Chude Jideonwo: This is why we are angry

by Chude Jideonwo

It is the Nigeria that we have now. Any attempt at balance is viewed with vicious suspicion – “you have been bought!” It is understandable – we are angry, we’ve been taken for a ride too long and we probably can’t afford room for error. So it is that at this moment of the deeply unpopular fuel subsidy removal policy, even some of the people who endorsed and produced songs for Goodluck Jonathan find it necessary to express public regret.

There are some of us who did no such thing, even going as far as to stay neutral during the elections,and some of this set do not think Goodluck Jonathan is “evil” and “clueless”, just because he is now, all of a sudden, unpopular.

So here, a flag towards balance.

This is good policy badly executed, not because of timing necessarily as because of trust. The trust deficit is one Dr. Jonathan inherited, one that he has sadly increased, and one he has to deal with. When I have been asked for my opinion on policy, I have often ventured in public and private that the subsidy needs to be removed, and when it is, it should make it without the usual prevarication – in a single step.

But then the process leading to that decision is Public Policy 101. Build trust, create a frame of understanding; deepen goodwill. Win the public over – how about cutting the cost of governance even just a little and using that as a communication tool to show sincerity of purpose? Communicate. Communicate. Communicate. How do you ask people to tighten their belts when you run an obese system? It isn’t right. In fact, it is so wrong, it cries to the high heavens.

It is offensive.

And then someone somewhere obviously decided that a surprise move will work best?! That’s what the anger is most about – people feel taken for granted; people feel the government has treated them with blatant disregard. And the real tragedy is that the government has by this action united ordinary and moderate Nigerians with those whose agendas are questionable.

The removal of subsidy as a policy is sound economics as far as my untrained eyes can see (and I regard the “there is no such thing as subsidy” a tenuous argument), but the how is as important as the what. Let the government revert to the old price – and let the communication begin.

I have said it before in a NEXT column about a year ago and I will say it again: there are people who want to trust Dr. Jonathan and want to give him the benefit of the doubt. He is making it hard.

Comments (19)

  1. I fear that the country might have gone broke and they don't want us to know, but rather want to mup up money through any means possible to run the affairs of state before it becomes common knowledge. Otherwise why the hurry to start implementing a provision of the 2012 budget when we are still within the life span of the 2011 budget which will end in March, 2012. the House of rep has made it clear that it is not the duty of any agency to impose such a price on that commodity. I also gather that petrol price falls within the few things to which the law provides that government should subsidize and that that law has not been repealed. If this is true, is the President now going to act contrarily to an existing law? There are really many issues unfolding with this hurried declaration. Let the numerous advisers to GEJ do their jobs well to justify the huge wages they are collecting.

  2. Some of you make statement about hate but question is why not hate him. This is a man that has never has the courage to tell nigeria the truth on any issue, he lied about minimum wage, about free and fair elction, about more consultation on fuel subsidy. His every meal cost 500000 naire in just this year alone him and his partner in crime sambo have enten 21 million naire worth of food and just tonight he the guts to tell nigeria that he has the intention to take a pay cut instead that his salary has being slash forth. Look at a senero a man earns 40000 naire and stays in sango but work on the island, the take a 300 naire bus to oshodi, from their he take another bus to oblande at 200 naire and 70 naira to marina he spent 570 naire half the journey, his return journey will cost 30 percent more due to lagos night hustle, he eats 200 naire meal. He spent 1500 a day that makes it around 33000 naire in order to earn 40000 naire he ha sd a wife and 2 children he will have to pay school fees and feed them and U̶̲̥̅̊ expect this to have love towards GEJ U̶̲̥̅̊ must be kidding. If that man reads ur comment he wil hate U̶̲̥̅̊ too CHUDE. Just like U̶̲̥̅̊  am in support of removal of subsidy after nigeria has good mass transit system, when there is constant power supply, corruption is at a bearable minimum, the cabals in jail and minimum wage compare favorably wit international ratea. Then it wil make sense to buy petro at the same rate with USA

  3. Chude you hit the nail on the head. I strongly believe three years from now, when the benefit of the removal of subsidy will appear to all, we will be reminded of this day…a day when you a young man, threw caution to the wind and spoke truth not just to power, but to a blinded protesting crowd. Yes a crowd blinded by hate, distrust and acrimony. This is not just what your country has failed to do for you, rather it is what you are denying generation yet unborn. Thanks for sharing. Subsidy must go.

  4. Thanks for sharing you thoughts. My friends and I are endorsing a protest against the protesters. We will not let those who have allowed hate and distrust to blind them to rob us the chance of redeeming our battered country.

  5. Chude, u just revealed things d way it should be done.

    Truly if they want to use the subsidy money for something as they claim, them why don't they start with their own salaries and allowances, they should be able to sacrifice these. Everyone knows they have been stealing our money for so long. So let them make the sacrifice first and see if we will support it or not.

    God bless Nigeria.

  6. Nice write up and am in total agreement that fuel subsidy is a fraud. It is high time we raise our voice to this our unthinkable leaders that cannot see beyond their close family. Enough is Enough for the wise!!! We will continue revolting until they have changed for the better!

  7. Guys relax.. Take a breath.. Dese are all opinions by different people with different ways of thinking.. At some point one can be ryt and d oda wrong.. D truth remains d percentage of dis subsidy removal is just too much.. D suffering is unbearable for many.. Looking at a bigger picture, who knows if dis man GEJ is under duress.. Wu knows if der is a cabal within or outside d country running our policies for us.. I resort to us praying d ryt prayers cos we dnt knw d real details of wats going on up der.. This thing abt NEW WORLD ORDER myt just b d issue here.. God help us!!!

  8. Wt was GEJ initial plan to fund the TRAFORMATION AGENDA? if there ino subsidy, does dt mean He would catastrophically fail?

    He shd 1st of all deliver on his agenda-power, infrastructure, educatn, health&agriculture

    Whn we hv seen his performanc, den, Nigerians can trust him

    If there is anything like state subsidy, do u think citizens of Lagos, Akwaibom, Rivers wil protest for its removal when de are feelin d impacts of good gorvernanc?

  9. You lie, Chude, if you say that GEJ did not lose the trust of the people himself. You lie, or at best are being disingenuous. What happened with the goodwill he frittered away on the Salami issue? What happened with the goodwill he wasted on nonsense way his party and their agents have been conducting themselves at the election tribunals? What happened to the ridiculousness of sending as his first bill a suggestion for tenure elongation? At every turn this man has pushed the buttons of the people. The wave of goodwill he rode in on was spent by no other person than himself. And now he seeks to look for "Goliaths" bent on distracting his government? So predictable, yet so very dangerous. This man will end up killing people. And you Chude should look closely at your opinions. It was opinions like yours that the elections were free and fair that muzzled dissenting voices in our home region.

    You seek to be neutral in this matter? This is why you are attacked by your more discerning mates. This is life or death, my friend. This conversation has gone beyond fuel subsidy. It is now about whether GEJ wants to be a PDP president or a Nigerian president. #freeDelta

  10. Finally, some reason. I hope Jonathan reads this – and pays close attention.

  11. solution? remove the subsidy and have nothin happen to the price at the filling station

  12. Too too correct! I might add that the Nigerian government needs to WORK! DELIVER on some things before embarking on such policies!

  13. I hold too that there is no such thing as subsidy. No Nigerian govt has dimmed it wise to give anything free to its people. There capacity to invent mythical benefits is legendary. You are right. We do not trust our government. There is no basis to do so. I have no desire to give them an inch now

  14. i think this is the mindset of majority of the informed people. it is a granted that in any mass movement, it is a few people that power the conversation while the multitude follow based on personal opinions fashioned by tag-lines of the informed few. The rave of 'FRESH AIR' that brought GEJ to power was propagated on the wings of tag lines while a few people carried the details of the argument. This protest is no different. it is powered by an informed few who agree that "The removal of subsidy as a policy is sound economics as far as my untrained eyes can see…but the how is as important as the what. Let the government revert to the old price – and let the communication begin."

    Then the majority flow with the tag-lines provided by leaders who have cropped up on the plane

  15. This is just the right argument. I hope this becomes the common mindset of all aggrieved, thus leading to a demand of accountability from the government of the day!

  16. God bless u Chude. U have vocalised the thoughts just as I have them. Taks

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