Was the fuel subsidy removal ever Tinubu’s decision at all?
“Fuel subsidy is gone,” the newly elected president of Nigeria, Bola Tinubu, announced in his usual confidence wrapped in dark humour tone; often shallowly perceived as arrogance. He poorly explained that there was no provision for the cost as it will be diverted into other development points.
In the normal Nigerian government fashion, Tinubu failed to clearly communicate the reason behind the confident-dark-arrogance in delivering a message that had once plunged the nation into chaos; hence creating room for anti-government sentiment influencers, and corny media platforms to rule citizens’ understanding of his decision.
Becoming the major highlight of his inauguration, this decision has been met with a wide range of reactions, leaving many criticizing the 16th president of Nigeria for hasty release of the wrecking ball. But little do citizens know that this decision was already made for Tinubu by the previous administration.
In November 2021, the president Muhammadu Buhari administration announced its plan to remove the fuel subsidy and replace it with a monthly ₦5,000 transport grant for poor Nigerians. Despite backing by the World Bank on the decision, the government later suspended the plan after the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) and Trade Union Congress (TUC) threatened to embark on mass protests; amidst an ASUU crisis.
The news of the fuel subsidy removal suspension was so lauded for ease that underlying messages were placed on mute. The uses and gratification theory explains that people seek parts of the news that meets certain mental satisfaction and stick to those parts. Hence, beneath headlines are many details to a story; I basically cannot say this enough times.
The former Minister of Finance, Zainab Ahmed, severally said that although it has been suspended, fuel subsidy removal was still bound to happen as it would be scrapped from the 2023 budget approved by the Buhari administration in 2022. The current budget, which still accommodates fuel subsidy ends one month after Tinubu’s inauguration; June 30, 2023.
Call him an evil genius, or the best pass-the-blame strategist, Buhari’s smile when Tinubu took the oath to take over Nigeria remains one overlooked highlight of Tinubu’s inauguration. Find out other problems Buhari has passed to President Tinubu.
*Pulse Editor’s Opinion is the viewpoint of an editor at Pulse. It does not represent the opinion of the organisation Pulse.