Subsidy: The Real Cabal Staying the President’s Hand against the People’s Decision
The thing about a democracy is you have to respect the will of the people. Goodluck has to respect the will of the people, but even before he gets that far, he has the will of his colleagues to cater to.
Flashback to last Thursday, just before the Labour dialogue with Federal Government. Another closed-door meeting was ongoing in Aso Rock. Members in Attendance: Governors Peter Obi (Anambra), Tunde Fashola (Lagos), Rotimi Amaechi (Rivers), Liyel Imoke (Cross River), Adams Oshiomhole (Edo), Gabriel Suswam (Benue), and Babangida Aliyu (Niger). Ministers Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala (Finance); Olusegun Aganga (Trade and Investment), Diezani Alison-Madueke (Oil); Bello Adoke (Justice), Emeka Wogu (Labour) and, Onyebuchi Chukwu (Health).
Well-placed sources in Aso Rock have disclosed that the President was ready to bow to the demands of the people and revert the price of petrol back to N 65.
However attendees at the closed-door meeting had other ideas. The governors want the President to remove subsidy because it will mean more money for their states, as Government will distribute a large chunk of the “savings” from subsidy to State governors. Some of these state governors need the money for developmental projects, and some need the money for what we can only refer to as business as usual. Private jets are not cheap, you know, Rotimi Amaechi has just bought a new jet in recent times, and Liyel Imoke bought a tokunbo one from Mr. Amaechi.
So faced with the prospect of Jonathan reversing on the agreement with the governors to remove the subsidy, some of them in attendance said Mr. President would have to scrap the Sovereign Wealth Fund. Most governors are not famous for having any creative means of increasing internally generated revenue. Instead they routinely seek out innovative ways to slice up the national cake for people oriented projects that hardly ever touch the masses. They are emerging the real cabal holding the President and in effect Nigerians to ransom on our only form of “social welfare”.
The question becomes, will Goodluck Jonathan cave in to the will of his colleagues or respect the agenda of the people.