Rising from an emergency meeting at Enugu on the theme – Nigeria the way forward – bearing in mind the incoming General Muhammadu Buhari (GMB)’s administration and the dislocated economy, the Conference of Nigerian Political Parties (CNPP) said it disagrees with some postulations on how to fix Nigeria, especially the free market axis chorused by former British Prime Minister, Tony Blair.
‘Our fear is that those who propound the nebulous economic policy that government has no business in business: which simulated pervasive corruption, created huge inequality gap and pauperised our people are at it again. For us in the CNPP, what they call business is what we call critical infrastructure, which is the soul of our development.’
In his speech at the All Progressives Congress (APC)’s seminar titled – Implementing Change from Vision to Reality – Mr Blair urged GMB, to ‘Take advantage of that goodwill that comes with being elected to take difficult decisions that may inflict immediate pain, but in the long-term interest the country and government’.
Going further, Mr Blair cited Indonesia as an example where President Joko Widodo removed Oil Subsidy, ‘One of the first thing he did when he was inaugurated in October was to smash Indonesia’s hugely expensive and inefficient, yet popular fuel subsidy’
In the CNPP’s statement of disagreement, signed by Mr Osita Okechukwu, spokesman of the group stated, ‘It is our considered view that the issue of Oil Subsidy in Nigeria to a large extent differs from the one in Indonesia or other countries for that matter; in our own case the issue is pure and simple unbridled corruption. Our position is that there is little or no subsidy. Nigerians have suffered enough and do not need more impoverishment. Secondly, we have implicit confidence that GMB will wage a strident war against corruption in the oil and other sectors. Our vote for him was predicated on his uncommon integrity and antecedent of an anti-graft warlord.’
‘It may interest Mr Blair and those champions of subsidy removal, if it exists at all, that from 2010 to 2013 Budget years, the subsidy tariff rose astronomically from N680m to N2.6tr, can this pass any prudent and genuine forensic financial scrutiny? Or can GMB support such travesty?’
‘Our worry in the CNPP is that a lot of economic theories are being woven around with utter disregard to GMB’s innate economic policy stand-point, which is transparently pro-people; hence his celestial bond with the Nigerian masses.’ Mr Okechukwu retorted.
‘Are they telling us that the new refineries GMB pledged in his campaign will not come on stream or is impossible? This is a man that built the Warri and Kaduna refineries as Minister of Petroleum and we have implicit confidence that he will fulfill his pledge. We can boldly proclaim that he is not President Goodluck Jonathan who on 13th May 2010 awarded 3 Greenfield Refineries to a Chinese firm at $23bn and abandoned the project the next day.’
‘What we sincerely plead with Mr Tony Blair and co, is to assist GMB to source for genuine Foreign Direct Investment for critical infrastructure in Nigeria. For as late icon, Professor Chinua Achebe wrote in his seminal treatise – Trouble with Nigeria – the character of one man could establish that quantum change in a people’s social behaviour ……….. .that social miracles can happen.’
‘Finally, Mr Blair should not forget that not immediate pain; but Foreign Direct Investment from Charles Yerkes, JP Morgan and co, which revolutionized the London Underground railway system, in the last century.’