Subsidy Removal: The Way to Go

By Ernest Omoarelojie
Executive Editor,

The language representatives of the Nigerian speak on subsidy removal is not meant for the majority of Nigerians. It is not for the pepper and tomato hawker, the driver on daily run, the man on a fixed monthly pay check, all of whom have very dynamic and evolving commitments but limited wherewithal. Certainly not.

The language is still for those who get kicks from confusing average Nigerians exotic words mainly because they seem not to understand the wide turf between the elitist style they have always held on to and the average Nigerian perception, the street one which is always repulsed when thus approached. It’s been the right advertisement for a caretaker’s ignorance.

For the now, the language employed or deployed by government representatives is still too exotic for the the people on the street-the fish sellers and particularly house wives, who will have to face their husbands with limited incomes and present to them market realities. You need not be reminded that being pressured and boxed-up with anger arising from economic pressure, the outcome can be unpredictably catastrophic. These people see punishment in hearing about any rise in fuel pump price, government’s only advert for justifying the need for subsidy removal. It is gross.

They will need to up the ante by understanding the dilemma of the average Nigerian. One is that they do not understand why we have so much but don’t have access to as much benefits arising therefrom. They won’t listen to any subsidy removal talk as long as government representatives are unable, for whatever reason, to produce more convincing explanations with regards to why Nigeria chose to refine her crude in countries that ordinarily, should depend on her. No, they won’t.

Government representatives need to wear idea-yielding caps to be able to reach and convince real Nigerians with the real message because at the moment, they only talk about the need for subsidy removal without explaining the point about why Nigerians appear to live in the past. The whole scenario reminds the country’s younger and harder hit genetations of how Nigerians were compelled to live in precolonial days, when everyone watched in wonder as the country’s minders took her raw cocoa abroad, where it is turned to Bournvita and imported back to them at ten times what it would have cost the country to strip it down locally into the tea we need. This group won’t buy the new subsidy call, appealing as it looks. No, they won’t. Not when Nigeria now take her crude oil to countries that should rely on her, to be refined into usable fuels before being shipped back to Nigerians at prices too ridiculous to comprehend. They will want to know why there are no new refineries in place of the old ones. They will ask to know what the case will be if those who now refine Nigerian crude oil also refuse to build refineries.

Do you have believable responses to questions for which Nigerians want real answers? Check again because you need to convince them that Nigerians need subsidy removal much more they want working refineries while depending on others’ whims to process our crude oil. They will want to know why government thinks more about removing fuel subsidy rather than putting the refining structures right. They will want to know why government keeps talking about right pricing without righting the production options. That is what Nigerians want answers to before any talk about subsidy removal. Government, damn well, need to tell them now. Government representatives must be believable or be damned. The other option is to zip up.

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