Fuel Subsidy Removal: Open Letter to President Muhammadu Buhari from His 'Second Son'

Dear President Muhammadu Buhari,

Sorry I will be skipping the necessary greetings conventionally attached to a letter like this due to the severity of the matters arising. I write this letter to you with indescribable pains and sense of disappointment in my heart concerning the shocking removal of fuel subsidy which you claimed was non-existent while you were vying for presidency. 

According to you, you said you never heard of it given during your time as the Petroleum Minister in 1976 after being appointed by the then Head of State, Gen. Olusegun Obasanjo. We the masses believed you and crucified former President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan whom we hurriedly sent back to his hometown in Otuoke, Bayelsa state. During your Chatham House speech in London last year, 2015 prior to your victory, you emphasized that your continued contest for presidency 4 good times over the years, namely 2003, 2007, 2011 and 2015 was borne out of your strong will to salvage this nation from the selfish hands of unscrupulous leaders before we finally reach a blind alley and we queued behind you with our little strengths after being economically dehydrated by the PDP-led former administration.

We the masses also believed and trusted in you to help set Nigeria on the right course after our 16-year old ordeal in the hands of leaders of the People's Democratic Party who heartlessly defiled our treasury thereby leaving us at the mercy of the ruthless tongues of world leaders like the British Prime Minister David Cameron who has described us as a 'fantastically' corrupt nation. The elites in Nigeria who were enriched by the bazaar of the previous administrations such as the $2.1 billion arms deal scam stood against you. The PDP wetted all grounds with mind-boggling amounts of money; bribing our traditional rulers in the South-west with dollars in a bid to influence our voting decisions but we stood for you sir. We all saw hope in Nigeria through you. No matter how far we believe we could stay away from Nigeria, history still has it that it is our home. We picked up our Permanent Voters’ Cards, PVCs wielded them in the air like weapons and stormed the various polling units; our war-fronts where we fought for the destiny of Nigeria which was clouded with the onslaught of treasury looters.

Dear Buhari, you were our last hope of bringing succor to this nation which has almost been turned into a curse on the populace. But today, you have not only gone back on virtually all your campaign promises, you have also compounded our woes. If you can't take us out of the Wilderness to the land of Canaan as promised, why don't you leave us there rather than ruin our lives in the deep Red Sea. The increment in fuel price negates the view of a former Minister of Petroleum and Energy, Professor Tamunoemi David-West's expectation of you to reduce the pump price to N40 due your benevolent nature. You intelligently took a safe position by not responding to the viral promise which played out well for you politically. I am pushed to assume Nigerians were not your immediate target but the exit of Dr. Goodluck Ebele Jonathan who is busy picking up empty international awards for the good works of being 'fantastically corrupt'.

Dear Buhari, the blood of the 7 brave people of Birin Bolawa and Birin Fulani in the Nafada district of Gombe state who gallantly defied the fear of Boko Haram fighters to vote for you during the presidential elections before they were attacked will be flowing endlessly at the announcement of the removal of the subsidy which I believe was concluded before your attendance of the anti-corruption summit in the United Kingdom.
Sir, I remember the resistance you displayed each time the Minister of State for Petroleum, Ibe Emmanuel Kachikwu brought up the necessity of the discontinuation of the payment of fuel subsidy by the government which was only satisfying the selfish interests of the fuel marketers. You expressed deep concerns about the untold hardship on the Nigerian masses that stood gallantly and shamelessly behind you during the ultimate search for your Senior Secondary School Certificate. We all affirmed our faiths in you and promised to still vote you even if you tender a 'NEPA bill' for such a position of high esteem like the presidential seat. For the first time in the history of Nigerian people who attach so much importance to academic qualifications rather than skills and intelligence, we looked down on the highly coveted doctorate degree.
Your decision also confronts me with the fear that may soon be cowed into the devaluation of the naira which you have stood against for reasons of hyper-inflation and excruciating economic discomfort on the people considering the languid nature of our economy as well as our taste for foreign products.

Mr Oga, the removal of the fuel subsidy is a betrayal of the trust we have in you. It is really disheartening. I hurt so bad as I pen down my words at the wee hours of the day considering how massive I supported you during the heated presidential elections. Nigerians have been so patient with the near-negative change since May, 2015 when you took over. Every governmental process from your team led to different dramas with thrilling episodes. It took you 5 months to appoint your 'angelic ministers' and also 5 months to sign a mercilessly padded budget whose culprits are still in government with re-assigned offices despite assertive threats from you. You have a record of the longest fuel scarcity in the history of Nigeria running into invariably three months while you exhausted your locally refined 'excuses' that filled the petrol tanks of our vehicles and other power-generating sets. The first class certificate and Exxonmobil experience of Ibe Emmanuel Kachikwu failed and is still failing woefully in ameliorating the brouhaha. I am forced to think our problem isn't in the textbooks but a carefully designed indigenous initiative to satisfy the interests of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, related agencies and the ‘indispensable’  independent oil marketers who have shown their level of superiority over governance clearly in the last three months.

We have all bought fuel for unspeakable prices in the last few months sir excluding the presidency. You created million of jobs for Nigerian youths in the petroleum sector through the growth of the black market that saw supposedly visionary Nigerian youths display their Shylock tendencies. We lost a promising youth in Festac Town, Lagos in the fuel scarcity crisis after being allegedly shot by an official of the Nigerian Security and Civil Defence Corps and the crime has gone unanswered till date simply because the victim was the child of a common man just like the kidnapped Chibok girls and the victims of Fulani mayhem in Agatu, Benue.

Mr President sir, you have released several diplomatic press statements I strongly feel were produced without your knowledge because this administration is very similar to the previous one in terms of talking the talk and not walking the walk. You keep telling us you know we are suffering and you feel our pains while you constantly hang in the air en route 24 countries since you emerged as president in the last 11 months but sir pardon me to call that a 'presidential lie' orchestrated by the journalistic skills of your media aides, Femi Adesina and Garba Shehu who have waited all their lives to enjoy the ambience of the Aso Rock villa.
Baba Buhari, you are in Nigeria but you are far from Nigerians. You feel our pains no more. You are so disconnected from the people that entrusted their votes in you. The field of Political science where I secured my masters degree teaches me that this is the first indication of a failed government because a true leader is the full representation of the image of his people. You are the president of Nigeria because of us. You are our special SERVANT but the irony is that there is no service here.

My father at the age of 65 went to the polling station in Ibadan, Oyo state as early as 8am during the presidential election. As he was leaving, he was motivated by your plans for 'CHANGE'. After voting, he stayed back to monitor and 'defend' his vote till it was counted with his weak strength.
He danced to the advent of a new Nigeria at your victory. I was sad to call him that you removed one of the only viable government subsidies the poor have been enjoying in Nigeria since independence in 1960. He screamed in shock and disappointment when he heard the new price of fuel is N145. Buhari, this is where we are now. I know you are very good at ignoring criticisms and views of Nigerians in the media which is paramount among leaders with military backgrounds. I know my opinions don't count but posterity for have it on record that I spoke out to a man I supported with all my heart in the face of fears of islamization of Nigeria, membership of Boko Haram, tribal domination issues, widespread institutionalization of Sharia law, political dictatorship, old age factors amongst others which Governor Ayodele Fayose and his opposing PDP reiterated on with highly sponsored articles in all aspects of the media. We were defiant in our course; we stayed focused to the end. Even when they induced us with money, we 'chopped' it like Ponmo and followed our hearts.
Jonathan's election loss despite expending a whooping sum of N2.2 trillion according to the Punch confirms our unflinching support for you sir.

In fairness to you sir, your intentions are good but this particular move of oil subsidy removal is a hard decision that will end up being fatal and detrimental in the long run. It will increase the level of inflation we have on ground already. I am sure Madam Aisha Buhari hasn't told you the price of tomatoes in the market sir. Even a popular Nigerian singer, Waje Iruobe humbly wailed on social media at the high price of the local commodity.
This government is currently struggling to provide jobs thereby forcing the Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed to desperately set out to provide at least masquerade 1,000 jobs in the practice of our culture. That's a brilliant idea anyway if his family members and the children of the elites could lead the race like the Central Bank of Nigeria's backdoor recruitment.
Furthermore, this current administration is also toiling hard to increase the minimum wage of federal civil servants from a minute amount of N18, 000 which is long overdue. This administration is struggling to also diversify the economy in the face of economic downturn and heal our sick naira. This administration has recorded several almost-insolvent states that can't pay the salaries of workers despite being oil-rich. This administration also produced the 'top achiever', Minister of Power, Works and Housing, Babatunde Raji Fashola who has increased electricity tariff by 45% despite producing more darkness than ever. In fact the power bills represent our usage of SUN light rather than electricity.

Several private companies are folding up due to high running costs in the face of economic hardships. Some surviving small and medium-sized enterprises, SMEs are struggling to pay salaries with their workers surviving on anti-corruption news which realistically can't sustain the human body according to science.
What will be the fate of the masses if at the end of the day, there is no equitable distribution of petroleum product across Nigeria with the fuel subsidy removal? We will surely be at the mercies of selfish black marketers selling products at cut-throat prices that could even skyrocket to N400 or N500 if it persists. Where are the necessary palliatives needed to cushion the adverse economic effects of the price hike?
 We are in danger! Nigeria has been stolen from us overnight.
In simple terms, people are not getting enough money but they are conditioned to spend more money. That's pure hardship that doesn't represent a government that promised us a change of the status quo.

Baba, I swear make I nor lie for you ehn, this 'CHANGE' nor be am at all, it also needs a 'change' abeg.

                                                                                                         Yours Sincerely,
                                                                                                         Osayimwen Osahon George

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About Osahon

I'm a journalist and a Political Scientist undergoing a doctoral programme focused on media, democracy and governance in Africa. My mission is to uphold the role of the media as the 'fourth estate of the realm' and also tell the Nigerian Story to the world. You can contact me on smile2georgex@yahoo.com Phone number: +2347053302356.
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