By Kola Animashaun
“If we don’t bring sense to the public finance, we can’t do any of the good things that we want to do”-Nick Clegg- Deputy Prime Minister of United Kingdom.
I am writing this on Thursday and this is the fourth day of the general strike against subsidy removal. The population seems settled to see it out to the last. They seemed to want to swim or to sink together.
Everybody from the known agitators to the unknown pacifist went out to register their dissatisfaction and wanted satisfaction.
I cannot say that Nigerians, to the man, rallied round but I would say that most of them do. They, to all the man, said the government should rescind the subsidy. Even the conservative people of the legal profession came out to register their protest. People of the medical profession went out to add their solidarity. The entertainers joined. Even physically challenged are counted among them.
On Wednesday, the Muslims and Christians were out together to prevail on the president to do what is necessary- i.e. to say he will relief them of the burden.
Clerics AbdulRahman of Ansar-Ud-Deen and intellectual Lakin Akintola and Latter Rain Tunde Bakare said that the flocks will suffer by taking of the subsidy. So was maverick Keyamo. Governor Babatunde Fasola took the petition of the lawyers for on forward transfer to President Jonathan.
The most confounding charge against Jonathan was that subsidy beneficiaries are financiers of his elections. They are the “untouchable” thanks to the media, we know who they are. Some of the governors are in support “of the withdrawal of subsidy so that they will have money and less deduction from the Federation Account Allocation Committee (FAAC)”
He said: “The (Governors) are the driving force behind Goodluck and half of the blame should go to governors”.
Nasir explained: petroleum subsidy “is a charge on the Federation Account, so it is deducted first before money is shared”.
Last year el-Rufai said: “the average deduction from the Federation Account was about 22 billion Naira per month, after the elections it goes to over 100 billion Naira a month”.
El- rufai said the Federal Government is broke and that could be seen that the economy is growing but it is illiquid.
By withdrawing subsidy, El-Rufai said Jonathan administration is taxing every Nigerian – man, woman and child – 8,000 Naira while 1.4 trillion Naira has gone into some people’s pockets.
El-Rufai said the cost of producing one litre of petroleum in Nigeria is 40 Naira; so, the 25 Naira difference in the pump price of 65 Naira is an undeclared tax.
Like El-Rufai said Jonathan should get his allowance and that of the other of his co-travellers and not their salaries. Twenty-Five percent Jonathan’s salary is just 800,000 Naira.
Jonathan has said his government would not shift ground on the subsidy removal.
Chief Olusegun Obasanjo, ex-president of the country, has told Jonathan to do something about it. Labour and Government have failed to resolve the crisis. Labour is standing against removal of subsidy which it says means disruption of family life.
Labour is against the vagabonds in power and the cabals in the oil sector.
Except good sense prevails, this may be a long-drawn battle and the people will win because God is always on the side of the just.