By NBF News

Former governor of Lagos State, Senator Bola Tinubu, has declared that Nigerians have every right to debate the planned removal of fuel subsidy. He also congratulated Governor Abiola Ajimobi of Oyo State on the affirmation of his victory at the governorship poll.

Reacting to Ajimobi's judicial victory, Tinubu said: 'I wish to congratulate Governor Ajimobi on his success at the court. His was a mandate well earned.  The court case itself was a distraction of a sort, since it was clear who the winner of that election was.  Now that the court has spoken, it is time to go full-scale to deliver on election promises.  I have no doubt that Governor Ajimobi is up to the task.'

In apparent reference to President Goodluck Jonathan's claim that some opposition figures were playing to the gallery by politicising the impending removal of the subsidy on petrol, Tinubu said Nigerians must not allow themselves to be blackmailed into silence, on a crucial issue that affect their lives.

Said he: 'The debate going on is part of the democratic rights of Nigerians and cannot be shut or shouted down. Nigerians cannot be blackmailed to keep quiet over what directly affects them or their children.'

He said that the Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN), after extensive thinking and wide consultation, has taken a principled and well-thought out position on the matter. According to him, if the Federal Government is wise, it would thoughtfully ponder that position instead of crying wolf where there was none.

'My party has taken a position and that is my own position also: There must be condition precedent before any talk of subsidy removal should be entertained.  Certain things must be in place, in terms of infrastructure and people-oriented policies that could absolve the impact of such removal,' he said.

Tinubu itemised such things as establishment of an infrastructure development bank that could fund rail transportation and modernisation and develop a mass transit system, establishment of commodity exchange boards to help millions of farmers across Nigeria to guarantee minimum price for their farm produce.

'A Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) government that has failed in 12 years to provide good roads or alleviate poverty has no justification to remove subsidy and ask Nigerians to sacrifice more,' he declared.

The former governor dared the Jonathan presidency to conduct a vote on the subsidy issue.

'I challenge the government to hold a referendum on the fuel subsidy issue, to let Nigerians decide, just like it was done in Greece. That is the essence of democracy, which is a government for the people, of the people and by the people,' he said.