On The Nationwide Protest Over Fuel Subsidy Removal —Odunayo Joseph

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There is no doubt that the ongoing impasse on removal of fuel subsidy can be traced to four factors in governance in our country today.

One hovers around the lack of seriousness in the handling of looting of public funds by highly placed government officials, thanks to the latest addition of oiling tools of corruption in the polity – plea bargaining.

Two, the seeming refusal and silence on the part of the Federal Government at unmasking and bringing to book the cabal in the nation’s oil industry.

Three, the already rooted mistrust between our governments at all levels in the country and the people, an unfortunate situation that has been brought about by the lavish lifestyles of our leaders made possible through misappropriation and embezzlement of public funds at all levels of government in our country and the open display with impunity illegally acquired wealth in the full glare of the impoverished people.

Four, the unchecked high cost and the unpreparedness of our governments to block all wastages in the running of democracy in our country. Until these enumerated factors are addressed at the three tiers of government, the task of convincing the people, labour movements, civil society groups and the various corruption watchdogs for good governance in Nigeria to accept the Federal Government’s removal of fuel subsidy may pose a hard nut to crack.

The situation today in our country as far as the action of the Federal Government on the fuel subsidy removal is concerned can best be described as putting the cart before the horse. What the Federal Government should have done before the hurried and sudden implementation of change in the pump price of fuel at filling stations nationwide by oil marketers was to have addressed the rot in the oil industry, a fact that has already been accepted by both two key players in the administration of Goodluck Jonathan – the Finance Minister, Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala and the Governor of Central Bank, Mallam Sanusi Lamido Sanusi – and take a drastic action against the cabal here in Nigeria and their accomplices who are abroad.

There is no doubt that the pervasive rot in the oil industry would have been checked had the private bill on asset forfeiture by Nigerians who live above their income that was sent to the Senate and the House of Representatives long before the April 2011 general elections by the immediate past chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Chief (Mrs.) Farida Waziri had been acted upon.

It has been left in the cooler by the immediate past and current Senate and House of Representatives.

Until corruption in governance is tackled headlong at all levels of government in our country, it will be difficult in convincing the people to support the Federal Government on an issue such as the fuel subsidy removal and other government policies that may be considered lofty by the Jonathan administration.

 

•Odunayo writes in from Mopa, Kogi State. [email protected]

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