Reading through a popular Nigerian Newspaper's investigation, there are strong indications that Mrs Alison-Madueke the Petroleum Minister was behind the decision that the removal of the subsidy on petroleum products be effective 1st January 2012. If this newspaper report is anything to go by, i find it pertinent to make what the French call a 'méa-culpa' here on this blog. Firstly, below is my comment to one of the news report in the Vanguard Newspaper on the second day of the protest against the subsidy removal by the organised labour movement in Nigeria. The comment read thus;
" President Goodluck Jonathan should tow the line of wisdom and suspend the subsidy removal and pacify the country before things gets out of hand. From all indication,Nigerians in their great majority are not oppossed to the principle of subsidy removal, but the whole issue was done in precipitation as if the government have an ulterior motives. People like Mrs Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala has worked and lived in a developed country, has she seen any decent government make a policy that results in increase in price of goods and services to more than 100% within 24hrs? This simple act and the timing is a great disrespect to the people of Nigeria. During the Presidential election, Goodluck Jonathan did not include subsidy removal in his campaign programme, why is the President taking this action without proper discussion with the trade unions and genuine public debate? With hindsight, one is bound to believe that the subsidy removal was a pre-condition given to the President by Mrs Okonjo-Iweala before she accepted to serve in his government. Former President Obasanjo would have called her bluffs, but President Jonathan thought that having her in his government will give his team some added credibility. President Jonathan should not confirm the beliefs in some quarters that he don't have the 'balls' to lead a country like Nigeria. The subsidy in petroleum will surely stop one day, the government should have waited for couple of months and concentrate on the security threat by the sect Boko Haram. Also, the President should beware of the UN and EU officials who are singing his praise, the same people will hit on you when the going gets tough. If the President consider them as his friends, then he don't need enemies."
From this latest report, the news is that Mrs Okonjo-Iweala and some ministers were unaware that such anouncement was going to be made on that date. Also, Mrs Okonjo-Iweala was out of the country when Mrs Alison-Madueke decided to order that the removal of subsidy should be on the first day of the year 2012. If that newspaper investigation is correct, then Nigerians must be asking the vital question, its there a Pilot on Board? If the President of Nigeria did not give his signature to the effective date on such an important issue, then who is in charge here, Mrs Alison-Madueke or Goodluck Jonathan? It is sad that Mrs Okonjo-Iweala has been taking the heat for a decision she was not privy to. No doubt, the young Petroleum minister thinks that Mrs Okonjo-Iweala is taking the shine off her and so she decided to make a 'buzz', but i guess that's about to backfire. Mrs Alison-Madueke should put her feminine ego in the freezer while she remain a Nigerian Minister, there is no room for any woman in government to prove that she's better than the other woman, Nigeria and Nigerians cannot stand such a war between these two women. When the news on subsidy removal made the waves, we all knew then that President Goodluck Jonathan has committed a great blunder, not necessarily because the govt. removed the subsidy on fuel but because it had to do that when some Nigerians are been killed in some part of the country by their fellow Nigerians in the name of who knows which religion. It is the height of irresponsibility on the part of any government to make such decision without prior consultation and enlightenment to educate the masses on what the fuel subsidy is all about and the benefits (if any) that will result from total withdrawal of the subsidy. When the dust settles, the government of President Jonathan will have an uphill task to carry the people along in their decisions. The people feel betrayed, imagine families who travelled home for the end of year festivities, only to sell their belongings in other to pay transport fares back to their base, such experiences are not easily forgotten, and trust Nigerians, it will be recorded in President Goodluck Jonathan's column. The Nigerian government should make a U-turn and suspend its decision on fuel subsidy for a later date after doing a thorough groundwork. A word is enough for the wise, goes the saying!!!