The Presidential Candidate of the Labour Party in the Feb. 25 Presidential Election, Mr. Peter Obi, has said that although he supports the removal of fuel subsidy, it has to be done with a human face.
Obi spoke to journalists on Tuesday in Abuja on the sidelines of the ongoing hearing of petitions challenging the Feb. 25 presidential election at the Presidential Election Petition Court.
He said that even though he had consistently maintained that subsidy was an organised crime, its removal must be done in such a way that it won’t throw the people into untold hardship.
“Throughout my campaigns, go and check my manifesto, I had maintained this about its removal.
“If you have a tooth ache and you go to a dentist, there is a difference between removing your tooth by applying anaesthesia, which will ameliorate your pains, than by just pulling it out.
“The difference is that I believe it should be removed with conditions, and those conditions have to be applied.”
He said if he had been elected president, he would have also removed subsidy but would have introduced a new open and transparent system that would carry people along.
“If I was involved, I had to show empirical, statistical data how much we are going to save, where we are going to apply it and the gains for the people.
“I said throughout my campaign, that I am going to govern the people by being open, showing them empirical, verifiable facts on how the country can be better, that is what I would have done.
“There are things you need to do. When former President Goodluck Jonathan was about to remove it that was when they came up with SURE-P as part of the conditions.
“The reason Nigerians are agitating is that when people say let’s go and suffer, let’s go and sacrifice, they don’t see the effects of the sacrifice; and we need to do this in an organised manner where people can see in a verifiable plan.
“Governance shouldn’t be supply driven, it should be demand driven. You govern with the people, let the people know what you are doing and explain it to them in clear terms and they will believe you.”
He said he had shown consistently even during the tenure of Jonathan’s economic management team, that using empirical data, the PMS purportedly consumed by Nigeria was far more than what it was supposed to be when compared to other countries like Pakistan.”
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the issue of subsidy removal by government has been on the front burner in the country for years.
It formed part of the campaign manifesto of several presidential candidates during the 2023 general elections, including Obi and Alhaji Abubakar Atiku.
President Bola Tinubu announced the removal of subsidy on petrol on May 29 when he took his oath of office as the 16th president of Nigeria, saying there was no allocation for it in the 2023 budget beyond July.
Shortly afterwards, the Nigeria National Petroleum Company Limited (NNPCL) announced the adjustment of pump price where NNPCL filling stations were selling fuel at N537 while others are selling from N540 and above. (NAN)