Opinion: The APC government is at risk of losing trust

By Stephen Oladapo

Trust; the firm belief in the character, strength, or truth of someone or something. Trust can be attributed to relationships between people. It can be demonstrated that humans have a natural disposition to trust and to judge trustworthiness that can be traced to the neurobiological structure and activity of a human brain.

I have seen several arguments both for and against the call for strike action, calls for another “Occupy Nigeria” etc, occasioned by the recent “subsidy removal” or “deregulation” of the downstream sector of the oil industry in Nigeria.

I have chosen not to do much of public comments on this current issue partly because I am aware that the wailers will use my comments as an advantage to start saying “we told you earlier.”

However, without any doubt in my mind and without the fear of being misquoted and labelled “anti-Buhari”, I will like to state that the government has approached this issue in the most unproductive way that may pump up provocation on the part of the masses and dent the colourful trust Nigerians have in the APC-led government.

The only reason not many Nigerians are willing to flood the streets in protest this time is ‘trust’. Trust was a key ingredient missing in the PDP-led government. No one trusted anything, any word or move. Everyone believed whatever the people in the PDP-led government did was only to the benefits of the people in power. GEJ would have completed the deregulation or removal of subsidy, but his plans failed because only very few Nigerians trusted him.

This government however, because of the two men at the centre has the easy guise to take people’s trust. I only hope and pray that the trust the Nigerian populace has in the combination of President Buhari and VP Oshinbajo will not be taken for granted.

Imagine if all the information and sensitization coming out now were made three or four months ago? Imagine if the government of the day had taken the time to pre-inform Nigerians in a way that continually courts the trust of the populace? Imagine also, if the Minister of Information had taken this as a two-month project to inform, educate and sensitize the populace of the economic reasons backed by economic realities of full deregulation? Don’t you think Nigerians that went all out to ensure the success at the elections would have been pleased?

Now, what has this government done wrong? Information! If the government had pre-informed people to see the economic realities of continued but unsustainable subsidy, the economic realities of Nigeria dwindling reserve and realities of the fact that we cannot even afford to feed the nation right now that our only source of income is truncated if not paralysed. The realities of the fact that multinationals and local companies are taking advantage of weak Naira to further deplete our foreign reserve and lots more.

As I have said in a different forum, the choice of the Minister of Information is one of the mistakes of this government. I do respect the minister a lot, but I believe he is better at political party information centre than his present portfolio.

This government need someone who can articulate government positions and convince people. In all fairness to the minister of State for Petroleum and the Vice President, they are presently doing the job of the Minister of information who could have used all the government apparatus under his ministry to INFORM.

To the general populace however, going on strike is never in favour of the masses. The masses will suffer more than the government. It is only a thing of pride for the government of the day to be able to navigate without issues with labour unions but it is a thing of life and death, food and hunger, peace and violence to the common man.

Come to think of it, how much have we paid per litre for the same product in the last three years? How much is a litre of petrol in Kano, Sokoto, Ebonyi, Enugu and Lagos. Before we go on strike, would you rather pay N145 for petrol that is available than pay N86.50 for the one that is not available?

I am not saying that the APC-led government has lost the trust of Nigerians, no, not just yet. But if things continue like this, and the dissenting voices become louder, everyone can start to imagine what will happen in 2019.

I do believe that the strategists of this government with all their education and exposure are not doing enough to help this government, I believe that everyone seem to concentrate on their portfolio not thinking of the success in general.

The expectations of the Nigerian populace are high and there may not be enough explanations in this world for failure. My trust in this government will not stop me from saying things the way they are. However, I promise to be objective in my public analysis, be objective in criticizing and help in proffering solutions to our multifaceted problems.

My name is Stephen Oladapo, I am a Nigerian and I have no other place to call home.

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