By Longtong Ibrahim
Kaduna (Nigeria) – The All Progressive Congress (APC) National Leader, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu has called for the immediate removal of fuel subsidy, saying ‘now’ is the right time for President Mohammadu Buhari to consider its removal.
Tinubu said its removal will be of benefit to the economy and the generality of the Nigerian masses.
He stated this while making a keynote address at the 10th memorial anniversary of late Bala Usman, organized by the Centre for Democratic Development and Research Training in Kaduna, Friday.
The APC national leader who was also a former governor of Lagos state noted that if Bala Usman was to be alive, he would have equally called for an immediate removal of the subsidy, adding that, what he is saying is not a mere talk, but “It is a call to action.”
He said, “In a perfect world, I wish we could sanitize the subsidy regime and thus continue with it.
“However, I have reached the conclusion that there are too many demons in the system for that hell to be turned into heaven.
Tinubu further pointed out that, it is now time for the beginning of the process of a thoughtful but decisive subsidy phase-out; where the funds used for subsidy could serve better when channeled into social and developmental programs.
“It is better that we remove it, not for the austere purpose of saving money but to use the money more wisely that we might better save the people. Let us begin a process of a thoughtful, but decisive subsidy phase-out.
“While this is occurring, we should simultaneously phase in social programs benefiting the poorest, most vulnerable among us.
“Programs such as transportation subsidies, school feeding, improved basic medical care and coverage for the poor, and potable water projects are some of the things that can be done with the same funds.
“This way we can undertake this massive expenditure confident that the fruits will go to the hungry, not the already too well fed.
“End the fuel subsidy and subsidize the people instead,” he stressed.
Emir of Kano, Mohammed Sanusi in a remarks charged Nigerians to eschew parochial sentiments and work towards building a Nigeria where there is justice for all; while describing the lessons the late Usman left as something worth emulating.
“In life, if you are at all committed to struggle, struggle only has meaning if it is against injustice and oppression. Any other struggle is meaningless, fighting for ethnicity, starting needless and mindless religious wars, struggle for spores of power, none of those are worth it.”
The Katsina state governor who was also the chairman of the occasion, Aminu Bello Masari decribed the late Usman as a ‘symbol of struggle’ who has not be forgotten 10 years after because of the views he held aimed improving the lives of a common man.
Earlier in his welcome address, Kaduna state governor Nasir El-Rufai described late Usman as someone who cared about ordinary people who spent his life fighting for the common man.
He said, “He gave everything he had, his intellect, his resources to advance the life of the downtrodden in Nigeria, this is why we are very proud of him.”
Bala Usman was the Head of Department (HOD), history, at ABU in the early 70s, and was later appointed Secretary to the State Government (SSG) under the administration of former governor of Kaduna State, Alhaji Balarabe Musa in the late 70s.