Former Lagos State Governor and National Leader of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC), Alhaji Bola Ahmed Tinubu, has joined the league of Nigerians and organisations pushing for the immediate removal of fuel subsidy.
Shockingly, Tinubu, who vehemently fought against the removal of oil subsidy during the administration of immediate past President Goodluck Jonathan, on Friday asked President Muhammadu Buhari to do away with the policy for the country to move forward.
Only last week, the World Bank had told Buhari that the “most appropriate time to remove the subsidy is now.”
Buhari has repeatedly declared that he would retain the subsidy because its removal would hurt more Nigerians.
But Tinubu argued that the subsidy regime needs to go because ordinary Nigerians no longer benefit from it.
In his keynote address, entitled “Towards the economic liberation of Nigeria: Bala Usman’s enduring relevance” at the memorial conference organised in honour of the late Dr. Bala Usman by the Centre for Democratic Development, Research and Training, Zaria in Kaduna, Tinubu said his call for “subsidy removal is not mere talk but a call to action by those in authority.”
Tinubu continued: “In a perfect world, I wish we could sanitise the subsidy regime and thus continue with it. However, I have reached the conclusion that there are too many demons in the system for that hell to be turned into heaven.
“It is better that we remove it, not for the austere purpose of saving money but to use the money more wisely to serve the people better. Let us begin a process of a thoughtful but decisive subsidy phase-out.
“While this is occurring, we should simultaneously phase in social programmes benefiting the poorest, most vulnerable among us. Programmes such as transportation subsidies, school feeding, improved basic medical care and coverage for the poor, and potable water projects are some of the things that can be done with the same funds,” he said, insisting that, “What I have said here is more than mere talk. It is a call to action.”
In his welcome address, Kaduna State Governor Malam Nasir el-Rufai extolled the late historian Bala Usman, saying “he cared about ordinary people and spent his life fighting for the common man.”
The event was attended by Lagos State Governor Akinwumi Ambode, his Katsina counterpart Aminu Bello Masari, Osun State Governor Rauf Aregbesola, the Emir of Kano Muhammad Sanusi.