The protest that followed the elimination of fuel subsidy in 2012 during President Goodluck Jonathan’s government was mostly motivated by political interest, according to former governor of Ekiti State Kayode Fayemi.
Fayemi made this admission while addressing at a national forum held in Abuja to commemorate the 60th birthday of Professor Udenta Udenta, who founded the Alliance for Democracy and is a fellow at the Abuja School of Social and Political Thought.
“All political parties in the country agreed and they even put in their manifesto that subsidy must be removed. We all said subsidy must be removed. But we in ACN at the time, in 2012, we know the truth Sir, but it is all politics,” the former Ekiti State governor said.
Jonathan, Dr. Oby Ezekwesili, a former education minister, and Osita Chidoka, a former aviation minister, were among those present at the event.
News About Nigeria recalls that President Jonathan announced the termination of the fuel subsidy and increased the price of petrol at the pump from N65 per litre to N141 on January 1, 2012.
National protests against the decision were organised under the banner of “Occupy Nigeria” in the nation’s major cities. After almost a week of demonstrations, the price was subsequently brought down to N97 per litre.
The All Progressives Congress (APC) leaders who were then in various opposition parties, such as the now-defunct Action Congress of Nigeria, Congress for Progressives Congress, All Nigeria Peoples Party, and All Progressive Grand Alliance, were particularly critical of Jonathan for the fuel price adjustment.
Fayemi criticised Nigeria’s democracy, calling it a “winners take all” system, and asserted that the country cannot overcome its current problems unless it adopts proportional representation, in which the winners and losers of elections divide the spoils equally.
His comments come just as the Nigerian masses continue to suffer the harsh economic woes occasioned by the total eradication of fuel subsidy by the President Bola Tinubu-led government.
President Tinubu had, while assuming office in May, immediately announced the removal of fuel subsidy that saw the pump price of fuel rising from N189 per litre to over N600 per litre.