By Babajide Okeowo
President Muhammadu Buhari’s decision to defer the removal of fuel subsidy has nothing to do with the 2023 elections.
Rather, the President took the decision in the interest of the nation and the masses, according to the Buhari Media Organisation(BMO).
In a statement signed by its Chairman Niyi Akinsiju and Secretary Cassidy Madueke, the group said that the move has more to do with the President’s pro-masses stance than any political consideration.
“Our attention has been drawn to suggestions by some so-called experts and opposition elements that the Buhari administration’s decision to put fuel subsidy removal on hold has something to do with the next cycle of elections in 2023.
“We view those comments as misleading, uninformed, unintelligent and an attempt to muddle the waters, especially as the President has always been clear about his opposition to removing fuel subsidy without putting the necessary structures in place.
“It is strange that not many people could recall how President Buhari expressed his reluctance to remove subsidy in an interview with Arise TV last year.
“So we’re surprised that some people would read political motives into a decision that is clearly in line with the mindset of a President who has in six years given bailouts funds running into trillions of Naira to States to pay salaries and pensions,” it said.
BMO expressed concern that the 18-month timeline for subsidy is being misinterpreted to mean that Buhari was shifting the decision to the next administration.
“What many of the President’s critics have failed to factor into their reasoning is the fact that the ongoing rehabilitation of the nation’s four refineries had a timeline of 18 months for them to be operational.
“While that of Port Harcourt has a three-phase rehabilitation plan, the first phase of which will take it to a production capacity of 90 percent by January 2023, those in Warri and Kaduna are expected to be fully operational by the same time.
“These are the same refineries that previous Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) administrations did little or nothing to revive, yet spent trillions of naira on a fraudulent subsidy scheme.
“Can anyone forget how PDP elements and members of their families turned refineries’ maintenance into a criminal bazaar while making claims for payment for fake imported petroleum products?
“More surprising is that same party is shamelessly alleging that the current administration is spending too much on subsidy when it is common knowledge that only the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation NNPC is importing fuel today”.
BMO urged Nigerians to ignore any attempt to give political colouration to a well-thought-out decision taken in the national interest