APPOINT UMAR, FALANA, AGBAKOBA INTO SURE PROGRAMME
House of Representatives member representing Ikot Ekpene Federal Constituency of Akwa Ibom State, Hon. Saviour Udoh, has asked President Goodluck Jonathan to garnish his good intentions in removing the petroleum subsidy with the appointment of ardent critics of the exercise as managers of its expected windfall.
Those Udoh asked Jonathan to include in the Subsidy Reinvestment and Empowerment (SURE) Programme, are Col. Abubakar Umar (retd), Mr Olisa Agbakoba, Mr. Femi Falana and Pastor Tunde Bakare. Ironically, some of these men have been in the vanguard of those occupying Gani Fawahenmi Park and calling for Jonathan's head over the removal of the oil subsidy.
Udoh, who said he was constrained by the unfolding development in the country to make the suggestion, especially, the doubt expressed by well meaning Nigerians with regard to the sincerity of government in the management of the expected resources from the suspended subsidy said; 'The good intentions of the president is that if any sector of the economy needs reform at all, it should be the petroleum and power sector.
'We should not always postpone the evil day. One must take the bull by the horns and someone must be the one to be the mover. Today, Mr President has taken the initiative so let's encourage him if our cry for decaying infrastructure which is in the area of power and roads is anything to go by and if we are truly sincere in our day-to-day cry for love, peace and unity in the country.'
The lawmaker therefore appealed to the organised labour, TUC and the civil society to suspend their strike and embrace dialogue with government for better understanding of the main issue in the president's new policy.
'The consequences of strike and its concomitant portend more danger to us as a people and our economy as a nation in the comity of nations. From my empirical analysis and understanding of government position on the fuel subsidy removal, the president means well for all for all of us and the nation in general.
'As a real gentleman in and outside office, the president is very well aware that the January 1, 2012, announcement would only aggravate temporary hardship on us but that a long term effect would bring joy and everlasting blessing. Government cannot afford to further borrow about N1.23 trillion, almost a total of the country's capital budget to run 2012 deficit.'
Udoh expressed confidence in the integrity, transparency and judicious use of the money accruable from fuel subsidy removal and appealed to Nigerians to give the president a chance to prove his worth.
According to him, Jonathan has good intentions though encapsulated in some temporary hardship which is surmountable; submitting that it takes a man of strong will and character to change an existing bad policy which was predicated on aggravated corruption designed to enrich a few people now hiding behind the crowd to oppose the change.
The former special adviser to Gov. Godswill Akpabio commended his former boss for his meritorious and uncommon transformation programmes in the state.
He used the opportunity to appeal to the NLC to equally suspend their local strike which they embarked upon since January 3, 2012 because of the implementation of the new minimum wage, arguing that the state needs peace, love and development than strike.