By Ben Agande, Henry Umoru And Inalegwu Shaibu
A day to the commencement of the recent nationwide strike, the House of Representatives met in an extraordinary session on Sunday, January 8, 2012 during which it among others adopted a resolution calling on the executive to rescind the hike in the price of petrol and go back to the N65 per litre pump price that obtained prior to the New Year.
Though the Senate did not adopt a formal resolution on the issue, Senators were believed to have during a closed door session on January 10, 2012 mandated the President of the Senate, Senator David Mark to convey the feeling of members that the hike should be rescinded.
The administration, however, reacted and described the House resolution as advisory. Following the reduction to N97 per litre, Saturday Vanguard sought the opinion of members of the House of Representatives and the Senate on the issue.
Government has learnt its lesson- Rep. Samson Osagie
Samson Osagie (The Minority Whip of the House, A. C. N Edo). The position of the executive and organized Labour has vindicated the foresightedness of the House of Representatives through its resolution during its emergency session on Sunday, 8th January, 2012.
If government had listened to us, both parties would have found a common ground without the strike. By reducing the price of petrol as the executive did and the decision by Labour to call off the strike have justified the position taken by the House since the new price regime was announced.
Lots of lessons have been learnt by government especially to the effect that our people are now more informed about the need for good governance and fight against corruption. The incidence has put the fight against corruption in the front burner of our national discourse.
Welcome development – Ken Chikere,(PDP Portharcourt 1)
The compromise reached by both government and labour is a welcome development and the two parties should seize the moment to engage in further dialogue. There is no question to the fact that I support the deregulation of the oil sector. My grouse as well as those of most people is there ought to have been a better timing and different modus. The timing is wrong but I am happy that labour and the Federal government have spoken and have agreed to continue to dialogue so that there would be no element of surprise when a final decision is taken on this matter. The issue now calls for everybody to sit down and examine the nitty gritty of the whole fuel importation process. The price introduced by government may not have met the expectation of most people but it is a good starting point.
Nigerians cannot be taken for granted again – Zakari Mohammed (PDP BARUTEN Kwara).
The resolution of the crisis is a vindication of democracy and a demonstration that Nigerians cannot be taken for granted any longer. For us in the House of Representatives, it is good to know that we stood with the people and spoke at the most critical times. Nigerians have proved a point and it is now time to go back to work in order to recover the man hour lost to the strike. The new price announced by government can still be negotiated.
Win-win for all – Hon. Victor Ogene,(APGA Anambra).
The reduction in the price of the petrol by the executive and the suspension of the indefinite strike by Labor is a win-win situation for Nigerians. It also goes to vindicate the House of Representatives which was desirous ab initio for the two parties to negotiate.
Step in right direction – Jones Onyereri (PDP Nkwerre/Isu/Nwangele/Njaba, Imo State)
Going forward, government officials should be proactive on issues of national interest and engage the National Assembly regularly on such matters. Each party should be committed to dialogue even on the issue of the pump price of petrol as announced by the federal government.
Government needs to buy trust – OLumide Osoba (A. C. N OGUN).
What the government should do is to give Nigerians a timeline on when these things can be achieved. Tell them a percentage of the subsidy in say one year and you promise them that in that one year, you will make the refineries work. I am sure that Nigerians would understand. If you change the fuel price to N97 for one year and you promise the Nigerian people that after one year, the refineries would be working and you would go back to N65, Nigerians would have accepted it. That is what should have been done. Nigerians said we want the government to return the fuel price to N65 per litre. This government should have been a listening government and after negotiating with the people, it should have agreed on the price. Just changing it to N97 per litre is not just the way to go.
Time to deal with criminals in oil industry – Senator Pius Ewherido, DPP, Delta Central
Those criminally involved in the fuel subsidy regime shall be made to face the music. I am happy that the subsidy crisis has been laid to rest, but the National Assembly shall not rest until fraud in the oil business particularly as it relates to payment of subsidy on petroleum products are uncovered and the personalities in the fraud punished.
It is a hard option we must accept – Senator Domingo Alaba Obende, ACN, Edo North
The truth is if you want to cure fever, you use Quinine which is very bitter and eventually the fever will go. The pains might be much on Nigerians especially in my constituency where I know that the average income is less than one dollar a day, and you are asking me to use more than one dollar to buy petrol. It is actually very painful. But the issue is which one is better, to allow 15 people to eat N1.3 trillion or to allow 167 million Nigerians to eat N1.3 trillion? I would have preferred that when we check the financial indices, it will be better to avoid fraud and corruption for this subsidy to be removed.
My people are not happy – Senator Aisha Jummai Alhassan, PDP, Taraba North
They are not exactly happy of course because prices of things have gone up. But at the same time, the explanation we gave to them, we have been talking to them to be patient, to see how things will move for them; I think they are calming down in my constituency.
My people are against it – Senator Kabiru Marafa, ANPP, Zamfara Central
The reaction was loud and clear. Everybody heard it. The overwhelming majority of Nigerians rejected it. They are against it, as representatives of the people, we are also against it. As a human being, you know we are resilient in nature, especially the people of my constituency.
My people are sad – Senator Ibrahim Musa, CPC, Niger North
The new price is causing a great hardship on tconstituency even at N97. People are not feeling it well.
We support it in Ebonyi – Senator Sunday Ogbuji, PDP, Ebonyi South
In fact, in Ebonyi state, there was rather a rally by the youth in support of the decision by the President. The labour did not protest. Sincerely deregulation will bring us good.
No problem to us – Senator Emmanuel Bwacha, PDP, Taraba South
I come from a rural part of this country; we have been buying fuel well over N100 per litre.