Tale:Three Presidents and Fuel Subsidy

NOTE: A different article was planned for today. On Sunday, August 31, 2020, despite still being physically challenged, I travelled to Abuja to discuss two national issues – NDDC and Igbo presidency in 2023.

That was supposed to be this week’s topic. But fuel subsidy removal trumped it.

“Integrity is a 100 per cent thing; it is not even a 99 per cent thing” – American University President.

Nigerian history tends to repeat itself with equal tedium. A minor disagreement between northerners and Yoruba people in Ajegunle, leading to loss of a few lives prompted President Obasanjo, in 2001, to issue a “shoot at sight order against Area Boys in Ajegunle” to the police.

It is the sort of tough “law and order” position beloved by satraps. OBJ brazenly turned every policeman in Ajegunle into an accuser, prosecutor, judge and executor of any Yoruba person within shooting distance. The same sort of legalised murder of fellow Nigerians is going on in the South-East today under another former military ruler and few Igbo are raising a voice. It was in response to Obasanjo’s order that I wrote the article ‘I AM THE PRESIDENT OF AREA BOYS; COME AND SHOOT ME.’ That was how the title was born. But, having spent about ten years working in the North and knowing a few Yoruba returnees to Ajegunle, we proceeded to take a few steps to ensure that Yoruba lives were not wasted anyhow. As a matter of fact, no single Yoruba was killed by the police until peace was restored.

It is no news to those who have been reading this column, on Sundays, since 1994, that I am from the Campos Area of Lagos Island – the original home of Area Boys – of whom I am very proud. We operate in association with our own UniJankara where the faculty is paid nothing but still works all the time on selected social, political and, especially, economic national issues. We are research based and we never allow any political party or individual to permanently capture us and use us for their propaganda. Because we frequently work with econometric models, most of the work consists in attempts to predict the broad directions of the economy in particular.

In this regard, the greatest focus of our attention is always the Federal Government which controls far too much of our economy than it can or should. Now, the Buhari administration has finally realised that it can no longer pay the bills of the monster we call Federal Government. Our track record should speak for itself. But, I have learnt from my years in the product/services marketing sectors that “facts don’t speak for themselves.” One thing is certain. Nigeria is in this mess because our greatest deficit was never financial but “leadership integrity deficit”. Examples follow.

“Something lingering with boiling oil in it, I fancy” –Sir W.S. Gilbert, 1836 -1911.


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