By KINGSLEY OMONOBI, Abuja
The rank of opponents to the planned removal of fuel subsidy as announced by the Federal Government is swelling by the day with the Conference of Nigeria Political Parties General Secretary, Willy Ezugwu joining the organized labour in the fight against government over the contentious issue.
Declaring that the subsidy issue will teach President Goodluck Jonathan’s administration a bitter lesson, Ezugwu posited that it was as if President Jonathan has made up is mind because he has embarked on its campaign but he noted that the battle will be a “fight to finish.”
The CNPP scribe advised that the honourable way out for President Jonathan is to hands off the removal and focus on how to break the subsidy cartel, which he accused of benefitting from it to the detriment of the masses.
His words, “We are not surprised that the President who laid claims to having risen to the top from poor background has joined the oppressing elites by planning to visit hardship on the people he promised to cater for. What is however surprising is that it is too early in the day for him to abandon the massesin favour of the rich”.
“There is no doubt that this government has derailed. If not, why was he organizing a retreat over a policy that will affect the masses and he assembled the richest men in the country who hardly know how much a litre of fuel is sold? Where are the civil servants, where are the commercial drivers, where are the factory workers who board commercial buses every day?
“For our President to admit that a cartel exists who make nonsense of the subsidy, yet, rather than bursting the cartel he is telling us the people would have to pay more for fuel to have extra saving, means he has lost focus, if he actually had any before now”.
“Which infrastructure do they want to spend the subsidy money on? Do they think we are fools, the money they had before, how did they spend it? How many years have our roads been in deplorable conditions?
For how many years have they been tackling the issue of power? For how many years have the university teachers been crying for better funding while they fritter away our money on frivolous expenditure? Emphasizing that the planned subsidy removal as an invitation to anarchy, Ezugwu said mobilizing the people to reject the removal was not a difficult task because already, “the economic situation had mobilized the people; they are just waiting for the whistle to be blown. The army of unemployed youths has already been mobilized by the unemployment in the land.”
The CNPP Secretary General argued that it amounted to gratuitous insult on the sensibility of Nigerians for President Jonathan to tell Nigerians he is instituting a policy that will bring more hardship on the people.
“Come to think of it, if it is true that so much is being spent on fuel subsidy, whose money is it? Is it not the people’s money? All over the world, subsidy exists in one form or the other”.
“This is one battle that all Nigerians would be committed to. Every factory in this country is generating its own power at great cost, the government is not bothered. The traders transport their goods at a great cost, government is not bothered.”
“Certainly, the President knows that the policy is not a popular one and we challenge him to a public debate on the propriety or otherwise of the policy. We are yet to see anything that is transformational in his administration and if care is not taken by Nigerians by stopping him from going ahead with some of the elite oriented policies, he would finish his term leaving Nigeria worse than he met it” Ezugwu said.
“We don’t want to hear about any palliative as a cushioning measure. That is another job for the boys. What palliative in a situation where the workers are still battling tooth and nail to get their N18, 000 minimum wage salary. This subsidy thing is an area Jonathan should not go otherwise; he will be courting the people’s trouble. We are ready to join labour in this fight and that is our position in the opposition political parties”