- Category: Kelechi Eme
- Published on Wednesday, 18 January 2012 14:29
- Written by Kelechi Eme
- Hits: 1003
The current protests against the imposition of new taxes on petroleum products have opened a new vista in the relationship between our political leaders and the governed. The politics of the Federal Republic of Nigeria will not be the same again irrespective of the agreed solution aimed at returning the country to normalcy.
On the contrary, allowing the government to ride rough shoulders on Nigerians on this issue despite the level of protestation and fatalities will consign the masses to permanent sufferings. The failure of the cumulative efforts of Labour Unions and Civil Society will spell doom for our beloved country. It will engender a new wave of impunity by our leaders and confine the entire citizenry to irreversible docility. My point is that the country must win this struggle against the ruling cabal. The sovereignty of Nigeria resides with the people and they have spoken. As an elected President, it is incumbent on His Excellency to listen and do the right thing. Failure to abide by the demands of the people might lead us to “The Road to Cairo” which is an undesirable destination for our country considering our present security challenges.
On the substantive issue of “subsidy” withdrawal, I have listened to exhibition of unmasked sophistry by both government appointees and aspiring gravy train passengers without making a sense of the propaganda they are churning out. The big hole in their logic is that the members of the so called “cabal club” that are enjoying the imaginary subsidy are vocal in their demand for this imposition of tax policy. Which sensible businessman will advocate a policy implementation that will subject him to loss of revenue? Since the oil cabals are backing the government policy, it is logical to conclude that the tax imposition in guise of subsidy withdrawal will add more money into their coffers.
The spin doctors even propagated logics that transcended belief. They have chorused the ability of the “subsidy” withdrawal regime to fast track the construction of new refineries by the private sector. This is tales by moonlight reserved for infants every Sunday evening on NTA network service. The economic variables do not support this assertion. Investors will most likely invest in a less risky importation business than pumping US$6billion(200,000bb/day refinery) into a system that is burdened by insecurity, corruption and total lack of electricity. The new policy is designed to sweeten the already juicy package the importers are enjoying. It simply meant more importation of petroleum products.
They have also deployed the increase in telephone density necessitated by the commercialization of the communication sector. This is an absurdity taken to the extreme. The liberalization that ensured telephone availability involved the auctioning operational licenses to investors. Did the government jack-up the cost telephone calls to attract investors to the sector? Nigerians were not importing GSM before it was commercialized. It will not help the debate if we start comparing apples and oranges. To demonstrate the obtuseness of the GSM example, it is worthy to remind the panderers that Somalia without a functional government since 1991 attained GSM status before Nigeria in the late 90s.
A lot of our compatriots have introduced dangerous dimensions to the ongoing imbroglio. Some dreamers are hoping for a break-up of the country through this route. They are steadfast in apportioning blames to a faceless cabal that are perpetually working for the demise of President Jonathan’s administration. Since the term “Cabal” was introduced into our political lexicon during the President Yar’adua’s sickness, all manner of things have been ascribed to this cabal. They either stopped rain from falling or latently induced the 100% increment of the presidential daily meal. The slogan is simply “it wasn’t me, blame it on the cabal.”
I have been wondering how a component of the present day Nigeria can successfully run its affairs considering the level of corruption and decadence in the system. Will the leaders of their hoped republics image from the sky? The gluttonous elite that thrived on the decimation of public exchequer will not simply repent and become patriotic because of the proclamation of Niger Delta Republic, Arewa Republic, Biafra Republic or Oduduwa Republic. They will create new vassal enclaves among the composite organs of the newnations to rapaciously dip thieving fingers into the public till. So of what benefit will a dismembered Nigeria be to the ordinary Nigerian? My answer is zero benefit.
Those still questioning the rationale of the anger against the government should wake up and smell the coffee. These protests are undoubtedly beyond “subsidy” removal. It is an accumulated disenchantment of the people against the impunity of the ruling class. What we are witnessing is a new Nigeria that is struggling to transfer sovereignty to the people as enshrined in our constitution. If we can stand up in one accord against a people impoverishing policy as this, we have the capacity to ensure political accountability through the ballot. We must understand that there will not be financial accountability without political accountability. This to me is one useful benefit of the ongoing protests. Election riggers beware!
Finally, I need to send a note of caution to Nigerian Labour Congress and Trade Union Congress of Nigeria. The N97/lt price is totally unacceptable to majority of suffering Nigerians. You have a choice to remain relevant and be the beckon of hope of the suffering masses. Any attempt at settling for this new price will confirm the thinking of most Nigerians that the game plan was to increase price to N141 when in actual fact N97 was the targeted price. It will amount to peeing on the graves of those who lost their lives in the past one week. Their blood will not be on the head of government but solely on yours. You must also understand that the business of the government is to govern and make policies they view as right for the nation. The government will not be blamed if this N97 becomes the new pump price and the people are impoverished. THE LABOUR UNION SHALL BEAR FULL RESPONSIBILITY.
The people of Nigeria are watching.
God bless our homeland Nigeria.