Chuks Okocha in Abuja
The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) yesterday cautioned that the President Muhammadu Buhari government is pushing Nigerians to the wall with “its arrogant display of insensitivity and total disregard to the demands by the citizens to effect an immediate downward review in the pump price of fuel.”
The party in a statement issued by the National Publicity Secretary, Kola Ologbondiyan, described the attempt by the Buhari presidency to justify the ‘wicked’ increase in the pump price of fuel from N87 per litre under the PDP government to N160 as provocative, confrontational and totally unacceptable to Nigerians.
He said: “Our party holds that the defence of such a humongous hike, which has worsened the hardship being suffered by Nigerians under the Buhari administration, is in bad taste, and should be rescinded immediately.
“It is indeed an unpardonable slap on the sensibilities of Nigerians that after running a heavily corrupt oil trade and subsidy regime, through which over N14 trillion had been allegedly frittered by its officials, the Buhari administration seeks to put the burden of high costs on innocent and already impoverished citizens.”
The PDP said it totally rejected the attempt to hinge the increase in fuel price on presumed removal of oil subsidy when it has failed to account for the proceeds of oil sales in the last five years, even in the face of confession by the Managing Director of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), Mele Kyari, in April this year, that the All Progressives Congress (APC) administration had been running an over-bloated and sleazy oil subsidy regime.
Also, the PDP said the Buhari administration had failed to account for the confession by the NNPC that it was engaged in secret siphoning of oil money through a claimed subsidising of fuel for certain West Africa countries.
The party recalled that prior to his emergence as the president, General Muhammadu Buhari (as he was then known) had declared that fuel subsidy was a fraud, explaining that five years after, the government, which he heads, is watching over a subsidy regime that is brimming with corruption.
In view of this, the PDP spokesperson said: “Our party insists that Nigerians should not be made to bear the brunt of the huge corruption in the Buhari administration, which has wrecked every aspect of our national economy.”
Ologbondiyan described it as incredulous and shameful for the administration to predicate the ‘reckless’ increase in the cost of fuel on a faulty comparison with costs in other countries of the world, whereas the daily standard of living, the purchasing power and living wage of the average Nigerian in the last five years cannot be compared with what obtains in those countries.
Such comparison, the PDP said, was therefore, not only absurd but also completely illogical.
Ologbondiyan said PDP had at the wake of the increase cautioned the Buhari presidency and the APC not to misinterpret the patience and law-abiding nature of Nigerians as a sign of weakness on this issue.
Accordingly, the PDP spokesperson said: “It is clear that the APC administration is completely anti-people as displayed in its refusal to heed to the cries of the suffering Nigerians, who have rejected the fuel price increase, and there is no way history can be kind to any president who subjected Nigerians to the economic anguish and pains they have been suffering in the last five years.”