By Uche Amunike
The presidential candidate of Labour Party, Peter Obi, Tuesday, in Abuja, while dealing to newsmen at the headquarters of the Court of Appeal, reiterated his support for the recent removal of fuel subsidy by the Bola Tinubu administration, while giving conditions that should be met in order to achieve the proper results expected to come out of the policy.
Speaking, through a press statement issued by the ObiDatti Media Office in the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja, Obi affirmed that he had supported the removal of fuel subsidy, as far back as the time he served as a member of the Presidential Economic Management Team, during the administration of former President Goodluck Jonathan.
His words: ‘If you have followed me very well right from the time I was a member of Jonathan’s economic management team, I consistently maintained that subsidy should be removed because I see it as organized crime. People were just stealing the resources of the country and I showed empirically in my statistical analysis that we are not consuming the amount of fuel they claim we consume.’
According to the former Anambra State governor, his idea of fuel subsidy removal is different from the present situation being witnessed in Nigeria. He said that the two options available could be linked to a person having toothache.
He clarified that if someone meets with a dentist to extract a painful tooth, he would numb the area with local anesthetic in order to prevent any pain while extracting the tooth. which is entirely different from forcefully extracting the tooth which will make the pain less painful.
Mr Peter Obi further vituperated: ‘For me, I will go with the approach of the dentist while supporting the removal of the tooth because I wouldn’t want to go through the pain of forceful removal.’
‘Recall that even when Jonathan wanted to remove it they came up with various relieving policies like SureP and others. If you read my manifesto you will see clearly how I planned to remove subsidy, I will govern with the people and show them statistically and empirically what we are getting and how we are deploying it.’
‘The problem In Nigeria is that when people say let’s go and suffer, let’s go and sacrifice, they don’t see the results of their suffering and their sacrifice.’
Peter Obi’s position followed the viewpoint of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) presidential candidate in the recent presidential polls, Atiku Abubakar, who also condemned the strategy applied by the Tinubu-led government in removing the fuel subsidy.
Majority of Nigerians assumed that the new petrol price would take effect by July. Shockingly, almost immediately after the announcement was made by the new president, fuel stations nationwide increased their prices while almost every retail outlet began to hoard the product. This grossly affected transportation costs with over 100% increments, leading to attempts to start a nationwide strike by the Nigerian Labour Congress. A court order by Monday, June 5, however restrained them from embarking on the strike.