Monday, January 09, 2012

The Fuel Subsidy Removal Protests for Dummies

On the first day of the indefinite general strike organised by a coalition between two of the largest unions in Nigeria – the TUC and the NLC – and a cluster of smaller unions and social media-based activists and organisations, some external observers have expressed surprise at the intensity of resistance the “Occupy Nigeria” campaign has mounted against the removal of the fuel subsidy on January 1st and the size of the mass demonstrations taking place. From an outside perspective, it might seem like a dust-devil has been whipped up without why in the desert.  In case there’s still any confusion, allow me to explain why there is so much anger and resistance.

The answer begins with a question: would it be acceptable to citizens of affluent countries that the price of petrol doubles overnight without any warning? Perhaps Jeffrey Sachs would be alone in his view, or perhaps he only prescribes a certain type of medicine for African countries. Perhaps the view from Sachs' brain is that Africans can get by on generic drugs long past their sell-by date.

Aside from Sachs' development fantasies, the lived reality of citizens of the Nigerian state is that it provides little or no security, no infrastructure, no education and no employment opportunities (apart from mostly McJobs in the civil service).  Everywhere in Nigeria, the basic elements of civilised existence have to be taken care of house-by-house, compound-by-compound.  You must sink your own borehole for water, buy, install and fuel a generator for power, hire security guards to keep the wolves from the door, pay school fees to ensure your kids get a half-decent education because the public school system is in perpetual meltdown. And to earn enough money to get through the day, you must hustle.

The breakdown of a standard tax and political representation based social contract between citizens and the state in Nigeria is almost entirely a result of the past few decades of the so-called ‘resource curse’.  Earning billions of dollars each year from crude exports, the Nigerian government has no need to rely on tax from individuals or local companies; tax and royalty payments from the international oil companies (as well as historically, loans from international financial institutions) have been sufficient to fund the annual budget at all levels of government.  For the past few decades, cheap fuel has therefore been the only form of social contract between ordinary Nigerians and the state and the principle lever to control inflation during times of rising oil prices.  With most Nigerians subsisting on US$2 or less, subsidised fuel has also been a survival mechanism, making life only just bearable.

It was therefore highly surprising to Nigerians to find out that the fuel subsidy had been removed on January 1st and that the price regulating body under the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) – the PPPRA – had more than doubled the price of petrol overnight.  No one had been given warning.  The expectation was that the subsidy would be removed at the earliest in April.  The strong suspicion is that following on from Christine Lagarde’s visit to Nigeria in late December, the government had accelerated its plans.  From the views of key government figures, it’s easy to see how Nigeria acceded to IMF pressure with little or no resistance.  The Finance Minister, Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, has repeatedly stated that removing the fuel subsidy would only hurt the affluent car-owning population, forgetting how central the price of fuel is to almost every basic aspect of life here.   Meanwhile, the Governor of the Central Bank, Sanusi Lamido Sanusi, has stated that removal of the subsidy would only have a short-term inflationary effect.  With opinions like this, the IMF was walking into an open door.

Given the state of the global economy, it is little surprise that the IMF is in favour of insisting on reducing debt wherever it can.  However, the IMF also appears to be suffering from institutional amnesia; what is happening in Nigeria is in some respects a re-run of the Structural Adjustment Programme in the 1980s, and President Ibrahim Babangida’s short-term attempts to resist austerity measures.  As we will recall, “IBB” ended up creating his own austerity package, which was more severe than that proposed by the IMF.  The Nigerian economy quickly tanked, resulting in mass suffering among Nigerians.  Fundamentalist strains of evangelical Christianity mushroomed forth from the barren earth.  Unlike the World Bank, which is increasingly taking political-economy factors seriously in its analysis and its programmes, even today the IMF and its high-priesthood consultants views the world from the numerical altar of macro-economics.  The technocratic nature of the IMF means that the organisation is in fact programmed to forget the past.
During the recent fuel subsidy debate on local Nigerian TV station Channels, Mrs Okonjo-Iweala was keen to state what she referred to as ‘facts’.  At no point has anyone in the executive effectively challenged former Petroleum Minister Tam David-West’s querying of whether there is a subsidy in the first place, or whether the landing cost of imported fuel has been artificially padded.  Given the findings of the recent KPMG report into the NNPC, it seems that facts about the oil sector in Nigeria are thin on the ground.
The defence offered by the Finance Minister during that same debate is that the savings from removal of the subsidy would be spent on a palliative capital-spending programme – the Subsidy Re-investment and Empowerment Programme (SURE).  Nigerians have raised a number of critical objections to this proposal and the timing of subsidy removal. 

Firstly, given the glut of money in state coffers in the past few years and the lack of any successful infrastructural development (for instance in power and transport), there is little guarantee that the SURE programme would be implemented or successful, rather than go the way of all initiatives in the past.  The government of Nigeria has not been able to significantly raise the amount of power generated, nor has it been able to achieve the low-tech objective of revamping the dilapidated railway network, still less has it been able to improve standards in public education and healthcare.  What then would be different about the SURE programme?

Secondly, while most Nigerians are probably not ideologically opposed to subsidy removal (and targeting the corrupt ‘cabal’ of fuel importers who benefit from the subsidy), they are utterly opposed to the timing, given the insecurity in the land raised by Islamic militancy in the North and the potential for renewed militancy in response in the Niger Delta.  A phased subsidy withdrawal, as has happened elsewhere, would have been the preferred approach.

Thirdly, the idea that removing the subsidy equates to ‘deregulation’ and the equivalent private sector boom as witnessed in the past decade in the telecoms sector is highly suspect to most.  For the downstream oil sector to be deregulated, there has to be new legislation in place.  The Petroleum Industry Bill, which separates the functions of a national oil company, regulation and policy-making, would need to become law.  We have been waiting since the previous minister of petroleum for the PIB to be passed.  At present, the NNPC is the epicentre of corruption in the oil sector in Nigeria, and has to broken up into its constituent parts for the private sector to be given space to grow its role.  In addition, Nigerians would want to see a much higher percentage of crude oil refined locally, rather than the current reliance on imported fuel, to ensure a favourable local pricing policy that does not depend on state subsidy.  Without any of these key deregulatory building blocks in place, removal of the ‘subsidy’ now is simply terrible timing and does not inspire confidence among a people who long ago lost their faith in government.

Finally, if savings are urgently required from the annual government budget, most Nigerians would argue that the first place to cut costs is that of the price of running government itself.  As the Governor of the Central Bank pointed out last year, the National Assembly consumes 25% of the Federal overheads budget; the cost of running the President’s office has been widely publicised in recent weeks (including a billion naira food bill).  It is rare to see a member of the executive - down to director-generals of government agencies most Nigerians have never heard of - travelling without a sizeable convoy of expensive cars.  Nigerian government delegations to international conferences and gatherings are often by far the largest, with a supersized retinue of special advisors, assistants and staff for the first-wife in attendance, there to collect their allowance and have access to shopping opportunities overseas.

As it is, most Nigerians are poor, and will simply not be able to survive with any comfort on US$2 a day and a doubling of living costs.  That the government of Nigeria didn’t foresee the massive level of resistance happening today is quite bewildering. It shows a complete disconnect and disregard for Nigerians.  However, where there is the greatest danger, there is greatest hope.  Nigerians have never been so united in years – last week, in the unofficially renamed Liberation Square in Kano, Christians guarded the space as their Muslim co-protestors prayed.  In return, last Sunday, Muslims guarded Churches as others prayed inside. 

What we are witnessing with Occupy Nigeria is a generational transfer, as young, social-media enabled activists gradually take over the baton from unionist stalwarts.  Nigeria's young population is increasingly letting go of the deferential attitude of their parents generation.  In the south at least, young Nigerians are beginning to ask questions of the religious leadership that has been complicit with the status-quo.  At long last, there is accountability pressure building up in the system.

In the short term, following on from the next few days of protest and shut-down, it’s hard to imagine anything other than a policy reversal, and a planned withdrawal being announced, in step with a clear programme of projects that must be delivered before any further withdrawal of subsidy is implemented (citizens monitoring a re-drafted SURE programme for instance).  Even at this very late stage, President Goodluck could become a hero of the process.  Come what may, underlying events this week a deeper shift is at work: a new generation of Nigerians well versed in events to the north in Tunisia, Egypt and Libya is demanding that the terms of the social contract in Nigeria are re-written, in favour of increased accountability in political leadership.

56 comments:

2plus2,  8:03 p.m.  

Thanks Dr J, for just being candid......

plastiQ 8:20 p.m.  

God bless you, your heart, your wife, your life, your entire family...for this!

Jude Dibia 8:22 p.m.  

I couldn't have written this any better. Jeremy, you have captured my entire thoughts and arguement.

kay9 8:57 p.m.  

I cldnt hav said it better. Question is, is GEJ and his stalwarts seeing this? Cos they really need to be re-educated.
@khay9yne

teamoyeniyi.com 9:04 p.m.  

I liked this the most:

"Nigerians have never been so united in years – last week, in the unofficially renamed Liberation Square in Kano, Christians guarded the space as their Muslim co-protestors prayed. In return, last Sunday, Muslims guarded Churches as others prayed inside."

Anonymous,  9:13 p.m.  

Excellent!!!An excellent piece.

Anonymous,  9:34 p.m.  

Great post. Thanks for the comments on Jeffrey Sachs.

Goke 9:37 p.m.  

An impressive background to the massive protests.

Anonymous,  10:22 p.m.  

Excellent...

9jaFOODie 11:22 p.m.  

Insightful article #thumpsup

Anonymous,  11:34 p.m.  

Good to know journalism isn't dead. Excellent piece.

fantis,  11:41 p.m.  

Great piece Jeremy. I had to broadcast it for everyone to read.

Timnan 12:40 a.m.  

This was a very apt and candid piece on the state of our nation. Thank you for such a wonderful piece.

rufai,  1:37 a.m.  

Very spot on jeremy as a journalist myself I feel utterly refreshed by your invigorating piece.holly molly! You hit the nail on the head.it is indeed unbelievable the constant debaco that trails this country. This is the time to create the change. It would be hard but we have. To make a mark for the next generation.....mmM........

Anonymous,  1:40 a.m.  

Thanks for helping to project d voice of d downtrodden Nigerian masses.

CJ,  3:01 a.m.  

God bless you for this candid analysis and presentation.

allen el leon 3:20 a.m.  

Spot-on analysis

Seun Osewa 3:45 a.m.  

Wow. Thanks for this.

Anonymous,  6:40 a.m.  

Thank you so much for this insightful piece! I only wish GEJ and he's horde of incompetent stooges could get this!!!

Dr. Mike,  7:39 a.m.  

The strike action by organised labour and protests by the Nigerian people will go on until Govt.yields to our demands. There is no gain saying that this will herald a revolutionary trend in Nigeria where our Nation will be severed from dictatorship, imperialism and outright curruption.

Anonymous,  8:23 a.m.  

Thanks Jeremy. We needed a sound account of the average Nigerian's perspective and this is it.

babatunde 8:40 a.m.  

In the short term, following on from the next few days of protest and shut-down, it’s hard to imagine anything other than a policy reversal, and a planned withdrawal being announced, in step with a clear programme of projects that must be delivered before any further withdrawal of subsidy is implemented

I think you underestimate the pure greed and lack of empathy of our "leaders" they believe that any protest will die out over a couple of days, afterall they reason people have to eat, small businesses cant afford to pay non revenue generating staff, the majority of self traders also have no reserves to depend on and big business just want to get on with it subsidy or no subsidy.

I will add though that we all have a stake in this, so people please support the strike in whatever way you can, now we many not agree on all the details but we do need to stand together.

hawodi 10:34 a.m.  

You hardly disappoint. Good one J.

anchau 10:37 a.m.  

indeed this is a very good piece, the strike recorded a huge success, in spite of the spirited attempt by some disgruntle element to sabotage the effort. lets join hands in our little ways to sustain this watershed in the history of this nation.

Sade,  11:04 a.m.  

I am totally dumb-founded by parts of this analysis. You really think the subsidy removal was due to IMF pressure?! Really?! Dust off your Government contacts, especially those in the Ministry of Finance, call and ask them how the IMF relates to countries, particularly Nigeria, these days. Oh, but I forgot, Government, particularly the present one, is totally responsible for our present malaise and will probably not tell you the truth.....sheesh! You really can do better..

Anonymous,  12:44 p.m.  

Aptly said, brother! It shows the world that we are not half wits who are taking to the streets for nothing. God bless your pen!!

Anonymous,  1:31 p.m.  

One problem with your proposed solution of phased subsidy removal: It's already been tried. Why are you conveniently forgetting abut the times in the past few years the government has tried to increase the fuel price incrementally, only to reduce it again after similar mass protests.

So it some senses I can understand the all-or-nothing approach, but I share your confusion on the timing... and the bizarre response to addressing the suffering. As if a few buses are going to be ridden by any of those making less than $2/day!

Jeremy 1:36 p.m.  

@ last anonymous - its not a question of repeating what has been tried (and has failed) before. Other key components need to be in place: legal reform (the PIB), new refineries, more strenuous follow-up on corruption, massive cost reduction in government etc.

Anonymous,  1:48 p.m.  

Spot on. Very.

Sir Fariku 2:11 p.m.  

You have succinctly summarized the issues at play here. Lovely Article

Tunji Lardner 3:00 p.m.  

Bravo Jeremy... that's why we pay you the big bucks. Excellent large scale framing of the interlocking issues.
Tunji Lardner

Eruja Mutiu Babatunde 4:49 p.m.  

Thanks for the deep analysis, it is time we take our destiny in our hands

Anonymous,  6:55 p.m.  

thanks Jeremy, I think the international community needs to see the generational change Nigerian citizens are working hard at and support them.for us as Nigerians, we are saying no going back

Anonymous,  6:57 p.m.  

Problem is the lack of research in journalism. Most of your details are speculative. Please can you base your 'excellent' opinions on facts rather than sentiments. Posterity will hold you responsible for lost lives when its realised that you were among those who misinformed the nation. What are the economic realities? If Tam David west is right, why worry when Govt removes the imaginary subsidy. Did you not hail the assembly for hypocritically passing a motion asking the president to reconsider? Why did you not ask them to cut their expenditures and pass the PIB? I expect a balanced follow up. Tell us the details of the other side of the arguement.

Jeremy 7:13 p.m.  

@ last anonymous.

You write (of the National Assembly members):

"Why did you not ask them to cut their expenditures and pass the PIB?"

In my article, I write, "The Petroleum Industry Bill, which separates the functions of a national oil company, regulation and policy-making, would need to become law. We have been waiting since the previous minister of petroleum for the PIB to be passed."

This is a critical comment about the performance of the NASS in recent years.

I also wrote (citing SLS), "the National Assembly consumes 25% of the Federal overheads budget."

If you don't find my take balanced, I'd welcome a more substantive response from you, to enlighten us all. I'm not being sarcastic.

Anonymous,  7:37 p.m.  

This is concise and incisive; I only wish GEJ could read this piece of sincerity!

Anonymous,  7:42 p.m.  

Jeremy, let me paraphase you position as I understand it. Let's do what all other administrations before Jonathan has done- nothing! Wait to see if the economy colapses in the future. That definitely will be the 'right time'. After all IBB and Abacha always reminded us at their worst moments that the international community should not dictate to us. 'We must apply Nigerian solutions to Nigerian problems". Let's forget that the world recession also cost us dearly. Let's forget the impact of a global community. Greece took this part of continous borrowing, but let's not worry, Nigeria is imune. Jonathan should have introduced another Oando to help him harvest his share of the 1.4tr subsidy funds. As long as we buy fuel at 65 naira, who cares what happens? We don't trust Govt.,so let's blame Jonathan for the failures of all past leaders. Isn't it his fault that its only now our military is being trained on counter terrorism? It definitely is jonathan's fault that a cabal has hijacked the whole nation. Why didn't we protest against all the corrupt past leaders,fat cats of the oil industry,and all those we celebrate today for 'taking the side of the poor masses or rather poorly informed masses? Isn't that what occupy US did? But I agree with you, Goodluck should never be allowed to succeed. After all he wants to use our money to buy shoes.(I'm definitely being sarcastic).

Jhdee 11:40 p.m.  

'A word is enough for the wise'... The more the government remains adamant to common sense the more 'shit' happens to them. Dear Jonathan, its high time you came out of a desperate situation and make a complete return in one sudden burst as my Japanese friends would say and Jeremy strongly implies.

Anonymous,  1:33 a.m.  

It's so great to actually see one article that so totally understands where the occupy nigeria protesters are coming from,rather than spouting rubbish that doesn't relate to the reality on ground..kudos.

Anonymous,  8:58 a.m.  

May God save us from this hot leaders.Amin

Anonymous,  9:22 a.m.  

I beg to differ... Subsidy removal is wot dis contry needs. People sound as if govt is a human being that has been with us since 1999.Give this new govt a chance. Try not to visit d sins of d fada on d children.

Anonymous,  10:39 a.m.  

Government of some 160 million people by a paltry 11 thousand (goons) can't be this expensive to run. Corruption and dishonesty is the bane of our nationhood.

We will wrestle these robbers to the ground. Let them come with stones and sticks and guns, we will come at them with words. We will not cease to speak the world, till we break their spirit.

A.Kuffour,  11:29 a.m.  

According to President Jonathan, in 2010 $13billion was spent to
purchase fuel for self-generation of electricity in Nigeria. That’s
about 6.7% of the 2010 GDP. Not only has the demand for fuel for
self-generation of electricity, since then, grown but the subsidy
removal has now doubled all those costs. What would be the impact of
that on inflation and ultimately on the GDP as the costs of
self-generation of electricity goes over 10%? Everyone seems to be
taking subsidy removal as an economically sound recommendation without
any attempt to assess the particulars.

The Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria displays acute symptoms of
tunnel vision in basing his assessment of the impact of the subsidy
removal on the insignificant weight ascribed to fuel for
transportation in the Consumer Price Index. Sanusi seems incapable of
seeing both the forest and the trees. As far back as October 2011,
about the time the Jonathan govt. began to suggest that it would
remove the subsidy, I looked at possible scenarios after a removal of
the subsidy, exploring the possible impacts on the individuals earning
the proposed, new minimum wage (of course, over 90% of the working age
population won’t be so fortunate to as to earn even that measly sum of
about $110).I used the CPI weights for my projections, and it didn’t
look pretty then. Needless to say, subsequent events have more than
confirmed my calculations. This has given me cause to wonder what
those making policy in Nigeria with the better data that they must
have do to earn their keep.

Implementing that new minimum wage was one of the triggers for the
removal of the fuel subsidy.And, I wonder how the economic hit woman
who has nothing to recommend her beyond being a career technocrat and
‘world renowned Economist’ proposes to solve the problems and fiscal
strains Government would encounter on the expenditure side when actual
prices are higher than budget projections. Okonjo-Iweala should
already be familiar with such fiscal strains. The removal of the fuel
subsidy will do worse to the economy than the benchmark oil price
‘peg’ that undergirded the 2005 & 2006 budgets and which caused so
much deficit financing. It got to a point in 2006 that a supplementary
budget was sent to the National Assembly and the Executive would have
continued to press for the approval of that supplementary budget if
the IMF hadn't prevailed on them to withdraw it at the time.

It isn’t only the people that would experience hardships due to
inflation; Government would, too, in translating its capital vote in
to projects and in working to hit its developmental targets, and since
it's the self same, long suffering people who were meant to benefit
from those projects and safety nets, that would be 'double wahala for
deadi-bodi.' The government seems oblivious to the fact that it is
sawing off the very branch on which it is currently sitting by
removing the fuel subsidy. I guess I must sound ridiculous myself for
pretending the Govt. has any intention to serve the people in any
meaningful way, quite sad but true.

The IMF has been leaning on Nigeria to deregulate and privatize for
over a decade, and the Fund began to see some adoption of the
strategies it suggested with the return to civil rule in 1999.
Although the state had not, and still hasn’t, provided adequate Power,
the IMF continued to urge deregulation beginning with Telecoms,
instead of with Power. Banking has also followed, along the path of
restructuring, and the field of Retail has seen an opening up of its
gates to all comers. Cement manufacture, a major sector of the
Construction industry also saw major privatizations.

A.Kuffour,  11:32 a.m.  

In this period of privatization and deregulation, Nigeria has seen
remarkable GDP growth. Some of that, of course, is due to rising oil
prices. But all that growth has not automatically translated into
Human Development. Growth has, however, resulted in Telecoms, Banking,
Retail and Construction expanding and demanding more fossil fuel for
self-generation of electricity. Herein lies the contradiction in
prescribing the standard medication of deregulation and privatization,
beginning with Telecoms, without first attempting a sound diagnosis of
the particulars of the Nigerian condition.

It fascinates me to no end when recommendations are made for the
privatization of Nigeria’s public institutions where the assets and
revenues have, for all practical purposes, been privatized through
Corruption. There usually is no sign of an awareness that what is
being suggested is a second order action which obeys a different set
of rules from the privatization of ordinary, inefficient public
agencies. A case for deregulation and privatization can be made but I
doubt those should be the priority in Nigeria. Even so, the order in
which the present strategy has been executed is clearly unsustainable.
Furthermore, a sound economic case for the removal of fuel subsidy
still hasn’t been made for Nigeria.

Brazil which also has to grapple with the challenges posed by a
population of over 100million, just like Nigeria, learned the hard way
under Henrique Cardoso that deregulation and privatization are not
magic cures. By the way, Brazil imports about 60% of the gasoline it
consumes locally, similar to Nigeria, but Brazil plans to build 5
refineries, through Petrobras, solely or in joint ventures. The
Nigeria Govt hinges its own hopes for the development of new
refineries on private investment.

There’s already a marked excess capacity for refining globally. Demand
in the first world for petroleum products is already showing the
impacts of recessions, ageing populations, environment friendly
legislation and sentiments, the improvements in the fuel efficiency of
autos and the exploration of alternative energy. Oil industry players
are declaring losses on their refining businesses, closing down
refineries, selling off their refining businesses all due to the
dwindling margins. The UK, Total, Shell, the list goes on, and even
the most cursory research will confirm this.

China, Brazil, the Middle Eastern oil exporters are the ones buying
and building refineries and they are all doing it with heavy
government investment. The Jonathan Govt. which has argued that the
subsidy is the reason why there have been no private investment in new
Nigerian refineries seems to have missed all this.

Considering that other oil producing countries that have withdrawn
their fuel subsidies used to subsidize their citizens’ consumption of
petroleum products to prices below the cost of refining locally and
that Nigeria is subsidizing for the cost of NOT refining, one wonders
what basis for comparison even exists. If the 4 refineries worked the
subsidy would not even be necessary. And one may want to consider the
substantial value of lost GDP that the failure of Govt to operate the
Nigerian refineries optimally has been costing the people of Nigeria.
What Sanusi interprets as an arbitrage opportunity that fosters
smuggling and which he says highlights the difference between Nigeria
and Saudi Arabia, Saudi being surrounded by other oil exporters, is
actually the existence of a legal, ready market for petroleum products
refined locally in Nigeria. Saudi ought to be jealous.

Sam Okedi,  12:26 p.m.  

Thanks J.
You captured the essence of these struggles. Lets speak the hearts of the real Nigerias.
1. A few months ago, Remi Babaloa said NNPC was broke, this government denied it and pushed him out. Do Nigerians remember this episode?
2. Nigerians are not against ‘subsidy removal’. The governenment is not even sure of how much the subsidy is and what percentage goes to corruption.
3. If subsidy removal is just government not paying, then my illiterate mother could be Minister of Finance.
4. Government says there is a cabal and they wont pay them anymore so ordinary Nigerians should pay the cabal. So this is just an abdication of responsibility in so many ways.
5. Government created the cabal that consist of their cronies and friends who import the fuel and also governmnet employees at NNPC!
6. There are so many fallacies:
a. SURE is an abstract of the 2012 budget and can not be regarded as palliatives. What is the role of the so called committtee? Supervising line Ministries to do their job?
b. Reducing the BASIC salary of political appointees by 25% amount to nothing. The basic salary of most political appointees is just about 20% of their total emoluments
c. This is not courage. It is cowardice to run from fighting the strong (cabal) and trampling on the poor ordinary Nigerians.
7. Nigerian want to talk about oil sector deregulation and fuel subsidy as a component part of that, not fuel subsidy as a stand alone subject. Fuel subsidy removal does not equate to sector deregulation. Let this government shows us the blue print of the oil sector deregulation.
8. Why and how has the so called fuel subsidy increased from under 3 billion to 1.3 Trillion in one year under this Jonathan’s government?
9. The size of the subsidy is not the problem. It is just the symptom of the Nigerian problem. You can’t remove the symptom of any disease without dealing with the disease.

Anonymous,  12:36 p.m.  

Congratulations to all failed politicians! This is an opportunity to enjoy your 15munites of fame. I can see failed politicians and previously obscure individuals are seizing the moment. Unfortunately, when all settles, we know who you are: losers!
We voted for Jonathan, we must give him the benefit of at least 2 years in charge as an elected president.
Its amazing how self centred people can be. Who went on strike to protest the oil spills in the Niger Delta? Who protested the high cost of petroleum products in the Riverine communities all these years? Who cares about the thousands in the N/Delta that have lost their lives to oil barons in the past?
The true solution is 100% resource control. Let Bakare,Buhari, and Jeremy encourage local resource generation and stop analysing how the resources of other states should be shared.

Kaka,  12:43 p.m.  

This is a Master Piece, well researched, written and very educative!

Anonymous,  1:06 p.m.  

Congratulations to all failed politicians! This is an opportunity to enjoy your 15munites of fame. I can see failed politicians and previously obscure individuals are seizing the moment. Unfortunately, when all settles, we know who you are: losers!
We voted for Jonathan, we must give him the benefit of at least 2 years in charge as an elected president.
Its amazing how self centred people can be. Who went on strike to protest the oil spills in the Niger Delta? Who protested the high cost of petroleum products in the Riverine communities all these years? Who cares about the thousands in the N/Delta that have lost their lives and livelihood to oil barons in the past?
The true solution is 100% resource control. Let Bakare,Buhari, and Jeremy encourage local resource generation and stop analysing how the resources of other states should be shared.
Shame on you .
All these years fishermen,farmers and families in the N/Delta have been sacrificing for the entire nation. Today certain individuals are manipulating truth to avoid sacrifice.
Let's thinks.

Anonymous,  1:10 p.m.  

Let those in the Northern parts of Nigeria protest over the loss of groundnut pyramids, tomatoe and rice production revenues.
Let those in the West riot over the loss of cocoa revenues.
Let those who produce Oil and suffer the pain of environmental degradation speak louder on these issues. The riots are very minimal in the south east and south south for obvious reasons.

kemmiiii 2:37 p.m.  

Well Said.
http://kemmiiii.com/2012/01/11/dear-gej/

Anonymous,  3:28 p.m.  

Just thinking: when the UNEP report on Ogoni came out, how many labour executives as much as commented or protested? In the heart of the Niger Delta struggle where was Bakare,Buhari,El-Rufai(who rendered many residents of Abuja homeless), and all the self styled activists? Are they not aware that in Riverine communities where oil is produced, fuel is being sold for about 300naira per litre to boat drivers over the years? Who has commented on the Bonga oil spills to date? Everyone is interested in sharing the proceeds from a product that has rendered many homeless, destroyed farming and fishing, impoverished the host communities, led to communal wars etc. As long as they buy at 65/ltr the N/Delta can burn, who cares. This is not a National issue, its a Niger Delta issue. Those outside the region must ask our opinion.

blackys 5:18 p.m.  

thanx who ever wrote dis, God will bless u for this write up. it was candid and I especillay loved the part where the christians and muslims looked out for each other, this is d way we should live inmsteae of allowing our leaders to use religion as a disuniting factor in twearing this country apart while they loot us blind.PEACE AND ALUTA CONTINUA

Nathan,  4:52 a.m.  

@ poster, lets hear your opinions on what Annonymous had been commenting. Please respond cos he is surely speaking the minds of Nigerians like me who are indifferent to this strike action becos the oil subsidy removal is for our good as a country.

Anonymous,  6:31 a.m.  

FANTASTIC PIECE even though i can denote some of your anti-religion sentiments. You are spot on.

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