Former governor of Lagos State, Asiwaju Ahmed Bola Tinubu has joined calls in several quarters for the removal of fuel subsidy.
Speaking on Friday in Kaduna, the National leader of the All Progressives Congress (APC) urged President Muhammadu Buhari to immediately remove the subsidy regime, saying it has overstayed its usefulness. According to him, for the country to move forward, the subsidy regime need to go since the ordinary Nigerians are no longer benefiting from it.
In a keynote address, entitled, “Towards the Economic Liberation of Nigeria, Bala Usman’s Enduring Relevance” which he delivered at the memorial Conference organized in honour of the Late Dr Bala Usman by the Centre for Democratic Development, Research and Training Zaria, Tinubu said, his call for subsidy removal is not mere talk but a call to action by those in authority.
“In a perfect world, I wish we could sanitize the subsidy regime and thus continue it. However, I have reached the conclusion that there are too many demons in the system for that hell to be turned into heaven.
“Better that we remove it, not for the austere purpose of saving money but to use the money more wisely that we might better save the people. Let us begin a process of a thoughtful but decisive subsidy phase-out.
“While this is occurring, we should simultaneously phase in social programmes benefiting the poorest, most vulnerable among us. Programmes such as transportation subsidies, school feeding, improved basic medical care and coverage for the poor, and potable water projects are some of the things that can be done with the same funds.
“What I have said here is more than talk. It is a call to action. This way we will undertake this massive expenditure confident that the fruits will go to the hungry, not the already too well fed.
“End the fuel subsidy. Subsidize the people instead. Fuel subsidy was a good idea that has been perverted into its opposite. Created to aid the common man, it is now a device used by the crooked to produce a windfall for themselves,” Tinubu said.
Speaking on Bala Usman, the APC chieftain noted that Usman could have combined his royal lineage with his academic erudition to enjoy the high and easy life, and could have been part of any government or ruling clique that suckled itself on toil, blood and patience of the people. “Bala chose to side with the masses. Now it is our duty to side with him.”
Speaking earlier, Governor Nasir El-Rufai of Kaduna State extolled the late historian, saying Bala Usman cared about the ordinary people and spent his life fighting for the common man.
“He gave everything he had, his intellect, his resources to advance the life of the downtrodden in Nigeria. This is why we are very proud of him,” El-Rufai said.