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

Subsidy removal: Tinubu reaping benefits of his hasty decisions, says Babachir Lawal
February 24
17:19 2024

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.”

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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.

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“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.

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“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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