Oil Deregulation: A Case Of Exploitative Ignorance

Source: John C. Okafor
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Majority of Nigerian problems have all been talked about but not thought about in manner they deserve. Nigeria has been talking of economic injustice, social injustice, judicial injustice, but there is such a thing as intellectual injustice. Our national problems should be tackled with intellectual justice, not with exploitative ignorance.

There is nothing more important in Nigeria today than that 170 million Nigerians should be informed on the basic facts in this whole oil deregulation issue.

Ex-President Jonathan’s earlier attempt to remove fuel subsidy on January 1, 2012 led to widespread protests in the country, many Nigerians ignorant of the benefits and advantages of subsidy removal and following the malicious misinformation by some cabals took to the streets forcing the government to partially reverse itself. That’s “exploitative Ignorance”

Therefore, while we attack the physical evils of oil regulation, we must battle the ignorance which permits them. And I mean not only ignorance in the individual Nigerians, but those attitudes, policies, and prejudices which balk the free exchange of information and knowledge amongst Nigerians on the whole issue of the subsidy removal.

The malignant germs of misunderstanding and misinformation are at work in the minds of Nigerians 24 hours of every day. To combat them challenges the sturdy and the effort of every individual who occupies any position of influence on public opinion

The problems with the Nigerian oil sector are not inherently insoluble. Of course they are difficult; but their solutions are not beyond the wisdom of Nigerians. They seem insoluble under conditions of fear, distrust, and even hostility, where every move is weighed in terms of whether it will help or weaken a potential enemy, If these conditions can be changed then much can be done.

So many prominent Nigerians in a bid to offer solutions have voiced their opinion on the truth about oil deregulation and the need for the government to enforce it.

The Executive Secretary of MOMAN, Mr Obafemi Olawore, said that deregulation would bring in investments into the sector, adding that only deregulation would encourage the establishment of private refineries in the country. According to him, the Federal Government should summon the courage to fully deregulate and remove subsidy or embark on continuous subsidy regime payment as at when due, they must talk to the people and let them understand the advantages.

The immediate past President of the Petroleum and Natural Gas Senior Staff Association of Nigeria (PENGASSAN), Mr. Babatunde Ogun also called on the federal government to deregulate the downstream sector of the oil and gas industry, saying the call became expedient in view of the continued fall in global price of oil. He also argued that deregulation will revamp the ailing downstream sector, which is almost at the verge of collapsing.

The MD/CEO of Capital Oil and Gas Ltd, Dr. Ifeanyi Ubah, a heavyweight and a stakeholder in the Oil and Gas sector with firm background and deep-seated familiarity in the modus operandi of the industry has also called on the government to establish a full deregulation in the Oil sector to save Nigerians from the hands of few cabals who are holding the country hostage due to their greed and selfish interests taking the recent fuel strike as a paradigm. Speaking on the Channels TV, Dr. Ifeanyi Ubah said “I have been of the view that we should deregulate so that we can cut out corruption but unfortunately Nigerians didn’t take it from Jonathan” he further stated that “if we deregulate, we can comfortably sell at 90 or 85 naira per litre.

It is not always necessary that people should think alike and believe alike before they can work together. These are opinions of different Nigerians on the oil deregulation. Although their ideologies may differ but I believe that their commitment to Nigerian project is equally matched.

Therefore, that the future may not be a repetition of the past, the new government, the Buhari administration should deregulate the oil sector now. The government should not allow herself and few cabals to further exploit the ignorance of most Nigerians.

Without deregulation, we cannot win. With deregulation we cannot fail. Nigeria must not fail.

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