By Alex Enumah in Abuja
As criticism and anger continues to rage across the country over the recent increase in price of Premium Motor Spirit (PMS), a human right and good governance advocacy Initiative – Make A Difference [MAD] has demanded unreserved apology from the sponsors and active participants in the 2012 “Occupy Nigeria” following the increment of PMS by then President Goodluck Jonathan.
MAD specifically insisted that President Muhammadu Buhari, Bola Ahmed Tinubu, Nasiru El-Rufai and Pastor Tunde Bakare must tender the apology particularly as a result of the current economic hardship, the current administration had foisted on the Nigerian People by the recent removal of fuel subsidy.
MAD said whereas it was demanding for unreserved apology from Buhari over his breach of the peoples’ trust by dramatically removing the fuel subsidy which he had earlier said he saw no need to remove, Tinubu and El-Rufai on the other hand, ought to apologise to Nigerians for canvassing support for the removal of the same subsidy which they vehemently opposed and sponsored the grinding to a halt of the nation through a mass protest in 2012.
A statement signed by the Executive Director of MAD, Lemmy Ughegbe said, “President Buhari initially saw no need to remove fuel subsidy. When he later saw that need, knowing he rode on the trust of the people to power, he ought to have carried the people along by patiently engaging the people directly and through his publicists. He did so when he wanted the votes of Nigerians. He acted like he was the peoples’ person. Should he not do that now that he is in power? Instead Buhari acted in brazen disregard of the people. He owes Nigerians apology for that shock treatment.
“Tinubu, El-Rufai and Bakare played pivotal role in bringing the Goodluck Jonathan led government to its knees during the ‘Occupy Nigeria’ mass protest against the removal of fuel subsidy. They saw no sense in the removal of fuel subsidy by Jonathan administration. However, today, the removal of the said subsidy by the – Buhari led administration makes absolute sense to them and they have been drumming support for it. This shift in position is self-serving and hypocritical.
“Whereas MAD concedes that everyone has a right to shift his position if he comes to fresh facts and findings on a matter, the ignoble role Tinubu and El-Rufai played in the Occupy Nigeria saga makes it mandatory for them to first apologise and then explain why the same drug they rejected from one doctor, they have accepted and swallowed with pleasure”, he said.
“They have a moral and leadership obligation to explain their double standards and apologise to Nigerians for their positional shift. Leaders must have the humility to apologise for misleading their people. If they are to justify their current shift in view on the subsidy, then they owe Nigerians an unreserved apology”.
As regards Pastor Tunde Bakare, MAD observed that the outspoken and fearless clergy had embraced the Conspiracy of Silence, pointing out that “it is even more undignifying to think that such a vocal man has lost his voice. He has suddenly been sworn to silence as though a dog got his tongue. There is more dignity in apologising to Nigerians than to be sworn to silence or back the same subsidy removal as unashamedly as Tinubu and El-Rufai have done.”
MAD is of the view that the over 70 per cent hike in the fuel price had brought attendant hardship to the Nigerian people and urged government to review the price downward.