‘I did not protest against subsidy removal in 2012’ | Pastor Tunde Bakare has a story to tell you

The General Overseer of the Latter Rain Assembly and close ally of President Muhammadu Buhari, Pastor Tunde Bakare, has fautted the Federal Government for not consulting extensively before removing the subsidy on petrol which skyrocketed the price.

Addressing pressmen over the hike in the price of petrol on Sunday, the pastor said the Save Nigeria Group was not against the economic pointers behind the removal of subsidy in 2012 even though he was a prominent figure in the nationwide protest against the removal of subsidy.

Bakare said he protested in 2012 because he wanted President Goodluck Jonathan to investigate the subsidy regime and get back funds stolen in the course before removing the subsidy.

Bakare, in his address, which he titled, “The courage to do the right things,” called those who argued that he kept quiet on the present hike of petrol prices insincere adding that he was not motiated by politics to protest in 2012 but by his vision for a better Nigeria.

He said, “In 2012, we were not against the economic arguments behind fuel subsidy removal. Instead, we wanted the government to investigate the subsidy regime, bring culprits in the maladministration of that regime to book and recover stolen funds before commencing the policy discourse around subsidy removal.

“We have not changed our earlier conviction in spite of a change in government. We have only acknowledged that the new government has persistently demonstrated its anti-corruption stance while seeking policy solutions to the economic crisis, though there have been gaps in policy management.”

Bakare, however, faulted the Federal Government for not embarking on enlightenment programmes as well as extensive consultations before the removal of subsidy.

“We had expected that, in response to our call earlier in the year, the government would have consulted extensively with stakeholders and embarked upon extensive communication and enlightenment campaigns across the social spectrum, with particular attention to the middle class and the grassroots, on the new price regime prior to its introduction.

“This would have been a better-received sequence than the sudden policy introduction and the after-the-fact approach to informing and enlightening Nigerians.”

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