The decision to postpone the removal of petrol subsidies, according to Olumide Akpata, president of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA), is related to the 2023 elections.
The federal government said on Monday that the planned removal of the fuel subsidy has been postponed until further notice owing to “high inflation and economic hardship.”
In an interview with Channels Television on Monday, Akpata stated that the decision to postpone the scheduled subsidy withdrawal is a “temporary solution” in light of the politics of the 2023 elections.
“The subsidy issue is a hot potato for any government, particularly in this part of the world,” he said.
“I would have loved to think that the decision to suspend fuel subsidy removal is because the government cares so much about the people, and that it is a government that is listening to the cries of the people, because indeed, as the minister of finance mentioned, it would be really tough if subsidy removal is implemented at this time with all of the other supervening circumstances.
“However, something tells me that this has more to do with what is in the offing — an election is coming up. The strategists would probably have sat down to think about it and they have told themselves and those who they advise that it would be political harakiri — it would be suicidal — at this point in time to take out subsidy going into an election, which is just around the corner.
“Those kinds of hard decisions I don’t think are the kind of decisions you want to take going into an election. Those are my thoughts. I may be wrong.
“I’m persuaded that this is just a temporary solution pending when the political juggernauts come back from the field.”