In January 2012, the former President Goodluck Jonathan-led administration made a decision to end fuel subsidy. A movement known as #OccupyNigeria was formed and thousands of Nigerians took to the streets to protest the government’s decision. The #OccupyNigeria rally attracted popular oppositions from politicians [most of who are now in power], self-acclaimed human rights activists and celebrities.
After series of protests, the Jonathan administration caved in to the pressure and settled for a partial subsidy removal that brought the petrol price up to N97 from N65 a litre, instead of the initial N141 it would have been at, had the subsidy been totally removed.
On 12th May, 2016 the Muhammadu Buhari administration announced the removal of the subsidy for the sale of Premium Motor Spirit (PMS) with immediate effect. So far, there has been no street protest just e-fights among Nigerians on Twitter, beatification of Goodluck Jonathan on Facebook and massive cheering from the majority of people who criticized fuel subsidy removal in 2012.
Below are the names of prominent Nigerians who Opposed Fuel Subsidy Removal in 2012 and their Stance in 2016 :
Muhammadu Buhari : Before he became President, he fiercely maintained that fuel subsidy ”does not exist” but few days ago his government just removed a non-existent fuel.
Oby Ezekwesili : Former Education Minister Ezekwesili claims that 2016 is a better year to remove fuel subsidy than 2012 was. For her it’s all about ”trust”.
Bola Tinubu : National leader of the All Progressives Congress, APC believes that fuel subsidy removal in 2016 is a ”Necessary pain” Nigerians have to endure.
Ibe Kachikwu : Even up until his Ministerial screening late last year, Nigeria’s Minister of state for petroleum fiercely objected the removal of fuel subsidy. Today, he feels subsidy removal is important to ”sustain supply and reduce the suffering to get the product”.
Nasir El-Rufai : Kaduna state Governor. During the removal of fuel subsidy by the Jonathan administration, he protested saying it was about ”trust not economics”, today El-Rufai feels Nigerians should just stay ”calm and orderly”
Femi Falana : Human Rights activists and lawyer. He was part of the #OccupyNigeria protests. He has openly condemned the Buhari administration for removing fuel subsidy. He’s yet to announce a date for fresh protest.
Tolu Ogunlesi : Award-winning journalist and aide to President Buhari openly opposed the removal of fuel subsidy in 2012. He even went as far as likening former President Jonathan to Boko haram, in an opinion piece Ogunlesi wrote, ”What’s the difference between Boko Haram and GEJ? Boko Haram at least claims responsibility. GEJ gets PPPRA to do so on his behalf”. Today, Ogunlesi supports the removal of fuel subsidy by his boss. Just like Ezekwesili, he says it was more about ”trust” than ”economics”.
Dino Melaye : Senator Melaye opposed fuel subsidy removal in 2012 and is still opposing it today. The flamboyant Senator is threatening to ”lead the mother of all protests” if the policy is not reversed.
Ikhide Ikheloa: Staunch critic of the Abacha regime and popular lawyer. He opposed fuel subsidy in 2012 and led mass protests to the World Bank in Washington DC. He regrets protesting against subsidy removal in 2012. He wrote, ”After making me dance in protest in 2012 before the World Bank and IMF in OPPOSITION, APC Scraps Petrol Subsidy! ”
Yemi Osinbajo : Vice President Yemi Osinbajo fiercely opposed subsidy removal in the past but today he’s touring media houses to educate Nigerians on the ”cost implication of fuel subsidy removal”.
Ayo Sogunro : Popular Nigerian author Sogunro is one of those who regrets protesting against subsidy removal in 2012. in his latest opinion piece ”My Dear President Buhari, Shame On You” the writer said ”As I have suspected for a while, the unsolicited trekking I undertook from Yaba to Ojota to protest the 2012 subsidy removal is now just an intensive workout session. President Buhari and his team of economic wanksters have taken a leaf from Jonathan and his team of economic wanksters. Worse, the new economists in town have outdone Jonathan’s ambitions of N141/l; they have pushed the price up to N145/l—in spite of Fashola’s touted logic on falling crude oil prices. ”
Funmi Iyanda : She was against the fuel subsidy removal in 2012 and while she has come out to express anger with the way the Buhari administration handled its own removal of feul subsidy, she has however excused her 2012 actions with, ”Yes l was against deregulation by a fantastically corrupt govt mismanaging resources at a time of high oil prices. ”
Tunde Bakare: Convener of Save Nigeria Group, SNG. Though he’s yet to comment on the removal of subsidy which he strongly opposed in 2012, we know Bakare supports Buhari all the way. He has always said he will support Buhari in subsidy removal because ”the Save Nigeria Group did not mobilise the people of this country to the Gani Fawehinmi Park, Ojota, merely to protest the removal of the fuel subsidy but to challenge the corruption that defined the fuel subsidy regime.”
The Missing Actors: After participating in the well-publicized #OccupyNigeria in 2012, some key actors have gone silent in the face of subsidy removal in 2016. Are they secretly planning other protests or cowering in their glaring hypocrisy?
The missing actors who are yet to comment include:
- Babatunde Fashola
- Femi Kuti
- Kate Henshaw
- Tiwa Savage
- Jesse Jagz
- Sasha P
- Baba Suwe
- Uche Jombo
- DJ Jimmy Jatt
- Banky W
- Jesse Jags
- Dede Mabiaku
- King Wasiu Ayinde Marshall 1 (KWAM-1)
- Fela Durotoye
- Bimbo Akintola
- Jide Kosoko
- Terry tha Rapma
- Toyosi Akerele