Fuel Subsidy: Aregbesola Warns Against Opportunist Military Coups, ...
As the nation faces another round of industrial action arising from the fuel subsidy removal, Osun State Governor, Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola at the weekend, reiterated his earlier warning against military take-over of governance just as he advocated the convocation of a Sovereign National Conference (SNC) to curb the crises facing Nigeria.
Aregbesola sternly warned ambitious power seekers who might attempt to hide under the fuel subsidy protest to subvert democratic rule to have a rethink and note that the political class will not allow any military rule a foothold in Nigeria anymore.
In a speech he delivered at the close of a three-day seminar on Budget and Budgetary Control organised by members of the Osun State House of Assembly in Ejigbo, Osun State at the weekend, Governor Aregbesola also decried the lack of transparency in the handling and management of Nigeria’s petroleum resources.
“We must sound a note of warning to whoever wants to use this opportunity of normal protest of Nigeria people against the policy on fuel subsidy that we will never allow military rule in our territory again for whatever reason. We will never tolerate military rule; we shall fight it, we will never allow military to rule us again.”
The governor said that for Nigeria to be properly and peacefully governed there is the need to gather all stakeholders to agree on a formula of co-existence in Nigeria.
“For Nigeria to be really properly structured, appropriately governed and peacefully run, there is the need to have all the concern stakeholders in their various compartment to come together and agree on a formula of co-existence, which is only possible in a Sovereign National Conference.
When convoked, Aregbesola submitted that the SNC should derive its power from the National Assembly so as to guarantee the peace, harmony and stability of the Nigerian polity.
He lashed out at antagonists of SNC saying “those who claimed that such conference is incompatible with democratic setting are mischievous. Democratic structures can run parri passu with a sovereign national conference, after all, the conference will have its own power derived from the National Assembly.
In the light of the various challenges of nation building facing Nigeria, Governor Aregbesola submitted further that the Sovereign National Conference remained the “surest way to guarantee peaceful, productive, harmonious and stable co-existence and when we have that, there will be no basis for all the rancours and crisis that we have periodically been experiencing in Nigeria, including that of fuel subsidy crisis.”
The governor pointed out the fact Nigerians are not merely protesting the removal of fuel subsidy by the Federal Government by have been expressing disapproval of how the oil revenue of the nation was being utilised.
Aregbesola insisted that Nigerians reserved the right to know details of what was happening in the oil sector noting that accountability and transparency were lacking in how the petroleum resources of the nation were being utilised.
The governor declared that “the issue is not even whether the subsidy was removed or not, but the major problem is that there is no transparency in the petroleum sector of the country.
Nigerians must know what is happening in the sector. Nobody knows categorically how much of our crude oil is being sold, not to talk of how much of it do we send out.”
While observing that many West African countries were not enjoying subsidised pedtroleum products, the Osun State helmsman asserted that “the distinction is the secrecy that surrounds petroleum management in Nigeria and the transparency that exists in all the other nations.”
According to him, Nigerians have only been hearing the story of trillions of Naira in oil revenue “without even knowing what we consume and how we come about it.”
He contended that Nigerians reserved the constitutional right to protest the policy of the government on the fuel subsidy, warning that this should not serve as a pretext for military take-over of governance.
Governor Aregbesola contended that while Nigerians exercise their right to protest the Federal Government policy of oil subsidy removal, anti-democratic elements should not hide under this as an opportunity to allow military rule in Nigeria again.
“In America, Britain, Greeks, Spain, Portugal and many other countries there are unrest, but nobody ever dream of military return and so why must simple expression of disaffection or rejection of the government policy be the platform of which the military would want to impose themselves on us.”