Nigeria Matters

Sustain the Aluta, Combat the Lies

Dear Compatriots,

I sincerely want to use

this opportunity to congratulate ordinary Nigerians on a mental

victory of sort in the past few days of protests against the inhuman

increase in petrol price. I could not believe my eyes seeing

protesters stretch as far as the eye could see, lining up on the

streets of Kano (can you imagine?), Ilorin, Ado Ekiti, Ibadan, Lagos,

Abuja and Warri. It was a sight to behold; Nigerians, peacefully

protesting an inhumane treatment by the rulers!

Many said Nigerians don’t

have it in them (including yours sincerely). But thou confound me!

Nigerians definitely have had it, and they are taking it no more!

This generation is different. This generation has risen up to write

their names in the sands of time; no backing down and no surrender!

In the next few days, our

patience will be tested. This government and her sympathizers will

begin to plant moles in our midst to create chaos and then kill the

protesters. The idea is to discredit the movement; our responsibility

is to resist them. If you find anyone looting or defacing public

property; restrain them pronto and hand them over to the police!

Yes I know this is the

very same police that keep killing our children with no provocation.

Never mind, they are agents of the devils- the true devils that

torment us collectively. Once we show through our efforts that the

police’s wife too (living on minimum wage) will use his garri money

to pay the transport fare to the market too, and then they will join

us. When the police join us, then this government is finished! That

is the goal; never forget that.

In recent times, we have

seen an upsurge in falsehoods and false arguments propagated by the

propaganda machine of the federal government. These disinformations

are particularly effective now that the strike is on and we are all

glued to our TVs. Of course, as the day wears by the goal is to make

our resolve wane by these false arguments. To prevent the planned

disillusionment, we must counter the false

arguments. Here is a list, and we shall add to it as we go, of

falsehoods “your government” is propagating:

Your Government

The Truth in Context

Deregulation is good in telecoms, Banking etc. It

will be good in Petroleum Too – By NESG Chairman, Fred Nweke

(Former Information Minister) & Others

Well, not exactly. Deregulating the marketing of

petroleum (which is usually money losing) and not the upstream

production (where the easy money is) is analogous to government

owning MTN and Globacom, but privatizing sale of recharge cards!

Our right to subsidized petroleum is a derivative of government’s

insistence on managing that asset directly in trust for the

people: who demand it cheaply. Moreover, in developed countries

(like the US) where the price at the pump is deregulated, if you

find oil in your backyard you also own it. In these countries as

well, important resources like food are subsidized. What has the

Nigerian government done for you lately?

Subsidy breeds corruption and the cabal benefits


Governor Sanusi

This argument is basically saying the government

cannot deal with corruption or is not willing to confront their

buddies that are the “cabal”. Was Femi Otedola (the Diesel

Prince) not the biggest sponsor of the President’s ambition in

2011? What happened to prosecution, forensic accounting,

investigations, trial of these cabal for anti-market tactics,

fraud, forgery, tax evasion and perhaps treason? Guess the

President does not take his Chief Security Officer role very


Oil is lower in surrounding markets and if lower

in Nigeria it will lead to leakage – Minister


This argument is preposterous. If this were true,

then refined oil prices will be the same around the world except

for islands! Think about it, every nation have a border and oil

prices vary widely across them because those borders are monitored

for smuggling. If the government cannot do its job, with simple

technology, why should the people pay? Moreover with 75% spent on

overhead, we still cannot find people to guard that border to

avoid seepage? Moreover, these surrounding countries don’t

produce oil. Cameroon that produces mere 85,000 barrels per day,

subsidized petroleum with

Only the Middle &

Upper Class benefit– Governor

Sanusi & Minister Okonjo-Iweala

This argument is bogus. The price of energy

affects everything in every economy and more so in Nigeria. In the

US, for

every 15 naira rise in energy price at the pump, the GDP is

reduced by 0.5%. In Nigeria it will be worse since we are not

just poorer (by many thousands) but also depend on it not just for

transport but power and cooking because our government is inept!

The price of everything, on everybody is going up.

We are borrowing money to pay subsidy –


Jonathan & Mrs. Okonjo-Iweala

This is a big fat lie. The NNPC pays money for

the current subsidies from sale of crude oil directly to PPRA

before the balance is deposited in the Federation Account. Albeit

illegal, this is what the Senate found out. How then can it be

said to be borrowed? If Nigeria is borrowing, it is only because

our political class of less than 10,000 people arrogates 30%

percent of the budget for itself, allocates 45% for its work force

(of about 350,000) and asks the rest of us (149.5 million) to make

do with 25% of the budget which never gets to us!

The money saved by subsidy will be spent on job

creation and infrastructure – President

& Ministers

Again, the previous point they make is the answer

to this. Where will this be saved if the money is borrowed? See,

we received the 2012 budget and they did not indicate any subhead

as SURE Projects or whatever that is called. Fact is the SURE

Initiative was an afterthought. Evidence is slowly emerging that

document was put together hurriedly by his spin doctors, in the

last few weeks to the end of the year before GEJ sprung us a

surprise of the year. By the way, how can a government with 4.3

trillion and no evidence of good spending convince 1.3 trillion

will make a difference? Or a government that cannot even organize

a medal ceremony be trusted with huge infrastructure projects? The

best way to restore the economy is to increase the buying powers

of the people not reduce it by 1.3 trillion naira that will go

into foreign accounts! Tax cuts not increases!

25% cut in salaries of political officers is

sharing the pain- President

Goodluck Jonathan

For one, let us be clear here: basic salaries

amounts to nothing to political officers. They make more from

security votes and allowances than anything else. They get enough

freebies from us including free fuel and house helps; they

basically dash away their salaries. Also, the President has no

such powers to reduce salaries of political officers. They are set

by the Revenue Mobilization and Fiscal Commission (RMAFC) which

sends it to the National Assembly for approval. The President also

did not reflect this reduction in his budget. Nice!

The protests are sponsored and being used to

discredit the government – Reuben

Abati & the Statehouse Press Folks

No, it is the policy that is sponsored: by World

Bank and IMF types. The protesters need no sponsors like the

President and his cabinet does; we have our minds. Being an

opposition politician does not disqualify anyone from voicing

their opinion against arrant policies especially popularly

unpopular ones (emphasis mine). What is the point of being in

opposition anyway?

To the leaders of the

movement, the Save Nigeria Group or the Nigeria Labor Congress or the

Occupy Nigeria movement, it is important to keep the momentum and

think strategically. The enemy is foxy; they have at their disposal

the resources of the state and it is important we undermine that

advantage especially going forward. Education of your followers with

the above rebuttal points is important but that is just part of it.

Motivation will soon run

in few days as the economy of the common grinds to a halt. Food will

run low; energy will run dry. It is important we start thinking now

of how to sustain this movement and to make the government feel the

pain quickly. Allowing commercial activities except those that

provides revenue to the government: i.e. the port, the filling

stations, the airports and oil production etc., to continue while

protests balloon will also ensure maximum impact.

The government of Nigeria

fortunately lives and dies by one resource. This makes them an easy

target. Ask the MEND boys who got the attention of the Federal

Government by doing the same targeting albeit in a more innocuous

ways. We should be planning on how to shut in as much oil production

as possible. Make it impossible for the IOCs to service their wells,

onshore or offshore. Ban the lifting and transport of materials to

support oil production. Block the operations of the big energy

players and see the federal government go literally broke in one

week! The earlier this gets done, the quicker the outstanding issues

will be resolved.

The Nigeria Labor

Congress and Civil Society must flex its muscle, and remind this

government where the true power resides: with the people! Indeed,

dialogue is always welcome; this only after the government reverts to

the status quo of sixty five naira per liter. Once this is

established, we can begin having a conversation on sacrifices.

Perhaps if it is only 25% of their salary political officers are

willing to put on the table, then we too will only manage a 25%

increase in fuel increase: that yields =N=81.25; Hmm…

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