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Group Knocks Tinubu’s Economic Policies, Says Government Insensitive


The Pan Yoruba Socio-cultural organisation, Afenifere, yesterday berated the policies of President Bola Tinubu in the last two months in office, particularly the removal of subsidy on petrol.

In a statement made available to journalists in Akure by its Secretary General, Sola Ebiseni on Friday, Afenifere lamented the abrupt increase in the pump prices of petrol from N537 to N617 and beyond in inner states and the proposed distribution of N8,000 cash palliative to 12,000 households across the country.

The statement titled: “On Petrol Subsidy, Insensitive Policies and State of Governance in Nigeria: Afenifere Speaks for the People”, the group noted that they cannot afford to fold their arms or be seen to maintain silence, neutrality or ambivalence in the face of the latest body blow on the citizenry.

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The statement reads: “Nigeria is currently caught in a labyrinth of inclement weather of a convoluted election process and its unwieldy outcomes, intractable security problems and the nightmarish aftermath of a sudden and harsh removal of petrol subsidy on the other. In less than six weeks, an already asphyxiating economy reeling under the crushing impact of hyperinflation, unemployment, mass hunger and poverty foisted by the gross ineptitude and incompetence that characterised the watch of eight years is looking like an episode drawn straight out of Dante’s Hell.

“Afenifere as a political group and the rallying platform for social welfarist progressive ideals inexorably committed to the greatest good of the greatest number of Nigerians cannot afford to fold its arms or be seen to maintain silence, neutrality or ambivalence in the face of this latest body blow on an already traumatised citizenry.

“Our well informed position to tarry on comments on the governance of the federation until the final determination of the true holder of the people’s mandate through on-going judicial processes, may inadvertently be taken for abandonment of our historic role as the people’s ombudsman in the political space, acquiescence in the face of rudderless ship of the state or mistaken to have joined league with those befuddled  by chauvinism in laundering incompetence and nepotism or celebrations of inanities.”

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According to Afenifere, more Nigerians will be plunged into poverty by Tinubu’s economic policies: “The number of extremely poor Nigerians may now be compounded by the multiplier effects of peremptory removal of petrol subsidy, intractable fall of the Naira and surreptitious increase in school fees payable in Federal Government secondary and tertiary educational institutions.

“It is feared that this latest gross act of thoughtless policy implementation and its unintended consequences will further push Nigeria’s economy down the slope as Nigeria has officially overtaken India as The New Poverty Capital of the World.

“There has emerged a wide consensus that the petrol subsidy regime as it had been managed, especially in the last eight years, was becoming ruinous to the economy and could no longer be sustained. The management had been opaque, with no accountability, scant oversight and huge allowance for extreme avarice by a few privileged officials and their private collaborators.

“NNPC was the sole importer of petrol and did indeed go into oil swap contracts with some foreign refiners in an arrangement otherwise called Direct Sales-Direct Purchase (DSDP) arrangement.

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“Under this arrangement, NNPC supplied crude oil to these refiners in exchange for refined petroleum products in already pre-defined quantities. NNPC then supplied these products to Nigerians and paid itself huge amounts in the name of ‘petrol subsidy’. How the subsidy came about and how it was calculated was only known to NNPC whose finances and cash returns to Nigeria are not subject to any oversight by the government.”

The group explained that while the top three presidential candidates in the last election agreed that the wasteful and corruption-infested petrol subsidy had to go, no one however, expected that the subsidy would be removed in the sudden manner it was done and, totally ignoring the impact on the people and the economy.

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It states: “It is indeed a matter of grave concern that a party and its candidate which made subsidy removal a cardinal campaign issue, did not have a plan on ground to introduce the necessary countervailing palliatives simultaneously to protect the people and the economy. ‘Progressive’ governance, which they have always professed, would have put ahead of everything, the welfare of the citizens and should never be, or made to seem like, an afterthought. If the body is troubled by a tooth that has to be removed, only a quack dentist would dare to pull off the tooth without administering necessary painkillers before, and even after, the removal.

“Those whom our warped and strange constitution have put in the saddle while their legitimacy is yet subject of judicial inquiry are nonetheless expected to act expeditiously to restore hope to the weak in society and protect the economy by introducing quickly, the much-needed palliative measures. Hitting the ground running is more than a slogan or braggadocio declaration, the run must be well coordinated by competent hands available nationwide and not confined to actors whose efforts have only been exaggerated by the spatial limits of their past endeavours.

“No one today questions the need for sacrifices by citizens to restore the fiscal viability of the country. However, that sacrifice must be made by all, and in a progressive manner. Those at the leadership of the country must lead by example. It is time we addressed the inordinate cost of governance in a very open, substantial and substantive way.

“The gargantuan waste of public funds in running a government with a multiplicity of agencies and offices of doubtful benefit to society must end. Oransaye’s Report must be updated to capture new agencies that have been added to the Federal Bureaucracy since the Report and to reflect the new compelling and urgent need to reduce the cost of governance.

“The notoriously opaque, obscene and unconscionable salaries, allowances, perks and “retirement benefits” of Executive and Legislative arms of government at all levels unbelievably more generous than remuneration of public officers in eminently wealthier nations, must immediately be brought in line with the reality of our economy and productivity. Similarly, a review of Code of Conduct and the General Service Rules must be instituted to rid the service of the mentality that has allowed the reckless abuse and leakages in the system under the false impression that the country is rich. There is no virtue in profligacy, but there is honour in prudence.

“For example, while public officers at all levels move around in endless motorcades of exotic bulletproof foreign cars and the Presidency keeps a fleet of 11 Presidential jets, much richer nations do not indulge in such frivolities and extravagance. Nigeria can no longer afford these excesses and we must put an end to them going forward.”


Furthermore, Afenifere alleged that the social misery index is at an all-time high while more Nigerians are resigning themselves to hopelessness as mass poverty slowly gathers strength and heightened tensions escalate.

The group stressed that if nothing concrete was done to ameliorate the current level of hardship on the people, it may lead to massive unrest the country may not be able to contain as things spiral out of control.

“It is unfortunate, though we are not surprised, that there is nothing exciting in terms of innovation of ideas than the recycling of the huge corruption in the management of fuel subsidy regime and the oil industry characterised by manipulation of the volume of petrol imported into the country, the theft of crude oil, the massive smuggling under the noses of our Customs officers and security and intelligence personnel, the perennial and atrociously costly Turn Around Maintenance and refurbishment of moribund refineries that produce no products.

“Nigerians expect no less than a courageous and fine-tooth- comb investigation with a view to recovering public funds and those culpable made to pay for established crimes. Nigerians must no longer be saddled with the burden of the gargantuan and wasteful funds spent on the fat emoluments of “Refinery” workers who produce nothing but are kept on obscene job packages that cost our people N70 billion per annum (by estimates published two years ago). This is the justice that Nigeria and Nigerians deserve and expect for the calls for their sacrifice.

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“It is after the huge corruption in the oil industry and its management is identified and redressed, after political leaders and policymakers have implemented their own cost cutting measures to save Nigeria and its economy, that poor Nigerians may justifiably be convinced to see reason for perseverance.

“There seems a complete loss of ideas or confusion in the corruption-infested management of “palliatives” of N500 billion for 200 million Nigerians but hugely cornered at the topmost level of governance while the people are mocked by their representatives in the Senate with the motion of ‘Let the Poor Breathe’.

“The planned disposal of the ‘palliatives’ in cash and the obvious confusion on the exact modalities of the palliatives suggest a total ignorance of the current realities and the gigantic remedial needs of the populace. Rather than pay cash that will evaporate and provide only momentary relief to a minuscule few, an effective plan ought to be put in place to provide facilities that will ameliorate the suffering of the masses right across the country in a sustainable manner.”


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