More than Subsidy

For those who remain hard and solid on the view that the former price must be reverted to because of the hardships that would be felt and until the time is right for the removal seem to be missing the big picture to me. We could go back to the former price and be satisfied with the crumbs from the table falling to us in the form of subsidy, while the corruption in the system, not just the petroleum sector, and the fat pay politicians receive continue. On the other hand, we could take this agreed price and continue to apply pressure to bring accountability and transparency in government, a reduction in size and expenditure and for them to deliver on their promises. Like I mentioned in a previous article of mine, fuel subsidy removal has galvanised the people to begin to speak up louder on issues beyond just fuel subsidy, but on the larger, surrounding issues. Receiving dividends of governance in fuel subsidies is a low-hanging fruit, and while we concentrate on that one, we could end up missing the higher, juicier fruits.

In the scenario where government reverses itself completely and we go back to N65/litre, the strike ends, the protests stop and we all go back to life, happy to have scored a victory, albeit a pyrrhic one. However, the pressure the government has been feeling to reform itself would be gone, and it will be back to business as usual for them. But with this scenario, the anger if properly channelled would go a long way to making government open up and reform, as we can see that already happening with the small starts they have made. Rather than us being non-negotiable on the price of N65/litre, we should shift that to being non-negotiable with good and accountable governance. This is because under the current situation, even N30/litre is too expensive with this level of bad governance. Change, especially the sustainable, positive one, does not instantaneously. We should applaud every small progress, yet without taking our eyes off the desired destination and any attempt to veer off track must be resisted. This change works for me, as far as the big picture vision is concerned. This article was written for NigeriansTalk, an personal opinion on Nigerians issues and problems we are facing daily.