By Babajide Okeowo
The Founder of the National Association of Government Approved Freight Forwarders (NAGAFF), Dr. Boniface Aniebonam has hailed President Bola Ahmed Tinubu for having the courage to remove the controversial fuel subsidy.
The MMS Plus had reported that during the inauguration of President Tinubu, he had declared that the subsidy was gone.
Reacting to this, Dr Aniebonam during a media parley on Friday in Lagos hailed the president for having the courage to do what previous administrations failed to do.
According to him, one of the hallmarks of leadership is having the courage to do the right thing. He also opined that it is better to make a wrong decision than to not make any decision at all.
“For me as a person, I believe in making a wrong decision than not making any decision at all. Leadership is about courage to do the right thing. But in all, I think he is very courageous to have removed subsidy. It is better for someone to make a wrong decision than not making a decision at all” he said.
Aniebonam also disclosed that the issue of fuel subsidy removal was a consensus issue among all the presidential candidates as they all spoke in favour of removing it.
“One thing that was clear to everyone to see is that all the presidential candidates, from Peter Obi of the Labour Party; Atiku Abubakar of the Peoples Democratic Party to Rabiu Kwankwaso of the New Nigeria People’s Party and even the President Bola Ahmed Tinubu of the All-Progressives Congress, during their various campaigns promised to remove the fuel subsidy and that the money that comes from the removal will be used for other things that will benefit the people. We all heard them clearly. So, there was a consensus on that.
I think the only thing that people are talking about is the timing and of course the hasty nature with which it was done” he added.
He, however, disclosed that he would have preferred if the president had tackled and attacked the corruption-related aspect of fuel subsidy.
“I would have expected that Mr. President, having taken over, because of the multiplier effect of this subsidy removal and the general problem in our country, would have attacked the corruption aspect of the fuel subsidy.
It is very obvious that there is corruption there and a very serious one at that, so, if you attack that corruption, we can then move on and then begin to look at the possible solution” he added.
Dr Aniebonam also enjoined Nigerians to be ready to make some sacrifices for the benefits of the country.
“Also, we have to be prepared to make sacrifice. We will get it right if all of us come together. There is radical approach that we must deploy to get things in line. I know that there is hope for Nigeria, there is no doubt about that. Now that subsidy has gone and has gone for good, what makes us a great nation is our capacity to recover quickly from the after-effect of the removal” he added.
Aniebonam, who is also the founder of the New Nigeria Peoples Party advised the federal government to always engage the people on its activities so as to not give room for mischief makers on social media to push out wrong and false narratives.
“I can see that Mr. President has started consultation which is the right step in the right direction.There is an urgent need for government to engage the people and explain the situation to them.
“I have noticed that there is a very big gap between the government and the people. What this government needs to do now is to deploy its media arsenal. Tell the people what you are doing, where you are having challenges. Let them know that in so, so and so time, this particular problem will be resolved.
“Once they have hope, half of the problem is solved. But, when you don’t engage the people, then you are creating room for mischief makers on social media to push out false narratives. Government must learn to take advantage of these platforms to engage the people and carry them along.
Using this subsidy issue as example, they could come out and say, look at the amount of money we are using on subsidy, but this is what we want to do with the money now, that way, the people will be able to know what the government is doing” he added.