By Gboyega Amoboye
That President Muhammadu Buhari has suspended the withdrawal of petroleum subsidy is good news. Already I have raised this issue and some others in the media circle that the press must not keep quiet when things are going wrong. It was wrong of Mr President even though in good faith, when he embarked on certain socio- economic policies at the twilight of his administration and dawn of that of his successor and President-elect, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu.
For instance It was wrong of him to have withdrawn fuel subsidy and passed it’s implementation to his successor knowing well the crises it would generate irrespective of its advantages. Buhari had a whole eight years to make our refineries to work as not only the President but also Minister of Petroleum to end the era of subsidy but never did. It is very sad when realized that he was the same celebrated Minister of Petroleum in the military government of President Olusegun Obasanjo in the 70s.
“Baba kilode?” Since your administration could not resolve the refinery problem even with you as Hon Minister of Petroleum, why chaining the smooth take-over by your successor to subsidy withdrawal?
It was wrong of Mr. President to have borrowed $800m for payment of paliatives to 50m people to cushion the effects of subsidy withdrawal. Whoever advised him to commit the new government to the gigantic World Bank loan could be said to have acted in bad faith. I would advise that if the loan has not been obtained, it should not be and if already obtained, it should either be returned or kept for the incoming government to determine what to do with it but certainly, not as parting gifts.
While salary increase is welcome, it is wrong of Mr. President to have committed the incoming administration to another “Udoji Award” which he could not do it in his eight years in power. If someone has suggested that it might be a mischieve by the outgoing minister of Labour, Chris Ngige, to create a rough take off for the new government of the APC that he never supported, he might not be far from the truth. However sweet the bait of salary increase might be to workers, it is advised that the policy should be reserved for the incoming administration of Bola Tinubu to consider, among his priorities otherwise the outgoing government might be accused of acting in bad faith. This is in addition to the controversial new currency policy that was maliciously targeted at only one Presidential candidate, Bola Tinubu, to impede his success but skillfully turned to an advantage by him. It was a policy that brought out the best in him. He was against it and gave its economic implications while Atiku and Obi supported it, apparently to please the President. By this alone, Bola Tinubu was seen by many as a lover of the masses. Infact this alone might have sold him to voters in the north-west in particular who were massively against the policy.
BOTTOM LINE: The hard working Minister of Women Affairs and leading member of ‘AGIP’, Mrs. Pauline Tallen, should be given a warm hand shake by the incoming administration for indispensability and thereafter be retired having been a Minister since 1999. Other competent women from Plateau state are waiting.
▪︎ Amoboye, a journalist, wrote this from Lagos.