Fuel subsidy removal: Tinubu acted without proper planning, APC chieftain

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A chieftain of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Salihu Moh Lukman, has taken a swipe on President Bola Tinubu, accusing him of removing fuel subsidy and floating naira against other major currencies, without proper planning.

In a statement in Abuja, yesterday, the former member of National Working Committee (NWC) of the party also faulted those blaming former president, Muhammadu Buhari, for the hardship Nigerians were going through.

The former director general APC Progressive Governors’ Forum (PGF) also maintained that instead of the blames from Ogun State Governor, Dapo Abiodun, and his National Security Adviser, Nuhu Ribadu, President Tinubu should take responsibility for Buhari’s failure.

Both Ribadu and Governor Abiodun had recently said President Tinubu inherited a bankrupt country and inherited an administration that was almost comatose respectively.

But Lukman, in a statement, argued that those excuses were given to rationalise why Nigerians are going through the current difficult times.

The immediate past APC national vice chairman North West warned that the APC government cannot Renew the Hope of Nigerians by giving excuses.

“As members and leaders of APC, we should take responsibility and take the needed initiative to make life better for all Nigerians. If anything, we should justify the confidence of Nigerians in giving us the mandate to continue to rule the country even after being unable to meet the expectations of Nigerians in many respect.

“Unarguably, Nigerians voted the APC and President Tinubu in the last general election very consciously and confident that under the leadership of Tinubu the challenges facing the country will be addressed.

Excuses would only confirm that we are in denial that a government produced by our party is perhaps responsible for Nigeria’s challenges. Once we are in denial, it also suggests we are going to grandstand when we initiate actions that worsen the situation or fail to initiate actions to resolve the problem.

“This will simply mean being dishonest, which will narrow our responses to making excuses for our failure or inability to meet expectations of Nigerians. This must be avoided. It is quite worrisome that coming from a party envisioned to be progressive, we are giving excuses. How can we Renew the Hope of Nigerians by giving excuses. We must appeal to our leaders to stop giving excuses and take responsibility.

If we are to be responsible, we should admit that the current hardship facing Nigerians is largely a product of two critical decisions taken by the government of President Tinubu. The two decisions are withdrawal of fuel subsidy and floating the naira against other major currencies. No doubt, these are very necessary decisions and President Tinubu deserved every commendation for those bold decisions.

“Part of what is very glaring is that the decisions were taken by the government without proper planning. Withdrawing subsidy without addressing the question of what needs to be done to guarantee local production, we are bound to have the current mess of skyrocketed increase in prices of petroleum products. “Similarly, floating the Naira against other major currencies without taking the needed steps to reduce imports will also produce what we have today whereby the value of the naira is permanently on a downward slide.

“Ideally, if we are progressives as we claim to be, we should have timed all these decisions to coincide with when local production would have picked up. Now that the decisions have been taken, what is it that is being done to improve local production?

“With respect to local production of fuel, there have been so many references in recent times about repairs of refineries and commencement of production by Dangote refinery. Where are we with all these should be the information coming from our leaders and not excuses.

“For President Tinubu to earn the trust of Nigerians, he must first and foremost accept, as APC leader, he is equally responsible for the failure of former President Buhari. Rather than giving excuses, we should be telling Nigerians what we are doing to address their problems. However, being an APC government, which succeeded a previous APC government, it is disrespectful to Nigerians to give excuses about the current state of harsh living conditions in Nigeria by blaming previous governments,” he said.

Appealing to both Tinubu and all APC leaders in government, at all levels, to resist the temptation of giving excuses, Lukman said: “As loyal APC members, it is traumatic to continue to witness situations whereby the business of governance is reduced to excuses. When we supported the merger of our legacy parties, we were very hopeful that the emergence of our party would change all these.

Unfortunately, here we are, contending with the same old reality of excuse making by our leaders in government. That is the bane of our politics, it is the travesty, which characterises Nigerian democracy, which APC promised to change. If for whatever reasons, we have been unable to change it under the leadership of former President Buhari, Nigerians have given us a second chance under the leadership of President Tinubu.

“Being a party member, who is never a beneficiary in every respect of both the government of former President Buhari and the current one under President Tinubu, we feel the pains Nigerians are going through. It is important to appeal to all our leaders not to take Nigerians for granted. Nigerians voted for our party not because they just wanted former President Buhari and President Tinubu to achieve their personal ambitions of becoming presidents.”

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