Pastor Tunde Bakare
Popular Lagos based pastor, Tunde Bakare, has accused the President Muhammadu Buhari led federal government of not consulting widely before removing subsidy from petrol and the subsequent hike in fuel price.
Speaking to newsmen in Lagos recently, Bakare who was Mr Buhari’s vice presidential candidate at the 2011 election said he thought the FG should have consulted extensively with stakeholders and embarked on enlightenment campaigns on the new pump price regime before introducing it.
“We had expected that, in response to our call earlier in the year, the government would have consulted extensively with stakeholders and embarked upon extensive communication and enlightenment campaigns across the social spectrum, with particular attention to the middle class and the grassroots, on the new price regime prior to its introduction.
“This would have been a better-received sequence than the sudden policy introduction and the after-the-fact approach to informing and enlightening Nigerians.”
Speaking about the protest by his Save Nigeria Group against the fuel subsidy removal in 2012, Bakare said his group was not against the economic arguments behind fuel subsidy removal in 2012.
Bakare said he and other pro-democracy groups protested against the fuel subsidy removal in 2012 because they wanted former President Goodluck Jonathan to investigate the subsidy regime and recover stolen funds before commencing the discourse on subsidy removal.
According to him, the current situation differs significantly from the “corruption-ridden 2012 subsidy crisis” that he condemned then.
“In 2012, we were not against the economic arguments behind fuel subsidy removal. Instead, we wanted the government to investigate the subsidy regime, bring culprits in the maladministration of that regime to book and recover stolen funds before commencing the policy discourse around subsidy removal.
“We have not changed our earlier conviction in spite of a change in government. We have only acknowledged that the new government has persistently demonstrated its anti-corruption stance while seeking policy solutions to the economic crisis, though there have been gaps in policy management.”
Meanwhile, Bola Tinubu, the national leader of the All Progressives Congress (APC), has explained why the federal government’s removal of subsidy on petrol was necessary and inevitable.