There is no altruism in the reaction of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and its former Presidential candidate, Atiku Abubakar to the removal of fuel subsidy, and the attendant increase in fuel price, according to the Buhari Media Organisation (BMO)
In a statement signed by its Chairman Niyi Akinsiju and Secretary Cassidy Madueke, BMO described the comments as a political move by a group of people that had expressed an intention to sell off the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) if they had returned to power in 2019.
“Here is a party that did not think twice before declaring its intention, through its Presidential candidate during campaigns, to sell the national oil company to any willing buyer.
“So we wonder whether this would not have translated to a situation where fuel prices would be at the level of that of neighbouring countries where PMS is sold between N300 and N449 a litre.
“Today we have a situation where NNPC and its subsidiaries remain in the hands of government and petrol price is still the lowest in West Africa, even with the recent increase in global oil prices.
“It is also laughable that a party which presided over one of the world’s biggest subsidy scams that were the subject of a Presidential committee that was reluctantly set up and several court cases could shamelessly accuse the Buhari administration of ‘running a heavily corrupt oil trade and subsidy regime’.
“We also wonder how PDP with its collection of suspected subsidy thieves concluded that government officials have no basis to compare the cost of fuel in Nigeria to that of neighbouring countries”.
The group accused opposition elements of mischief on the dual issue of deregulation and the new tariff regime.
“Is it not hypocritical that former Vice President Atiku Abubakar who hailed the removal of fuel subsidy, as recently as June this year in a tweet, could turn around a few months later to make an ill-advised quip on the new fuel price.
“We wonder where he and his co-travellers in PDP were when price adjustment led to lower petrol prices in April, so the least Atiku could do is to stop playing politics with a deregulation policy he is known to have publicly supported and once tried to claim credit for.
“Or what will be his explanation for supporting the policy in June this year and opposing it in September?
“Would it not amount to a confirmation of some of the things his former Principal Olusegun Obasanjo said about him in one of his books?
“And as for the new electricity tariff, we consider it important to emphasize that the government has spent about N1.7 trillion to supplement tariff shortfall in the aftermath of the untidy privatisation of the power sector which led to Discos being sold to cronies of the then PDP administration.”
The group however reassured Nigerians that the Buhari administration would come up with ways to cushion the pains of subsidy removal and increase in electricity tariff.