President Bola Ahmed Tinubu, according to Hakeem Baba-Ahmed, spokesperson for the Northern Elders Forum (NEF), should not take credit for the withdrawal of the fuel subsidy.
On the day of his inauguration, Tinubu proclaimed that the era of gasoline subsidies was over.
Tinubu’s declaration elicited a range of reactions, with marketers quickly raising fuel prices across the board.
During an interview with journalists on the current administration, Baba-Ahmed stated that he agreed with the removal of fuel subsidies by the Nigerian government.
He, however, requested President Tinubu not to take credit for the action because it was deleted from the nation’s budget before his predecessor, Muhammadu Buhari, left office.
Baba-Ahmed also questioned why the government had not provided palliatives to mitigate the impact of the subsidy reduction.
“To be honest, I don’t know how he could have handled it any better. Tinubu, by the way, did not remove the subsidy. Buhari did so by putting it off until June, when he knew the new administration would be in place. Tinubu arrived to discover that the subsidy had been removed. As a result, he should not claim credit for eliminating the subsidies. Yes, he would have eliminated the subsidy if it had been in place, but it was removed by Buhari.
“Yes, but the issue is how to mitigate the impact of the removal by first providing for the associated hardship, pain, and rising prices of goods.”
“In principle, I agree with you. If I were speaking for Tinubu, I would say that the subsidy was not abolished by my administration. Buhari is the name. If he had done so, he would have given credit where it belonged and responsibility where it due. Tinubu will then be held accountable exclusively for the palliatives.
“Everyone agreed that it had to go, but do you just remove the subsidy and cause a massive decline in our already desperate situation and circumstances, where the cost of living is now ten times higher?” It is a legitimate request for assistance. I’d also like to point out that it’s not the only thing that could add up. The liberalization of the exchange regime is another area where Nigerians will benefit,” Baba-Ahmed told Vanguard.
“Another one is the rise in the cost of electricity.” Another example is the increase in school costs as a result of the education loan. If I had to give the Tinubu administration some advice, it would be to keep an eye on things and not put too much strain on an already taxed citizenry.
“As good as the policies are, some need to be critically examined before you roll them out, while others need to be examined with some level of compassion and sympathy so that you are not seen as governing a country where 90% of the populace is in desperate choices and circumstances,” he continued.