The Social Democratic Party (SDP) presidential candidate in the 2023 election, Prince Adewole Adebayo, has asked President Bola Tinubu to rethink the fuel subsidy removal policy which he said has thrown more Nigerians into poverty in the last two months.
He added that unless Tinubu and his handlers rethink and have a backup plan, the government would fail woefully.
“I think it is not too late for the government, starting with President Tinubu and co, to rethink and have a backup plan because I have a feeling, and I am saying it with every sense of responsibility, that if they go the way they are going, they will fail woefully. Not because they hate the people but because they are adopting models that never worked,” he warned.
Adebayo also took a swipe at those who criticize the fuel subsidy removal because of the backlash even when they were in support of the removal earlier on, describing them as hypocrites.
He noted that some of them who started from the beginning to condemn the subsidy removal should not be tagged as being hypocritical when they begin to criticize the subsidy removal but argued that those who initially supported it but only turned around to criticize it because it has backfired are hypocritical.
He said: “Those who supported anyone or any platform that said they would remove subsidies from day one and are now condemning the removal are hypocritical. Once you agree to throw a five year old child from the 10th floor of a building, you cannot say you are surprised the child broke the limbs. There is no way you will implement the policy the government is implementing now, and you will not have the same consequences. Economics does not admit cheating. You can cheat in politics. You can inflate your numbers in politics, but when it comes to economics, you can’t. You have to take the right policies. If you don’t take the right policies, the consequences of wrong policies will follow.”
Still on being hypocritical, he said: “When we talk about hypocrisy, it didn’t start with the labour unions. Hypocrisy started with President Tinubu himself who opposed former President Goodluck Jonathan when he had a smaller amount of subsidy adjustment and all of them went on the streets against it. And when they came to power, they went in the opposite direction; finished everything once and for all. It is not a political statement when you say people are hypocritical. We predicted all this. We were discussing it then. Nobody can pretend that he/she is not aware that it will affect factor cost. And if it affects factor cost, it will affect cost of living. If it affects the cost of living, more people will go into poverty.”
On the N8000 proposed palliatives, he said it would amount to waste since the money would be valueless. In other words, he noted that throwing money at the people the way the government was planning to do would only bring about inflation where too much money would be chasing too few goods.
“It appears the government is not aware of what we call monetary neutrality. When you have no food, no means of transportation, and no medicare, throwing money at you is not going to increase the number of service providers. It is not going to increase the value of real goods in the market. What it is going to do is that there would be wastage because the money will not be well used. When the money gets to the end users, it becomes useless to them in the real terms because they don’t have the goods to chase with the money. In the end, it may cause a little bit of inflation,” he submitted.