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I lingered removal of petrol subsidy for Tinubu to win election – Buhari

Former President Muhammadu Buhari, yesterday, broke his silence on the petrol subsidy removal ‘challenge’ he left for his successor, saying, had the policy been implemented, the All Progressives Congress (APC) and Bola Tinubu would have lost the election. THE GUARDIAN reports.Information Guide Nigeria

In a statement via his former spokesman, Garba Shehu, Buhari, however, lauded steps by the new government in removing the subsidy and attempt to unify naira exchange rate.

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In the statement, titled ‘Buhari Didn’t Fail To Remove Subsidy’, Shehu wrote: “Why did it take the new Tinubu/Shettima presidency weeks to remove the petrol subsidy, when Buhari didn’t do so for years — fails to ask the right question.

“The massive electricity subsidy, the fraudulent fertiliser subsidy, Hajj/Christian pilgrim subsidies…Remember them? The diesel subsidy, the aviation fuel subsidy, LPFO, kerosene, cooking gas and the other subsidy policies we found in place and put them firmly on the ground…Remember them?

“For those with short memories, many of those subsides were all in place when President Buhari was elected to office in 2015: all those in place were gone by May 2023 – including the yearly fertiliser subsidy that weighed N60-N100 billion (that’s a trillion naira in about 10 years – yes, you read that right) heavy on the federal budget each year.JAMB Result

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“So, no. Buhari didn’t remove the petrol subsidy – but in vitally important stages, he removed every other budget-busting, egregious, economic-growth-crushing subsidy along the way.

“So far, I have refrained from answering these repeated questions on the removal in Nigeria of subsidies on Premium Motor Spirit (PMS) and that arising from the dual rates of the naira in the Central Bank and the parallel market: why did Buhari ‘fail’ to do these?

“First of all, my thinking is that instead of the former President answering this question, it is the party, the APC, that is best suited to speak. And failing to do this, we are forced to say what will follow here.

“Secondly, we are mindful of the fact that with a Tinubu/Shettima presidency now in place, and for which there is a ‘new sheriff in town’, we do not want to distract them from the onerous tasks facing them and the nation. Neither is it our wish to take the spotlight away from them in any way.

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“In terms of the timings of the decisions to remove fuel subsidy and unify the currency, the Tinubu/Shettima administration has done overwhelmingly well. Even more importantly, they have been most dexterous in managing aftermath of the decisions by successfully avoiding any crisis.

“To this extent, our wish and prayers are that fellow countrymen will continue to support the new leadership in these very laudable decisions and, in particular, for the labour leadership and civil society to work with them, to ensure that the palliative efforts, as promised, are successfully implemented.

“The decision to remove subsidies, as in our case – and we believe in all situations – was not for the President to take all by himself.

“That’s why it’s important to remind ourselves – and all those who have conveniently forgotten – that the Buhari administration had been on this pathway from the very beginning in 2015.

“Removing subsidies for the naira and PMS was cued and put on hold. Look, for example, at the Petroleum Industry Act. The important decision was kept for a better time. It could not have come at a time when tensions were high in the country and no responsible leader would have added fuel to the fire.NYSC Portal

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Essien, Goodnews is a gruaduate of Communication Arts, University of Uyo, Uyo; Currently working at Infoguide Media as a news writer.

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