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Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Short Essay 23. Fuel Subsidy: SLS, Please Stay Off Debate

SHORT ESSAY 23
By Dr. Aliyu U. Tilde

Fuel Subsidy: SLS, Please Stay Off Debate

It is difficult to justify the removal of this subsidy. Personally, i believe that the Nigerian government can afford the 220billion or so required to sustain it on behalf of its people. That is just about $1.4 billion or less, just a fraction of the commission (or earnings) it makes from oil companies annually. That the amount has reached over a trillion naira is not our fault, but that of the government that deliberately fails to carry out its responsibility of checkmating them.

Incidentally, two weeks ago I was listening to a friend from CBN who was trying to educate me on the necessity of removing the subsidy. In the end his explanation boiled down to the sad truth that people benefiting from the subsidy cannot be confronted by the government. They are big, he said.

I told him the government is not honest. I then asked him a simple question that sealed the discussion: "Kai Kabiru! If the government would appoint someone like Sanusi Lamido Sanusi to head the NNPC, will he be able to check this corruption and maintain the subsidy at the reasonable level of N200+ billion?" He said, "Yes, he can."

"In fact", he added, "the realization of the extent of extortion came when Sanusi started to question the storage capacities and other facilities of some oil companies whose claims were submitted to him for payment. Sanusi refused to pay them."

I said, "there you are. Let Jonathan be more courageous and have more Sanusis in government. If you want government to work, you must have corruption-free people in it. But removing the subsidy will definitely court trouble in this now highly inflammable country, so big that we cannot even imagine. Allah ya sauwake."

While we do that, we must keep vigil on some novice politicians that are now trying to ride on our anger to gain cheap popularity and access power. This is not about PDP. It is about our being. Other parties will do the same, given the antecedents of their leaders. Every past government since 1984 has visited us with its own version of heartless economic policies without consultation, leading to the ruin of so many homes forever. Though he is the present, Jonathan is not the first and if we will allow some manipulators power, he will certainly not be the last. The difference here is that, like citizens of the 21st century, we are now standing up to it, saying enough is enough.

Some of these politicians were the architects of World Bank sponsored privatization policies that were ill conceived and ill managed. They also designed the present deregulation in the early 2000s under Obasanjo in concert with Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala. The records are there and the memory fresh. Like Jonathan today, they were deaf to the criticisms we wrote then. How would they gain our support today when we know they will do worse if allowed power again? They have written their records in our minds with indelible ink. They masterminded our present state of poverty and insecurity. Their children are abroad studying; ours are here wallowing at home. We will be reckless to trust them.

In fact, the mere participation of such politicians carries the fatal virus that will divide us, with the government and PDP members labeling it as a machination of the opposition. Then the government would buy some people to claim that Muslims and Northerners are plotting against their 'God-sent' Jonathan. In Nigeria there are always an infinite number of people that would swallow that argument, hook, line and sinker. At that point, many of us will withdraw and the government will have its way.

The labour is meeting today. Their resolution will determine when the real protests will start. This nonsense must stop.

I will appeal to Sanusi to please stay off this debate. Yesterday I travelled to Bauchi - a distance of just 100km - and had to use the fuel of N6,500.00 on the bus I carried my children back to school. This is madness and sheer wickedness. We the people are really angry. We can go to any length on this matter, and genuinely for that matter.

The only thing that would quench our fire is for the President to back down. Otherwise, we are ready to take the country high and wild. If this is a joke, please stop it SLS.  "The people are like a river," if I must borrow from the wisdom of al-Mutanabbi: "cross it when it is calm, but avoid it when it is violent."

Aliyu

35 comments:

Anonymous said...

thank you for the reminder sir........SLS really need to back down now

Engr Tukur Lawal said...

Thanks Mallam for another candid advise.

Magaji said...

Dear Jauro, It is wise to ask SLS to stay away but as he said himself it is an act of coward to advice the government on this issue and then allow it to take responsibility alone. I think they should simply come out and tell us who are these cabals that are more powerful than the government. Then the Nigerians will handle them on behalf of the government. GOODLUCK NIGERIA

Usman said...

I write with tears whenever I want to comment on the subsidy issue as It amazes me to find an intelligent person who fights against something which he does not at all believe exists.
...How unlucky are we to have Goodluck

salihu said...

For this matter of subsidy, our dear SLS has become summun bukyum umyun..,

Aliyu said...

Thank you takwarana, Allah ya kara fahimta

Anonymous said...

Sanusi was bold enough to tell the National Assembly members that their jumbo salary amount to 25% of our entire budget, which is too much, but not bold enough to tell the government to reduce its recurrent expenditure from 73% to 50% rather than remove the subsidy.I still think Sanusi is not corrupt, but what has changed in him in the last two years?He believes, as he said, rightly or wrongly, on BBC a few days ago, that the economy will crash if the subsidy is not removed.

Engr Kabiru Sadisu Barau said...

Mal.tnx so much.as we're all aware that the Nigerian state is a complex one,moreso difficult to handle.A fragile nation like ours need focused and determined individuals like SLS. But the political powers that be,especially in the north,are the ones selling us at the expense of their selfish ends.Mal.to my understanding,the only option that remain for the citizens is to put hand together and fight all such currupt polititians/so call big men at all levels.There is need for a wider awareness campaign.tnx.

Anonymous said...

In fact Sanusi knew who and who have benefitted from the scam, we should ask him to come forward with their list even if GEJ can not confront them, let it be on records that company A,Alhaji B, Dr C or Chief D has committed so and so offense sometimes.if not because we are cowards and like Tilde said in the artcle that our leaders knew how to divide our heads based on ethnicity and religius beliefs, this singular action is enough to mobilise the havenots to protest. Some one said Arabs spring is not possible in Nigeria because of our diversified culture ,beliefs and ethnic back grounds but we can shake the base of the government of the day and the inhumane elites ruling the society.This in turns will sow the seed of the plant that will germinate to give rise to a tree that will be a rallying point for the movers of the real revolution in this great country. I know once Nigerians begun to mobilise, the Sultan will show face to call on Muslims to back out,other traditional rulers will follow ,then the Ulamas of the Duniya will give fatwas condeming the actions/ protest. on the other hand the Pastors will be used to call on christians not to be used in bringing down the God sent messiah while this is going on south south leaders will give it a regional outlook

Rabia Adamu said...

What can we do to remedy the many evils afflicting the minds of our leaders?If removal of subsidy is in the interest of all,why is the 2012 budget still full of 'subsidies' to sustain the vulgar lifestyle of those in government?why were there no cut in the huge amounts budgetted for the many aimless foriegn trips,purchase and free FUEL for hundreds of black and intimidating SUVs,armored vehicles,free feeding and clothing etc? Every aspect of their lives is subsidized even though their stupendous salaries can give them all they want with or without dipping their hands into what is meant for the majority. In a country where the majority are living in extreme conditions,SLS and his colleagues need to reconsider their position,in the interest of peace,justice and equity.

N GWADABE said...

My dear Dr,
Am full of surprise that you still ve confidence of SLS who have been going round the country selling the idea of the withdrawl of subsidy which he sometimes described as"a good omen to the country".Ironically the un-repented SLS yesterday two days after the removal and at the heel of the shock, confusing and suprise nigerians ware undergoing, went to a private radio station in his hometown(kano)propagating the idea behind the withdrawal and benefits(if any)to be drive in the exercise.Dr, with all due respect SLS if saddled with the responsibility of manning the affairs of our oil industry as advocated by you, he will failed woefully, because SLS you know before has changed completely for the best reason known to him.(nursing for the second tenure?)Secondly advising him to withdraw from that debate is too late, because the worst had happened.I commend you for coming up with this "short Essay" which i found to be very educative. Keep it off.

Abubakar said...

The debate on the removal of oil subsidy exposed the hitherto hidden contradictions in SLS. Imagine his talk when their boss 'IMF Lagarde' came. He wants to stay in the good books of his local mistress 'Iweala' as well. They have to remove OS to cover the deficit brought by the excessive withdrawals to fund their 2011 presidential campaigns.

Ayuba mohd said...

we have to join hands together in order to fight our devil leaders.Thank you Dr for this advice

ibrahim mansur said...

SANUSI PLS LISTEN TO THIS ADVICE.

Anonymous said...

Aliyu, well said. Pls more of this plain truth.
Thnx also for the last sentence, a very useful and sensitive adage

Faruk S said...

It could be wise if SLS could comment on the hardships that a common Nigerian would experience for the removal of fuel subsidy. SLS should also explain to Nigerian EXPLICITLY if reducing the cost of governance and Jumbo salaries and privileges of the Executives and legislators could be an alternative to the removal of fuel subsidy.

yahoo said...

Very well said, Tilde, would not v put it any better! Nigerians r ready for the showdown. This time around no religious card will succeed for we r one in this n we will fight it to a stand still. A word is enough for the wise, let Ngo baby run back to ur bosses n tell them their plan has failed woefully, our eyse r opened. They r SHINING very well o!

Nengak said...

So those stealing the subsidy are big an untouchable; meanwhile we who are to pay $1 for petrol and live on the other $1 are not big so we should be crushed. Shame

abuasmau said...

Abba,
Dr. I think we are all so emotional we let other do the thinking for us. We must stop towing the subsidy bait. We must first insist that the refineries work.All of the refineries. Stop importation. Let the NNPC sell the crude to these refineries at whatever rate. Then insist on NNPC paying government all that accrues. The government then has enough for work not extravegance. That is if they are interested in doing the work. Come to think of it, Dr. Jonathan has instituted a Kolade panel on "subsidy reinvestment" when there is no money to re-invest. We are all blinded into believin there is a subsidy. Where will Kolade get his money to re-invest.

aakankia said...

Its a pity! SLS's RECKLESS comments are making me, for one, to go daydreaming again for another presidential material that Nigeria badly needs.

Anonymous said...

Thank you Dr. Tilde for this succinct expression of the common anger of Nigerians and the candid advice to our friend and role model Sanusi Lamido Sanusi. I pity Sanusi for the fact that he is neither a beauracrat nor a politician, but he is talking like one, or being misled to look like one. It's one thing to calculate figures and come up with a huge amount that the subsidy removal will release to the government for other important projects, but it's another thing to apply the released fund to projects that are for common good. Our governments in the last twenty years have a terrible record of diversting excess crude earnings and loot recovery funds to their personal or dubious uses. It's irrrational for Nigerian's to make this huge sacrifice when the expensive life-style of the political leaders is subsidized. This is what make the disobedience a necessary action. All Nigerians must come out to join the protest to save their dignity and assert their self-esteem.

Yasir Ramadan Gwale said...

Sir i really appreciate your candid advice to Mallam SLS since he is part of us.

Hon. Rotimi Osunsan said...

Thank you so much, Dr. Tilde for your essay on the fuel subsidy removal. it's been very educative. In fact, we should find a way to communicate your key points to the masses and in all the ethnic languages. Finally, Nigerians have been delivered the rallying point needed for the long-due Revolution. This is it. There should be no turning back. We, the People, must demand accountability from all the past and present leaders during this exercise with the sole purpose of retrieving all stolen. The traitors have been reckless and merciless and therefore must not escapte the wraths of the people, who have suffered far too much in poverty. The President and his backers, the Legislators and the Judiciary must all be brought to the People "Court" to face our so called jungle justice. No-one must be spared. No one, or else the Revolution would not stand a chance. We, the People cannot afford to miss this golden opportunity to peacefully demand the Change we deserve. Enough is enough. Thanks again, Dr. Tilde for your leadership.
Hon. Rotimi Osunsan (Lagos)

Abdu Yunusa said...

Mallam Aliyu, I, honestly link the issue of Boko Haram to the intention of Govt. to increase the pump price of oil in the country. As usual they divert the attention of the people to something else and then followed by their masters' exploitative policies. These plitians are the prime suspects for the various bombings in the country. Lastly, Mallam Aliyu what do you expect from somebody who used religious and regional centiments, not credible elections, to capture power and also got support from the so called democracy crazy west? Look at the following problems: neglect for agriculture, education, health, power sector and railways which one did they attepmt solving before now. Allah ya bamu ikon yakar zalunci, ameen. May Allah prevent us from any luck that is bad even if it is mischievously called good.

Anonymous said...

Thanks a lot Dr. We really need to be careful about politicians with their divide and rule tactics. We need to resist all forms of oppression. Its really not about PDP, as you rightly said. its about survival. once again thanks.

Anonymous said...

Yes Aliyu is right, Sanusi zip your mouth as far as this topic is concerned. You have said a lot to show that, if there was any benefit in increasing the pump price of petroleum, you don't believe it will be used judiciously or at least that's what I thought I read.  I do not believe there was any fuel subsidy left to be removed! If the FG needs to deal with a handful of people abusing subsidy it really doesn't make sense to make 99.99% of Nigerians suffer instead...
Sanusi I am keeping quiet largely because I am at a loss of what to say to this bull face theft no rape of the treasury and it looks like they will get a way with it...
Asma'u

Abdullahi Mohammed said...

Enough is Enough. "Kukan Kurciya Jawabi ne"

Anonymous said...

Anyone who supports World Bank/Wall Street type policies should NOT be trusted. Unlike the others, SLS is intelligent enough to understand the draconian and wicked implications of bad economic policies. In my humble opinion, he is simply bowing to pressure from the International Community to whom he erroneously thinks he owes allegiance. SLS, wake up and return to what is right and what you can defend on the Day of Reckoning! Don't forget your legacy and do not barter away the trust of your Lord

Anonymous said...

We have had extremely intelligent, bold and brilliant critics in the present and past. Most of them have fell short of our expectations when called upon to correct the ills they have been preaching against. I think ,am afraid lately SLS is no exception. The cardinal objectives of any government are to provide adequate security and improve the standard of leaving of its citizens,I dare ask SLS to explain how removal of fuel subsidy can translate to either of these.
Am rather flabbergasted by some comments of Dr. Tilde, what is his academic justification of the presence of any subsidy at all? Hasnt he seen the challenge of Prof. David? Or was he also classified as an opportunist? Please elaborate. The country certainly is at the brink of a precipice, clarity of issues and position is paramount.

Anonymous said...

Thank you, Dr. Tilde for the advise and I hope SLS will graciously take the advise. However, his deputy was on BBC to suggest that each employer of labour should increase N10,000 to each of its employees. Is N10,000 increase in salary commensurate to the increase in fuel price and what is the percentage of workers compared to the population of Nigeria? Who will increase the earnings of the common man in the village? Our leaders should remember that they will account for their stewardship on the day of judgment.

Isiaku Toro said...

The sacrifice we need is that from the leadership: Stop wasteful spending,stop junketing abroad for whatever reason,stop being businessmen whilst pretending to govern,cut security votes by 60%,cut the ridiculous buying of cars worth more than 5million Naira per car stop hoarding "hard currencies
Isiaku Bala

Anonymous said...

Prof,

The time has naturally come. Divide and Rule now turned into Divide and Conquer is the tactic being employed by present day leaders on a global scale to whizz through opponents and establish their objectives. I would therefore advice Nigerians to firmly resist this conquer once they pour out on the streets enmass on Monday untill they conquer their COMMON ENEMY (The FGN). This time it is NOT about RELIGION, REGION or RIGGING. BUT a COURSE TO LIBERATION and FREEDOM for ALL NIGERIANS of CURRENT and FUTURE GENERATIONS. So GOOD LUCK NIGERIANS and BADLUCK JONATHAN. SUCCEED WE WILL, GOD WILLING!

Thank you.

Dr Salisu Shehu said...

lam and well done Sheikh. An if I may add my voice, I would call all of us Nigerians to remember the words of one of the anti-apartheid heroes- Steve Biko, when he says: "The future will have no pity for those men who, possessing the exceptional privilege of being able to speak words of truth to their opressors have instead taken refuge in an attitude of passivity, of mute indifference and sometimes of cold complicity". Once again well done.

From Salisu Shehu

Anonymous said...

I am sorry to say, but for SLS to ever involve himself in the fsr issue, he is fast getting himself stained with the black indelible ink of hateredness harbored by various Nigerians on their corrupt leaders. Well, he won't get to see this clearly now, until when the FGN hits the rock with it, of which it is already on its way to doing that. I pity you sir SLS.

Harry Parker said...

I really appreciate your candid advice to Mallam SLS since he is part of us. essay writing service.