Just In: Bakare denies protesting against Jonathan, as Sanusi blows hot

He said the current government is not any better.

Wednesday, October 27, 2021

/ by National Pivot

The serving overseer of the Citadel Global Community Church, formerly known as Latter Rain Assembly, Tunde Bakare, says He only campaigned against oppression in 2012 and not against subsidy removal by the Jonathan administration.

In 2012, former President Goodluck Jonathan announced the removal of subsidy from petroleum products, a move that meant PMS, which at the time sold for N65 a litre – with subsidy – would go for N141, more than a hundred per cent increase.

The decision sparked nationwide protests with Bakare, Buhari and others, storming the streets in protest under the Save Nigeria Group (SNG), with the aim to pressure the Jonathan government into reversing its decision.

But Bakare, while speaking at an annual conference organised by Covenant Christian Centre in Lagos, said the protest he led during the Jonathan administration wasn't actually against fuel subsidy, but to defend millions of “voiceless” Nigerians who were being oppressed by the then government.

“I’m not an activist. I did not campaign against subsidy removal during Jonathan’s time; I campaigned against oppression of the poor. We give voice to the voiceless,” Bakare said.

Bakare also said while the Jonathan administration did oppressed Nigerians with some of its policies, the Buhari government is no different either, describing it as a government where the "blind leads the seeing."

“If you compare our performance with the nations that began this journey with us — nations like Singapore, Malaysia, Indonesia and South Korea — they’ve left us behind. We are still in the woods and are yet to come out,” he said.

“No nation anywhere can survive or embark on predictable progress when mediocres are in charge.

“I’m not sure and I’m not limiting the Almighty and I hope this will not be seen as blasphemy; I’m not sure the Bible contemplates Nigerian leadership, because the Bible says when the blind leads the blind, they all end up in a ditch. But we’re in a nation where the blind leads the seeing.”

Dethroned emir of Kano, Muhammadu Sanusi, who at the time, served as Governor of the nation's Central Bank, was among those who championed the removal of subsidy, describing it as a practice which only benefits the rich instead of those it was meant for.

Sanusi in a recent statement while speaking virtually as a panelist on Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) at the just concluded Nigerian Economic Summit held in Abuja, maintained his stance against subsidy regime, saying the current government should have been impeached for spending millions of dollars on subsidy without accountability.

“Every year, the government spends millions upon millions of dollars on fuel subsidies without appropriation. Under the constitution, this is enough ground to impeach the President.

“But nobody is holding them to account. The National Assembly is not holding them to account,” he said.

The former CBN governor said the federal government’s populist approach was hurting the nation.

He implored the Buhari-led regime to be courageous enough to take the right decisions, saying the country was running a populist instead of a developmental state.

“Those in government must understand that there are times that you have to make some decisions not because they are popular but because they are right. We have to decide to run a developmental state and not a rental state; not a populist state,” the former emir said.

“We are pursuing a populist policy: we want to have cheap fuel, cheap electricity, a strong Naira. That is populism. At the end of the day, what price are we paying by taking money out of education in order to subsidise petroleum products?” he said.

“This money coming from petrol belongs to the federation account, and the federal government doesn’t have the constitutional right to pay subsidy on behalf of the federation.

“So it is a fundamental constitutional issue because this is money that should go to the federal, states and local governments. Yet money that belongs to the federation is carried out as federal government expenditure. So, there are so many complex issues, legal and economic issues. We need to stop these issues” he said.

“I have said this before even as a CBN Governor under the previous government. What I say is not of a particular government. Take petroleum subsidy. In 2015 or 2016, Minister Ibe Kachukwu said Nigerian was importing 30 million litres of PMS per day after eliminating corruption. In 2019, the NNPC said we are importing 59 million litres per day after oil prices have gone up. And I have been asking the question, what happened between 2015 and 2019 that our oil consumption has almost double?” he asked.

He noted that “this is what also happened under the previous government. When oil prices go up, NNPC said they are importing more because of the arbitrage. Thus, when the oil prices go high, there is an incentive to inflate the number” he noted.

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