USAfrica DEBATE series on NIGERIA’S FUEL SUBSIDY CONTROVERSY:
“President Jonathan’s decision removing fuel subsidy is right and timely for our country” -says Dr. I.B. Usoro
USAfrica, Houston: The volume of the raging debate and protests against Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan’s decision to withdraw the fuel-petroleum subsidy and the attendant strong opposition to the
move are running almost 10-1 against the move.
One of those who is not an official of government but holds a very firm view in support of the President’s decision is Dr. I.B Usoro, chairman of Miden Systems Ltd. He’s a Texas licensed attorney and an Abuja-based businessman in Nigeria’s oil and gas sector. Usoro is a graduate of the Thurgood Marshall school of law (Texas Southern University, Houston) where he made it summa cum laude in 1991; and a bachelor of Business Administration from the Clinton School of Business of the Wichita State University in Kansas, in 1985.
On Tuesday afternoon January 10, 2012, he visited the editorial headquarters of USAfrica in Houston to discuss the controversial issue with USAfrica’s Publisher Dr. Chido Nwangwu. Excerpts:
Chido/USAfrica: Welcome back to USAfrica; what’s your main point, today?
Usoro: It’s about the issue of the withdrawal of the fuel subsidy and Nigerians. I have followed the reports on USAfricaonline.com and its various blogs especially Nigeria360 at yahoogroups, and other media in Nigeria and abroad.
My key issue is that I strongly believe that President Goodluck Jonathan should stay the course on the
withdrawal of the fuel subsidy because he made the right decision. I think he also made this decision at the right time. Those who claim otherwise do not know what they are talking about because they forget Nigeria is losing money to frauds in the name of fuel subsidy. He should be firm and sincere on his proper decision to withdraw the fuel subsidy.
As far as I’m concerned, it’s President Jonathan’s new year’s gift to Nigerians.
Chido/USAfrica: IF you and the President are right, why are Nigerians so overwhelming in their opposition and demonstrations against this new year’s gift?
Usoro: Most of the demonstrators don’t have the right information. Those who oppose it don’t have the right information. Some of them know better but support the demonstrations. The demonstrators should call on their new friends, namely the Soyinkas and the Babangidas to ask the House to demand that the proper appropriation/law for subsidy be funded.
Chido/USAfrica: As you’re aware, some Nigerian youths have been killed by Police and security agencies over the fuel-petroleum subsidy demonstration.
Usoro: I think that the Nigerian labour’s demonstrations fueled and led to the deaths of those Nigerians.
Chido/USAfrica: Really; are you serious?
Usoro: Yes, I am serious. The labour organizations, planners and leaders of these demonstrations are responsible for the deaths of those Nigerians and not President Jonathan and his security team.
Chido/USAfrica: Where’s the role of the NNPC in the whole palaver?
Usoro: The subsidy itself was a fraud; and it’s the major part of the fraud in the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, NNPC. It is the N1.4 trillion worth of fraud, annually, that the President has eliminated without celebrations.
Chido/USAfrica: Why should the fuel subsidy be withdrawn at this time — without any cushioning and transitioning mechanisms?
Usoro: Question of timing is the individual prerogative of any president. President Jonathan thinks this is the right time to do it. He’s right. When will it ever be the right time to discontinue it? We’ve been at this for 20 years; we should salute the courage of the President for stopping the fraud of fuel subsidy. Is there a date certain that organized labour will find it acceptable?
Chido/USAfrica: Are you indifferent to the facts on the ground in terms of the mood and expression of popular opposition to the president’s decision?
Usoro: I’m not indifferent and it’s sad some people have died, and the security should be more careful. The president must leave no one in doubt that this is an irreversible action.
USAfrica, December 17, 2011: IF any of the Nigerian President’s 100 advisers has the polite courage for the extraordinary task of reminding His Excellency of his foremost, sworn, constitutional obligation to the national interest about security and safety of Nigerians and all who sojourn in Nigeria, please whisper clearly to Mr. President that I said, respectfully: Nigerians, at home and abroad, are still concerned and afraid for living in what I call Nigeria’s Federal Republic of Insecurity. FULL text of commentary at USAfricaonline.com http://usafricaonline.com/2011/12/17/nigeria-federal-republic-of-insecurity-by-chido-nwangwu/
USAfrica: Nigeria Christmas day bomb blasts, killings open door to deal with key problems. By Dr. Victor Ide-Okoye
Related insight: USAfrica’s October 17, 2001 special report/alert: Nigeria’s bin-Laden cheerleaders could ignite religious war, destabilize Africa. By USAfrica’s Publisher Chido Nwangwu. http://usafricaonline.com/chido.binladennigeria.html
310 killed by Nigeria’s ‘talibans’ in Bauchi, Yobe n Maiduguri; crises escalate. USAfricaonline.com on July 28, 2009. www.usafricaonline.com/chido.ngrtalibans09.html
News archives related to Jos, here http://usafricaonline.com/?s=jos
USAfrica: As Egypt’s corrupter-in-chief Mubarak slides into history’s dustbin. By Chido Nwangwu. http://usafricaonline.com/2011/01/30/chido-nwangwu-as-egypt-corrupter-in-chief-mubarak-slides-into-historys-dustbin-egyptians-not-waiting-for-obama-and-united-nations/