Kayode Fayemi, former Governor of Ekiti State, has said that the protest against the fuel subsidy removal during former President Goodluck Jonathan’s administration in 2012, by the defunct Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) and other opposition political parties, was basically premised on political interests.
The former governor said this on Tuesday in his keynote address delivered at a national dialogue organised to celebrate the 60th birthday of the founding National Secretary of Alliance for Democracy and Fellow, Abuja School of Social and Political Thought, Professor Udenta Udenta in Abuja.
Speaking at the event attended by former President Jonathan, former education minister, Oby Ezekwesili and former aviation minister, Osita Chidoka, among others, Fayemi said that all political parties in the country agreed and put in their manifesto that the subsidy must be removed but that the ACN played politics with it.
On January 1, 2012, then-President Jonathan announced the removal of fuel subsidy and adjusted the official fuel pump price from N65 per litre to N141, but the opposition political parties unleashed mass protests tagged, ‘Occupy Nigeria’ to kick against it.
The ‘Occupy Nigeria’ mass protests involving opposition political parties, especially the defunct ACN, of which Fayemi was a member, across major cities of the country compelled Jonathan to re-adjust the official fuel pump price to N97 and subsequently to N87 in 2015 at the eve of the 2015 general elections.
However, President Bola Tinubu, who was a prominent member of the ACN, which later merged with other parties to form the All Progressives Congress (APC), announced the removal of fuel subsidy in his inaugural speech on May 29.
According to The PUNCH, Fayemi while condemning what he described as the “winners take all” style in Nigerian politics and democracy, said the challenges facing the country would not be solved unless the country embraced proportional representation.
He noted that the last time Nigeria experienced economic development was during Jonathan’s administration
The former governor was quoted as saying, “Today, I read former President Olusegun Obasanjo’s interview in The Cable saying our liberal democracy is not working and we need to revisit it, and I agree with him. We must move from the political alternatives. I think we are almost on a dead end of that.
“What we need is alternative politics and my own notion of alternative politics is that you can’t have 35 percent of the vote and take 100 percent. It won’t work!
“We must look at proportional representation so that the party that is said to have won 21 percent of the votes will have 21 percent of the government. Adversary politics bring division and enmity.
“All political parties in the country agreed and they even put in their manifesto that the subsidy must be removed. We all said the subsidy must be removed. But we in ACN at the time, in 2012, we know the truth, Sir, but it is all politics.
“That is why we must ensure that everybody is a crucial stakeholder by stopping all these. Let the manifesto of PDP, APC and Labour Party be put on the table and select all those who will pilot the programme from all parties.”