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"The issue of fuel subsidy removal in Nigeria... is ill-timed" - Babangida
| January 03, 2012
General Ibrahim Babangida (IBB), a former Military President of Nigeria, has added his voice to the controversial issue of the withdrawal of fuel subsidy saying that it would have been better for the Federal Government to seek political solutions to the subsidy removal issue and the FG should have also kept its word that the issue would be decided in April 2012 as this would have given the administration enough time to explain its standpoint and consult with the people. In a statement, Babangida said, âOn the issue of fuel subsidy removal, it is my opinion that it is ill-timed. The issue of subsidy should be seen more as politics and not economics, because the sole purpose of government is for the good of the people and not to create hardship. It is better to seek political solution to the subsidy discourse than invoking the sentiments of economics. Government should have kept its word till April by which time better explanation would have been given before implementation takes effect. âThe National Assembly should have been made to be part of the decision-making process since the 2012 budget is yet to be discussed and passed by the legislature. Every government should ordinarily take the interest of her people at heart so that the reason for its existence would be justified. I will insist that a political solution be sought in resolving the issue so that a mutually agreeable position could be reached between the leaders and the people. This exclusive decision of the executive arm of government does not speak well of the tenets and principles of participatory and all-inclusive democracy.â He also spoke about Boko Haram's activities in Nigeria and asked for Nigerians to revisit their value systems and make this the central theme of conversations. General Babangida said, "Events happening in the country in recent times have once again call for serious concern by all in view of our peculiar history, political orientation, and the dynamics of our federation. The spate of bombings and other untoward acts in the country have thrown up the greater need for all of us to be more retrospective, introspective and proactive on issues of our common interest and nationality." âIt is a collective responsibility and all well-meaning people must be in agreement as to the urgent need to arrest this drift in our national psyche to keep our federation streaming. We must agree that we do have problems on our hands. We also must be prepared to confront the problems head-on without brewing sentiments and emotions that may tend to becloud the real issues. " âSome of these problems, as disturbing as they appear to be, have lived with us for some time now without going away even when concerted efforts have been made to proffer solutions to them. We must therefore invent new ways to suit the sophistication of crimes and violence. We have also survived several challenges as a nation under construction and expectedly one should appreciate the delicate balance that we find ourselves as a result of these rebuilding processes. âAs a consequence of this rebuilding process, we should move away from fanning the embers of disunity by the kind of messages we relay for public consumption. Rather, our emphasis should be to proffer solutions to these challenges so that they do not weigh down governments at various levels in delivering their promises to the people. âWe must begin to consciously redirect our collective energies in entrenching a culture of strong and an enduring moral super-structure as a platform for sustaining our once cherished value system. There is a potential breakdown of social contract between the leaders at all levels and the led. Leaders have failed in their responsibilities at meeting the expectations of the people. âThese days, the gap between the rich and poor has further polarized the socio-economic and political discourse on the basis of winner-takes-all thus making public office unethically attractive. This is why there is so much desperation in the contest for public office. The failure of governments and Leaders at various levels; Local Government, State Government and the Federal Government; religious leaders, Judiciary, political leaders, traditional leaders and media at providing the much expected dividends of democracy, has further disconnected the people from their leaders; reason why there has been so much angst in the land. âIn order to arrest this ugly trend and refocus our country on the path of peaceful co-existence in spite of our manifest tribal configurations, we must begin to revisit our value system and provoke platforms where this becomes the central theme of our collective discourse. Rather than leaders competing on the basis of who owns the latest house, automobile or jet in town, they should compete in the faculty of ideas to drive good governance and accountability. Any government that is able to deliver the tangibles and intangibles to stimulate a wider audience participation in governance will be on the positive reckoning of the people. I have a strong feeling in my mind that Dr. Goodluck Jonathan as President is capable of suppressing these challenges if he listens less to newsmakers, attention-seeking public affairs analysts, and bad advisers, and devote his time to deep and reflective thinking in search for solutions.â

(1) Comment


"The views and opinions expressed in these comment(s) or article(s) do not necessarily reflect the views or opinions of NGEX, its partners or its affiliates."
Ofomilo oluchukwu .m.    Awka, Nigeria    January 12, 2012
There's no honesty in nigeria. Even those who are now posing as Angels & Saints were first to sully and mar the political & Economic stability of this country. Who do we qoute? Who do we believe? Who do we look up to as our savior? It's unfortunate.
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