last? Is the Lagos- Ibadan rail line not making life easy for people now?
The worry is that we are falling
so cheaply for the antics of failed politicians, who are angry that the Treasury is not left open for them to loot. We are playing into the hands of a few greedy elements who are angry that the Petroleum sector is going through rapid reforms, and never again will they be able to use fictitious fuel importation to siphon government funds.
President Buhari has demonstrated enough purity of motive by expediting action to complete the Loko-Oweto bridge, which has been there for 37 years? Right now, the journey to Benue, Kogi and some parts of South East that used to take long hours have been shortened by the completion of the bridge. That is what governance is all about.
Where did we think the Buhari’s government got money to complete the Kogi-Warri railway project abandoned for almost 40 years? How else should a government justify public trust when a visit to Enugu airport that was always submerged in flood each time it rained is now a beauty to behold? The airport has been modernised and renovated to world standard.
We should thank the almighty God that we are not in the hands of dictators. This government has taken too many initiatives aimed at making life better for Nigerians.
To ensure farmers have access to cheap facilities to boost their productivity, President Buhari came up with the splendid idea of establishing the Anchor Borrowers programme which has helped farmers tremendously. Funds are made available for rice, maize and palm oil production. If there should be anyone to be blamed it should be the defaulters of the programme.
This is the attitude of Nigerians: we are docile, gullible and lousy. We gloat in folly as we celebrate the pre- colonial mindset.
Why should we have railways, when we can buy heads of trailers loaded with containers that spoil our roads and kill us most times, are we complaining? Who cares if Lagos is the only functioning port in Nigeria of 200million inhabitants? Nigerians don’t care!
Buhari should take us back to 2015. We have questions to ask the opposition about the Abacha era. How come fuel was N11 per barrel then, dollar was N22, a bag of rice N1,500, and a tin of peak milk N35?
Buhari should take us back to 2015. We want to know how we survived the long queues at filling stations and sometimes slept three days at filling stations just to buy 25 liter of fuel. We want to take census of the many souls we wasted to fire caused by fuel hoarding, and how many houses and valuables we lost then.
Buhari should take us back to 2015. We want to know where Boko Haram would bomb in the South, after they must have overrun the entire North. Buhari should take us back to 2015 let’s see which plane was going to drop from the sky next and how many casualties.
Buhari should take us back to 2015. We want to know how the opposition would have managed oil price at $28/barrel when 30 states could no longer afford to pay even when oil was selling at $75/barrel and the federal government was borrowing to pay salaries.
Buhari should take us back to 2015.
We want to know how we survived a near depleted external reserves – external reserves that was $65billion before the late President Umar Musa Yaradua died, but was dropped to $28billion by 2015 and we kept on importing everything and anything. Buhari should take us back; that is where we may be destined to be as a people.
For clarity, what President Buhari has done by removing fuel subsidy will encourage local refining. Oil subsidy thieves will start investing in our refineries to produce locally and by doing so we will generate employment.
Local production will reduce petrol price to even less than N85. Enough refined oil locally will create export for more revenue that can be used to fund infrastructural development to the benefit of the masses. It is victory over enormous corruption that President Buhari promised Nigerians to fight.
Again, the over N75billion budget appropriated for only subsidy payments will be channeled to projects that will benefit the great mass of Nigerians instead of the rich few that have been mostly benefiting from it.
– Ibrahim is
communication and strategic planning of the Presidential Support Committee (PSC).