Former governor of Anambra State, Peter Obi and former vice president, Atiku Abubakar, have turned their nose at President Ahmed Bola Tinubu for hastily removing fuel subsidy.
Obi, an advocate of the removal of fuel subsidy who once described it is “an organized crime,” and Abubakar, said removing it without palliatives would hurt Nigerians.
Both are challenging Tinubu’s victory in the February 25 polls at the Presidential Election Petitions Tribunal, Abuja.
Addressing journalists on Tuesday at the Court of Appeal, venue of the Election Petitions Tribunal, Abuja Obi faulted a “forceful removal”, opting instead for “various relieving policies” to cushion the effect of subsidy removal.
In a series of tweets, he disclosed his support for the removal of subsidies during the administration of former president, Goodluck Jonathan, even as a member of the Economic Management team.
He said, “I consistently maintained that subsidy should be removed because I see it as organized crime.
“People were just stealing the resources of the country and I showed it empirically in my statistical analysis that we were not consuming the amount of fuel they claimed we consumed.”
“Even when Jonathan’s government wanted to remove it (subsidy) they came up with various relieving policies like Sure-P and others.”
Obi, presidential candidate of the Labour Party (LP) noted that although he planned to remove subsidies, he would show the people “statistically and empirically what we are going to save, and what we are going to do using the savings to better the suffering masses.”
The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) presidential candidate, Abubakar, during a PDP Retreat in Bauchi for elected officials, said that the PDP government between 1999 and 2007 “initiated petroleum subsidy removal and I have chaired the Committee.
“We achieve fuel subsidy in two phases but only after providing palliatives to those most affected by the subsidy removal.
“What we would have done was not just to announce subsidy removed without discussion with the affected sectors of the economy.”
Tinubu in his inaugural speech on May 29 in Abuja announced the removal of subsidy payment on petrol, aware that his predecessor, Muhammadu Buhari did not provide for subsidy in the 2023 budget beyond June. Tinubu, had in his inaugural speech on Monday, said “subsidy is gone,” leading to panic buying and hike in pump price.