The Hunting Dog’s Tale

Posted on 14/12/2011

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(Published before 2012 Budget Speech)

As the January 2012 date for the planned removal of fuel subsidy draws nearer, President Goodluck Jonathan has vowed not to back down on the anti-people policy, saying he is ready to withstand a social revolt from Nigerians should the… situation degenerate to such level. He said his insistence was informed by information available to him to effect that the country’s economy will collapse in two years if the subsidy is sustained.

President Jonathan, according to insider sources, stated this at the meeting he held with the leadership of some civil society organizations at the President Villa in Abuja over the weekend. A source at the meeting, which lasted between 11pm and 3am, disclosed that the President, while defending his government decision on removing the subsidy, insisted the economy was on the verge of collapse and only an assured extra revenue can halt the dangerous slide. And to President Jonathan and his economic team, led by Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, the only alternative revenue is proceeds from the removal of fuel subsidy.

Reminded that Nigerians were totally opposed to the move, Jonathan, according to a source at the meeting, said he was ready to face uprising from the masses than allow the economy to collapse. He was said to have told those present at the meeting that the proceeds from the subsidy removal would be used to tackle critical infrastructure, particularly in the health and education sectors.

Sources at the meeting disclosed that most of the civil society members at the meeting however disagreed with the President and his cabinet members, asking him to look for alternative means of reviving the economy rather than creating more hardship for the masses.  Notable names at the meeting included the former President of the NBA, Olisa Agbakoba, Femi Falana, Chidi Odinkalu, Sam Amadi, Dr Oma Nwokeocha and Emma Ezeazu. Others are Mahmud Abdul, Ms Annkio Briggs, Tony Uranta, Emmanuel Onwubuiko, Auwal Musa Rafsanjani and Toyosi Akerele.

Agbakoba reportedly told the President that the maritime sector was a goldmine for a robust economy any day if it is well tapped into and advised the government to diversify the economy by exploring other options.  Femi Falana and Emmanuel Onwubuiko similarly disagreed with the President’s proposition, arguing that it would be defeatist for the government to narrow down Nigeria’s economy to oil revenue only. They argued that since over-dependence on oil in the past never grew the economy, it would be absurd for the present administration to continue on the same path of economic retrogression.

Sources have alleged that the government intends to foist the anti-people policy on Nigerians by all means and, to this end, substantial amount of money have been budgeted for an hyper e-campaign propaganda to sway Nigerians to buy into the policy… How far this ‘propaganda’ will succeed in the face of massive poverty and increasing unemployment remains to be seen.

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Posted in: Politics