Fuel Subsidy Removal: A Good Decision Taken Too Late By Rio Bills

I really don't know how I should greet my readers and in what languages I should greet them. I'm a Nigerian not vast at speaking any local language fluently,but will try and greet in English language and the little yoruba language I know.

Congrats on the subsidy removal/happy subsidy removal!(English)

Eku subsidy o!!!(Yoruba) 

Now that we're done with the greetings,let's get down to business. Pls,permit me to be as vocal and rude as I want to be. It won't be forever;it will be just this once and the reason I'd

like to go that way,is cos I think it's payback time and like you and I know,payback is always a Dam!

I'd love for us,to cast our minds back to january 2012 under the regime of ex-president Goodluck Ebele Jonathan popularly known as GEJ. The PDP government at the time,had concluded that paying subsidy on petroleum products,was a collosal waste of scarce national resources,as the exercise was riddled with monumental fraud,the subsidy itself wasn't getting to the ordinary Nigerians,and that the act of subsidy payment wasn't economically sustainable due to the fact that it only created wealth for a few Nigerians.

Government at that time,had decided to take the bull by the horn and do what was right. However,the opposition party at the time,the labour unions,and the oil cartel enjoying the subsidy payments,decided to twist the arms of govt behind,by sponsoring protests to kick against the policy. This protest gave birth to the popular occupy Nigeria protest. Economic activities were shut down for over a month,people couldn't even access cash via ATMs,riots and protests took place at various locations,a lot was said in the media and the whole thing was blown out of proportion. Some irate youths who took to the streets to protest and riot,never made it back home;they were gunned down by trigger happy security agents. 

The opposition,were very much ready to make the country boil. Government tried in futility to sell this idea to the country,as the very best decision. Some of us who knew this was the right thing to do,tried in our own little ways to educate those around us both one-on-one,and on social media. But our efforts were in futility. We were called all manner of names,maligned so badly,accused of being beneficiaries of the fraud,etc. I took a barage of insults from lots of ignorant folks,arguements became heated and I ended up deleting some friends from way-back,on my facebook. Even my ex-fiancee took part in throwing shades at me and considering we had just broken up,what a perfect opportunity it was for her.

Well,since Nigeria is a land made up of mostly illiterate and ignorant folks,their voices were louder. Negotiations went back and forth and govt jettisioned the idea of a full subsidy removal. Those in power today,were the ones who vehemently opposed the removal of subsidy then. The new government has given us divergent opinions over this subsidy issue.

 When they were not yet in power,they said there was nothing like subsidy and it was all fraud. They got into power,said there was nothing like subsidy,agreed there was subsidy,back tracked on it,and finally agreed that there was a lot of corruption entangled in the subsidy scheme(the same thing the previous govt said in 2012),and have finally decided to stop paying subsidy. The saying that spectators are always the best players,aptly describes this present govt. Prior to the elections,they had dazzled and bamboozled their teeming supporters with the notion that they had full grasps of how the ideal Nigerian environment should function and work. 

One of them,a certain Professor David Tam West,had gone on air to do a ludicrous arithmetic of how petrol should be sold for not more than #40 naira per litre. Fans of the new govt had eulogized him and even tipped him to be the incoming petroleum minister. It's amusing that this same "erudite scholar" who had told Nigerians that they could buy PMS for #40 naira,can't help the present govt make that possible. 

According to unconfirmed statistics,Nigeria spends between $7-8 billion dollars a year on subsidy. If we take the mean of this figure for the last 4 years when subsidy should have been removed,it would give us $7.5 billion dollars a year and when you multiply that by 4,it gives you $30billion dollars in 4 years which amounts to roughly about 5trillion naira in 4 years. This figure sounds too huge to be true and in a bid to give our arguement some kind of credibility,I'd love for us to halve this figure into 2. This would leave us with a conservative figure of about 2.5 trillion naira spent on subsidy in the last 4 years. 

That's more than half of our previous yearly budgets. In a nutshell,about 2.5 trillion naira has gone into private pockets in the last 4 years. I read a report that stated that Nigeria had spent over 4.5 trillion naira on petrol subsidy in the last 7 years. This was an article published in 2015. It is obvious to every sane person that subsidy should have been removed a long time ago. But the insincerity on the part of politicians in power today,the gullibility of a larger percentage of the populace,and the wickedness and greed that generally permeates the Nigerian society,made this impossible. 

In 2012 when subsidy should have been removed,I watched different celebrities(actors and musicians),media practitioners,politicians et al,converge at the popular Ojota garage for days,protesting this noble action. Where are the likes of Seun Kuti,Femi Kuti, KWAM 1, Ras Kimono, Pasuma Wonder, Salawa Abeni, Dede Mabiaku, Eldee, 9ice, Olamide, Ruggedman, Eedris Abdulkareem, Banky W,Ade Bantu,Desmond Elliot, Kunle Afolayan,Bimbo Akintola,Pst Tunde Bakare and others who gathered to dance at Ojoto like witches and wizards in their covens practising witchcraft in excitement? What do they have to say? Do they still want to continue the witchcraft dance at Ojota? Or will they humble themselves to admit they erred in opposing the right decision? These set of people led gullible youths to reject a sound policy,and to encourage profilgacy in the name of subsidy payments. 

Yes,most of these people are people I personally like in the industry,and some of them are people I have huge admiration and respect for their works. But the truth must be said;they have to tender unreserved apologies to Nigerians,most especially the ignorant youths they misled(those who joined the protest cos they looked up to them as role models).

I am not a fan of Buhari and I have never hidden that fact. Forget about all these integrity gibberish being fed us about him;there are men and women of honor with integrity other than Buhari. Nations all around the world,are looking at electing leaders with charisma and bright ideas and innovations to move their country forward,not old men who should be enjoying their retirement in peace,and acting as elder statesmen. In almost a year of Buhari being in power,we have seen how he has dragged us all back to 1983. Even kids being born today,are being forced to experience the wonders of 1983. 

It's a shame that in 2015,a country of a 170million Nigerians,couldn't present a better candidate other than a 73 years old leader who had ruled the nation before,to challenge the former president. Everytime I think about it,I almost weep for the youths of my generation. 
That being said,I won't act like a hypocrite and join in condemning the subsidy removal;I'm not that silly. If I supported the policy under Jonathan,why shouldn't I support it under Buhari? The only painful thing is that,we're taking a decision that should have been taken when we still had life in 2012,now that we're almost dead in 2016;I hope and pray we survive it. 

The naira is almost useless and worthless as at today. Prices of goods and services are already too high and by the time we factor in the subsidy removal,it will further push the cost of goods and services high;how do we navigate this? As painful as it is,as daunting a task as it is,we just have to face it head long. But all in all,this is the only sensible thing I have seen this government do. It's just that it is coming at a bad time.

I read on a few social networks how people are already preparing to do an occupy Nigeria season 2. I hear labour unions are already pushing for a showdown. I'd love to appeal to all those who have this protest and economic shutdown in mind,to please desist from it. They'd only succeed in causing more hardship cos the current Nigerian president is a man that has ears but doesn't listen.

 If the security agencies kill 1,000 people as a result of this,it won't move him. Infact,as the security agents starts killing you guys,he'd be on the way to the airport to board the Nigerian "Airforce 1" to UK,and from there announce to the world that the Nigerians being killed,are the ones supporting corruption. You and I know that the only thing Buhari knows,is corruption. You can't ask him any question without him adding corruption to the answer. Please,do not disrupt the plans of other people. 

I have mouths to feed,I have debtors to settle,I have projects to execute and the economy isn't helping right now. The last thing we want is to lose everything we've worked for and invested in. This is the change you were promised;take up your cross and walk. Let's hope that the removal of subsidy would go a long way in sanitizing the oil sector,and that the subsidy funds would be channeled into more profitable ventures.

Once again,"eku subsidy"(happy subsidy)

As written by RIO BILLS
 @RIO_BILLS on Twitter