2012 Letter Tinubu Wrote to Force Jonathan Reverse Oil Subsidy Removal, Critics Review

2012 Letter Tinubu Wrote to Force Jonathan Reverse Oil Subsidy Removal, Critics Review
Goodluck Jonathan and Bola Ahmed Tinubu
January 2012 was very tough for Nigerians as the President of the country, then, Goodluck Ebele Jonathan, removed the oil subsidy.

The removal of the oil subsidy was contained in the nationwide broadcast given by [former] President Jonathan's New Year message to Nigerians. It was a decision taken at a very tough time and when Nigerians were settled to receive "good messages" from his speech, just as the Nation's economy continued to slide down following the 2010 global economic meltdown.

People wanted to hear messages of promises, relief, and most especially fall in the pump price of petroleum but [former] President Jonathan agreed with his economic team to remove the bottleneck of Nigerian economic woes, oil subsidy. However, nationwide protests and critical letters from respected stakeholders in the country, including a letter from [the current President of Nigeria] Bola Ahmed Tinubu, forced [former] President Jonathan to drop the idea, chew and swallow the regurgitated rot as he returned the country's economy to the regime of oil subsidy, all within a month.

Still going by the Letter written by Tinubu to Jonathan on January 11, 2012, describing the economic decision taken by Jonathan with sorts of left words, some Nigerians condemn President Tinubu for removing the same oil subsidy he criticized and discouraged Jonathan from sustaining.

Even though some of the current cabinet members of Tinubu have, recently, reacted to the scenario they allegedly say "Tinubu did not have enough information about Nigerian economy as of 2012, he would have supported the idea," there are facts to disagree with such conclusion. Tinubu had enough knowledge of the country's economy and he stated it in the letter. However, there are conditions Tinubu set for Jonathan, and he even specifically agreed that the oil subsidy regime will have to be retired, one day.

Tinubu's decision on May 29th, 2023 to remove the oil subsidy was a brilliant idea and a clue to a belief that he was not under the control of any economic slave master as he accused Jonathan in his letter.

On the removal of the oil subsidy, both Jonathan (including his economic team) and Tinubu had brilliant ideas both timing, doggedness, and strategies for sustaining the policy differentiate the duo.

Tinubu was able to give no room for the constitution of a committee that could have been bought at any price by the oil subsidy beneficiaries and, also, decided to break the news of his oil subsidy removal when Nigerians were not expecting him to say anything regarding oil. All they were expecting from him on May 29th, 2023 were a series of promises that analysts would have spent months to digest and discuss, however, he brought up the topic that boxed many analysts into a corner where they took time to understand the consequences of his action.

With Tinubu's power to convince the people, which arguably placed him ahead of Jonathan on this policy, he was able to welcome, listen to, entertain, and win the hearts of every leader who sincerely wanted the oil subsidy regime to be returned by him for people's welfare.

Reading through, again, a letter written 12 years ago by Bola Ahmed Tinubu, titled "Removal of Oil Subsidy: President Jonathan Breaks Social Contract With the People", it could be deduced that all Jonathan needed to sustain the policy was the ability to convince the interested elites, irrespective of their political parties, and working out "good timing" to take the decision when expectations were not as high.

The letter written on January 11th, 2012 by [President] Bola Ahmed Tinubu to [former President] Goodluck Jonathan to protest and seek reversal of the oil subsidy regime, thus, read:

"As Nigerians gathered with family and friends to celebrate the New Year, the federal government was baking a national cake wrapped in the scheme that would instantly make the New Year a bitter one. Barely had the public weaned itself from last year when the government dropped a historic surprise on an unsuspecting nation. PPPRA issued a statement abolishing the fuel subsidy. By this sly piece of paper, the federal government breached the social contract with the people.

"This government, which owes its very existence to the people’s desire to be governed by someone more humble than elitist, has turned its back on the collective will. By bureaucratic fiat, the government made the most fateful economic decision any administration has made since the inception of the Fourth Republic and it has done so with an arrogant wave of the hand as if issuing a minor regulation. Because of the terrible substance of the decision and the haughty style of its enactment, the people feel betrayed and angry.

"At this moment, we know not to where this anger will lead. In good conscience, we pray against violence. Also in good conscience, it is the duty of every citizen to peacefully demonstrate and record their opposition to this draconian measure that is swiftly crippling the economy more than it will ever cure it.
By taking this step, the government has tossed the people into the depths of the midnight sea.

"Government demands the people swim to safety under their own power, claiming the attendant hardship will build character and add efficiency to the national economy. It is easy to make these claims when one is dry and onshore. The government would have us believe that every hardship it manufactures for the people to endure is a good thing. This is a lie. The hardships they thrust upon the poor often bear no other purpose than to keep them poor. This is such a time.

"I am not calling President Jonathan an evil man. I do not believe he is perverse. However, the economic ideas controlling him are so misguided that they have a perverse impact. Because he is a slave to wrong-headed economics, the people will become enslaved to greater misery. This crisis will bear his name and will be his legacy.

"The people now pay a steep tax for voting him into office. The removal of the subsidy is the “Jonathan tax.” This situation shows that ideas count more than personalities. People may occupy office but how that person performs depends on the ideas that occupy his mind.

"Though someday, Nigeria will have to remove the subsidy, the time to do it is not now.

"This subsidy removal is ill-timed and violates the condition precedent necessary before such a decision is made.

"First, the government needs to clean up and throw away the salad of corruption in the NNPC. Then, proceed to lay the foundation for a mass transit system in the railways and road network with long-term bonds and fully develop the energy sector towards revitalizing Nigeria’s economy and easing the burden any subsidy removal may have on the people.

"But we know this is about more than the fuel subsidy. It is about the government’s ideas on the role of money in bettering the lives of people, about the relationship between the government and the people, and about the primary objective of the government’s interaction with the economy. It is about whom, among the Nigeria’s various social classes, does government most values. This is why the public reaction has been heated. It is not so much that people have to spend more money. It is because people feel short-changed and sold out.

"Government seeks to convince us that the Jonathan tax is an unavoidable decision mandated by immutable economic principles. If you accept their premise, you must agree with their conclusion.

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Tag: 2012 Letter Tinubu Wrote to Force Jonathan Reverse Oil Subsidy Removal Critics Review
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Published 2/16/2024 3:04:14 PM

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