Tinubu, Northern Elders declare support for subsidy removal

By The Citizen

National Leader of the All Progressives Congress, APC, and former governor of Lagos State, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu has thrown his weight behind President Muhammadu Buhari over the new pump price for premium motor spirit (PMS).

The Buhari administration on Wednesday ended the fuel subsidy regime and announced a new N145 per litre for petrol.

In a statement released in Lagos on Thursday, Asiwaju Tinubu said by his decision to end the fuel subsidy regime, the Buhari administration has made a courageous and prudent decision.

'We all want fuel at a cheaper price. under the subsidy, we got the right price but not the fuel. Meanwhile, some were getting rich on the common man's predicament. They were laughing to the bank while the rest of Nigeria waited in the petrol line. This is not the way to democratic development. It is a recipe for creating a class of economic predators that would feed off the people and in time gain such power and wealth that they would seek to buy and control if not own government as well.

'President Buhari has with this decision put an abrupt and just end to this assault against our economy and political system. He has made a courageous and prudent decision. It is time to end the fuel subsidy and to begin to subsidize the true needs of the people.

'To Mr. President, I say congratulations for having the courage to remove the subsidy. The President has taken this tough decision in the interest of the present and future generations of Nigerians.

'For some time, I have been a proponent of this action. I believed ending of subsidy was the only sure way to put to sleep the myriad demons that had invaded the subsidy process, sucking the blood of Nigeria, swallowing much of our needed money.

'The rentiers will no longer be able to make free money at our common expense. They will no longer be laughing to the bank while you languish in endless fuel queues. Nigeria has taken the historic step needed to create a competitive environment that that will eliminate smuggling, provide incentives for private refineries and attract foreign investments in the downstream sector and create employment.

'Instead of just shipping off the oil and having the more expensive finished products sent back to us, Nigeria will move closer to realizing its potential to become the plastic center of the continent by manufacturing these by products. Nothing can stop Nigeria from being the net exporter of fertilizer from the bye products of the oil industry,' Tinubu stated.

Meanwhile, the Northern Elders Council has expressed support for the partial removal of fuel  subsidy.

According to the group, the long term benefits of the decision outweigh the short term pains associated with it.

Chairman of the council, Alhaji Tanko Yakassai said this in a telephone interview with our Correspondent, in Abuja, on Thursday.

He explained that he has personally been a strong supporter of withdrawal of fuel subsidy for the last twenty years.

The elder statesman explained that this position was informed by the fact that ordinary Nigerians have not benefitted from the subsidy regime because the actual beneficiaries have been marketers and their collaborators in successive governments.

Yakassai said, 'Marketers and smugglers have been the main beneficiaries of the policy.

'Besides, as long as the petroleum products price would be cheaper in Nigeria than in our immediate neibouring countries, nobody can stop smuggling of the products from our country to our neighbours.

'If the government removes the subsidy, the money that would be saved as a result can be put to better use in dealing with more pressing problems bedeviling our nation such as problems of endemic unemployment, dilapidated infrastructure, modernisation of agriculture, addressing the need for robust education and healthcare delivery.'

The former Presidential Laison Officer further explained that above all, Nigeria will save a lot of resources lost to corrupt individuals and corporations who have together conspired to deny Nigerians the better life they deserve. - Additional reports from The News, Punch.