by Ifreke Inyang
On November 11, 2011, Wale Ajani plans to stage a huge campaign by encouraging young people to stay away from food that day. This course of action is going to be taken as a protest showing disapproval with government’s recent plans to remove the fuel subsidy. He spoke to us briefly about it.
1. Who is Wale Ajani? What do you do?
I am currently the President of the National Youth Council of Nigeria. The authoritative voice of over 60 million Nigerian Youths.
2. You’ve been known to have a good relationship with the President. How come you don’t support the removal of subsidy?
I respect Mr. President and do not take my relationship with him for granted. Also, I have a duty to seek the best interest of the Nigerian youth at all times. Based on facts and figures, I have taken a stance to protest the removal of fuel subsidy. There are other programmes of the Federal Government which I still support. I just do not support the removal of fuel subsidy. Also, Mr. President did not tell us while campaigning that he will remove fuel subsidy within one year in office.
3. What do you think is a plausible solution to the fuel subsidy issue?
If Mr. President canvassed for our votes before getting into office, I don’t see anything wrong in him doing same before implementing a programme of this magnitude.
Given that the youth (persons under 35) accounts for 70% of Nigeria’s population, representing about 98 million people. While most are illiterate and live in rural areas, all of us are disadvantaged and disillusioned. We (the youth) are the endangered specie in this equation. Although, we can not dictate to the FG on gow to run this administration, we demand that we dialogue in order for us to have inputs in these new plan.
On the other hand, the government said it will appoint eminent Nigerians who will manage the gains made from removal of fuel subsidy. I suggest they appoint the eminent Nigerians now to manage the fuel subsidy account and make it work for the good of all Nigerians.
4. Tell us about the ‘Hunger strike’ that will take place on 11.11.11
The hunger strike is a peaceful protest the Nigerian youths are engaging in to show their displeasure and shock over the planned demonic removal of fuel subsidy. Nigerian Youths are saying they are already hungry and going on a hunger strike to protest is no issue if that will help solve their problems. It is painful to imagine the untold hardship the fuel subsidy removal will cause Nigerians. Nigerian youths are standing together on the 11th day of the 11th month of year 2011 to say NO to Fuel Subsidy Removal. We hope you will join us at this history-making event. This is our own ‘Occupy Wall Street’.
5. Who and who will be involved and how do you think this will change anything?
The event is powered by: National Youth Council of Nigeria, Y-Count Campaign, Youth Hub Africa, Labour Civil Society Movement, Nigerian Youth League and 50 other youth organizations across the nation. The event will create an awareness on the position of the Nigerian youths on the removal of fuel subsidy. We are doing this as opposed to just sitting on the fence and doing nothing. We are taking one step every time to push for the change we seek in Nigeria. We will not sit on the fence and fold our hands. The youths are the leaders of today, we are no longer waiting for a tomorrow that will never come.
I believe that we are the change that we seek in Nigeria; we are the ones we’ve been waiting for!
UPDATE: The SSS has detained Youth Council President, Wale Ajani in a bid to stop Friday’s Occupy Abuja protest at Unity Fountain in Abuja on 11-11-11 from 9am. Sources with him at SSS office says he’s been held and questioned for over three hours now.