Tuesday, 10 January 2012 12:35

Jonathan's Leadership on Oil Subsidy Amputation Policy Is On 'A Free RICO PIE' SCALE

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The government just applied an alcohol (iodine) on fresh wounds on the fragile skin of most Nigerians and thought that an average Nigerian understood the erudite theories on oil subsidy removal. Possibly when Nigeria leaders realize that Nigerians are more interested in practical approaches to their teething challenges in the country, they will add EMPATHY to their qualities that their policies should never be a 'one man show'. The EMOTIONAL MATURITY of the President to be sensitive to needs, feelings, and motivations of Nigerians is on the test scale.

Mummy, Mummy, my stomach hurts', a six-year old boy seems to be telling his Mother when he returns from School; Mummy, a 'Domestic Minister', who could not work for some health reasons, looks so dejected, and unhappy. The son would repeat, 'I am hungry Mummy'. Tears run through Mummy's cheeks. The father returns from work and met both of them on the scene. 'Daddy, Daddy, what do you bring for me from work?' the son would ask. The breadwinner of the family looks much tensed and could not alter a single word because he has just been laid off from work.

That seems to be the situation in Nigeria with very high rate of unemployment, dignifying poverty level, poor health with no food on the table as the Landlord is very quick in issuing the family with an eviction notice for not paying their rents.

Leadership at any level from Supervisor to the World President is hinged on Conflict Management, and how well we manage Human Behavior which comes in colors, shapes and sizes, putting Jonathan leadership skills on 'A FREE RICO PIE' scale.

The announcement by the Petroleum Products Pricing Regulatory Agency (PPPRA) on withdrawal of petroleum subsidy, effective January 1, 2012 is ill advised, untimely, sporadic; a good decision with abhorrent boorish implementation. What a welcoming Happy New Year to the sufferings of most Nigerians as prizes of goods in Nigeria have astronomically gone up.

Reactions from Nigerians should not surprise any bamboozle to find out that the prize of what was paid for before retiring to bed was more than doubled the following morning. Should we blame the advisers for not telling the President how Nigerians would react negatively if the removal was not done progressively, 10%, 20%, 40%, 60%, 80%, till it reaches 100% so that people would not feel the pinch too much; that is in addition in dealing with the beneficiaries. Nigerians would not just sit down and accept the sporadic jump of prizes on commodities that affect them.

Jonathan is on 'A FREE RICO PIE' leadership scale. For details of this scale, log on to http://nigeriaworld.com/columnist/ajayi/040302.html.

Nigerians need a leader with a convincing COURAGE to make decisions and act boldly in the face of setback and adversity, and assumes responsibility for those actions. Jonathan has been tagged as a weakling whose decisions have been reversed in the past on some national issues. How well can Jonathan sustain this decision on oil subsidy removal?

The government just applied an alcohol (iodine) on fresh wounds on the fragile skin of most Nigerians and thought that an average Nigerian understood the erudite theories on oil subsidy removal. Possibly when Nigeria leaders realize that Nigerians are more interested in practical approaches to their teething challenges in the country, they will add EMPATHY to their qualities that their policies should never be a 'one man show'. The EMOTIONAL MATURITY of the President to be sensitive to needs, feelings, and motivations of Nigerians is on the test scale.

Oil subsidy removal in Nigeria, to an average Nigerian, is that the Federal Government has more than doubled the fuel prize from N65.00 to N146.00 per litre. In effect the Government needs some serious work to convince Nigerians the removal of the highly corruption infected oil subsidy have enriched some individuals.

The beneficiaries freely got away with their 'benefits', which are supposed to reduce the suffering of the masses. Most Nigerians believe that oil subsidy has been a witty way of how Nigerian leaders 'neatly' filch from the public treasury.

Glaringly, Nigerian Government is fuelling corruption at a whooping cost of N1.3 trillion subsidy for political patronages at the expense of the poverty ridden Nigerians. Local refinery is hard to establish as the infrastructure is not there to support it, and it is higher than the cost of imported products, since the pipelines are vandalized. Nigeria has been infected with corruption, poor infrastructure, leakages across the border that make neighboring West African countries feed fat on fake importation of oil because Nigeria has very cheap petrol through smuggling.

Nothing would seem to be wrong with the oil subsidy removal as painted by Finance Minister and the revelation from the Senate of those benefitting from the Oil subsidy in a country where things work. Unfortunately nothing works in Nigeria. Sacrifices the Government seem to be asking Nigerians could be fruitless if there is no sacrifice coming from the Government.

Citizens would sacrifice for a country that takes care of its citizens, give them regular power supply, get help when they are ill in a very clean Hospital with adequate equipment and very friendly medical personnel; in a country where you can walk on the street at any time of the day without being molested by men and women of underworld; getting anywhere you wish to go on time with ease among other essentials of human needs.

The rot in the Nigerian Government is unexplainable as Nigerian past leaders have abused the opportunities to make life better for an average Nigerian. They concentrated more in enriching their pockets, without engaging on charity programs that could benefit an average poor Nigerian. The National Assembly, the incubator of corruption, has infected all other Government agencies.

What Nigerians are saying to Jonathan Administration in a plain language, is that the oil subsidy removal is untimely and not ripe for now. It has to be done gradually with enough unadulterated Education to rebuild peoples' confidence in their Government. An average Nigerian does not trust any level of Nigerian Government, being Local, State or Federal.

Nigerians need real education on this oil subsidy removal, not the threat from the revolutionaries under the cover of their professions, Evangelist, Banker, Journalist, among others. The government need to sponsor conferences on the oil subsidy removal. We have been told of the cabals that are seriously benefitting from the oil subsidy, and what Government would do, or could do with the oil subsidy money. All that do not inform Nigerians well enough to agree with the removal. Already Nigerians are crying that they are paying too much on the gas, how much more of paying more with the government not doing enough to improve the roads and other oil related products in Nigeria.

Most Nigerians are of the opinion that the running of the Nigerian Government is too much, and Nigerians do not trust the good intention of the Cabinet. Why is the cost of governance so high in Nigeria that about 95% of our resources are allocated to less than 5% of the population? Members of the National Assembly heavy perks should be reduced to the barest minimum. They are questioning how should David Mark goes home annually with N600 million which could as well provide good education in his home Benue State.

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Since Jonathan has vowed to take the option of social revolt from Nigerians than back down on his plan to withdraw the subsidy on fuel removed the oil subsidy, 'Be careful what you ask for', they say. What Jonathan asked for has started happening with protesters gathering momentum at the Eagle Square in Abuja and across the country and abroad. There are reports of sporadic protests in other cities around Nigeria as activists vow to shut down Nigeria over the increase in gasoline prices. It is bound to make life more unbearable for a country where most citizens live on less than $3 a day.

Jonathan will be better of by educating the Country the reasons for the removal. It is no show of POWER for him to be ready to face a mass revolt. Governance is about Conflict and Human Behavior Management. Nigerians are already facing hard times on the fuel increment; motorists are paying more to cover the loss.

You can read poverty on the faces of an average Nigerian that could hardly feed on two meals a day with an average income of $3.00 per day. A shoe maker is happy making about N1, 000.00 a day. Nigeria as the sixth largest oil producer in the world is yet to be among the countries with cheapest gas at the pump. Nigerians feel that they should not pay much for fuel on the poor decrepit roads which could not equate what Awolowo built in decades past. Nigerians need jobs; the government should fix the refineries, reduce importation and stop making Nigeria a consumer country.

Most Nigerians in their wisdom are of the opinion that there is no petrol subsidy in Nigeria, as the Serving Overseer, the Latter Rain Assembly; Pastor Tunde Bakare would say

"What Nigerians are paying for is the inefficiency and pathological laziness of the government and not subsidy on fuel that is widely bandied about. What Nigerians are paying for is kleptomania in government; it is the cost of alternative importation of fuel. Government should stop using the weapon of mass deception to deceive the people."

Nigeria Labour Unions and civil society groups have been warming

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 up for confrontation with the government for the removal of oil subsidy. The President believes that cutting fuel subsidies would free up more than a trillion naira yearly for infrastructure development. The Nigerian Labor Congress has been receiving government subsidy for paying Nigerian workers when they return from strikes for the job that was never done; and also for supporting the Unions by deducting Union fees directly from their salaries. The world is watching if actually there is real leader in Nigeria when it comes to the Nigerian Labor Union. 

Mere identification of about 100 companies that shared about N3.655 trillion meant for petroleum subsidy in the country in the last five years is not enough. If Nigerians are to go through another milestone of sufferings in 2012, the oil companies MUST go through hell as well for justice. The time that they would go with the oil money should end for Nigerians to know that the Government of the day is serious in getting Nigeria back on track.

The beneficiaries of the oil subsidy like the Chief Executive Officer of Con Oil, Mike Adenuga, Chief Executive Officer of Oando, Wale Tinubu; Chairman, Honey Well Group of Companies, Oba Otudeko, Chairman, Folawiyo Group, Chief Wahab Iyanda Folawiyo, among others, should cough out whatever they have consumed from oil subsidy that did not get to the masses. The Government should use the returns to construct and maintain the roads, provide good health care for the country, improve the infrastructure and make sure every home have telephone system, not the brain cancer producing cell or hand phones Nigerians jolly about.

Minister of Information, Labaran Maku, the megaphone of the Federal Government now, in 1988 as the President of the Student Union University of Jos, he kicked against Babangida administration, on the removal o oil subsidy. He stated then that "a subsidy removal is a crime against Nigerian Masses and a war against the poor." But today, the Nigerian Information Minister is saying "oil subsidy removal is long overdue."

As predicted by Dr. Reuben Abati in 2009, if oil subsidy is removed, "Soon, We shall all be trekking", some Nigerian workers have started to trek to work to safe their hard earned Naira.

Dr. Reuben Abati, as Editorial Board Chairman of the Guardian Newspaper stated in January 3, 2009, that

"...No matter how attractive the removal of subsidy in the downstream sector may be, this is not the time to do it. And this is not how to go about it. Now again we pay the price for poor leadership. What is being planned is provocative. It is an invitation to chaos..."

In January 2012, as the Presidential Spokesperson for Jonathan, states that the removal of fuel subsidy must be accepted by the people "It is not just that government wants to ram deregulation down the throat of people." How things fell apart and difficult for the center to hold.

While working on the domestic refinery, the Government should think of various fuel Grade levels; Ordinary, Medium Grade, and Super Grade as against the single high level Grade of Super Unleaded. You have to pay for which level of gas you want for your vehicle as the Super Unleaded performs utmost best in vehicles.

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Government should in the first instance curb its wastes, make the refineries functional and ensure accountability with verifiable audit in petroleum sector, tackle monumental and cancerous corruption in the downstream sector of Oil and Gas operations and other sectors of the economy. When late Awolowo stated during his campaign in 1979 that he would not engage on unproductive foreign trips for the first two years in office, it did not go well with some hardcore Nigerians then. The current day government MUST stop frolicsome foreign trips; using savings from these trips to address the palliatives in the subsidy reinvestment empowerment program, will be welcomed by Nigerians.

Nigerians are awaiting the outcome of the President's Speech of January 7, 2012 that he

"have a duty to bring up policies and programmes that will grow the economy and bring about greater benefits for the people; by cutting the size and cost of governance… reduce the size of our recurrent expenditure and increase capital spending. Cutting down on "overseas travels by all political office holders, including the President …the size of delegations on foreign trips will also be drastically reduced", approving "…only trips that are absolutely necessary …"

In addition

"the basic salaries of all political office holders in the Executive arm of government will be reduced by 25%;" while "reviewing the number of committees, commissions and parastatals with overlapping responsibilities." while "all Ministries, Departments and Agencies must reduce their overhead expenses."

altPossibly removal of the subsidy will take a bite on corruption while the reinvestment of the oil subsidy will bring more employment by improving

"in national infrastructure, power supply, transportation, irrigation and agriculture, education, healthcare, and other social services, is in the best interest of our people." Any robust mass transit intervention program must be duly monitored "in partnership with state and local governments, labour unions, transport owners, and banking institutions, and supported with the provision of funding at zero interest rate as well as import duty waiver on all needed parts for locally-made mass transit vehicles, which will create additional jobs in the economy."

Jonathan's Leadership is on 'A FREE RICO PIE' scale.

SO HELP US GOD!!!

 

Professor Femi Ajayi is Head, Political Science and Public Administration Department, Babcock University, Ilishan-Remo, Ogun State

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Femi  Ajayi Ph.D

Femi Ajayi was born in Obboland, Ekiti Local Government, Kwara State, Nigeria. After his Elementary Education he moved to Ilorin where he attended Bishop Smith Memorial Teacher's College, and College of Education. He spent his adult life, attending Schools and Teaching in Ilorin before moving to the United States of America.

He is an Executive Director, Office of Secretary of State, Atlanta, Georgia. Prior to that he worked with the Georgia Legislative Black Caucus, Atlanta, Georgia as a Legislative Consultant. During his tenure with the GLBC, he successfully co-developed three major projects for the GLBC: Peach State Black Tourism Association; Institute of Technology Transfer; and Minority Economic Development. These three projects created opportunities for minorities, especially African Americans, to economically empower themselves in the State of Georgia. Dr. Ajayi is also a consultant, on leadership, for the National Conference of Black Mayors, Inc., Atlanta, Georgia. The program, Leadership Institute for Mayors (LIM), is an annual one-week program designed to train newly elected Black Mayors on governance. The program entices officials from both private and public sectors, providing information on available sources of Grants and other information that could help them accomplish their goals as public officials.

He has to his background teaching experience at Clark Atlanta University; Served as Chairman, Social Science Department, Ebon International Preparatory Academy, Forsyth, Georgia. He taught at Government Secondary School Bama, old Borno State, during his National Youth Service Corps, Government secondary School, Afon, Kwara State, and at Ijan Otun Anglican Elementary School, Ijan-Otun, Kwara State.

He is the Chairman Advisory Board, African Quest Newspaper, Atlanta, Georgia; Advisory Board Chair, Nigerian Youth Alliance, Atlanta, Georgia. Dr. Femi Ajayi was elected to the Southside Healthcare Board of Directors, Atlanta, Georgia, from 1992 - 2000: Board Secretary in 1994 and Board Chair from 1995 -1999. It has an annual budget of over $14 million. Dr. Ajayi also served in the Student Senate (1981-1984) and Vice President, Nigerian Students Union, 1983 -1984, at the University of Central Oklahoma, Edmond, Oklahoma. Under his leadership, Southside witnessed tremendous improvement in quality community health services.

Dr. Femi Ajayi has received many honors, including an Outstanding Georgia Citizen, Secretary of State, Atlanta, Georgia, a Community Service Award, from the Georgia Legislative Black Caucus, Atlanta, Georgia; All American Scholar Award, United States Achievement Academy.

His public appearance includes Radio and Television interviews on Nigerian issues. Dr. Ajayi belongs to numerous non-profit Associations, Board member of other four Health Care Associations in Atlanta, Georgia.

Dr. Femi Ajayi received his Ph.D. degree in Political Science from Clark Atlanta University, Georgia, with concentration in American Government, International Relations, African Politics, and Public Administration. His M. A. is in International Relations with concentration in Global Conflict Resolution and B.A. in Public Service from the University of Central Oklahoma, Edmond, Oklahoma. He obtained his National Certificate in Education with concentration in West African History, Geography, Philosophy and Psychology, he is happily married with four children.