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Petrol price: We accept, in good faith

By Paul John
17 May 2016   |   3:31 am
I so much like our current crop of politicians because they seem to be showing Nigerians how to play real politics. During the campaign, the APC stalwarts told ...


I so much like our current crop of politicians because they seem to be showing Nigerians how to play real politics. During the campaign, the APC stalwarts told us that there was nothing like subsidy. They insisted that anybody talking about removing a subsidy that was never there in the first place was a barefaced liar and a thief. Thus, many Nigerians accepted their message without questioning; hence, Jonathan’s SURE-P was seen as a calculated fraud. Meanwhile, when the subsidy was first removed by the immediate past administration in early 2012, the NLC along with her sister organisations organised a nationwide protest where some Nigerians lost their lives. Today, Nigerians are forced yet again to swallow the bitter pill of petroleum subsidy removal,only that this time the pill came with some sugar coated explanations all directed towards convincing everyone that cared to listen that the complete removal of the fuel subsidy is for the good of all. Thus, every Nigerian is made to believe that the increment is good for the country even when the burden of the increment will only be borne by the masses – not those in power (since they do not buy the product with their own money).

Similarly, when electricity tariff was to be increased, I saw and heard some labour union leaders making noises everywhere opposing the idea but when the time Federal Government fixed for the increment came, my monthly electricity bills shot up as if to dare any union leader that would raise a dissenting voice against the administration’s policy. Hence, it seems crystal clear that those labour unions who clamoured against the increment of electricity tariff have finally accepted their fate or better still have been “settled.” Again, we are told that why some states could not pay salaries was due to the fall in international oil price yet oil price is increasing locally. I leave that to the economists to analyse. When I told people that the artificial scarcity of premium motor spirit (PMS) was to pave way for the increase in the price of the product, the pro-APC and the “Sai Baba” groups attacked me from all angles and now we have arrived at my prophecy.

I must give kudos to the media team of the current administration, they are doing a good job, at least letting the populace know that every action of the government is justified and anyone not justified will be directly or indirectly linked to Jonathan’s administration. It was Mark Twain who said, “It is easier to fool people than to convince them that they have been fooled.” These politicians are following Napoleon’s principle of placing their iron hands inside a velvet glove. My happiness is that all of us are going to bear the brunt together and I, therefore, encourage the police to arrest anybody who would try to commit suicide due to the expected economic hardship the increment will be generating because we cannot just be left to suffer alone. This hardship must be borne evenly.

Nobody is permitted to leave the stage under any guise or circumstances. Both NLC and many Nigerians have since accepted the increment on the grounds that it will in the long run be good for the people. This scenario was captured by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, in one of her books, The Purple Hibiscus, when she wrote: “The educated ones leave, the ones with the potential to right the wrong. They leave the weak behind. The tyrants continue to reign because the weak cannot resist. Do you not see that it is a cycle? Who will break that cycle?”

My question is this: Must the masses be the ones to make sacrifices when there is economic meltdown? What sacrifices are those in power making in terms of reducing the cost of governance in order to cushion the effect of the economic meltdown? In Jonathan’s era, the revenue recovered from the partial subsidy removal was used to establish SURE-P. Although the programme was hijacked by some state governors who diverted part of the funds, everybody witnessed what SURE-P did in terms of healthcare, road constructions, skill acquisition, among other outstanding achievements particularly where the programme enjoyed the support of state governments too.

I am happy because members of the Independent Petroleum Marketers have now been vindicated. They were complaining that they would not sell below their cost price since they bought at higher prices but nobody believed them.

I will certainly not end this piece without reciting two stanzas of one of the songs of the late Lucky Dube. The song is titled Political Games and it is dedicated to all politicians worldwide. It goes like this:
How do you feel when you lie?
Straight faced while the people cry
How do you feel when you promise something
That you know you’ll never do
Giving false hope to the people
Giving false hope to the underprivileged
Do you really sleep at night?
When you know you’re living a lie
To you it is just a job
To the people it hurts to the bone…

What a shame
Do you really sleep at night?
When you know you’re living a lie
You talking tough, you talking sincerely
Giving false hope to the infected
Giving false hope to the affected
To you it is just a job
To the people it hurts to the bone

As earlier stated, the above song was dedicated to all politicians and I quoted it here because our politicians after removing the subsidy are now telling us that it is good for us the same way Lucky Dube said in the song that the politicians would be Telling them it is good for the country. Adolf Hitler did the same thing by praising the Germans and assuring them that they were the best in the world, hence German soldiers perished in their numbers having gone to war against many nations after being brainwashed. It was Shakespeare who left us with the aphorism: “If you want to kill a man, flatter him.” With that aphorism I end this piece before DSS charges me with treasonable felony or before EFCC finds a way to link my name to the arms deal or sharing of the money meant for Jonathan’s presidential campaign since our current leaders are all saints and their campaign funds were sent down from heaven. Who knows if my bail conditions will be two sureties with choice houses in heaven!
Dr. John sent the piece from Port Harcourt, can be reached via

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