Editor’s Note: This article has been updated as requested by the writer, since it was first published.
By Femi Fani-Kayode
When President Olusegun Obasanjo was in power we spent 300 billion per year on the fuel subsidy. Under the administration of President Goodluck Jonathan it shot up to 1.3 trillion naira in the last one year alone. Can someone please explain to me how it got so high in 4 years and what exactly they were subsidizing with the extra one trillion naira?
When the Obasanjo government left power in 2007 the country was no longer in debt and the 30 billion dollar foreign debt that Obasanjo met when he came to power in 1999 was fully paid off. Today, under the administration of Jonathan, our country is back in debt to the tune of 41 billion dollars (both foreign and domestic) and we are still borrowing. Can someone please tell me what the loans were used for and whether we will ever be able to pay them off? When the Obasanjo administration left power in 2007 our foreign reserves were 80 billion dollars even though when he came into office in 1999 we only had 1.5 billion dollar
Today our foreign reserves have dropped from 80 billion dollars in 2007 to 33 billion dollars. Can someone please tell me where all the money went? When the Obasanjo administration left power in 2007 23 billion dollars was left in the Excess Crude Account after he built it up from nothing in 1999. Today we do not have one dollar left in that account because the money has been squandered and the account scrapped. Can someone explain to me who spent that money and precisely what it was spent on? By the time the Obasanjo administration left power in 2007 not one bomb had gone off in Abuja throughout his 8 years in office and neither did we shy away from confronting the evil and dealing a hard blow to the terrorists wherever and whenever it was necessary to do so.
Today bombs go off at will all over the north, the President hides in the Villa and churches were targeted on Christmas day in Abuja. When Obasanjo was in power we did not remove the fuel subsidy because it would have caused too much pain to the Nigerian people and because there was no safety net in place to reduce that pain. President Jonathan however did not have any such inhibitions or qualms. Just seven days after we suffered the horrendous trauma of the xmas day bombings and probably as a New Year’s Greek gift to the Nigerian people, our President finally removed the oil subsidy. He did this knowing fully well that it will lead to untold suffering and terrible hardship for the next few years for the Nigerian people, most of whom still live below the poverty line. Can someone please tell me why President Jonathan wants Nigerians to cry?
Yesterday he not only said that he would “crush Boko Haram” but he also declared a state of emergency in a few local government areas in some northern states. Can someone please tell me why our President could not do this 6 months ago when some of us first advocated it and thereby save many lives? Why has it taken him so long to find the guts to confront Boko Haram and to lead the fight against them with ruthless zeal, strength, courage and total faith in God? Why has he done so little when it comes to this matter and why has he done it so late? Does he not know that a king is meant to lead his people into battle and if necessary die for them? He has been unable to handle and contain Boko Haram and now he has removed the fuel subsidy which is something that is expressly against the wishes and interest of the overwhelming majority of the Nigerian people.
Can someone please tell me precisely what has happened to our President and what has got into his head? What on earth makes him tick? He appears to have become enslaved to the dictates of the World Bank, the IMF and the Bretton Woods institutions. At the expense of the Nigerian people he has become the darling of the leaders of the western world who seek to impoverish Nigeria through the auspices of a fully globalized new world order and who seek to bring our people to their knees. We have lost our enviable position of leadership in Africa, we have lost our voice on the world stage and we are the butt of cruel jokes and dire prophecies of imminent disintegration all over the world. Worse still our government is not only weak, it not only lacks direction but it is also insensitive and callous. The only thing that it appears to be good at is attempting to silence, intimidate and crush all legitimate voices of opposition in the land. This new policy of murderous and brutal repression was eloquently reflected by the cold-blooded murder of a young man in Ilorin by the name of Mr. Muyideen Mustapha whilst he was exercising his God-given, constitutional and democratic right to demonstrate and protest against the removal of the fuel subsidy.
This young man had nothing left to give the world or fight with except for his dissenting voice and yet the government of President Goodluck Jonathan took even that away from him and silenced him forever. Little did they know that by doing so they have turned this brave young soul into a modern-day martyr and his vicious slaying is now the rallying point and battle cry of the entire opposition. What no-one told the supporters of President Jonathan was that when innocent blood is spilt for a worthy and noble cause it changes everything, it alters the tempo and temperature of the struggle, it moves the finger of God and it stirs the Hosts of Heaven. God forbid that this young man should die in vain and his noble cause, for which he gave his precious life, is one that those of us that he left behind will continue to pursue and fight to the bitter end. I assure you that unlike numerous other state-sponsored killings and atrocities in the sad and beleaguered history of our nation, the consequences of this particular one shall reverberate throughout the world and may well act as a catalyst for the beginning of our own peculiar version of the Arab spring.
Whichever way it goes I have absolutely no doubt that the removal of the fuel subsidy on New Year’s day is the final straw: President Goodluck Jonathan, the King Rehoboam of our time, has hardened his heart unto destruction, just like Pharaoh once did, and he has fallen into the trap that has been set for him by God and by his enemies. May the Lord save Nigeria from this inexplicable and unpleasant mess and may the Nigerian people themselves wake up from their accursed slumber and take their destiny into their own hands. The smell of religious war, sectarian violence, regional and ethnic conflict, insecurity, untold suffering, rampant poverty and economic hardship is in the air. Nigerians are divided as never before and our country is slowly crumbling and dying before our very eyes. Who will save Nigeria? Who will stand up and say enough is enough? Who will pull us back from the brink? Who can we count on to take the bull by the horns and to do the right thing? Where is our deliverer and from whence will our Jehu come? When will our David with the heart of Cyrus arise? There must be a change. My God, let there be a change.