Nigeria will crash if fuel subsidy remains, President Goodluck Jonathan recently indicated to members of Nigeria’s House of Assembly.
This was revealed to the press by a member of the House of Representatives, Bimbo Daramola, who was among members of the house who met with Jonathan to discuss the issues of Boko Haram and removal of oil subsidy among others.
According to Daramola, “Mr. President did not sufficiently convince me or my other colleagues in the House of Representatives. I don’t want to be graphic with what happened there but I am telling you that it was a faux pau. ’’I do not think he achieved any purpose. I do not think he moved the story forward. I would say that his reasons did not appeal to Representatives.”
’’He tried to say and indeed made it clear to us that if he does not take out the subsidy, Nigeria will go down. In his own words, Nigeria will crash.
’’I do not think that was the right thing to say but I believe very strongly that the nobility of the intentions of Mr. President may not be questionable.
’’Like he said, it is not about Goodluck Jonathan it is about Nigeria. We are on the same page on that score. The truth of the matter however, is that there are so many ways that lead to the market.
’’His strongest argument was that it was becoming difficult to sustain the high subsidy regime on fuel products. He said if we go on this way, Nigeria will be in deep trouble. In his words: Nigeria will crash.
’The truth of the matter is that well we need more money, but there are many ancilliary issues that will to be sorted out. Removal of subsidy is not an isolated event.
’’This is an economy that is mono product – driven and we would expect that anything that happens to this product will resonate across the length and breadth of the country.
’’What the President did was all rationalization. He said the guys who move the product to the market donot actually use Premium Motor Spirit, PMS; that they use diesel. These are simplistic rationalizations.
’’He also tried to say that the subsidy we are talking about does not profit Nigerians but a pocket of cartel in the industry. And people immediately rose up to say, Mr. President, why are you saying this.
’’If it is a cartel, you crack it. Abdul Ningi I remember said it clearly that he was the most powerful President in the black world, and that is the truth. And if we are confronted by a cabal or cartel, then it is about time we dealt with the issue decisively.
’’And today, we are trying to give this reason for taking such decision that will affect the masses of our people.
’’He also tried to talk about the issue of bunkering that is also being resolved and all that. People also said okay, if you take out the subsidy what becomes of the amount of money you may eventually raise.
’’He tried to tell us that there is a committee that is headed by the Vice President (Namadi Sambo) and they are working on what will be committed from the revenue from the removal of subsidy and that they have gone 80 percent and all that.
’’For me, that is not sufficient to begin to push this idea of removal of subsidy. The strongest of the arguments is pure simplistic rationalization. Issues like the removal of subsidy must have cogent, articulate, verifiable, clear cut argument for and against.
’’You must be able to say, yes if you do this we gain this and that. Abdul Ningi tried to raise the political and security consequences of the push particularly at a time when the Arabian spring and all that… Removal of subsidy should not be left in the realms of conjecture and simplistic rationalization.’’