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Subsidy removal: Tinubu reaping benefits of his hasty decisions, says Babachir Lawal

Babachir Lawal, former secretary to the government of the
federation (SGF), says the removal of the petrol subsidy by President Bola
Tinubu was done out of “sheer arrogance”.

 

Speaking in a chat with TheCable, Lawal said the president’s
hasty decision to announce the removal of the petrol subsidy on the day of his
inauguration led to the hardship being experienced by Nigerians.

 

“I have a different view of what is happening today and I
did say it on quite a few occasions that Bola Ahmed Tinubu exhibited an
unimaginable degree of insensitivity and arrogance first, in the face of the
Muslim- Muslim ticket and in some of the earlier decisions he has taken,” Lawal

 

“My view is that fuel subsidy removal was driven by a sense
of arrogance. You are now sworn in and you believe that since you are now in
charge, you can boss everybody around and you just announced the removal of
fuel subsidy without due consultation.”

 

Lawal said Tinubu ought to have consulted widely and held a
series of meetings with his cabinet members and other relevant stakeholders
before announcing the removal of the subsidy.

 

He argued that the removal of subsidy is a monumental
decision which may affect the lives of over 200 million Nigerians, either
positively or negatively.

 

“My experience in life is that when you are going to take a
monumental decision especially one that affects the lives of over 200 million
people, you have to do wide consultations,” the former SGF said.

 

 “Taking such a
spur-of-the-moment decision on that very important issue is very insensitive
and probably, he (Tinubu) was ignorant of the challenges he was going to face.

 

“That was why everything came crashing down immediately
after he was sworn in because of the removal of fuel subsidy.

 

“He ought to have waited, formed a cabinet, got every
relevant person in place and held discussions among his advisers and the
cabinet. By so doing, they will get alternative solutions to the removal of
subsidy, whether or not it should be done.

 

“If they agree that subsidy must go, what are the actions
that will be put in place to mitigate the negative outcomes? If the outcomes
are positive, they will also consider how to maximise it. They will also list
their options. If this happens, then we fall back on this.

 

 “He has enough
examples in the past to rely on. When (Sani) Abacha removed subsidy, he created
the Petroleum Trust Fund (PTF) to channel the additional income into social
development and everybody today knows the various projects undertaken by the
PTF such as hospitals, schools, social services and so on.

 

“When (Olusegun) Obasanjo removed the subsidy and created
SURE-P to renovate roads and carry out social services.

 

“I don’t understand how my friend Tinubu got this arrogance
that he can do things radically different from others who were before him and
get results.

 

“So, Tinubu is only reaping the benefits of his hasty
decision and we are also reaping the benefits of putting in power somebody that
works in a cavalier manner.”

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