By Biodun Busari
Founder of the Stanbic IBTC Bank Plc, Dr Atedo Peterside has asked those who criticised the removal of the fuel subsidy in 2012 to beg for forgiveness from former President Goodluck Jonathan.
Peterside also said the critics should apologise to Jonathan’s economic team which had the presidential candidate of the Labour Party, Peter Obi; and the Director-General of the World Trade Organisation (WTO), Dr Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala.
Recall that there were nationwide demonstrations tagged ‘Occupy Nigeria’ that began on January 2, 2012, launched by the then opposition of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and Jonathan administration over the removal of subsidy.
The former president, then, said Nigeria would thrive economically if the subsidy of petroleum products were removed but Nigerians rejected it, despite promising palliatives.
Meanwhile, eleven years after, President Bola Ahmed Tinubu announced shortly that the country could not sustain the fuel subsidy, hence, would be removed.
Tinubu disclosed that the current budget handed over to him by former President Muhammadu Buhari did not provide for the petrol subsidy.
The declaration on May 29 has sparked outrage among Nigerians as long queues mounted at petrol stations and pump prices escalated across the country, leading to rising prices of transport fares and food products.
While some said there were no palliatives to cushion the effects, some opined that the timing was wrong, as many held that fuel subsidy should be gone.
Reacting via a Twitter post on Sunday, Peterside said the fuel subsidy removal was complicated as those who opposed it in 2012 have turned out to be its supporters.
The foremost investment banker and entrepreneur also said the 2012 protesters who led the strike in during Jonathan’s administration should beg Nigerians.
“The petrol subsidy removal is complicated by the fact some liars who held sway in 2012 are now singing a different tune in 2023. They should apologise to @GEJonathan @PeterObi @NOIweala & others in the 2012 Economic Team & beg Nigerians for forgiveness so we can move forward,” Peterside wrote.