Adams Oshiomhole, the governor of Edo state, has explained why he supports the federal government’s decision to remove fuel subsidy and increase the petrol price.
Describing the current policy as “the difficult pain Nigerians must undergo before reaping the gains”, Oshiomhole noted that it did not make economic sense for the government to spend more than half of its earnings on fuel subsidy.
Premium Times reports that the governor expressed his opinion speaking at a special thanksgiving service organized by Apostle Charles Osazuwa, a senior pastor and founder of Rock of Ages Christian Assembly International, on Sunday, May 22, in Benin City.
“l have listened to our chairman, Chief John Odigie-Oyegun, and he reminded us that the Hon. Minister of Petroleum, Dr. Ibe Kachikwu, has been under fire. I believe the fire will continue for some time. In spite of all that he is going through, the minister recognized that we can’t be too busy to come to the church to ask God to help us to do the job. After all, the Bible says that unless the Lord builds the house, the labourer labours in vain.
“The fire that he is going through, the end of it will translate to prosperity for our people. Leaders must see ahead of their followers, and when followers can’t see what a leader is seeing, with time and consistency, the followers will see the benefits of the decisions the leader has taken,” he said.
Oshiomhole, who spent years confronting the former governments’ attempt to remove fuel subsidy, explained why he had finally changed his mind.
“As many of you might have known, this is not my first time in the struggle against pump price increase. I have fought it over and over again, and at a point, God used us to shut down the country just to make a point to the then government in power, but the truth is that the fundamentals have changed.
“Under President Olusegun Obasanjo, we were talking of N20 billion for subsidy. And Obasanjo would ask me, Comrade, N20 billion can build XYZ road. I think the last one was about N40 to N45 billion a year for subsidy.
“However, the last government under President Goodluck Jonathan quadrupled the number to N1.2 trillion. When your total earning is about N2 trillion and you spend more than half for petrol, how much will you use for your house? How much money will you use for clothing of your children? How much will you use to send your children to school?” he wondered.
Calling for the government to make investments in research, education and technology, Oshiomhole noted: “If we spend all our money or half of it on subsidy, we will drink petrol without vehicles for us to ride in. It simply doesn’t make sense anymore.”
Further in his statement, Oshiomhole commended President Muhammadu Buhari and his government, which according to him has the moral standing to call on Nigerians to make sacrifices.
“There will be sacrifice, so, no pain, no gain. I believe this is the time to accept a lot of pains, so that once free, the gains will come. I know under President Buhari the gains will come. I know that this time will come and go and Nigeria will maintain its progress,” he said.
Also speaking, Ibe Kachukwu, the minister of state for petroleum, described the Buhari government as “a government of hope”, explaining that things could not continue the way they had been.
Meanwhile, governors under the aegis of the Nigeria Governors Forum also supported the recent increase in the price of fuel from N86 to N145.
Governor Ibikunle Amosun of Ogun state assured Nigerians that the deregulation policy of the federal government might come to pay-off on the long run.