A former Emir of Kano, Sanusi Lamido, has commended President Muhammadu Buhari for removing subsidy on petroleum products.
Sanusi argued that the leaders are fighting for their pockets and not the interest of their tribes or the country.
He said certain reforms instituted by the Buhari’s administration, which include the adjustment in electricity tariffs, were steps in the right direction.
Sanusi said with the COVID-19 pandemic and its effect on government revenue, Nigerians must realise that the government does not have the wherewithal to continue as “Father Christmas”.
The federal government had said there was no provision for fuel subsidy in the Revised 2020 Budget, noting that about N1.7 trillion has been spent on tariff shortfalls to support the electricity sector since its privatisation.
The increases in fuel price and electricity tariffs sparked outrage of late.
Speaking yesterday while featuring on The PLATFORM, a programme moderated by the Senior Pastor of Covenant Christian Centre, Poju Oyemade, the former governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) said he wished the government had instituted the recent reforms 10 years ago.
“Ethno-religious crisis is not so much from Nigerians but the Nigerian elites. We have identities in Nigeria but the construction of opposing identities, the political process, is basically the Nigerian elite competing among itself for a share of the national cake,” he said.
“I don’t think that the people who say they are fighting for Hausa, Igbo or Yoruba are really interested. I mean when they get there at the end of the day, it is about them and their families.
“There is nobody out there that is really representing north or south or east. They claim to be if you look out there in the cabinet. In the history of Nigeria, there has never been a government that does not have people from every part of the country.
“So the first thing to recognize is that we must get away from the sense that holding political office is what makes you representative of a people.”
Sanusi said, “As a result of COVID-19 and because the economy has been brought to its knees, I think Nigeria has finally come around to being realistic. We were paying billions of dollars in so-called subsidy. It’s a big scam and it has been going on for 30 years.
“In the last few months, this government has started instituting certain reforms that if we continue along those lines, we will begin to see the light. Yes, the removal of fuel subsidy is one. The adjustment in electricity tariff is another.
“These are reforms that need to be pushed. We need to understand that the government does not have the balance sheet to continue with the Father Christmas situation that we have had over the last decade or so.
“I wished we had done this earlier but we are here now and we need to commend the government.”